The use of leather in perfumery is one that seems to have multiple variations. It spans a spectrum from raw untreated animal hide at one end to refined buttery suede at the other. Because leather is an accord and not a specific raw material it allows a perfumer to adjust to fit their vision. There are many brands for which their leather accord has become a signature. One of those brands is Mancera which has seemingly perfected a patent leather accord which I like quite a bit. Their latest release to feature it is called Wild Leather.
Mancera, like its sister brand Montale, is notoriously difficult to find out anything about the perfumes as they are released. I generally get my information from their Facebook and Twitter feeds. When Wild Leather was released late in 2014 there was a Tweet which showed the picture of model Vivien Solari taken by photographer Txema Yeste as the inspiration for the fragrance. I liked the sort of stylish dominatrix look of the photograph and hoped for a leather which would live up to the adjective on the label.
Vivien Solani; Photo by Txema Yeste
If I was hoping for Wild Leather to be something dangerous that was not what I received when I finally got my sample. The pictorial inspiration should not have been seen as something dangerous. Instead it should have been seen as a fashion forward kind of perfume. Viewed through that lens Wild Leather is not wild because it is illicit; it is wild because it dares to be very modern in construction and style. It is so modern that I think it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Once I settled into wearing it for a few days I really enjoyed the risks the perfumer took.
The opening of Wild Leather is a really beautiful bergamot which sticks around a little longer than the usual bergamot. As the perfume develops the heart forms around Bulgarian rose, violet and patchouli. The use of the patchouli works extremely well as underpinning for the rose and violet. I really like the effect that patchouli provides when used in modest quantities especially with heavy hitter florals. In this case it complements the spicy nature of the Bulgarian rose and brings it more forward. With the violet it acts as a softener to the sharp edges violet can have. From here that patent leather accord comes bubbling up. What I like so much about this accord is it reminds me of the smell of opening the box of patent leather loafers I got prior to each school year. It smells like equal parts leather and plastic. That accord is what is present in Wild Leather. It is so well done I can almost see the gloss on the leather as I wear it. The base of Wild Leather is oakmoss and white musks to give a green and clean finish to it all.
Mancera Wild Leather lasts 24 hours with prodigious sillage.
How much you like Wild Leather will depend on how much you like this patent leather accord. If you like the modernistic quality it brings I think you will like Wild Leather a lot. If the smell of patent leather is equivalent to cheap in your mind you might have a hard time getting past that. I am in the first camp and I think Mancera does this accord as well as any perfume brand does. Which makes Wild Leather a winner for me.
Diisclosure: This review was based on a sample I received from Babalu.