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.
nothing particularly exciting and so utterly overpriced
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)
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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)
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.
I want a silk-lined trunk full of faded lace and forgotten relics in a [dusty] attic to smell like this.
I do not want to smell like this.
At least, not yet.
This one smells pretty much nothing like I expected. Yes, it's kind of a poop-fest, but to me the castoreum note doesn't come across as dirty or naughty or scandalous or any of the other adjectives in the "transgressive" category that have been applied to it. The basic scent profile is much too "ladies who lunch" for that.
More than anything, this fragrance brings to mind the generic smell of classical women's perfume. The farther you go into the drydown, the better it smells to me; it becomes luminous and musky rather than just perfumey.
I'm all for people wearing what they like, but I would speculate that men who wear this might provoke some, "Hey, that dude's wearing women's perfume!" responses (whether verbalized or not). It's not a feminine scent per se, but it smells like something that belongs on a well-dressed middle aged socialite preparing for a night at the opera.
Supposedly described by Chanel as: “a very improper perfume for nicely brought-up young ladies,” I was expecting something interesting from the current EdT formulation of Cuir de Russie. I would have to say that Chanel’s supposed description has little to do with the current EdT. To my nose it is a floral with some leather that shows Polge’s hand.
The leather is neither a saddle just removed from a horse after a hard ride, nor a leather jacket exposed to tobacco smoke, sweat, and beer in a dark bar. Instead, it is a piece of high fashion leather gracing the form of a Russian oligarch’s daughter or mistress on a shopping trip to Paris.
Cuir de Russie EdT opens with a far too subtle combination of citrus that is quickly overwhelmed by ylang-ylang, iris, and jasmine. Within half an hour the heart of jasmine and rose takes over, followed by a base of squeaky clean high fashion leather, a tinge of vetiver, and very soft cedar and amber.
It is a beautiful floral with some leather, but Russian leather it is not.