The Leather Sisters ~ a perfume story

Robert Piguet Bandit fragrancePiguet Bandit advert

The Leather sisters — Christian Dior Diorling, Estée Lauder Azurée, Piguet Bandit, and L’Artisan Dzing! — lived together in a large house in a neighborhood that used to be popular before everyone moved across town to Fruity Floral. On the mantel was a photo of their father, Knize Ten, who was on a business trip to England talking with the Bentley upholstery people. Next to it was a photo of their mother, Lanvin Scandal, who had been discontinued years ago.

This morning, Diorling was the first to rise. She wrapped herself in a couture satin robe and went downstairs. Just as she was pouring coffee into her Limoges cup, Dzing! came into the kitchen and grabbed a ceramic mug she’d made in pottery class. A cat followed Dzing! and jumped into her lap when she sat down. “Good morning, Diorling,” Dzing! said. “I’ve been thinking about getting a pet monkey. Wouldn’t that be hilarious?”

“A monkey? Absolutely not! There’s no way we’ll have a stinky little monkey running around here. What would the neighbors say?” Near Diorling was a bowl of plums and a vase of ylang ylang and roses.

“But I know you’d love a monkey! You’re really a softy under that tough, prissy exterior,” Dzing! said as she stirred sugar and cream into her coffee. “Do we have any caramel syrup left?”

Azurée came down to the kitchen next. She was wearing white jeans and a tank top and had Ray Ban aviator sunglasses pushed back on her hair. She sprinkled Splenda into her coffee. “Is Dzing! going on about that monkey again? Sometimes I wonder if she’s our real sister. Did you ever notice she’s the only one of us who isn’t a chypre? Maybe Uncle Yatagan is her real dad.”

Diorling gasped. “You know Uncle would never cheat on Aunt Cabochard! I won’t hear any more of this.”

Dzing! got up in a huff, dumping the cat from her lap. “I’m going upstairs to work on my cardboard sculptures,” she said, tattered kimono fluttering behind her as she charged up the hall, nearly knocking over Bandit.

“For God’s sake, can you keep it down in here?” Bandit said as she pulled up a chair. She was wearing a short, black robe. “Diorling, would you live up to your name and pour me a cup of coffee? Black, please.” Bandit rubbed her wrists, which looked suspiciously like they’d recently been tied to a bed.

Diorling looked at Bandit. “What have you been up to? Were you out again last night? You haven’t been, uh, you know…” as Diorling said this, she wondered if any of her sisters had heard the door click shut when her lover snuck out the back way earlier in the morning.

“Relax, Diorling,” Bandit said. I haven’t been doing anything you wouldn’t do. I’m just more upfront about it. Besides, I would have been down here sooner if Azurée hadn’t left so much self-tanner residue in the bathroom.”

“You’re just jealous,” Azurée said. “Every since you were reformulated you’ve been so sharp and thin.”

“Oh, look who’s talking. You only wish Tom Ford reformulated you instead of creating a whole new scent and giving it your name! Besides, you’re nothing but a department store brand,” Bandit said as she plucked a stem of ylang ylang from the vase and crushed its stem in her fingers.

A convertible pulled up outside and honked. Azurée leapt from her chair and headed for the front door, leaving a warm, herbal wake. “Well, I’m going for a drive to the coast. Don’t expect me back before dark. And you might want to do something about that hickey.” The last remark was aimed at Bandit.

Diorling sighed and shut the front door. “I wish you could get along a little better. Azurée may not be couture, but she’s definitely quality, and being so exclusive that you’re only sold in two stores on the planet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I should know.” Diorling picked up the photo of her mother, looked at it, and put it down again. “Besides, you never know which of us will be discontinued next.”

Note: images via Parfum de Pub.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A soap opera for perfumes! The sad thing is that waiting for who will be discontinued next will actually provide me with much more suspense than an actual soap opera. Sadly, I have never tried Bandit – I ordered it in parfum near Christmas and it never arrived, thanks to the crack Canadian customs team that protects us Canucks from life-threatening sillage. But that Azuree, I love her. And I think a monkey *would* be hilarious!

  2. Anonymous says:

    LOL! It's like those stories with perfume names I used to organise on MUA. I've still got them somewhere. This is more elaborate and to the point. Lovely! :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I ordered Bandit in parfum once, and when it arrived, the stopped was broken! The company that sent it to me didn't have any more left, but since then I've tried it in EdT. I do love a slug of leather.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'd love to read perfume stories! What a great idea to organize them. I'd love to read the stories–do you have a website?

