Chanel Cuir de Russie

The closest I have ever been to Russia is the Czech Republic, on a school trip about a year ago. For a week we visited the concentration camps and ghettos of Poland; on the last day, we were given time to run around Prague. Had we been meeting under different circumstances, I would no doubt have been enchanted by Prague, with its beautiful churches and miles of luxury shopping. But after a week of Auschwitz and Majdanek, a week surrounded by unfathomable death, I couldn’t deal with Prague’s (relative) extravagance. After seeing barracks piled to the roof with children’s shoes, a block of Louis Vuitton and Versace boutiques seemed outrageous. The decadence felt all wrong.

As you may have guessed, Cuir de Russie rubbed me in rather the wrong way. There are two reasons for this. First, this highly-praised leather scent is far sweeter than any leather scent has a right to be. The sweetness was straight up bizarre. If I order a steak, I do not expect to be served dessert. CdR does become more savory as time passes, but that first half hour is off-putting.

More importantly, the leather note in CdR strikes me as much closer to the smell of furs than to leather. I had envisioned CdR as a fitted leather jacket, or perhaps a fine leather purse. Instead I find a woman dripping in furs, decked out in every jewel in her safety deposit box, wearing too much eye makeup and a garish shade of lipstick, and reeking of cigarettes and perfume that went bad years ago. CdR smells “new money” to me, like a socialite who has not yet learned that restraint can be more elegant than ostentation. It’s all too much for me.

Disclaimer: I sampled Cuir de Russie at Saks Fifth Avenue. Cuir de Russie is available for $200 for 6.8 ounces. It can be found at Bergdorf Goodman, select Saks Fifth Avenues, select Chanel boutiques, and the Chanel website.

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5 thoughts on “Chanel Cuir de Russie

  1. Visited that area of the world in 1990, on a trip with my college choir. It is just beautiful.

    Prague is stunning; I would love to go back and spend a week wandering around in it. I’d go back to Krakow, too. Someday I will.

    But we visited both those places before visiting Auschwitz. I don’t know what to say about that experience – either I’m brief about it or I need to write for days. We were there for a maximum of four hours, but I have never forgotten it. I never will.

    My experience with CdR was also awful, but in a completely different way. Far from being nouveau riche glitzy, to me it smells like our cattle working pens. The opening twenty minutes is dust, mud, manure, the iodine we put on the umbilical stumps of baby calves, the animal smell of live cattle, and raw untanned hide. And after that, it’s the dustiest, rootiest, dry-mouth siltiest iris I ever came across. I’m not a big fan of iris anyway (although I found Iris Silver Mist, purportedly the Iris to End All Irises, very pleasant), but you literally could not PAY me to put it on my skin again. And I *like* that Chanel iris most of the time. It was utterly hideous, as a so-called perfume.

    1. Yes, I’m utterly confused as to what both Luca and Tania saw in this. Your experience sounds horrendous! “The iodine we put on umbilical stumps”… lawd have mercy!
      It’s an odd thing to say, but I’m really heartened to hear that they took you to Auschwitz on a choir trip. The thing that freaked me out most when I was there was that there are now houses and apartments all around the camps- I think people become desensitized.

  2. For me, Cuir de Russie _is_ that fine leather – I believe that my original mental image was of the well-maintained fine leather upholstery of an alarmingly powerful classic motorcar. I love the stuff. 🙂

    The love/hate reaction, and the very different images produced even in hate, make me wonder if perhaps Cuir de Russie is particularly changeable on different skin? Of course, that’s pure rationalizing, but it does make me wonder if there are aromachemicals that tend to stay the same, and others that are extra changeable with skin chemistry. Hm.

    1. It’s so wonderful that you love it! I very recently got into Bvlgari Black, so I thought I was finally ready for the “big girl” leather frags… apparently not!
      I think you might be onto something, and that furthermore, all of the Les Exclusifs might be more susceptible to body chemistry than some others. I was shocked when I read all of the awful reviews of the gorgeous 28 La Pausa on MUA.

  3. I am lucky to own the pure perfume of CdC (I bought it on Chanel site when it was still available in US) and recently sampled the CdR Les Exlusifs, and definetely can tell the difference. Pure perfume goes on very rich, with a lot of complex notes that dry down to the scent of a fine expensive leather. That drydown of leather does not smell animalic to me, but more as soft and refined, like an expensive leather purse or jacket that is placed next to the perfume counter in an expensive store. So it absorbed some of the scents of different perfumes but still maintained a clean leathery natural scent. I anly able to wear pure perfume in the fall when the weather is not too cold, but crisp. It blends perfectly with scent of a leather jacket and the scent of fallen leaves. It smells not perfume-y, but natural.
    Les Exlusifs EDT goes on like a body mist. It has no staying power on me. It defintely does not have that natural expensive drydown that pure perfume has. When I sprayed it it was like ” ahh, yes, I think it the perfume I love” and in an hour ” where did it go?”. It has deluted top notes of a pure perfume, but does not have the same complexity. Its still nice and much more wearable in any weather. If Les Exlusifs EDT was priced as a body mist I would definitely buy it.

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