Most of what has been written on classical perfumery falls into three categories: the description, the tribute and the complaint, also known as anger passing for nostalgia.
Take Chanel no 5:
• The description: Soapy. Bubbly. Old Lady perfume. Flowery. Feminine.
• The tribute: The greatest perfume ever made. The ultimate fashion accessory of the 20th century. The perfume that launched thousand ships.
• The complaint can be sophisticated or simplistic, but the meaning is the same: something I am entitled to has been taken away from me and I'm bitter. Blame political correctness for taking animal products off the perfumers palate, blame the governmental nannies for taking away nitro musks. Wherever I point the finger, though, I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to wear this anymore.
Cuir de Russe is a seminal work from one of the acknowledged founders of contemporary perfumery, Ernest Beaux. Describing it, idolizing it or bitching about its current state doesn't seem sufficient.
So what can I say about it? It is one of the few remaining examples of the sub genre after which it was named. The Russian leathers were defined by their specific combination of the hard and the soft. Rough leather notes, typically created with great helpings of birch tar, are balanced by dry floral notes. They combined the rugged and the refined and played on the Franco-Russian mystique of the early 20th century. They conveyed the sensibility of an era where sophistication was not defined by effete finery, but by an almost swashbuckling pursuit of 'the finer things'.
Does Chanel's Cuir de Russie meet these expectations? Tough to say. Perfume's capacity to evoke a broad sensibility is a function of many factors, from accessibility and social expectation to marketing, cost and personal habit. The Russian Leathers's connotation of class and privilege was likely a smoke-and-mirrors game at the start of the 20th Century. In the second decade of the 21st it is virtually mythology, which Chanel maintain with their heritage pillars: No 5, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Isles.
Cuir de Russie must meet a two-part goal for Chanel. It must remain coherent with the image of Chanel's history yet be desirable to the buyer who doesn't know or care that the perfume has a history. This is the precipice where many vintage perfumes die. They are reformulated, whether due to materials or strategy, and they lose the buyers. Caron's strategy has been to reformulate their heritage products drastically (eg. Narcisse Noir). Vintage lovers protest that their favorite perfumes have been gutted and new younger buyers have little interest in 'old lady perfumes.’ Taking a different tack, Guerlain reissued Vega as true to its original form as possible. Buyers who didn't care about its historical significance didn't buy it and it has been discontinued.
Caron is the cautionary tale and Chanel have paid close attention. Cuir de Russie 'ain't what she used to be,' but is an exceptional perfume that is precicely calibrated for 2015. The reference to the past is apparent but the perfume isn't nostalgic in the least. Neither is it adorned with olfactory signifiers like fruit notes, lingering woody ambers or cotton candy that that would suggest a cynical attempt to trick a younger demographic. The juxtaposition of leather with flowers is the idea at the heart of both the vintage and the current formulations of Cuir de Russie. The current version focusses on the same concepts that the original did rather than try to recreate it. In emphasizing evolution and continuity Chanel have made the current Cuir de Russie what it always was: a reference point and a standard against which other perfumes are measured.
An excellent leather perfume has been evidence of quality and distinction for niche and classic houses. Robert Piguet are 'known' for Bandit, as is Heeley for Cuir Pleine Fleur and Balmain formerly was for Jolie Madame. Cuir de Russie might not be a best-seller for Chanel, but it is critical to their image and their perfume portfolio. Jacques Polge, who oversees the maintenance of the line and is responsible for its current composition, gets high marks for the deliberation and subtlety that make the contemporary Cuir de Russie an exceptional perfume.
It fulfills my leather fantasy being my ideal leather. Only problem is that it doesn't last long -3hrs on skin and its projection is quite average. Of course, I do enjoy it but I expected a bit more considering the price I paid for.
Cuir de russie is truly beautiful master piece with a striking balance of femininity of soft leather and handsome authority.
After a brief moment of bergamot-orange freshness, a floral rose phase and a woodsy-balsamic interlude the delightful leather note emerges. On my skin this is a smooth leather with some smoky undertones and a sweetish element that contains incense qualities at times. Elegant with an edge of danger. The vintage perfume is made of extraordinarily high-quality ingredients and gorgeously blended. In the newer version in the Exclusifs range on my skin there is less leather, and a floral jasmine-rose with ylang-ylang is more dominant.
