Cuir de Russie (2007) Eau de Toilette

Cuir de Russie (Eau de Toilette) by Chanel
8.1 / 10     242 RatingsRatingsRatings
Cuir de Russie (Eau de Toilette) is a popular perfume by Chanel for women and was released in 2007. The scent is leathery-animal. The production was apparently discontinued.


Jacques Polge

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Mandarin, Orange blossom
Heart Notes Heart NotesJasmine, Rose, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesBirch wood



8.1 (242 Ratings)


7.6 (165 Ratings)


6.6 (165 Ratings)


8.0 (160 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 22.08.2018
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Greatly helpful Review    8
Cuir de Russie
Most of what has been written on classical perfumery falls into three categories: the description, the tribute and the complaint, also known as anger passing for nostalgia.

Take Chanel no 5:

• The description: Soapy. Bubbly. Old Lady perfume. Flowery. Feminine.

• The tribute: The greatest perfume ever made. The ultimate fashion accessory of the 20th century. The perfume that launched thousand ships.

• The complaint can be sophisticated or simplistic, but the meaning is the same: something I am entitled to has been taken away from me and I'm bitter. Blame political correctness for taking animal products off the perfumers palate, blame the governmental nannies for taking away nitro musks. Wherever I point the finger, though, I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to wear this anymore.

Cuir de Russe is a seminal work from one of the acknowledged founders of contemporary perfumery, Ernest Beaux. Describing it, idolizing it or bitching about its current state doesn't seem sufficient.

So what can I say about it? It is one of the few remaining examples of the sub genre after which it was named. The Russian leathers were defined by their specific combination of the hard and the soft. Rough leather notes, typically created with great helpings of birch tar, are balanced by dry floral notes. They combined the rugged and the refined and played on the Franco-Russian mystique of the early 20th century. They conveyed the sensibility of an era where sophistication was not defined by effete finery, but by an almost swashbuckling pursuit of 'the finer things'.

Does Chanel's Cuir de Russie meet these expectations? Tough to say. Perfume's capacity to evoke a broad sensibility is a function of many factors, from accessibility and social expectation to marketing, cost and personal habit. The Russian Leathers's connotation of class and privilege was likely a smoke-and-mirrors game at the start of the 20th Century. In the second decade of the 21st it is virtually mythology, which Chanel maintain with their heritage pillars: No 5, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Isles.

Cuir de Russie must meet a two-part goal for Chanel. It must remain coherent with the image of Chanel's history yet be desirable to the buyer who doesn't know or care that the perfume has a history. This is the precipice where many vintage perfumes die. They are reformulated, whether due to materials or strategy, and they lose the buyers. Caron's strategy has been to reformulate their heritage products drastically (eg. Narcisse Noir). Vintage lovers protest that their favorite perfumes have been gutted and new younger buyers have little interest in 'old lady perfumes.’ Taking a different tack, Guerlain reissued Vega as true to its original form as possible. Buyers who didn't care about its historical significance didn't buy it and it has been discontinued.

Caron is the cautionary tale and Chanel have paid close attention. Cuir de Russie 'ain't what she used to be,' but is an exceptional perfume that is precicely calibrated for 2015. The reference to the past is apparent but the perfume isn't nostalgic in the least. Neither is it adorned with olfactory signifiers like fruit notes, lingering woody ambers or cotton candy that that would suggest a cynical attempt to trick a younger demographic. The juxtaposition of leather with flowers is the idea at the heart of both the vintage and the current formulations of Cuir de Russie. The current version focusses on the same concepts that the original did rather than try to recreate it. In emphasizing evolution and continuity Chanel have made the current Cuir de Russie what it always was: a reference point and a standard against which other perfumes are measured.

An excellent leather perfume has been evidence of quality and distinction for niche and classic houses. Robert Piguet are 'known' for Bandit, as is Heeley for Cuir Pleine Fleur and Balmain formerly was for Jolie Madame. Cuir de Russie might not be a best-seller for Chanel, but it is critical to their image and their perfume portfolio. Jacques Polge, who oversees the maintenance of the line and is responsible for its current composition, gets high marks for the deliberation and subtlety that make the contemporary Cuir de Russie an exceptional perfume.

Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 10.0/10
Just naughty enough
The leather dominates the opening but I get some ylang-ylang too. It's pretty soapy in the opening as well but after it warms up the soapiness fades. I get more musk at this point and something else behind the leather I can't quite name. The oriental notes perhaps? The drydown has a lot of tobacco and Birch with the leather. I love it. I really do. There is an artistry here that is very complex with a lot of depth. It lasts forever, especially for an edt, but is sits a bit close to the skin, like a naughty secret for just your lover.

Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 9.0/10
Helpful Review    3
Soft, Subdued & Elegant... My favourite Chanel.
Cuir de Russie is a beautiful leather fragrance. But it's a leather-orris combination. A "powdery leather" almost. I have tried leather fragrances with a more animalic leather note. This is a feminine, androgynous leather, rather than a very full, animalic one.

We know the story of Coco Chanel's affair with the Russian aristocrat and military officer. She captured the smell of his riding boots and leather gloves, his tobacco pipe, mixed with the rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang smell of her perfume (the scent of a love affair). It's a truly subdued but beautiful smell, a soft and understated type of elegance.

Basically to my nose what Cuir de Russie is to me, is simply a leather version of Chanel No. 5. In simple terms, it's Chanel No. 5 with added leather. You have the rose, iris, jasmine, ylang-ylang & aldehydes, but with a heavy dose of leather. A wonderful combination!

I get the leather and birch tar but it's a scented leather, with orris root and florals, and a hint of blond tobacco in the drydown. This could be worn by either a man or a woman (it's a favourite of Mick Jagger). It's a beautiful one, but it stays closest to the skin (the Eau de Toilette version) and it's almost like the leather used in saddlery.

I think the bottom line is, Chanel would never release something like this today, and if any other house did, it would be niche, probably charged at the same price. Again, Cuir de Russie may not be for everyone, as it takes the right look to pull off (on either a man or a woman). I'm impressed with it, and I would certainly feel comfortable wearing it. Beautiful, elegant stuff! The so called "Rolls-Royce" use of leather in perfume.
1 Replies
Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 7.0/10
Old leather
Wonderful animalic and dark leather.

It's deep enough to make you think you're all covered by leather.

The opening is a bit rancid leather, but then turns to a smoother leather with the tobacco note.

Not an easy fragrance to wear, but beautifully constructed and blended.

Sillage, lasting power and projection are medium-high.
Scent 9.0/10
Very helpful Review    6
The musical theater of Cuir de Russie
I remember the first time I tried Cuir de Russie and, like Missk (excellent review, below), having read all the hype I was prepared for a huge leather bombshell. Instead, I was surprised how deep, beautiful and restrained it seemed. On the other hand, I was also surprised, like Drseid (another excellent review, below), by the anamalic strength of Cuir de Russie. Would others find it too strong and objectionable? After wearing Cuir de Russie a few times I realized that the leather accord wasn't perceived by others in the same way I perceived it on my skin.

After thinking about it, I remembered a principle I regularly use as a musician but hadn't thought of in relation to wearing or creating perfume. It has to do with how a fragrance performs in respect to projection. I’m not referring to projection as we think of it when wearing perfume; that is, simply being loud or soft. Rather, I’m referring to projection as musicians think of it. Emphasizing certain notes in the music -or in this case, perfume- to create an overall effect intended for an audience.

For example, if a musician wishes imbue a piece of music with a particular character -let’s say a quick, rhythmic dance- the musician will have to stress and articulate certain notes to project that character across the threshold of the stage to the audience. On stage the musician may hear these elements as exaggerated to the point of being out of character. But the audience will perceive the character of the music in the context of being agile and dance like because distance has tempered and blended the exaggerated elements.

As fragrance junkies, I often think we spend too much time with our noses pressed to our wrists. We forget that we're performers on a fragrant stage. That means we're likely to smell certain notes and accords in an exaggerated sense. We need to remember our audience may require this level of emphasis and projection to appreciate the overall character of a fragrance. So it's understandable that someone wearing Cuir de Russie for the first time may find the anamalic accord too loud or out of balance. But that exaggeration may be intentionally formulated into the fragrance so the character of leather is projected across the threshold of our stage into the theater of scent.

