Those who expect a very suave training-bra leather, in the manner of Guerlain's previous and quite popular vanillic Cuir Beluga, will be astonished by the bite of Cuir Intense, although the name should have warned them somewhat. The leather facet is much drier, tar-like, with a spicy undertone that is cinnamic-clove-y in nature. The beautiful apricoty note of osmanthus reinforces the leathery impression in Cuir Intense and smothers the harshness in confident arpegios of projection. Much like Chanel's emblematic Cuir de Russie, there is a floral note that recalls jasmine-like tonalities in the heart, but Guerlain's is overall thicker. What is also important is a facet of violet-like undercurrent, if I'm not mistaken, before, or rather in tandem with, the woody-musky backdrop. I found that an intial sampling of Guerlain's Cuir Intense lasted very well on my skin and exceptionally well on a blotter, probably thanks to the intensity of the musks in the formula.
It is very much on point in the Absolu series, as it translates well the concept of a dense oriental elixir, the way we Westerners imagine those things through, no doubt, rose-tinted glasses (or shall I say "noir-tinted glasses"?) Most would find it leans more masculine than feminine, although as with all the fragrances in the line, Cuir Intense is aimed at both sexes. It's certainly interesting enough to warrant sampling for all Guerlain fans and then some.