Hell-Bent For Leather: Three More Demeters
When I was figuring out what I should order in the second batch, I realized that not only did Demeter have three other leather scents, but that I very much wanted to try them. I'm not some kind of leather madman; I don't own a single item identifiably made of it, other than a couple of ordinary business-dress belts. (Jim has a very nice black leather jacket which I've never worn.) But I do like the smell of it, and if Leather was a good black-leather scent, then surely Riding Crop, Russian Leather, and Saddle would be good as well.
Unfortunately, I only really like one of them. But I really like it a lot.
Saddle is recognizably leathery, but with a plasticky overtone, as if it were leather-scent-impregnated naugahyde or leatherette. It's not bad for what it is, but I don't think it's the sort of thing to make real leather maniacs cheer.
Riding Crop has an unexpectedly sweetish character, a little like synthetic fruit candy, but only a little. It also has a suggestion of solvent, almost like dry-cleaning fluid. I think I expected some sort of viciousness, given the sorts of uses that a riding crop might be put to, but it's not here.
On reflection, I'm not sure why Riding Crop and Saddle would even be expected to smell different from one another, since they're both made of the same thing, and both applied to horses, but there isn't a particularly horsey or barny smell to either of them. They just smell, subtly differently, like synthetic leather.
Russian Leather, according to the Demeter website, is the smell of old leather armchairs in a Viennese library, with "the sweetness that can come only from age". Yet to me it smells less sweet than Riding Crop. Instead, what it smells like is something intoxicatingly unreal; it is as if, walking through a garden at nighttime or on an overcast day, you came across a flower that was made, from stem to sepal, entirely of leather, sprouting from the earth like any other.
There is a deep, dark floralcy to the Russian Leather, but it doesn't smell like flowers; instead, it's as though the flower and the leather were somehow the same thing, an amalgam, a hybrid of animal and vegetable. It is such a peculiar thing, and so inexplicably beautiful.