One Thousand Scents

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hell-Bent For Leather: Three More Demeters

When I ordered my first shipment of Demeter minis, one of the things I got was Leather, which I finally got around to reviewing earlier this year.

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.



  • wow - this sounds fantastic....thanks for the great review. I'm assuming this has the same limited longevity as most Demeters?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 PM  

  • Actually, since they're composed mostly of base notes, their durability is half-decent, longer than the ten to sixty minutes we usually expect. All three of them are good for a couple of hours, and Russian Leather seems to me to last even longer, although none of them show any development; they just fade away.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 9:36 PM  

  • Thank you for the heads up. I too have been confused by the various Demeter leathers. I will have to try the Russian leather - your description of it reminded me of my beloved CdG #3. Any new species of flower rising from the ground must be sniffed at least once.

    By Blogger the oblitterati, at 5:53 PM  

  • Your nose must be excellent. I got Riding Crop last week, and I don't smell anything at all from it.

    From your other reviews, I got interested enough to order a bunch of Demeters. I like Incense but agree with your friend that Incense is slightly too ladylike by itself. (hehe, sometimes there's what one likes and what one shows)
    Mix Incense with This Is Not A Pipe (also good IMHO) and the synergy is very interesting and it lasted most of the day (the Pipe part stayed longer). Sorry I don't have your vocabulary to describe it... even a notoriously scent-difficult female friend liked the mix better than the originals.

    With my order of Lavender, Incense, Sandalwood, Pipe, Dirt and Riding Crop they sent a complimentary (because it's certainly not "complementary") large free bottle "Mango Pineapple Salsa". Thanks but ew. Fruity with some kind of acrid synthetic undertone.

    Thanks for all your reviews!
    - andrew

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 PM  

  • I don't have a particularly fine or gifted nose, but I can smell Riding Crop, all right.

    Perhaps you're anosmic to the specific odor chemical that gives it its character. It happens. More than one person has said that Bulgari Omnia has no scent at all to them, and there are many musks that simply don't exist at all for some people. (I don't smell musk particularly strongly myself.)

    I'll have to try Incense mixed with This Is Not A Pipe. It's a really good idea.

    I don't doubt that the Pineapple Mango Salsa is dreadful; the actual item itself doesn't sound that appetizing, and the idea of a jellybean version of it boggles the mind, not in a good way. I've placed two big orders, gotten two full-sized bottles free, and hated both of them. It's as if they're giving away whatever isn't selling well that month. My first was Hot Toddy, which was revolting, and the second was Mojito, and if that's what a real mojito smells like, how can anyone drink them? Demeter doesn't bat a thousand, that's for sure.

    I hope you like the Lavender.

    By Blogger pyramus, at 5:09 PM  

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