With the vintage perfume - a true masterpiece - I get quite heavy sillage, very good projection and over seven hours longevity. A paradigmatic leather fragrance. 4.75/5 for the original perfume.
Tested finally again on skin (after long time) in Harrods, London. Chanel Cuir de Russie is basically one of the smoothest (aldehydic-rosey) leathery soapiness ever, a conservative-palatin (yes "classic/modern chic") piece of measured alchemy, a fragrance epitome of an expired french chypre neutral tradition conceived for high class (excellent in taste) "Grand Madame" arousing hyper luxury aura, measure and impeccable manners (so far from the current expensive, boor ignorant banality around the newly rich rampant people). Inebriant and organic (you feel a penetrating aroma of human skin moisturized by balmy-milky foams). Supremely smooth and elusive. Yes, the Chanel N 5 's DNA is here but Cuir de Russie appears less aldehydic (and less properly molecular/radiant) in order to evolve (after a glorious initial hesperidic valzer) towards a more soapy/musky/animalic execution finally "sprouting" a soapy-leathery (balmy-cosmetic/chypre) and richly floral wake. Yes, the animalic notes (civet, wax, honey, amber??) are substantial (barely adumbrated) and restrained in a perfect balance with all the other notes (floral ones in particular). Frankly I detect more rose/ylang-ylang than yet present iris (at least, it seems) and I suppose the interaction between incense, orris root, cedarwood and woody powder elicits a typically creamy powdery feel. A "non-molecular" whiff of incense (not a properly dusty one but a minimally resinous incense perfectly enclosed in the general neutral balminess) slightly darkens the soapiness (and its leathery tail) providing a more mysterious magic hyper restrained spark. If you love the leather and are looking for a subtle (hyper subtle) classic soapy-suede perfectly enclosed in a balmy-animalic-organic chypre accord, well..you can't miss this piece of classicism. I've tested the reformulation of course and hardly could imagine superior "natural modulation".
Summary: On me, good leather, dark "bitter" sandalwood and smoke, androgynous or even masculine and classy at the same time. I like it, my family hates it.
Starts very dark and very leathery. Like a dark leather purse of good leather, those leathers that smell bitter and a little pungent but (for me) in a good way. Quite masculine, actually. As it dries, the most important note is sandalwood, and something smoky, maybe tar or smoke itself. Underneath it there's something sweet that balances it, but the full composition never becomes mostly sweet. If I had to describe it in one word: bitter. With more words: you are at a bar, at night, where smoking is permitted, wearing a good leather jacket, drinking bitter tonic water. The bar has old fragrant wood furniture and there's a sandalwood box nearby.
As it dries, like 22 Chanel (which is completely different), I detect a sharp metallic note which is unsettling. I believe it is incense, and I like it, as unsettling as it is to me.
My brother also smells camphor, though I wasn't able to detect it.
I like it very much, though if I owned it I would only wear it at night (for a night out or for a very good night at home) as I don't see it being a mainstream people-pleasing fragrance
Soft, Subdued & Elegant... My favourite Chanel.
Cuir de Russie is a beautiful leather fragrance. But it's a leather-orris combination. A "powdery leather" almost. I have tried leather fragrances with a more animalic leather note. This is a feminine, androgynous leather, rather than a very full, animalic one.
We know the story of Coco Chanel's affair with the Russian aristocrat and military officer. She captured the smell of his riding boots and leather gloves, his tobacco pipe, mixed with the rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang smell of her perfume (the scent of a love affair). It's a truly subdued but beautiful smell, a soft and understated type of elegance.
Basically to my nose what Cuir de Russie is to me, is simply a leather version of Chanel No. 5. In simple terms, it's Chanel No. 5 with added leather. You have the rose, iris, jasmine, ylang-ylang & aldehydes, but with a heavy dose of leather. A wonderful combination!
I get the leather and birch tar but it's a scented leather, with orris root and florals, and a hint of blond tobacco in the drydown. This could be worn by either a man or a woman (it's a favourite of Mick Jagger). It's a beautiful one, but it stays closest to the skin (the Eau de Toilette version) and it's almost like the leather used in saddlery.
I think the bottom line is, Chanel would never release something like this today, and if any other house did, it would be niche, probably charged at the same price. Again, Cuir de Russie may not be for everyone, as it takes the right look to pull off (on either a man or a woman). I'm impressed with it, and I would certainly feel comfortable wearing it. Beautiful, elegant stuff! The so called "Rolls-Royce" use of leather in perfume.
