Perfume Directory

Cuir de Russie Parfum (1924)
by Chanel

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Cuir de Russie Parfum information

Year of Launch1924
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 585 votes)

People and companies

HouseChanel
PerfumerErnest Beaux
Parent CompanyWertheimer

About Cuir de Russie Parfum

The tumultuous events in Russian history offered Mademoiselle Chanel the opportunity to meet the Grand Duke Dimitri, who introduced her to an ingenious perfumer: Ernest Beaux, born and trained in Moscow. In 1927, she worked with him to create Cuir de Russie. Through long musky, smoky notes, it evokes a wild yet elegant world, with its scent of leather boots tanned by birch bark and the essence of Virginia tobacco.

Reviews of Cuir de Russie Parfum

I purchased this as I loved the Edp and it is a beauty in it's own right but there are differences. The extrait is drier, more smoky, less floral and is more unisex. It also smells more vivid like you are smelling something in high definition.

In the first hour as it melds with your skin chemistry you can smell the most gorgeous vivid dry jasmine note. I have to it to say it's more prominent in the extrait than the Edp. Then slowly the buttery Ylang Ylang with the touch of Iris makes it's presence known. It's low key at first where in the Edp it just dominates everything.

As time passes there is a interplay between the jasmine and the buttery Ylang Ylang with the touch of Iris. Until the jasmine fades more and this starts to take over. At this point the aldehydes come into play in quite a big way. It gives the composition a sparkling champagne like feel.

As we get closer to the basenotes the scent starts to become leathery, not suede and clean like the Edp but more of a dirty leather. But it is quite discreet and never overwhelms the scent as a whole.

As the fragrance is a pure parfum oil it does stay very close to you. Within I say half a arms length but it does have a distinct presence and is long lasting. But very subtle!

All in all a very beautiful scent best for special/intimate occasions or for when you want to be self indulgent.

01st October, 2020
Chanel Cuir de Russie (1927) was hot on the heels of Bois des Îles (1926), and a perfume released to capture the essence of Gabrielle's love affair with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia, cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. It was through Pavlovich that Chanel met perfumer Ernest Beaux, who was trained in Moscow before coming to work as house perfumer for the courtier. As expected by the name, Cuir de Russie is a leather-focused chypre, and among the first to be widely-released, beaten to the punch only by Knize Ten (1924). Some online sources overly partial to Chanel try to place Cuir de Russie's launch year at 1924 so they can falsely claim it the first commercial leather perfume, but Chanel gives a year of release much later than that, even if the perfume itself may have been in development for some time. It's no secret that many perfumes going back to the late 19th century were much heavier and more "butch" than what most women in the 21st century would wear on virtue of the fact that they had to cover cigarette smoke, and as leather came into vogue to cover that smell, scents like the aforementioned Knize Ten and Cuir de Russie would give birth to a genre which continued to run clear into the mid 20th century. Anyone seeking this scent in the modern day is likely a vintage perfume fan or particularly looking for a bold left-of-center statement, which may be why Chanel removed it from their standard line and made it a "niche" scent, even with virtually no changes to the scent profile. There's certainly the typical Chanel effortless quality here, but the placement is a stretch.

Cuir de Russie is a rather mild scent compared to later leather behemoths like Piguet Bandit (1944) and Cabochard de Grés (1959), or even older "smoker's perfumes" like Caron Tabac Blonde (1919) and Molinard Habanita (1921), which both were just a complete swirl of things. Ernest Beaux took a similar kitchen sink approach to the base as did many perfumers during this time, a la Jacques Guerlain and François Coty, so don't really expect to pick out many notes. Aldehydes, bergamot, and some sour isobutyl quinoline leather notes open up Cuir de Russie, leading into a dry trifecta of slightly indolic florals. Rose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang do a predictable dance atop that stuffed air-tight base, while iris and sage clean things up enough to keep this from being an old-time brothel perfume. Animalics like styrax and musk dwell in an otherwise period-typical aromatic leather chypre base, featuring cedar, vetiver, oakmoss, amber, and a tiny smidge of vanilla to pull this away from being too masculine for its then-intended market. Sillage is good but wear time is somewhat fleeting for its tone, although Cuir de Russie is not something you want as an all-day office scent, so consider it a blessing. I'd use this in fall through early spring, but cool summer nights might also work well - and yes, this is quite unisex. Vintage is definitely better in every regard concerning performance, since IFRA regulations really handicap what Chanel can do with Cuir de Russie in the modern age.

Cuir de Russie has a similar problem to Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882) and Guerlain Apres L'Ondée (1906) in that a lot of things have come about since its inception that do what it does but in some cases better or with more distinction, even if nothing else smelled like it did when it first hit shelves. Just like the fougère, the floral, and the leather chypre genres that came into being after all three of the above launched, the sheer proliferation of variations manfesting make the core values of the originating examples desirable only to perfume lovers with a thirst for history, which is why Cuir de Russie would never be my go-to example for folks wanting to jump into this genre's finest. Removal of Cuir de Russie (outside the pure parfum) from the main Chanel line into the expensive Les Exclusifs range further compounds this problem, because the original Eau de Cologne and EdT column spray bottles were about as accessible as an equivalent bottle of No. 5 (1921), but the current EdP spray (which is barely stronger) is sitting at high prices that make this an investment for collectors only. Still, this grand old gal is a fine genre-defining example regardless, so I can't help but like it. If you trot into a boutique or order a sample of this online, just know that if you are a seasoned leather perfume fan, this may feel more fundamental than things you've already smelled, and is no dominatrix like some of its sister creations. Thumbs up!
27th April, 2019
On paper - wonderful floral leather. Everything everyone has written about it came billowing in my nostrils.

On my skin - deep floral leather with an overtone of excrement. I honestly don't know why, but it does. I can't wear it. I tried on different days, same results.

Therefore I will give it the benefit of the doubt and stick in the middle.

Lesson learned - always test on the skin before you do a full buy, especially for this price point.
28th December, 2018
Butch leather under a bed of freshness that after the initial start shifts into a polished and polite rich leather with a base of the signature Chanel soapy-aldehydes. The jasmine and yang ylang beautifully envelopes the soapy leather giving the perfume a luscious, seductive nuance. It smells high class and rich; very Chanel.
Lately it's getting compared with Dior's Cuir Cannage but to me, the closest to Cuir de Russie is Etro's Gomma; they have a similar soapy leather infused with jasmine.
30th October, 2018
first word that immediately pops into my head is , smooth...started out reminding me of my old Chicago greaser days and throwing a spit shine on my stacies ( I believe otherwise known as Stacy-Adams ) or combat boots...Chicago greasers took pride in how they dressed with some guys I knew in high school having nice collections of what was known as Italian knits ( like some of the ones seen in Wiseguys ), so shoes were always shined up...I can smell the leather and polish , but at the same time, it also gives me this dry feeling...the faintest suggestion of a trace of gasoline...like you really have to concentrate to smell it...I'm definitely getting a classic and an old time vibe to this...it's like you can tell this has been around, but it should stay around...timeless...this smells like something I'd be reaching for when having to make a selection for a suit and tie evening...probably the most elegant leather fragrance I've smelled so far...everything well blended and balanced...to my nose , very light on the birch aspect of leather fragrances and not what I would call animalic in any way...truly an enjoyable experience...
06th August, 2018
I do not know what formula my sample is - edp or edt. This is a "light" scent on me. I only smell orange blossom, rose, tobacco, birch, and leather. It doesn't last but, it IS lovely.
15th January, 2018

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