Perfume Review: Farina Gegenuber Kolnisch Juchten and Russisch Leder (Plus a Prize Draw)
A couple of months ago I discovered, fell in love with and wrote a rave review about Kölnisch Juchten by Parfums Regence. Not much is known about that scent apart from the fact that it is based on the old perfume of the same name created by Farina Gegenüber. I have been very fortunate to obtain a bottle of vintage Kölnisch Juchten, in amazingly good condition, and wanted to share with you my impressions.
Whereas the new Kölnisch Juchten is a robust, tough barbarian, its vintage counterpart is rather more civilized. The birch tar note in the new Kölnisch Juchten is overwhelming, it rules the composition, it is meaty, it is smoky, it evokes an image of drunk highwaymen (and-women) roasting a whole pig on the campfire, singing wild songs and shooting pistols just for the fun of it. After a while the smokiness subsides, but only slightly. The modern Kölnisch Juchten never crosses the line to the sphere of elegant, urbane leathers. Farina Gegenüber’s old version, on the other hand, more or less stays within that cultured sphere. It starts with a vaguely citrusy-fruity note that is not as sharp as in many leathers (for example, Guerlain Derby) nor does it have a candied feel of the citrus note in Piver’s Cuir de Russie. This very pleasant, balanced note is quickly followed by the leather, which here is much less smoky than in the new Kölnisch Juchten. I detect much less birch tar here, but I do smell certain woodiness, quite a bit of mossiness and, in the drydown, a little bit of dirtiness probably due to the presence of civet and/or musk. On the whole, the vintage composition successfully balances on the very edge between the civilized and barbarian, leaning ever so slightly towards the civilized. If you have the new Kölnisch Juchten and were considering trying to find the vintage version, I’d say go for it, the two are different enough to warrant owning both.
Thanks to a lovely perfume-friend, I have also been able to sample another leather blend by Farina Gegenüber, called Russisch Leder. Whether it is another version of Kolnisch Juchten or an original creation in its own right, I could not tell you, but I do tend to think that it is a different beast altogether. And what a beast it is. While the drydown of my vintage Kölnisch Juchten has SOME animalic goodness about it, Russisch Leder is all animal on my skin, from the very get go to the drydown. H&R Fragrance guide gives the following notes for this dirrrty concoction: bergamot, lemon, petitgrain, lavender, rosemary, basil, fern, cedarwood, vetiver, geranium, carnation, patchouli, aldehydes, origanum, leather, moss, vanilla, castoreum, labdanum, musk and civet. Whether because of the age of my sample or for whatever other reasons, the scent foregoes its supposed bright citrusy opening and the sharp, spicy, green notes of the middles stage almost completely. Without much ado it goes straight to the good stuff, i.e. The Animal. The blend of leather, musk and civet is sexy as all get out, in the perverse, unspeakable kind of way that Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan or Lancôme Cuir are sexy. After a while the animalic quality subsides and one is left with a straightforward and actually quite subtle sort of leather, but that glorious skanky beginning is enough reason for me to love Russisch Leder and to want to get my greedy hands on a big, full bottle of it. Again, this scent is different enough from Parfums Regence Kolnisch Juchten and Farina’s Kölnisch Juchten that a leather fanatic like yours truly might want to find a way to obtain all three. To do so, I’d recommend you relentlessly stalk eBay, since once in a while these perfumes are listed there and usually are not too expensive.
If you would like to try a sample of my vintage Kolnisch Juchten, please let me know in your comment and I will enter you in the draw.
The image of Kolnisch Juchten is my own. The photo of Russisch Leder is from H&R Fragrance Guide.