Tag Archives: Cuir de Russie

Aide de camp… Cuir de Russie by Chanel The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter


He is an angular officer of the Tsar’s cavalry mounted on the back of a black thoroughbred horse.

Worldy, sensual, rough and exotic.

Yet at once, so you like to imagine, he has his vulnerabilities.

Imperceptible to others, he offers you, you fancy, glimpses of tenderness, hints at a struggle within vast and unending as the Russian Steppes themselves.

He is hide: black, burnished, animal and unclean.

He is not the polite, precise, bridled up leather of French equipage: a decorative saddle or bag fit only for fops on manicured ponies.

He is military leather, hardened by battle and burned birch.

A boot of a man, impervious to the elements and sentiment, unyielding and unconscious of compromise.

But wait, something does indeed reside beneath that apparently impenetrable surface.

With St Petersburg and the unconquerable splendour of Empire so too must come the soft underbelly. The Caucuses, the conquered kingdoms of Mohammedans, Cossacks and Stans.

A stolen kiss deposited at the back of his neck finds it redolent of the souk: cardamom, the charcoal burner of the water pipe and its sweet and flavoured tobacco, a slow cooking stew of meats and fruits and spices.

Retrace his steps. In your mind retrace his steps.

Travel through the bazaar of boots and belts and bags, cured to disguise from whence they came. Beyond the army supplier’s oleaginous smiles and eternal deals, without the Medina’s walls: here resides the truth.

The Tannery.

It’s filth, it’s excretia, it’s putrefaction. Its peerless beauty.

The inevitable and unbearable pain that brings forth such beauty.

And it is all too much amongst the stink of the skins.

He raises a pomade of flowers and bergamot to his nose, hoping hopelessly to ward off the evil.

Spinning on sculpted heal, turning his back on what actually is, he lights an old pipe with Spanish tobacco and departs in search of solace, anonymous sex and narcotic amnesia.

He will be yours for a moment, an hour, a day perhaps.

Then the next he will be another woman’s, another man’s and then another’s.

And so it goes on, inevitably, the decline into dust.

He is the angular officer of the Tsar’s cavalry mounted on the back of a black thoroughbred horse that every man and every woman wants to be or be with.

Cuir de Russie, even in its current, tamed, “dressage” form is an epic among the cuir class of scents.

Smoky, spicy, dirty, animal, burnt, hurt, floral, haunting.

This is perhaps the most anthropomorphic fragrance ever created.

A portrait in perfume of a leather-clad lover from the last days of imperial Russia.

A hopeless, joyous, pyrrhic but not-at-all pointless passion.

Perverse passion.

As with every aristocrat of a declining Empire, this officer is open to offers from anyone… at the right price.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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All the fun of the fair… Last of the Summer Scents Part II An Essay in Fragrances and Photographs


A public holiday in London today… the last one of the Summer.

The last one in fact until Winter is with us and we celebrate Christmas.

So what better way to go out than with a bang, a whoop, a scream, a whirl and a whoosh of steam?

The whoosh in fact of Carter’s Steam Fair which took up it’s customary place on ‘the East End’s lungs’: Victoria Park today.

Do enjoy the colours, and a few perfumed proposals, some serious, some just fragrant fun… just like the fair itself.

The Swing Carousel


The Spitfire


The Motorcycle Carousel


The Dodgems


Ice Cream Van


The Octopus


Candy Floss?


The Shooting Gallery


The Motorcar Carousel


Cuddly Toy Prizes


The Coconut Shy


The Grand Carousel


So there we have it… a few scented snaps.

I wonder whether all the connections are evident?

Perhaps some are a little puzzling.

But then The Dandy does like a riddle…

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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