Memo Paris is a fragrance house born from the love of travel. John and Clara Molloy founded the company in 2007 and set out to create perfumes that commemorate their journeys around the world.
Not surprisingly, each fragrance was conceived to tell the story of a journey to a favourite destination. John and Clara conceived the ideas and Alienor Massenet translated them into scented tales about magical, faraway places.
One of these scented journeys is reminiscent of a ride through the Tuscan countryside. Don't get it wrong, though: this is not a trip of sun-drenched herbs and fragrant orange blossoms. Italian Leather tells the story of a pair of well-worn driving gloves. A pair that has faithfully accompanied their owner on his regular trips in the countryside of San Gimignano.
Tomato Leaf, Vanilla, Leather
Labdanum, Clary Sage, Galbanu, Tomato Leaf, Orris Root
Vanilla, Sandalwood, Tolu Balsa, Resins
Italian Leather is not a functional fragrance. It is not a fragrance that smells pretty. It won't get you tons of compliments and you probably won't get laid wearing it. If you are looking for the latest aphrodisiac or a "panty dropper" stick with Armani Code or Aventus if you are one of the better-endowed amongst us.
If you want to take an olfactory trip, then spray this juice on, close your eyes and picture the billowing hills of Tuscany.
You are sitting in an old Fiat circa 1930s. White tailored suit on your back, a matching fedora on your pomaded head, and worn-in driving gloves. It is the middle of July and the thermometer is about to crack 40 degrees celsius. It doesn't matter. You have a winding road in front of you, twisting and turning like a snake between the lush green rolling hills. Your rooftop is down and warm air is caressing your face as you swish past olive trees and cyprases.
Hold this image now. Just a little longer. You rub your nose with your hand and smell the bitter smell of the old leather. It is mixed with vanillic undertone and spices. You breathe in the warm air and fill up your lungs with the smell of countryside - fresh tomato leaves, galbanum and iris. You exhale and drive on.
This is what I imagine when I experience Italian Leather. I expected it to be something like Tom Ford's Tuscan Leather but it is quite different. In fact, the one thing in common the two fragrances have is that both their names suggest leather and Italy.
Tuscan Leather is for men with balls - the type who go into a board meeting and make a killing. Italian Leather is more like Montecristo (Masque Milano). It is an old-time rustic scent of a gentleman who is not impressed by his younger version killing it in a board room.
Italian Leather doesn't smell like Montecristo (the latter is much more creative in my opinion) but the two fragrances tell the same story in a very similar way. Both fragrances recreate an image of the rustic Italian countryside through well-worn leather notes, sweetened by vanilla and resins. Italian Leather is a ride in the countryside wearing old leather gloves. Montecristo is the experience of sitting in a worn-in leather chair in a rustic villa.
Just like Montecristo, Italian Leather is a hard fragrance to wear. It opens with an acidic note, which reminds me of pencil shavings. The whole composition feels awkward. The notes seem to be fighting in the first half hour. Eventually, the sharp notes calm down and everything falls into place.
I enjoy the dry-down quite a bit. It is sweet and balmy and stays close to my skin - like a leather glove soaked in vanilla and resins. To get to this point, however, I have to go through a rough ride, which makes me question whether the journey is worth the destination.
As I said earlier, Italian Leather won't get you compliments. It's an interesting fragrance but most people will find it rough and intrusive. I caught myself catching whiffs of it and feeling self-conscious. It may be just me but Italian Leather would be a scent I would wear at home or in the Italian countryside.
Overall, give it a try and more importantly give it time to let if fully develop.