Elegant scent, very classy and unisex. I am not a leather fan but I find this to be nice. Everything is substantial yet restrained, and (as others have said) in perfect balance. Definitely not heavy, sweet, or cloying.
The scent is in an an attractive evening style, sophisticated and alluring. I hadn't expect to like this but I do!
04th August, 2014 (last edited: 09th August, 2014)
Cuir de Russie offers an almost perfect balance between glamour and danger. Sharp leather, fruit, and sweet citrus dominate the opening. Strong florals emerge very quickly afterwards, along with some smoke. A sweet floral accord with a superbly integrated civet underpinning and the merest trace of lingering smoke makes for a rich, dark, seductive, heart that's vaguely suggestive of a more animalic Habanita. The leather submerges for some time under the exotic florals and civet, then reasserts itself strongly in the drydown.
Cuir de Russie's extended drydown reveals a smoldering animalic leather, amber and civet base. At the risk of redundancy, the civet note in Cuir de Russie is one of the best executed I've ever encountered. Bravo!
A magnificent leather scent that has risen over time to the summit of my leather collection, right alongside Knize Ten and Eau d'Hermes. I think it's suitable a man or a woman, provided the wearer has the confidence and dignity required to carry such a bold and complex scent.
The Chanel No5 DNA in Russian Leather is ever present in the top notes and first few minutes. The Ylang Ylang and Jasmine displayed prominantly in both. Very classic Chanel quality. However my nose never really keys into the Leather vibe that is in it's name sake.
I grew up riding horses, and this scent is the archetypal Proustian Madeleine that hurtles me back through the corridors of time to the simple pleasure of resting my face against the neck of a sweaty horse. We grew up in a family with lots of kids and very little money, so I begged, borrowed, or stole horses to ride on whenever I could. I did hard labor on a farm in exchange for rides on a fat, bad-tempered pony, and when I outgrew him, my dad drove me to the nearest racing stables and volunteered my services.
Now, looking back, it might not have been the safest or wisest of things to glibly offer your thirteen year old daughter to a working racehorse stables in Ireland. Those places are rough and the horses are dangerous. I would sit precariously perched, knees up near my ears, on over a thousand pounds of fast moving horseflesh as they galloped 35 miles per hour around a muddy track or down the beach.....and I would cycle 5 km each morning at 6am for the pleasure, unpaid and unthanked, riding out up to three horses each morning before school. But then again, my dad taught all four of us kids to swim by picking us up and throwing us into the Irish Sea and yelling "Now SWIM, you little feckers!" so maybe I shouldn't be that surprised.
Anyway, there was this wonderful, quiet moment every morning that I would cherish - after racing the horses on the beach, we would take their saddles off, throw the reins over their heads and lead them into the sea to cool their legs down (important to reduce swelling and minimize the risk of ruining the investment (the horse)). There, I would sometimes lean in and rest my face against the flank of the horse, dark and wet with sweat. Often, the sweat would lie in creamy rings looping around the flesh where the English saddle had been, so your nose would be taking in the smell of leather and sweat at once. I loved that moment, and now I wish I could get that simple sort of peace again - the sort of exhausted peace that exists between two animals who have taken exercise together. At home, I would often have no time to get ready for school, so I would just wash my arms, neck and face with Imperial Leather soap, and head off to school.
Cuir de Russie smells like me and this moment in time - horsey, vaguely dirty/sweaty in a clean sort of way, creamy soap, warm horse flank, and the underside of English leather saddles freshly lifted off a horse who has run five kilometres up and down a beach in County Wexford, Ireland. No more, no less. I can't identify or dissect any of the notes in this beyond the soapy aldehydes and the soft, vaguely floral leather, and I can't for the life of me imagine how you go about reconstructing a horse in such 3D glory using the simple list of notes I see on BN and Fragrantica. In fact, I would rather remain in ignorance for fear of breaking the power it has to conjure up that memory, just like I imagine Proust didn't bother asking his housemaid what type of butter and what type of flour went into making his Madeleine. I am simply glad that this exists in the world. I should note that I have only tried the EDT (Les Exsclusifs version) and the pure parfum must be ever more glorious.
