Chanel’s Cuir de Russie is vintage. It’s one of the first to have been designed specifically around a lifestyle. Developed in 1927, Coco wanted a scent that smoking girls could wear; in other words, she wanted to create the scent of scandal. Almost a century later, I was curious if the scandal would still be so scandalous.
Cuir de Russie is a testimonial to Chanel’s genius. It is dirty. This is not the perfume you want on your fiancee as she meets your mother for the first time. Cuir de Russie smells initially like old bars, long before the smoking ban, with yellowed walls from tobacco. It made me nostalgic for burning eyes and husky voices after a night at Smalls. After the smoke settles down, it mellows into supple suede and mature florals. These roses are not fresh and pretty – they’re dried petals crushed in oil that’s rubbed deep into your skin. Finally, a muskiness emerges, tying all of it together. This is the kind of scent you catch on the girl sleeping next to you – you know, the one you just met last night.
So sip that cognac and relax. She’ll be ordering a drink next to you soon enough.