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Every since you were reformulated you’ve been so sharp and thin.”

    That made me laugh out loud: thank you for a delightful post!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'm glad you liked it! I was inspired to write the story when I was walking my dog and obsessively smelling my Diorling-spritzed wrist and marveling at the distinct personalities of leather scents.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Bandit rubbed her wrists, which looked suspiciously like they’d recently been tied to a bed.”

    ROTFL! What a witty spot-on for Bandit!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Angela, thank you for the delightful column! Now I have two more vintage frags to add to my every-growing “must try” list.

    I imagine that Cabochard and Yatagan *woud* make a handsome couple. :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    I kept thinking of those Bandit ads with black leather and chains or knives or something like that (am I imagining this?) so Bandit had to be the tied-to-the-bed type.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I really like leather scents. I've only just become familiar with Diorling, but it's terrirfic–plummy leather opening up to gorgeous flowers. Azuree is a bargain at the Estee Lauder counters, and the bottle is nice, too. Bandit is hard for me to wear, but I love smelling it, and I'm wildly in love with Dzing!. (I wish I could have worked in Cuir de Russie…)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! You are so nice to say that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Angie, you ROCK! Brava! This was hilarious! A really short story with a well-developed characterization is the mark of a great writer :-) *and* each paragraph just cracked me up!

    Now, if only you could give me the address of the four sisters, I want to ask Azurée out on a date… for starters :-)

    P.S. Which of them are you? ;-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Genius!!! Absolute genius! And I hope that your story inspires more people to move back to that fab neighborhood – the best in town, imo.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, thanks! Azuree does sound like the nice woman, although I have to say that Dzing has a place in my heart, too. (I'm probably closest to Tabac Blond, the newer, sweeter version, a cousin who doesn't appear in this story.)

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'd move there, that's for sure. Think of the neighbors: Cuir de Russie, Tabac Blond, Daim Blond, English Leather (well, my Dad used to wear it), and that's just for starters!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Greetings from a long-time reader who's just commenting for the first time…thanks for such a witty and entertaining column! And double thanks for giving Azuree its due…I have always loved this fragrance, and feel it has never gotten enough credit. It deserves a place in the pantheon of great leather fragrances, but probably has been overlooked for its lack of snob-appeal. As far as I'm concerned, it can hold its own with any of its more exclusive relatives, and at $33 for two full ounces, it's an amazing bargain as well. I love the site- keep up all the great work!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Have never tried Dzing!. Yea, sad story of my life…

    I almost forgot – a (belated) happy birthday to you, Miss A. Hope it was a really lovely one!

  18. Anonymous says:

    That was wonderful! I definitely think Yatagan is the father… and am I the only person on the planet who fails to get any leather from Azuree? (sob)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the birthday wishes–I did have a great birthday.

    You really need to try Dzing!. It's strange and wonderful, which in my mind is always a winning combination.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the site! I'm always amazed, too, at how Azuree is overlooked. I really think it could hold its own against any niche leather out there. It's so much more sunny than other leathers, like you want to be wearing it in a leather-upholstered roadster while driving in the summer, with a warm thyme and basil wind blowing through the windows.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Do you think you have a good sample of the Azuree? I'm so surprised you can't pick up the leather. I'd be happy to send you a fresh one if you want to give Azuree another try….

  22. Anonymous says:

    Love it! Especially the take on Bandit. I always knew she was a naughty girl!


  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! Yes, Bandi would have to be the naughty one–or at least the openly naughty one!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you — I am pretty sure they have it at either Saks or NM, I'll give it another whirl… if they don't, I know where to find you!

  25. Anonymous says:

    You are such a silly !

    This was a hoot !

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful little story! I enjoyed reading it!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I hope you enjoyed it!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Great story! The characterizations are spot-on. I especially liked the part about Dzing making cardboard sculptures! Yes, she does smell cardboardy, the papery variety of leather. Is the house next door for sale? or can I marry into the family, please?

  30. Anonymous says:

    And if you move next door, can I visit? Or, if you marry into the family, please invite me to the wedding! I'll bring you a bottle of leather polish.

  31. RusticDove says:

    I’m SO happy that you mentioned this @ the 5th b’day NST thread! I had never read it. I smiled through the entire story. Thank you Angela – you’re one of the wonderful reasons this blog is so fabulous.

    • Angela says:

      Thank you! You’re so nice. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story.

  32. LaBoheme says:


    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you.

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