Somptuous, soapy, sensual orris-leather masterpiece with a multi-faceted cut – balsamic, dark, floral, chypre, dry, powdery. A quintessential timeless great masterpiece like Mitsouko, Shalimar, Bois des Iles: there's them, then there's everything else. Scents which do not really any douche like me wittering about them. Ironically I agree with Anosmia's review below: I mostly wear it at home too, but not because I find it too feminine, just because I do that with the scents I really love the most - so that I can enjoy them at full power and concentration, and in total relax.
I understand that many men wear this very excellent perfume, and wear it successfully. I like to wear it myself. However, I think it is an essentially feminine perfume, and I'll tell you why. I find that the long and wonderful heart and drydown definitely include notes that are reminiscent of that bit of anatomy that by definition is not standard issue to men. I hope that's not too blunt, but when, as here, the argument persists regarding whether CdR is masculine or feminine, this fact is certainly relevant.
And that actually may be why some of the alpha types who famously wear CdR can do it. That is, it unconsciously validates the impression of unlimited feminine acceptance, which absolutely commands other men's admiration.
That being said, this stuff is really intriguing. I don't know if I can pull it off or not, but I really like it. It's deep, sensual, rich, elegant, exquisitely blended, lavishly formulated. The florals are totally lush: They are absolutely as good as the leather.
And speaking of the florals, you will have a much harder time appreciating them in the EDT. They're in full otherworldly bloom in the parfum. For all my talk about CdR being too feminine, I seriously think you're missing out if you only try the EDT. Not only are the florals great in themselves, but the balance they lend to the leather, to me, is well worth the price of the parfum.
02nd February, 2014 (last edited: 10th February, 2014)
Quite possibly the best leather scent available today and it was one of the first - debuting in 1924. Its only rival is Knize Ten.
What strikes me most about Chanel's truly vintage scents (from the 1920s-1930s) is the extraordinarily delicate "balance" of the ingredients. Here the discreet florals are perfectly balanced with the animalic leather notes - the result is the most sophisticated leather on the market.
Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin, Clary Sage
Orris, Carnation, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Heliotrope
Leather, Amber, Opopanax, Styrax, Vanilla, Cedar, Vetiver
My favorite Chanel.
Loved it in the bottle, but it just flattened out on my skin and disappeared rather quickly. I'm glad to hear that it blooms so nicely on others, but not on me. Too bad.
Pros: Great in the Bottle
Cons: Did Nothing on My Skin
Wonderful animalic and dark leather.
It's deep enough to make you think you're all covered by leather.
The opening is a bit rancid leather, but then turns to a smoother leather with the tobacco note.
Not an easy fragrance to wear, but beautifully constructed and blended.
Sillage, lasting power and projection are medium-high.
I have to fly a lot long distance for work and I am not a happy flyer. I need to find every possible way can to relax. Cuir de Russie is my travel scent. It is pure luxurious comfort. It smells like an old soft leather glove. I am transported to my happy place. Very warm and reassuring. It does not project to far, just as far as my nose when I move and I get a good 10 hours from it. One of the few scents that I cannot be without.
Cuir de Russie EDT is the most audacious purchase I have ever made, being a person who doesn't like leather, animalistic, dirty, or powdery and balmy. CdR is all of those things, and yet, I love it!
It is a work of art that is a famous struggle between masculine and feminine. It's astounding, really- feminine powder stemming from florals, ylang ylang, and wood, juxtaposed completely with a rough, buff leather covered in dirt. How in the hell these two things come together, I don't know, but it really works. The leather is dirty, but not unpleasant. It's not off-putting, musky, or too heavy- it's an animal hide tanned into a jacket made for soldiers type of leather.
I think the magic of Cuir de Russie is that it always keeps you guessing. One second it's bergamot, then it's powder, then leather, then it gets soapy. Repeat, repeat, mix it around, repeat. Easily the best Chanel Exclusif in my opinion, and one of the few leathers that I like. The only true downside is that it's so lavish, it's a bit hard to wear around other people.
Cuir de Russie Parfum
Cuir de Russie is a masterpiece, and quoting another fellow reviewer from basenotes (of-scenter), it belongs to my pantheon of leathers. Its so beautifully done, the overdose of iris, the smoky birch tar with the citrus in the opening creating a sour animalic aura, its very dark and luxurious at the same time. An image that comes to my mind is Coco wearing a black patent leather cape over a white satin gown or even the famous Helmut Newton photo in witch the model is wearing a Couture Saint Laurent tuxedo.
