Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather (digital collage/editing by Despina Veneti©)
After more than a year as a Harrods exclusive, Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather has finally become widely accessible to perfume lovers who are always on the lookout for new, and remarkable, leather fragrances. Consistently to the French House’s concept of showcasing the various facets of exceptional raw materials, Falcon Leather (composed by Takasago Senior Perfumer and brand founder Aurélien Guichard) is an intense leather-centered composition of gender-fluid charm, built around a complex, powerful, albeit vegetal ingredient: Birch Tar from Finland.
Matiere Premiere founder/perfumer Aurélien Guichard (photo courtesy of Matiere Premiere©), birch forest in Finland (via Secto Design©) & birch tar oil (via Otzis Pouch©)
Birch tar has been used as a component of leather accords for many decades now, especially of the “Russian leather” ones (in Russia, birch oil was used for tanning animal hides, while birch bark was being rubbed onto soldiers’ boots to make them waterproof – in both cases, the aroma left an imprint on the leather). Moreover, as a fragrance ingredient, birch tar possesses its own smoky/leathery aromatic properties. To meet the IFRA safety standards, the raw material undergoes rectification: the tree parts are crushed, and then go through a long, dry distillation process. The birch tar’s smell is as dark as its appearance: the only time I’ve had the chance to sniff one of its varieties, it brought to mind the odor of burnt wood, along with a pungent, raw leather-reminiscent vibe of smoked meat. The truth is that the desired tar-like effect in leather fragrances is often obtained by the use of aromachemicals, like isobutyl quinoline. For Falcon Leather, however, Aurélien Guichard opted only for natural, high-quality birch tar, thus highlighting the material’s fascinating nuances and delivering a leather scent of captivating evolution.
Falcon landing on falconer’s leather glove (photo by Todd Wright©)
The perfumer was inspired by the highly textured smell of falconry gloves and aimed to evoke both their grainy, rough leather side, and their smooth, suede-like one. I’m glad to report that he has fully succeeded in realizing his intention, for Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather is a marvel of harmonically co-existing dualities. Furthermore, M Guichard expertly transformed his star, plant-derived ingredient into a fully satisfying, well-rounded leather note that is not devoid of animalic undertones. The fragrance opens with a robust, virile leather accord that is bound to turn heads: the birch tar shines in all its phenolic, smoky/woody glory, its wildness paradoxically both tamed and accentuated by the warmth of saffron and the leathery beauty of labdanum; meanwhile, its charred woodiness is boosted by mystical oud and earthy patchouli, with some clove-like spicy touches. The composition significantly mellows as soon as the balsamic sweetness of the amber accord emerges: lactonic benzoin and creamy vanilla interact with the ever-present labdanum, transforming the initially raw leather into buttery, sophisticated suede. The fragrance evolves from primordially carnal to deliciously sensual, making its long journey on the skin thoroughly exciting. For those who enjoy layering fragrances, let it be noted that Falcon Leather is an excellent choice (it paired beautifully with Matiere Premiere Neroli Oranger and Radical Rose).
Amelia Earhart in her Lockheed Electra airplane, c. 1930s (photo: New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Collection, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.©)
Wearing Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather, I couldn’t help but think of all the wonderful 1920s-1930s androgynous fragrances featuring leather notes, evergreen beauties like Chanel Cuir De Russie, Caron En Avion or Lanvin Scandal. As a woman, I was at total ease with the scent’s more overt (compared to the aforementioned fragrances) virility; not only did it not antagonize my own sense of femininity, it enriched it with an interesting edge – the fragrance felt liberating to wear. I can perfectly imagine pioneering aviatrix Amelia Earhart sporting Falcon Leather: her lambskin jacket and self-confident smile on, ready for one more daring adventure in the skies.
Officially listed ingredients: Saffron, Labdanum, Birch Tar, Oud, Benzoin.
Disclaimer: I’d like to thank Matiere Premiere for my bottle of Falcon Leather. The opinions are my own.
– Despina Veneti, Senior Editor
Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather 100ml (photo courtesy of Matiere Premiere©)
Thanks to the generosity of Matiere Premiere, we have a draw for a 100ml bottle of Matiere Premiere Falcon Leather (value: 190€) for one registered reader in USA, EU, AUSTRALIA, CANADA and UK. You must register here or your comment will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what you enjoyed most about Despina’s article, if you are familiar with Matiere Premiere fragrances and/or Aurélien Guichard’s work, (some examples include many for Pguet including Robert Piguet Visa Robert Piquet Knightsbridge, Bond 9. Chinatown- we named it a modern masterpiece- Thierry Mugler Aqua Chic and Ego Facto Me, Myself and I are just a few), CaFleureBon Modern Masterpiece) here and where you live. Draw closes 7/24/2021.
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