My mother had her pleasures in life. One of them was oversized leather handbags. There was so much stuff in those giant bags it was like a magic trick. Need a pen? She could offer you color options. Cough drops, gum, hard candy? You had a choice of flavors. I don’t know why she felt the need to own large handbags. What I do remember is going shopping with her for new ones. These weren’t designer luxury handbags. These were utilitarian pieces of apparel. I enjoyed going with her to the small shop in Coral Gables because the smell inside was divine. I was reminded of it when I received my sample of Yves St. Laurent Wild Leather.
Wild Leather is part of the “La Vestiaire” collection. This has aspired to be the luxury fragrance collection for the brand. It has been more misses than hits due to an unformed aesthetic to the collection. What that means is it takes a perfumer rising above to create one which catches my notice. Perfumer Fanny Bal has done that with Wild Leather.
I mention often that a leather accord can be like a perfumer’s signature in scent form. That’s because creating one frees the perfumer to decide what type of leather they are going for. In this case the leather accord Mme Bal forms is a densely pleasing one somewhere between patent and finely grained leather.
Before we get to that the early moments also have some interesting aspects. The top accord is the green of geranium and the spiciness of black pepper. This has a rough texture which works. It becomes a little less rough as lavender and orange blossom apply a floral balm. Thyme adds back a little of the texture.
Now Mme Bal brings out her leather accord. When I would go handbag shopping with my mother, I always thought the store smelled a little like licorice. This is one of the pieces of the accord along with saffron, patchouli, and amber. She crafts something which has some density without being overwhelming. Some gaiac wood and vanilla form the base.
Wild Leather has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
While I was wearing Wild Leather I kept returning to my memories of my mother’s giant handbag. I realized the leather accord is a perfumer’s analog to that. Lots of disparate pieces inside of a big accord. Wild Leather is Mme Bal’s giant hanbdbag.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Neiman-Marcus.