So much has been written about Cuir de Russie; love, hate and everything in between. But it is a classic with good reason. It may not be for everyone but I love wearing it. It’s warm, with deep, dark florals, and, admittedly, a leather accord that can smell like you're actually in the saddle. Just remember, when wearing perfume, the world is your stage and sometimes a little exaggeration is necessary.
3 Replies
Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 10.0/10 Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 5.0/10
Too Animalic For Me...
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.
Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 6.0/10
Feminine and reserved leather
I was preparing myself for a strong leather scent, bigger and bolder than what I've previously tried. I was amazed to discover that this is a feminine and soft leather, nothing like Bandit by Robert Piguet or Cabochard by Gres.

This is leather with pretty floral and soapy nuances. I find nothing like what some have described; there's no animalistic qualities, (at least to my nose), no saltiness and no bitterness.

It almost smells inky to my nose, like a room filled with regal, black leather armchairs, big red cedar tables and ink-wells, with a vase filled with jasmine, ylang ylang and rose sitting near a window overlooking a courtyard.

I also don't get the masculine references, to me this particular scent is very feminine, pretty almost. I think it would work well in a casual atmosphere too.

I recommend Cuir de Russie as a leather scent for beginners, the perfect subtle leather before the transition into the bigger, harsher and stronger leather scents. Strange as it may sound, this fragrance is more romantic than dominatrix in my opinion. If you want sexual, animalistic leather try the men's department or douse yourself in Bandit.

Cuir de Russie has great lasting strength, however the sillage is extremely intimate and subtle, making it somewhat difficult to detect at times. All in all, a beautiful powdery and floral interpretation of a leather classic from Chanel.
4 Replies
Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 6.0/10
Intensely Leathery
Chanel CUIR DE RUSSIE is a full-fledged leather perfume. No idea why they've placed it in the oriental floral category, as this creation opens as dark leather conditioned with something like railroad grease and evokes images in my mind of black leather whips and Catherine Deneuve's afternoon lover in "Belle du jour". Not a flowery fragrance at all!

In the drydown, CUIR DE RUSSIE becomes lighter, more akin to soft suede, but it takes a while to get there. In the meantime, this is a dark leathery, yes, large-bovine-animal-roaming-free-through-the-prairie kind of scent.

I definitely would not recommend this for your wedding, among other occasions. Perhaps CUIR DE RUSSIE would work well--and even seem feminine--at a rodeo or a bullfight.

Layered with a rose perfume along the lines of Guerlain ROSA MAGNIFICA, I imagine that CUIR DE RUSSIE could be very beautiful, but I do feel that, as this composition stands, the florals have been entirely overshadowed by the dark leather and railroad grease. CUIR DE RUSSIE might very well appeal to fellows who like to don Dior FAHRENHEIT or anyone who wears Parfums d'Empire AMBRE RUSSE.
2 Replies
Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 9.0/10
Anna Karenina-esqe
The scenerio Black and White themed Concert Salon Circa 1875 with Black Leather chairs white Marble fireplace
the eatherial glow of the Candelabras
A glass chandelier hanging from it's
Sistine like Angels from it's statly
celling Black vases with White Roses
and a black grand piano The concert
Pianist with it's black and white Tuxedo Playing
Chopin's Nocturne for Piano in C sharp minor. sitting amongist the audience
is a young woman no younger then 18
Slender with Long dark hair wearing A white Bustlle Gown Overcome with the music Tears sreamed down her long face
she quietly Leaves and slowly walked down it's hallways and comes to a room
with large framed windows and Snow is falling down she approches the window
slowly and gently opens the window and
with her long white Gloves touches the snow and realize that there life out there then getting married to a stuffy
old accountant or Baron who has been Married for 45 years and left a windower Going though Predicable
Social Hierarchy like that. she yearns
something for herself so out of the Blue got her black velvet cape and walked out of the gilded mansion and walked down the snow lined forest
And the rest Is History

This perfume is diffinly for brave Women.
Sophisticated Leather Floral
Cuir de Russie is a beautiful leather floral.

The aldehyde and citrus opening is typically Chanel, with bergamot most prominent.

The jasmine and rose are most noticeable after the first brief minutes. I perceived the leather quite clearly in the heart as well as the base, and it is still present in the lovely vanillic drydown,

This is a fantastically well-crafted fragrance -- a classic for a woman of sophistication.

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