Beaux and Coco managed to capture the essence of the feminist movement and the free spirit of the contemporary woman, that is, the duality of femininity and amazone fighter. I can see the working girl that uses seduction as a weapon, the dominatrix controlling her male slave and even house wives that knows how to convince their husbands to do what they want. The strange thing its that its is so classical and modern at the same time, i think thats why it reminds me of Yves and Helmut Newton, the erotic gender bender game, women dressing as men, women taking control over their desires and taking care of their lives. I fell like it represents Coco's own personal way of life, financially independent but emotionally dependent of her lovers at the same time.
CdR is a very feminine fragrance and you can smell that because its full of flowers but then again its so masculine, the flowers are very animalic, the birch is incredibly smokey and improper for a women and I think thats what makes this fragrance so grand and important. Its full of contradictions, its very personal, not the type of fragrance you would wear to attract someone but rather to satisfy your own desire. This fragrance and nº19 to me represents much more then nº5 whats Chanel is all about but unfortunately they doesn't get the attention they should specially Cuir de Russie...
5 out of 5
The scent of the British aristocracy, coming in from a day of riding or hunting to throw on a ball gown and dab a sophisticated scent on to cover the smell of the stable and of the cigarettes to be smoked during the night, that's what this smells like to me. I think Camilla Parker-Bowles as a young woman, or now--age is irrelevant with a scent like Cuir de Russie. One of my top 3 favorite fragrances of all time. To me it's very masculine yet feminine at the same time. So complex, at times it seems like my grandmother's cigarette-reeking vanity, then a stable, then it veers into an almost disagreeable area of the dirtiest of animalic notes, only to return to the pleasant side of smells carrying a bunch of subtly feminine but never sweet flowers. There's nothing sweet in this fragrance to me, yet it is still very feminine, which apparently is exactly what I look for in a fragrance. I like No. 5 better, but I don't like having one of the world's top-selling fragrances as a signature, so I'm considering making this mine. It smells even more expensive than No. 5 to me, too.
nothing particularly exciting and so utterly overpriced
I'm with Candide on this one - I love my CdR parfum, but I'd never wear it out of the house. This is a perfect fragrance for a rainy cold Sunday at home. It's just too feminine for me to wear in public, although I adore it.
I am a big fan of classic Chanel fragrances and as a rule, I can appreciate a good cuir perfume. That being said, Cuir de Russie does not agree with me at all. On my skin, the wispy leather note vanishes as soon as the dry-down begins. Then, a loud, heavy and unrefined musky jasmine note à la Samsara takes over and I reek for hours. I am so sorry. I wanted to like this fragrance so bad.
Luxury is not for everyone to see. I wear it in private only.
Cuir de Russie (current edt version) opens with a nose burning blast of aldehydes with just the faintest hint of orange before an extremely animalic leather accord emerges in the heart notes. This leather is more of the fecal farmhouse animal stench variety and is somewhat difficult to tolerate. There also must be some iris in here, because I get just a faint hint of the powdery makeup accord I have experienced with other iris based scents. Luckily, the barnyard aspects of the scent recede in the base notes, and a much more pleasant smelling birch leather remains with just a hint of the powdery iris supporting it. Projection and longevity are both excellent.
The opening of Cuir de Russie edt was difficult from the get-go and did not portend to good things to come. I tend to be quite sensitive to fecal aspects in scents (like my problem with Jicky, for example), and as such the heart notes with their fecal smelling leather and powdery iris were really not to my taste at all. If things stopped there this would be a definite thumbs down for me. What saves Cuir de Russie edt somewhat is it has a very nice dry-down that easily is the best part of the scent. Because of that, I will upgrade my rating to a tenuous neutral, but I am not a fan of this one at all. I think one should not have to put up with several hours of smelling like they were in a farmhouse barn before they get to "the good stuff." I'll be generous and give Cuir de Russie a very average 2.5 out of 5.
28th May, 2012 (last edited: 21st September, 2012)
I was preparing myself for a strong leather scent, bigger and bolder than what I've previously tried. I was amazed to discover that this is a feminine and soft leather, nothing like Bandit by Robert Piguet or Cabochard by Gres.
