L’Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numero 10 ~ fragrance review

L'Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numero 10

Two and a half years ago, perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour created ten fragrances. “Sure,” you might say, “And he’s created another couple of dozen since then. Big deal.” The thing is, he only made one bottle of each of these fragrances. L’Artisan Parfumeur put them on the market for $20,000 each. Now L’Artisan is producing eight of those fragrances for the masses for the relative bargain of $200 for 100 ml. Of them, Mon Numéro 10 piqued my interest right away.

L’Artisan Parfumeur’s PR machine says of Mon Numéro 10, “This last act will be explosive. After our travels, secret tributes and other sensual pleasures, this perfume is an explosion of warm, enveloping notes. Quite simply addictive. A heady, memorable ode to a highly sought-after note of oriental perfumes. Mon Numéro 10, with its eccentric, piercing mood, is like an evening gown that turns heads all on its own.”

Well. Does anyone else get an image of trains and bombs and evening dresses walking around without anyone in them? Let me simplify the description of Mon Numéro 10: it’s a spicy leather oriental. My thumbnail review? Leather cola.

The leather in Mon Numéro 10 is oily and assertive. It pierces the nose the second the perfume meets skin, and no saddle soap or reference to fine Italian handbags tames it. Accompanying the leather is a panoply of spices, including cardamom and, I'm guessing, nutmeg. What smells to me like a fine mist of neroli suffuses the fragrance initially. At this point, Mon Numéro 10 has the forceful, stylized demeanor of Joan Crawford in the 1940s.

As Mon Numéro 10 fragrances ages on skin, amber and vanilla sweeten it. Cedary incense joins forces with the leather. The fragrance begins to smell awfully familiar. That’s when it hit me: Mon Numéro 10's dry down smells like Coca Cola. Cola spilled on the backseat of a brand new Bentley, that is. After that, I couldn’t smell Mon Numéro 10 without thinking of soft drinks. The spell was broken.

Mon Numéro 10 has definite presence. The morning the sample came in the mail, I couldn’t wait to try it and put a modest spritz inside my wrist. I drove to a winery a few hours later, and sipping a soft, mossy pinot noir in the vineyard I asked a friend what she thought of the wine. “Let me stand over there and try it. Your perfume is getting in the way.” Horrified, I put my hand in the pocket of my jacket until I could get to the restroom to scrub it off.

Despite the reference to “an evening gown that turns heads all on its own,” I’d say Mon Numéro 10 skews more masculine than feminine. However, any woman who wears Robert Piguet Bandit or Bulgari Black would be plenty comfortable slicked with Mon Numéro 10.

In the end, I don’t need a bottle of Mon Numéro 10. I have leather fragrances that suit me better, including Christian Dior Diorling, Caron Tabac Blond, and even Elizabeth Taylor Black Pearls. Besides, Mon Numéro 10 never really joined forces with my body, but sat on my skin like Cola-leather frosting. Maybe some of you other leather lovers will have better luck.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numéro Eau de Parfum is sold exclusively at Barney’s (don't let the bio of Jean Claude Ellena curiously placed with the description of Mon Numéro 10 on Barney's website confuse you) and on L’Artisan Parfumeur’s website for $200 for 100 ml. 


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  1. RusticDove says:

    The image of the evening gown walking around on its own had me giggling.

    I would imagine the people who shelled out $20k for a “one of a kind” perfume will be pretty peeved they could have waited and paid $200 for a bottle. Or maybe not. A person has an excessive amount of disposable income when they can spend that kind of money on a fragrance, I would venture to say.

    • Angela says:

      Since L’Artisan isn’t putting out all 10 of the Mon Numéro fragrances, my guess is they held back the ones they sold at $20K and are only offering those they couldn’t sell–the rest of them. That’s just a guess, though.

      • Robin says:

        That was my guess too — that they sold 2 of them, and decided to release the rest of them. What they said IIRC was that these were variations on the originals.

        • Angela says:

          I guess if you’re going to mass produce something, a little “varying” just might happen…

      • RusticDove says:

        Ah, I see.

  2. FragrantWitch says:

    Now I have an image of a strapless leather ballgown walking around all on its own running around in my head!
    Though I drink an undoubtedly unhealthy amount of Diet Coke the idea of smelling like it is decidedly unappealing. This can now be on the miss- it list.
    I too think that they must be only releasing the ones that didn’t sell. Call me a skeptic!

    • Angela says:

      Now the gown in my mind is leather, too!

