I didn’t have any experience with the niche perfume brand named Memo Paris (or simply Memo) until last year. It was at the time when I was helping at Missala to develop the English version of their website. One day I was asked to try a couple of fragrances from the line and tell if I liked any in particular. It turned out the brand was determined to become available in Poland at Quality Missala doors. Everyone had mixed feelings about it but in the end, after 1 year of making a decision, Memo has just appeared in my country with a selected choice of fragrances.
As it turns out, the brand was established by publisher Clara Molloy in 2007 and the name Memo stands for “memories” (of mrs. Molloy, I suppose) which serve as an inspiration to create the fragrances under this label. In 2013 a new family of scents was created within the line – it was named “Cuirs Nomades” and was announced by Irish Leather. Later in 2013 it was followed by a second leathery perfume release – Italian Leather; and that one made me go wow. Immediately after applying this perfume on skin I’m welcomed with the raunchy impression of a horse saddle leather. It’s quite animalic with the smell of sweat and animal fur. This feeling however subsides shortly but the pungent leather smell remains, becoming more balsamic within a matter of minutes. That’s a promising start, isn’t it?
As soon as the perfume accomodates on the skin, the sillage of Memo Italian Leather immediately grows bigger. The smell of galbanum resins adds a balmy vibe to the composition and it also has this slightly green, bitter and sappy feeling to it. When vanilla appears in the blend, it introduces the aromatic feeling. This vanilla isn’t a typically sweet gourmand ingredient in this fragrance, it’s richer and darker, think of vanilla pods here. Thanks to this accord the leather notes feels softer.
After around 45 minutes I start to smell iris coming up from the deeper parts of Italian Leather composition. This very dear material to me is used in this fragrance in a very specific way. It’s the iris root that was taken and used to bring that earthy smell of soil and dry greens. There’s a mingle of suggestive powderness there too, but it doesn’t smell like a nicely aged, dried, powdered and extracted iris root. The one in this Memo perfume is definitely more rough and raw. Following is the tomato leaf note, not common in perfumery, which adds verdancy, leafiness and crispiness as well.
Not a long time later the aroma of tomato leaves is joined by clary sage which adds a nice herbal twist to the composition with a little bit of warmth. There’s also a tiny hint of sweat to the note. At this point Italian Leather is a greatly balanced perfume. Later on you can smell how the leathery vibe grows stronger. Two “lighter-smelling” resins – benzoin and opoponax add a lovely warmth, density and depth to the composition, creating a dimension and a feeling of space. Tolu balsam brings more heady balsamic sensation that feels like a real leather.
Memo Italian Leather also contains myrrh, I can confirm that not only because it’s listed in the notes but also because I smell the gooey and salty vibe I usually get from myrrh, on me it feels like a burning plastic, but I like Italian Leather so much that I’m ready to make this sacrifice for the sake of smelling good, ha! Two hours later the leathery concoction of different notes still smells pretty amazing. Soon it will become a little bit more smoky when labdanum accord is revealed from the composition. To me it also adds a bit of a leather workshop feeling where you can smell the chemicals to tan the leather and dye it black. The feeling is very realistic and lives up to the name that was given to this fragrance.
It’s now 5 hours from the start and Italian Leather by Memo Paris is slowly reaching the drydown phase. The composition becomes much softer and smoother now, all of the notes that were providing a substance to the scent are turning weaker but they don’t fade away completely. The smoothness of creamy and shiny sandalwood makes a great counterpart to the previous stages of Italian Leather. Plus it blends really nicely with the iris accord which marks its second entry, this time wearing a white lace dress of powdery aromas. Musk is soft in the end, it lacks the animalic properties (there were more of them earlier) and it ensures the wonderful lasting power of the fragrance.
My first wearing of Memo Italian Leather gave me some mixed feeling about the structure and idea behind this composition. But when I wore it for the second, third and fourth time I was starting to put the elements together into one and I really started liking it. Leather is sometimes tricky for me, this one mesmerized me. It smells like a luxurious pair of leather shoes, made especially for me by hand by a shoe maker from Milan. Every detail or seam is important. Or you can compare it to a fast ride in a sports car with leather seats. Only you, the smell and the view of Italian heels around.
Memo Paris Italian Leather stands through the test of time by lasting for at least 10 hours on my skin. It projects very nicely. It sets off really big and after 3-4 hours it gradually becomes closer to the skin. In the late stage you can notice it only by smelling your wrist from up close. This composition has a concentration of an eau de parfum, the 75ml bottle is made of dark glass and has a metal plate on the front. The plate reminds me of irregular cow dot pattern (haha!) The perfume was created by perfumer Alienor Massenet and Clara Molloy.