This is leather with pretty floral and soapy nuances. I find nothing like what some have described; there's no animalistic qualities, (at least to my nose), no saltiness and no bitterness.
It almost smells inky to my nose, like a room filled with regal, black leather armchairs, big red cedar tables and ink-wells, with a vase filled with jasmine, ylang ylang and rose sitting near a window overlooking a courtyard.
I also don't get the masculine references, to me this particular scent is very feminine, pretty almost. I think it would work well in a casual atmosphere too.
I recommend Cuir de Russie as a leather scent for beginners, the perfect subtle leather before the transition into the bigger, harsher and stronger leather scents. Strange as it may sound, this fragrance is more romantic than dominatrix in my opinion. If you want sexual, animalistic leather try the men's department or douse yourself in Bandit.
Cuir de Russie has great lasting strength, however the sillage is extremely intimate and subtle, making it somewhat difficult to detect at times. All in all, a beautiful powdery and floral interpretation of a leather classic from Chanel.
To me, this smells very much like Mitsouko - that unfortunate opening of adelhydic peachy mandarin, only more creamy. No leather, no sharpness to justify the mention of Russia, and during the drydown turns to just generically perfumey.
Mitsouko is, of course, far more complex and unfolding, provocative ouverture to the roaring 20s, still decent and feminine despite the bobbed hair. I don't know what the pitch was for this one, but it's like a city girl going for the weekend in the country only to find a rich husband. Fake leather, pretend society girl.
Update, six months on: I think it has to be appreciated in regards to texture - think of it as soft nutty suede and its velvet delicacy seems entirely appropriate. An animalistic whiff on occasion, yes, but this is too elegant, too tame. I now imagine the youngest of four sisters, stuck at the country estate, horsey but even more so bookish, using flowers to disguise her tomboyish nerdy self. Like it, but I'm to vulgar to wear it.
02nd March, 2012 (last edited: 04th September, 2012)
this is animalic leather, horselike leather, but with huge touch of iris...the longevity is 12+ hours, its one of the strongest scents that i have that radiates all day long, something unbeleivable.and classy, not something you can smell around every day
its perfect for winter. for the summer its too heavy.
when i first tried it it was terrible smell of barnyard, but after 2-3 hours it started radiating this very powdery ,warm, buttery smell that never stops it goes after you for hours.i bought it becasue it was so unusual turnaround from disgust to affection :) and maybe i could not take the vintage version this is just enough of weirdness to me.
Maybe it's me, maybe it's the new regs, but I am so dissappointed in this fragrance. Yes, it is well balanced like any respectable Chanel, but my problem is that this scent is too well behaved. It starts as a soft floral leather and ends...period. It is not long lasting on my skin and it never "blooms". It is not evil nor is it unusual nor is it beautiful. It's pretty while it lasts, which is not enough for me to buy another bottle. On my third try, I just sprayed over it with Cuir de Lancome. Sorry, Folks.
As much as leather is one of my favorite scents, of the (limited, I admit)leather-featured scents I've tried most have gone into plasticky-PVC-bondage leather rather than butter-soft leather gloves passed down from a chic female relative. Cuir de Russie, however, was love at first sniff. It opens with a dirty animalic note that's borderline fecal, but the soft, creamy, spicy florals seep in and smooth out this animal's shaggy fur until Cuir de Russie becomes this heart-achingly beautiful blend with an undercurrent of barely-bridled danger; a lady in leather and lace, a sleek panther at repose in a meadow. I feared the bergamot and mandarin might ruin CdR as citrus is my skin's nemesis, but the two are either nonexistent here or (more than likely) thankfully so well interwoven with the other notes that I can't make out their presence.
I have the current Exclusifs EDT, and so cannot compare to past formulations or the parfum, but I can imagine those are as beautiful if not more so. For an EDT sillage and longevity are quite long, and I only regret buying the smaller EDT. Ah well, more wiggle room in my budget to save for the parfum!
This is an incredibly complex scent composed of leather and tobacco notes as well as a gorgeous collections of florals and frankincense...when people speak of it as skanky I really don't get that as much as I get smoky. Chanel really hit it out of the park with Cuir de Russie, and if you like dark heroines from books like Anna Karenina, then Cuir De Russie is for you. This is probably one of the reasons that you came to Basenotes to begin with. Sample this one, this is part of the Chanel legend.