I haven't had much success wearing leathers as far as perfume is concerned. Which is a shame really because, well, I'm a bit of a rocker at heart. My 'inner' Tommy Lee sports lewd tattoos and lace-up leather trousers and sneers and picks his nose a lot, but unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) in my everyday outward appearance, I am quite possibly the polar opposite. I'm well-groomed, well-mannered, well-dressed (most of the time) and, well, have been in search of a sexy raw leather scent to pick at the stitches and fray the edges up a bit. In my hunt, I've run the gamut of leather scents, trying each of them on for size - from the napped suede of Richard James' Saville Row to the crude, unrelenting tannery fetor found in Knize Ten. But just as the moody Tommy was set to turf the TV through our lounge plate-glass window in despair, I chanced upon the very remarkable XerJoff Homme. (And not a moment too soon, because, well lets face it, televisions can be outrageously expensive these days).
XerJoff is a high-end Italian perfume manufacturer whose current markets include exclusive doors in Italy, Russia, France and the UK. XerJoff represents the most precious realm in the world of luxury perfumes to date, where the most accomplished blending of handpicked essences meets with impeccable Italian craftsmanship. XerJoff Homme is just one scent from their XJ 17/17 Collection - a line that epitomises excess and maximalism at its best. Here, each flacon has either been meticulously crafted by hand from a single block of quartz; or has had master Murano glassmakers breathe life into them, straight from the raging kiln. Each hand-numbered edition is presented on a hand-carved ebony base and is embossed with 18kt gold and decorated with rubies. I wasn't joking about excess, now was I?
My inner Tommy is unimpressed with such frivolousness, however the shopping-bitch and admirer of immaculate design in me is. In all seriousness though, besides the exemplary bottles, I am very taken by the scent. XerJoff Homme is a debonair leather: one that is raw and resilient like a 1940's bomber jacket, but one that is also unexpectedly tender. Faint tendrils of gently permeating rose and dusty iris not only diminish the bitterness of the leather, but impregnate it with a sense of dignified sophistication. The first hour or two focuses on this persistent leather - dark, heavy (like I like my metal), and commanding. Several hours after application, I find myself cloaked in molecules that allude to a more dashing, genteel individual. An interesting paradox, actually, and one that perhaps echoes the contrast between my polished public face, and my unruly inner one. This contrast is striking and something I emphatically take pleasure in.
One thing is perfectly clear here - and that is that this fragrance profits from the use of materials that are of exceptional quality and character. By no means a straight-forward leather, here there exists echoes of whimsy and gentleman's colognes from yesteryear, whilst at the same time, it is curiously, very much in the here-and-now.
XerJoff have three current Collections: XJ 17/17, XJ Shooting Stars, and XJ Casamorati 1888. I am very much an admirer of scents from all these lines. But that is a blog for another day.
For more information, visit: www.xerjoff.com.