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Monday, March 20, 2006

Perfume Review: Creed Cuir de Russie

Cuir de Russie was created by Creed in 1938 for “swashbuckling hero” Errol Flynn. I am not sure whether the perfume used to be bolder and more intense and was eventually slightly reformulated, as have so many scents; I do not notice much outward swagger and romantic macho masculinity in this rather understated, “gray” leather fragrance.

Like many leather scents, Cuir de Russie starts with a citrus accord; it is an elegant and dry blend of bergamot, lemon and neroli. Practically immediately the leather note becomes evident too, and it is a tricky note to figure out. It seems rather subdued, not too smoky, not too forceful, but underneath that aloof, cold, silvery-gray noble surface lurks something a little dirty, a little animalic, a savage dressed up in exquisite clothes. The leather note is accompanied by a strange “salty” accord; it is so salty that I have to fight an urge to lick my wrist, where I applied Cuir de Russie. I do not know what causes that saltiness, but, whatever it is, it makes me think that this fragrance might have been an inspiration behind Christophe Laudamiel’s very salty leather scent, S-ex.

Creed’s Cuir de Russie is not necessarily one of my favorite leather scents, but I find it intriguing. The odd leather note, that beast in aristocrat’s clothing, is what keeps me re-visiting this fragrance.

Cuir de Russie is available at Parfumsraffy, $250.00 for 8.4oz.


Blogger marchlion said...

Based on the leather scents you review regularly, I think we're leather twins ;-) (not that there's anything wrong with that, although it SOUNDS wrong...) So what is your favorite leather? By the way, your new spring dress is just a stunner! I think it fits the personality of your blog perfectly.

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger katiedid said...

I like that salty - it makes me think of salt water, and so in my mind the Creed Cuir falls into my own category the "ocean leather."

I didn't like this one so much all by itself, since I wanted a little bit of growl underneath it. But on top of really dry incense scents it works nicely for me.

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am honored to be your leather twin. I think Judith (lilybp) might be our triplet :-) Gosh, I don't know what my favorite leather is. I'd say Chanel Cuir de Russie and Kolnisch Juhten. But I love Cuir Mauresque too...and S-ex...and I have a strong feeling I am forgetting something.

8:40 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ocean Leather is a great description! I also loved "a little bit of growl underneath". I agree that CdeR lacks it. There is something...dirty and wild lurking there, but it is just a hint of it, not a real growl :-)

8:41 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I also don't think will like this one. Which one is your favorite Creed?

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I tried Ambre Canelle once and really liked it. I should re-try to see if it realy was full bottle worthy. So fat my most favorite Creed is Angelique Encens.

11:28 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

No comment on the scent, M, but love the new look! Congrats to you, and kudos to Katie.

2:40 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, R! Everytime I open the blog I can't believe it is actually mine :-) Katie rocks.

2:43 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much!
There is something in the bloging air, Blogger was down last week too. So frustrating.

3:32 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely Review! I love a good leather scent but this one has never really done it for me. The lasting power on me is very poor so I could never justify spending a lot of money for it. Being a huge Creed fan, this was a let down. I always seem to fall in love with a Creed scent eventually, though. When I first smelled Santal Imperial, it did nothing for me, now I think it may be my favorite in the line. And Royal Water was the same way. So maybe I'll revisit it in a few more months and it will be different for me.

5:12 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Hopefully CdeR will grow on you. I agree though that it is not particularly long lasting. Not compared to other Creeds that last and last on me.

5:36 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "salty" note is probably from ambergris. I am an amateur (VERY amateur!) perfumer, and I have created several Russian Leather-type blends for my own use. At first I was using just castoreum, but the results were always too deep and frankly uninteresting. Then I discovered that using more ambergris and just a touch of castoreum produced a lighter and more pleasant "leather" scent.
If any of you want to try making your own basic leather cologne/perfume, the ingredients are fairly simple: ambergris, castoreum, cade (or birch tar oil), sweet birch oil (or wintergreen oil), mandarin (tangerine) oil, bergamot, orris (or methyl ionone gamma supreme), vetivert, sandalwood, frankincense, elemi, benzoin, vanilla (I actually prefer coumarin), guaiacol (just a trace!). You can add other floral notes if you wish, to make it more "feminine"; spice notes can of course be added as well. It's great fun!

9:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops! I forgot that a touch of neroli (orange blossom oil) is also included in the classic "Russian leather" mixture.

10:06 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Neal,
This is fascinating, thank you so much for your comment! You make it sound so easy that, if I happened to have these ingredients, I would have started mixing right now...
Did you make these scents for your own use or do you have clients/a store/website?

10:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, colombina...
I play around with mixing up scents purely for my own enjoyment. This resulted from my having learned to make incense a few years ago; after that, I became fascinated (obsessed, some would say) with trying to figure out all the notes in various fragrances).
Mixing scents isn't difficult -- making a fragrance that's outstanding isn't easy at all. Oddly enough, natural aroma materials (essential oils, absolutes, etc.) are easier for the amateur to find than are the multitude of aroma chemicals used by the big-name fragrance manufacturers. However, when you're using natural aroma materials, the results are more variable, due to natural variations in what mother nature has created. Your resulting scents are also going to probably be richer and "thicker" than what you have encountered in the bottles of perfume you buy. That is something the amateur maker has to realize and accept right away. Consequently, a fragrance made with natural materials is likely going to contain far fewer ingredients than one made with all or nearly all synthetic materials.
Incidentally, I found that just a touch of (synthetic) civet in the "leather" mixture is good, too.

7:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Civet and leather are a match made in heaven :_)

8:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've found another aroma ingredient that works well in a leather mixture: labdanum. In dilution, it also adds a soft rose-like scent, which I wonder might account for the rose notes in some leather fragrances.

11:43 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad you said that, because I often sense a floral aspect (I can't say it is necessarily rose, just a "flower") in labdanum. I guess it is such a multifaceted note, one can smell lots of things in it :-)

2:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever I smell pure labdanum, I think of antique wood and paper, dark honey, dried fruits, and dried flowers. I like adding it to my incense mixtures as well (for burning).

1:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally bought a small decant of Creed's "CdR", and I agree that its leather note is indeed tricky and quite different from that of other leather scents I've encountered. I have a pair of new leather work gloves here at home that come the closest to the kind of dry, subtle leather scent in this fragrance. I admit, I am puzzled by this one. I'm wondering whether they used ambroxan, whose fragrance I've seen described as "ambergris, old paper, sweet, labdanum, dry". When I smell the contents of my little jar of ambroxan, I just don't "get" labdanum, though. To me, the ambroxan also has a kind of cedar-y element, and I mean the New World cedar, which isn't a true cedar, but rather a type of cypress (Azzaro's "Visit" must be absolutely loaded with ambroxan and/or Cedramber. Visit almost nauseates me, btw.)
The citrus top notes are pretty straightforward: neroli dominates. I was able to stir up a mixture of neroli, lemon, mandarin, and bergamot that to my nose smells almost exactly like the one I find in the Creed fragrance. In fact, on first sniff of this CdR, my immediate thought was "fruity-citrus blast!".
On my skin, the scent doesn't last very long, but then.. very few scents do, since I seem to have the metabolism of a hummingbird.

3:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no expert, but it always struck me that Cuir de Russie always smells like lagavulin whiskey (salt and peat).

11:04 AM EDT  

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