Sidney Gilbey

Resident Artisan
In perfumery animalics and leather have been closely related. The history of European perfumery started with leather tanners trying to alleviate the smell of raw hides. The classic natural leather material in the perfumers pallet is castoreum, a leather animalic note.

Sometimes we overlook other natural materials whose fragrance has a leather aspect. What surprises people is to find out that saffron has a strong leather note, natural vanilla absolute maybe sweet but it is also quite phenolic. And birch tar is as leather as they come. Then there is the famous synthetic Iso Butyl Quinoline which smells of jet-black leather. The Cambodia oud that I am using in one of my formulas also has a leathery animalic note.

The best fine perfumery which interests me seeks to make every note complex. Yes, there maybe a lot of one material but you balance and add trace notes of other complimentary materials for complexity. By doing so you create a new smell and an interesting journey from opening to drydown. If you want to create a leather aspect to your perfume there should be more than one leather type material playing in harmony.

Often over looked in the leather repertoire is osmanthus and like many of the white florals it has many complex facets. It is obviously floral, sweet and being an absolute it is dense and jammy. Within this complex labyrinth of smells is a fruity apricot leather aspect.

In my osmanthus floral perfume I explore the floral facet and add finest Egyptian jasmine absolute which adds a sweet animalic note. To set the whole animalic journey alight I add my favourite Civet tincture. Adding complexity to the leather I have added a trace note of tobacco and basil essential oil. The top has an array of citrus and spices to piquant the onlookers interest.

If you would like a bottle or a sample please direct message me or visit my Etsy store:

I am happy to give 20% to the Ouddict community in my Etsy store (Please use the promo code REBELOUD)


[email protected]

[] Osmanthus – a different kind of leather.
[] Osmanthus – a different kind of leather.


Oud Fanatic
Nice work, I just noticed this and happened to be wearing Osmanthus absolute with a hint of Mongolian musk. Osmanthus absolute and concrete are two very interesting florals that you do not see very often but as you mentioned, have a very dynamic appeal over time. It is great to see someone working with this material.


Oud Beginner
Here's what I wrote a few years ago on my blog about my trying to make a synthetic osmanthus:
Until a few years ago, I had never seen this lovely flower, much less smelled it. Long ignored by perfumers, there’s now a trend toward its subtle and intricate beauty. Since my first encounter, I’ve daydreamed about making a perfume out of these irresistible blooms.

At first sniff, osmanthus absolute smells sweet like peaches—almost cloyingly so--but after a small fraction of a second the fruitiness becomes infused with leather, shaded slightly with saffron. The aromas play off each other and exalt each other without either being loud or too overtly floral.

Working on the peach complex, I started out with the oldest compound first, aldehyde C-14. C-14 isn’t really an aldehyde, but rather, a lactone. Lactones are typically soft and creamy. To round out this aroma, I’ve been experimenting with seven recently released compounds—Nectaryl, Nectarate, Fructalate, Frutonile, Fructone, Apritone, and Aprifloren--each with its own shading, to give complexity and, if so desired, greater realism to the peach component.

To address the leather, I’ve started with hexanol, but it doesn’t last long and it’s harsh. I’ve included suederal, which, true to its name, accentuates the leather aspects. Oud is indispensable here. It contributes its leather notes and also lends a vibrancy to the whole perfume. It’s so strong that it’s more economical than one might imagine. It came as a surprise when I discovered it, but tomato leaf absolute has wonderful leather notes. I’ve included other ingredients such as labienoxime which has a leather component of its own, and dihydro ionone beta which links woody elements (Koavone, Okoumal) with the heart of the perfume. Burley tobacco rounds the whole thing off.

Now I have to make it last—it needs fixation—and round out the rough edges. I want to experiment with a little frankincense resinoid and some musks.