Leather Note in Perfumery

Leather Notes in Perfu mery
Leather.(Notes from Perfu me and Flavor Materials by Steffen Arctander)
The term "leather"-notes or "leather" perfume
types occur quite frequently in the perfumer's
language. There are even a number of different
perfume types which fall under the category of
"leather". Originally and truly, the odor should
only derive from leather, more exactly from
untanned leather. But the use of the term "leather"
for an odor has slowly changed to become a
description of the tanning and processing materials
in respect to odor type. The curing and tanning
of leather involves the use of a number of chem-
icals, and the process is well known for the
obnoxious odor emitted by the wet leather in the
tanning brine. Various phenols are used as
preservatives, but natural tars have also been
used as "masking" odors during the process.
The leather will acquire an odor of such tars and
retain that odor for a very long time. This odor
has become synonymous with "leather" odor.
As a final step away from the original meaning of
the term, also the various chemicals used in the
curing are known as having a "leather" odor.
A true Leather Tincture was produced in
Germany years ago. Waste pieces of "Juchten-
leder" or other cuttings of leather were chopped
and extracted with alcohol by maceration. Such
tinctures are not commercially available.
In France, the "leather" notes are generally
known as "cuir" or "cuir de russie" (Russian
leather), but none of the commercial products
are based upon natural leather. Birch Tar Oil
fractions, Castoreum Tincture, various phenols,
cresols, creosol, isobutylquinoline, cananga oil,
zingerone, anhydrol ethyl labdanate, mate, styrax,
crude amber oil, cade oil, origanum oil, etc. are
used in the artificial reproduction of the odor-type
which is today generally known in perfumery
circles as a Leather type….
Rectified Birch Tar is a pale yellow to brownish
yellow, clear and oily liquid. The odor description,
"like Russian leather", is conventional, but
somewhat incorrect. Russian leather smells of
birch tar because the leather is tanned with the
tar products which also preserve this special type
of leather. This circle of odor association is
similar to the well-known: vanillin smells of
The odor of BirchTar Oil is distinctly phenolic,
very penetrating and diffusive, obviously remini-
scent of tar, charred wood and smoke (all of which
have their odor from components of the birch
tar oil!) However, the most characteristic feature
in the odor pattern of birchtar oil is the sweet-oily
undertone which appears distinctly on the smelling
blotter when the first empyreumatic notes have
faded away.
Amber pieces which are unfit for jewelry as
well as dust and residues from the gem industry,
etc. are submitted to dry distillation in order to
yield the so-called Succinol or Crude Amber Oil.
Crude (or pyroligneous) Amber Oil is a dark
amber-colored or brownish, but clear oily liquid.
Its odor is smoky, tarlike, resinous, with a
distinct resemblance to the odor of tanned leather.
The crude oil finds some application in perfumery
where it blends excellently with labdanum,
castoreum, ionones, amylsalicylate, etc. and it is
sweetened with cananga oil, benzylsalicylate,
zingerone, etc. for typical "leather" bases, e.g.
in men's colognes and after-shaves….
Rectified Cade Oil is a clear, orange-brown to
dark brown, oily liquid with an intense "tar-like",
smoky-phenolic odor. Its use in perfumery is
limited to situations where a smoky-leathery,
woody-phenolic, dry and warm note is called for:
forest notes, leather-bases, fougeres, pine for
"men's fragrances", etc., and in the imitation of
certain essential oils, oakmoss, etc…..
(end of quotes from Steffen Arctander)
A nu mbar of natural perfume materials are used in creating
the Leather Complex. As mentioned above Birch Tar, Cade,
Crude Amber(very seldom available) and natu rap isolates obtained from them form the basis of the Leather Complex but there are many ty pes of Leather Perfumes which include floral notes, mossy notes, creamy notes, spicy notes, woody notes etc
Here is a list of some possible additions to Leather which can give interesting effects
Aglaia odorata absolute
Amber Melange
Ambergris(Botanical Melange)
Arnica Absolute
Agarwood eo and co2
Black Currant Abs
Boronia abs
Calamus eo and co2
Cananga eo
Carrot Seed eo, co2 and abs
Cassia eo and co2
Cassie Absolute
Cedarleaf eo
Cedarwood, Texax
Cedarwood, Atlas Absolute and eo
Cedarwood, Virginia
Cedarwood, Port Orford
Champaca abs
Cinnamon bark eo, co2 and abs
Cistus eo and abs
Coriander eo and co2
Costus eo and co2
Cyperus/Nagarmotha eo
Cubeb eo
Davana eo and abs
Fenugreek eo, co2 and abs
Frankincense eo, co2 and abs
Guiacawood eo
Henna Leaf co2
Henna Saffron Melange
Hiba eo
Hinoki eo
Hyssop eo
Juniperberry eo and co2
Labdanum eo and abs
Licorice co2 or absolute
Lovage Leaf eo
Lovage Root eo and abs
Mastic eo or absolute
Mate abs
Muhuhu eo
Musk(Botanical) Melange
Myrtle eo
Nagchampa Melange
Nutmeg eo and abs
Oakmoss Absolute
Opoponax eo and abs
Oregano eo and co2
Osmanthus absolute
Peru Balsam eo and abs
Pepper, Black eo and co2
Pepper Pink eo and co2
Pine, Dwarf Mountain
Piper Betel eo
Poplar Bud eo and abs
Rose Leaf absolute
Sage eo and co2
Saffron abs
Seaweed abs
Spikenard eo and co2
Styrax eo and abs
Tea absolute(Green or Black)
Templin eo
Tolu Balsam Absolute
Treemoss Absolute
Vetiver eo and co2
Ylang abs and eo
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