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If you have a basic knowledge of French, you know that Cuir de Russie means Russian Leather. Rectified birch tar is the smoky resinous note which makes Cuir de Russie, and most leather scents, smell like leather. It is, in fact, the dry-cooked resin from the bark of the birch tree and has been used for centuries to cure leather, and to “dress” it, as in polishes for military leather boots.

Why Russian leather? Coco Chanel introduced the perfume in 1924, a time when Paris was feeling the sophisticated influence of the Russian aristocrats and artists who had settled in France after the Revolution. Chanel had an affair with Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovitch, cousin of the Tzar, she designed costumes for the famous Ballet Russe, and Ernst Beaux, the nose behind Cuir de Russie and the early Chanel  scents like Chanel No.5, was also Russian - Russian was the “mot du jour” in the Paris of 1924.

The thing I love about Cuir de Russie is that it has this raw edge to it. As a feminine fragrance, it conjures a supremely confident elegant woman, who drinks (champagne), smokes (Cuban cigars), wears couture (leather) and quotes literature at the wink of an eye (Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky – in Russian). She’s rich, sexy, and smart, an intelligent beauty.
But, after the florals subside, Cuir de Russie conjures the uber-male, becoming a sexy masculine scent. That raw edge - the funky animalics, civet and castoreum – mix with the smoky leather, balsam and woods , giving Cuir de Russie an erotic, brutish quality. The drydown with vanilla and amber transforms this rawness into a warm sensual skin scent for both sexes, an intimate aura of leathery, smoky, floral, earthy luxury. 
Luca Turin says in his 5-star review in Perfumes the A-Z Guide:

“There have been many other fragrances called Cuir de Russie, every one either too sweet or too smoky. This one is the real deal, an undamaged monument of classical perfumery, and the purest emanation of luxury ever captured in a bottle.”

After you wear Cuir de Russie, after you’ve experienced it, and lived in it, I think you’ll agree with Mr. Turin.
Notes are aldehydes, orange blossom, bergamot, mandarin, clary sage, iris, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, cedarwood, balsams, vetiver, styrax, incense, cade, leather, amber and vanilla.
Type: EdT
Parfumeurs: Ernst Beaux (original 1924 ) Jacques Polges (revised formula 1988)

Price: $5.00