      Rather than being a skeptic, you’re probably just a good businesswoman. Why not run with the formula once it’s been created?

    • Daisy says:

      well you’ve done it now…..my bodyless leather evening gown is now dodging bomb explosions in WWII war ravaged London…..I’m never gonna sleep tonight!

      • Angela says:

        I think we have the premise for a darned good graphic novel!

      • AnnS says:

        Yikes – it sounds like an episode of the modern “Doctor Who” to me! London, the war, sci-fi ball gowns….

  3. lovethescents says:

    This was so not me. It was very medicinal in the opening, on my skin, then went way too dusty in the base. I completely agree that it is more masculine, but I wouldn’t want it on my DH either ;-)

  4. Dixie says:

    Your review developed a great olfactory picture of what this smells like. I don’t think it’ll be for me, but I want to smell it anyway. And the pinot noir (my fave) sounds nice, though I love a hint of smokiness to my pinot noir.

    • Angela says:

      It’s amazing how versatile pinot noir is! Smoky sounds delicious.

  5. 50_Roses says:

    Well, there have been several perfumes that I have seen described as having a “root beer” note, no why not cola? Just this morning I got my Lucky Scent sample pack, and I thought the top notes of MFK Aqua Universalis Forte smelled like Sprite or 7-Up. It made me smile, it was such a bright, happy scent.

    • Angela says:

      Now all we need is a good ginger ale scent! And maybe orange crush.

      • odonata9 says:

        Demeter Gingerale is surprisingly good and fizzy! And I’ve had my eye on L’Aromarine Cola for awhile.

        • Angela says:

          Of course! Demeter.

  6. melisand61 says:

    I’ve tried a few of the Mon Numero scents and like many Duchafour creations, I think that they provoke fairly strong reactions. Mon Numéro 10 is certainly not for the faint of heart! I did find it to veer a little too masculine for me. Also, the opening had a note that was perhaps a little rubbery, not quite burnt-smelling, but mildly off-putting. I had to wait some time for the dry down to get past it. I can’t say that I detected Coca Cola, but maybe I will the next time I try it, now that the suggestion has been made!

    • Angela says:

      Sometimes having the idea of what a fragrance might smell like (cola, for example) can be a real curse. Hopefully I didn’t ruin the fragrance for anyone!

  7. SmokeyToes says:

    Hi Angela, nice review! I recently tried this and adored it, but for $200 dollars, Azuree and Bandit are perfect. I’d like to see what Tama thinks, as Azuree was root beer spilled on a leather jacket.

    • Angela says:

      Azuree has to be one of the leather bargains of the century, if you ask me.

      • Tama says:

        Actually it was a cola slurpee spilled on a leather jacket. Azuree is the bargain of the century, as are several classic Lauders!

        I keep wanting to sniff #7 in this line, but I can’t remember why…

        • Angela says:

          The word “slurpee” really does fill out the description! I agree about the classic Lauders, too.

  8. LaMaroc says:

    You had me at “leather cola”. I love dirty leather, clean leather, expensive purse leather, saddle leather…you get the point. And I love cola so much, I’ve almost needed a 12 step program just to cut down on my cola-consumption these past three months. (Down to less than one 12 oz. bottle a day.) Maybe this will be my (expensive) crutch?
    Probably won’t be able to spring for a FB at $200, but hopefully I’ll be able to afford a generous decant from TPC after I purge through a bunch of stuff at my garage sale this weekend!

    • Angela says:

      Maybe this is the fragrance for you! I’d love to know what you think of it once you’ve had the chance to sample it, so please do report back.

    • Daisy says:

      I think I have a 5ml split left if you’re interested LaMaroc
      feel free to email me at Daisyloo82 at gmail dot com

      • Angela says:

        You are so nice to perfume lovers!

        • Daisy says:

          friendly local perfume pusher…. ;)

      • LaMaroc says:

        !!!! Daisy you are too awesome. Will contact you shortly! :D

  9. Lil says:

    Leather cola does sound nice, but as others have pointed out, superb leathers abound. If I wanted to add cola I could just rub a Bonne Bell Lip Smacker on my wrist.

    • mals86 says:

      I love those Lip Smackers…

      OTOH, I think I could pick up a Dr. Pepper one (my favorite!) for about $2.50. Or less, maybe.

      • Daisy says:

        Ha! I love Dr. Pepper lip smackers! Strawberry is good to have on hand too. :)

        • Angela says:

          Remember the ones with loops on their ends so you could wear them as necklaces? I could use one of those now.

