How Do You Wear Your Meat? – Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Cuir Perfume Review

Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan

Lady Gaga wears her meat with style…

My love for leather in perfume is certainly a work in progress. It was Lila Das Gupta’s Evening of Leather for Perfume Lovers London that helped me forge a new appreciation for the genre, but I’m very much in the curiosity stage and full blown leather-love (which is not as rude as it sounds) is still a long way off. At Lila’s talk two fragrances in particular caught my attention, and Mona di Orio’s Cuir was one of them.

To say I have been blown away by the fragrances in Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection is a vast understatement. Each one is a fabulous and contemporary take on such well visited notes such as; Oud, Musc, Tuberéuse, Vetiver and Ambre and the collection takes inspiration from the golden ratio, a mathematical theory of proportion which is intelligently showcased in each and every one the perfumes.

All of the other perfumes in the Les Nombres d’Or collection have been very easy for me to love and Cuir is most definitely the exception. I still don’t love it, and I don’t think I ever will. You see, Cuir and I cannot be friends, but I admire its balls. It is an extreme, maverick leather that doesn’t care about being pretty, or even pleasant, it just wants to be wild. The Mona di Orio website says of Cuir “In these days of anodyne scents, trans-fat free lives this is a welcome walk on the wild side that would be wonderful on a man. On a woman? Only one way to put it: Cuir is ruthlessly chic.” [1]


“Neatly straddling the line between biker and Birkin bag, the leather is almost carnal in its depth.” [2]

The Notes

Cardamom, Absinthe, Leather, Cade, Resinoid, Opoponax and Castoreum [3]

How Does it Smell?

Before we move on to how Cuir smells I have a few safety questions for you. Firstly, are you sat down? Good. Have you got your safety belt on? No? Oh, I think it’s best that you put it on straight away because with Cuir you are in for one hell of a ride! It’s for your own good and you know just how health and safety conscious we have to be nowadays. Anways, now that’s over we can move on. Are you ready?

Cuir opens with the smell of hot and heavily spiced meat, think of chorizo and you are on the right track. This “chorizo accord” as I call it, can only be attributed to a metric mega-ton of cumin that goes a long way to spice things up to extreme levels. It’s not just the cumin that is pushed to extremes, quinoline and birch tar, both of which are notes usually associated with leather, are also amped up as far as they can go, but they full just short of being pushed into unpleasant territory. Note that I say “just short”.

The leather itself is VERY dry, and it feels more like dry, cured meat (perhaps beef jerky?) than soft, supple leather. This arid leather is joined by some rather smelly animalics, namely a dash of civet and a dollop of castoreum (yay for beaver butt!), both of which somehow manage to emphasise Cuir’s meaty facets and add a good deal of raunch to the wild thing.

Interestingly, Cuir really does soften in the base and I do really enjoy the trail of spiced and smoked leather that it leaves on the skin. I like it so much that I would wear it, the problem is that I just cannot get through the first few hours, not even if I really persevere. Believe me I have REALLY persevered.

Despite the fact that Cuir is a bit (very) harsh and way too wild for my tastes, I do think it is great and it is exceptionally well made. It does fit the wild aesthetic that Mona di Orio seemed to be going for and it does succeed in having a touch of something luxurious lurking underneath (that’ll be the bikers Birkin bag then). Cuir and I will never be friends but I am more than happy to admire it from afar.

How you feel about Cuir will entirely depend on how you like to wear your meat. Personally I like my meat on my plate, not on my body.


Cuir is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £125.


This review is based on a sample of Cuir sourced myself.

Image 1 Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan
Image 2

[1], [2] & [3] via


23 thoughts on “How Do You Wear Your Meat? – Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Cuir Perfume Review

  1. By the sounds of it this may be the only Mona I enjoy.
    How strong is her Mona-aid base? I hate her base… it’s breathy and slightly rancid.
    Her Oud I found had this base the worst, couldn’t stand it, Vanille had an “eggy” note and her Vetiver also turned my stomach 😦 I know that sounds overdramatic, but I went into sniffing these expecting to be blown away and I wanted to love them. I gave all my big samples away…
    Beef jerky though, sounds great! :’)

    • Hmmm…good question! I didn’t really detect much of the Mona-aid in Cuir, possibly because there is a whole heap of other stuff going on. It certainly doesn’t share much with Oud so you might be safe to try it 😛

  2. Great descriptive review. I had a problem with this scent. I found it biting and harsh, albeit interesting. There’s nothing intimate about how it sits on your skin and even worse, my better half told me I smelled like I had smoked a pack of cigarettes. So far it’s been the only Mona di Orio I have tested… I’m a bit scared to go back to her line 🙂

  3. know how I feel about this one! Where you wrote that civet and castoreum ’emphasise Cuir’s meaty facets and add a good deal of….’, my brain instinctively substituted raunch for haunch. Thanks brain. It’s true, it smells of a chorizo munching Mitchell brother in the dense smoky blue fug of a working mens club circa 1973. With a molotov cocktail ignited bonfire right outside. It’s pretty gruff. I sprayed some last night ‘just to check.’ I still don’t love it, although I perhaps don’t hate it quite so vehemently as I did (I’m now thinking it’s interesting and certainly well crafted, but not for me.) I don’t know, there’s something about the pairing of overt animalics with leather that feels not just bestial and primal but..bloodied and a little macabre. It’s raw, it’s leather and the pulpy flesh underneath, it’s like having a ringside seat at Orwell’s Animal Farm.
    I do love her Vanille and Musc though. Would love to try to Oud/Tubereuse/Ambre.

  4. Arid, meaty leather is spot-on for Cuir. Love that pic of Gaga in the meat dress to accompany your post.

    We appreciate you persevering on our behalf 🙂

  5. The smell of meat makes me sick. I have not eaten it in years, and I don’t want to smell of it.

    I do wear leather, as I am a major shoe lover, and the smell is not offensive to me, but I am not sure that I would want my fragrance to resemble it.

    I do appreciate the art of perfumery though, and I am sure that Cuir and other fragrances in the same category smell great on the right person.

  6. Oh my. I have difficulty with leather even when it’s toned down or smooth, a lá Cuir de Russie. Cuir de Lancome, which everyone else touts as soft and supple purse leather, is almost too much for me. I think I may give this one a pass….

  7. Mona’s Cuir is a fascinating smell, but certainly not an easy wear.
    Have you ever tried Cartier’s La Triezieme heure ?. That also has a smoky beef jerky vibe, but it’s a bit more refined.

    • Oh yes, it sure is fascinating and the jury is still out on the wearability front…

      I haven’t tried the Cartier, the prices put me off a little bit, but you have made me curious. I shall look out for it 😀

  8. Pingback: A Journey Through The World of Amber with Olfactoria and Perfume Lovers London | The Candy Perfume Boy

  9. Pingback: Jack Bauer And Trinity – Review: Mona di Orio Cuir | Olfactoria's Travels

  10. Pingback: Chaos Theory – Amouage Interlude Woman & Interlude Man Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  11. Pingback: Scent a Celebrity Series: ARTSNIFF – Scenting Lady Gaga | The Candy Perfume Boy

  12. Pingback: The Big Smoke – Tom Ford Private Blend London Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  13. Pingback: I’m Too Sexy for my Cuir, Too Sexy for my Cuir – Tom Ford Tuscan Leather Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

Join the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s