      • Angela says:

        All things considered, a bargain…

    • Angela says:

      There really are lots of marvelous leathers out there. And your wrist would be wonderfully moisturized by a swiping of Bonne Bell.

  10. Daisy says:

    Cola? I don’t remember that …but *disclaimer* I’m more of a diet Pepsi girl myself. MN10 was all leather and fresh ground cardamom on me. The opening was pretty medicinal and I kept getting wafts of wormwood oil…like in horse liniment….now don’t get me wrong: I’ve been known to huff some horse liniment. And I never shied away from rubbing a horse’s legs down with some…I like the smell. But that’s not what I want in perfume. So Angela’s got her leather evening gowns, explosions and coca cola spilled everywhere—but MN10 makes me think of horses. :)

    • Angela says:

      Horses–not so bad. But horse liniment? I’m not sure I really know how that smells, but it sounds kind of medicinal. I think we’re cursed as a nation to take citrus + cardamom + vanilla + something earthy (in this case leather) and have it equal cola, but there you are. In the case of Mon Numéro 10, the leather is so emphatic, so oily, that I can see the liniment comparison.

      • Daisy says:

        you might be on to something there–maybe it’s the oiliness of the leather that’s making me think: wormwood…it’s an oily & medicinal smell.

        • Angela says:

          I can see that. I smelled it as a very insistent, oily leather to the point that it out-leathered any purse or shoe I have at home.

      • Daisy says:

        I will say one thing for this though: it was very different! Love it or hate it, no one will ever say: “oh it was just another designer perfume built to please the masses….”

        • Angela says:

          That’s for sure! Instead, they’ll say “It was like a leather gown with no person in it, with hand grenades exploding everywhere, and a train going by….”

          • Daisy says:

            and Coca Cola! so much coca cola…it was everywhere…
            *quiet sobbing*

          • Daisy says:

            I think this has to be at night too.

          • Angela says:

            Yes, at night. Hand grenades, personless couture, coca cola explosions–I’m feeling an indie film here.

    • SmokeyToes says:

      Daisy! That’s the note I could place my finger on! I LOVE the smell of horse liniment.

      • Angela says:

        My father shoes horses for a living, but I still can’t place that smell! That’s it–I’m headed down to those closest feed store the first second I get the chance.

      • Daisy says:

        yep –look for a dark amber brown bottle –Absorbine Jr. Horse Liniment. Good stuff….I have a bottle somewhere in the bathroom cabinet…used it on myself when I sprained my ankle. Who knows if it’s doing anything other than providing increased topical blood circulation …but it “smells” like you’re doing something helpful. :)

        • Angela says:

          Bathroom cabinet snoops at your house are in for a surprise!

      • Daisy says:

        Hhahaha–Liz, I’m not sure Smokeytoes would ever forgive you for smelling like you’ve been hanging out with horses! And cat-punishment can be harsh! ;)

  11. AnnS says:

    Oh no – the dreaded “Pepsi accord” that drives me crazy when it shows up in fragrances. I’m going to take a big pass on this one: leather usually doesn’t work for me. At least I don’t have to be crying over something so $$ anyway. (It makes me think though – didn’t that good old Ralph Lauren Notorious have that quasi dark cola and patchouli and musk thing?)

    • Angela says:

      Now I’m going to have to smell Notorious again for the cola! I don’t remember it now, but I never did give that fragrance a fair shake anyway.

  12. ceelouise says:

    I was wondering about this one. I love leathers. I imagine my next planned purchase, Rien, is more to my liking.

    • Angela says:

      I’ve heard so much about Rien lately! A must try.

      • ceelouise says:

        I tried to go into the ELO shop on the rue d’Archives with an open mind, but I had read Bois de Jasmin’s Rien review. Also, the shop is not my style at all. The SA was knowledgeable, but for starters she clunked down the winding staircase very loudly once I entered. Their aesthetic is so specific, I think she was told to do that to put the customer on edge. I liked Jasmin et Cigarette and Vierges et Torreros, did not like Vraie Blonde. It is easily clear that Rien is classic perfumery and the other ELO scents are good pop art. I spent the rest of the day with the blotter with Rien on it held to my nose. It was so gorgeous. It worked on my skin, too. And the prices are right. (Maybe because it’s marketed to younger people?) In fact, the price is better in the US, which is not usually the case with French houses, even given the FX rate. You must try Rien.

        • Angela says:

          Your description is absolutely convincing. I definitely will try Rien the next time I get the chance! I may have to order a sample, but it sounds like it’s worth it.

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