Cuir de Russie (Russian Leather)

Description of this perfume by Le Jardin Retrouve recalls The Ballet Russe, image of great Nijinsky and his soft leather boots. Opera houses, wooden floors and velvet curtains.  


Here I am, closing my eyes and gently spraying it on my skin, trying to recall my memories of Moscow in November, scent of an old theatre building, color of the sky above.

What a surprise! It didn’t take me back to the Bolshoi. It took me back to my early years. Images rushed in, childhood memories brought back by traces of violets and powdery scent of Cuir de Russie: my grandfather smelled like that!

He was a man with bright blue eyes, heritage of my great-grandmother Juliana, Hungarian born beauty with soft hands and hard life. I remember her trying to teach me how to swear in Hungarian and laughing hard at my attempts. I didnt’t understand a word but I was perfectly aware that it was something really naughty.

I remember watching him shave with a razor blade, slowly and patiently, almost ritually, hand moving with precise certainty, stroke after stroke, never cutting himself. He would than apply aftershave, its scent filling my nostrils. 

A hunter he was, my late grandfather Karlo, before WW II came, after which he couldn’t and wouldn’t hold a weapon anymore. 

A gentleman, with beautiful handwriting, old Austro-Hungarian empire school. Fine thick lines followed by thin lines in forming letter after letter. All beautifully written letters perfectly aligned and shaped, almost artistic in all the detail. 

That kind of elaborate handwriting was privilege of men with higher education in his time. People just don’t write like that anymore…and yes, he and Yuri Gutsatz belonged to the same era. 

He sported deep green hunter blazers, the kind with round leather buttons, feeling wooly and rough against my face, smelling warm and cuddly. He smoked a pipe and let me play with it.

Leather boots as well, shiny and light brown, soft inside. He polished them meticulously, I remember. 

This is my childhood olfactory memory linked to Cuir de Russie: image of my grandfather freshly shaved, dressed in starched neatly pressed shirt and pure wool trousers, pulling on his leather boots in a soft Autumn afternoon. He would take me for walks in an oak forest, its scent and colors so earthy and rich, my hand safely clutching his. 


On my skin Cuir de Russie had an opening with a rush of juniper. Raisin flavor in my mouth. First minutes are energetic and strong, a grand opening. Then I found violets gently protruding as the notes slowed down in a fine symphony of soft violets with a touch of ylang-ylang. A trace of cinnamon, barely noticeable but underlining. 

It is not overly leathery on my skin, it turned to a rather earthy, soft woody closure. Yet I kept coming back to it, bringing my wrist up to my nose every now and then, with anticipation of joy.

This is a long-lasting, subtle, elegant and refined perfume, definitely unisex and I highly recommend you wear it during Indian Summer evenings…or maybe just for a morning stroll in the open,  your feet shuffling leaves on the ground, acorn crackling under your feet. It will certainly make you feel classy and content with yourself. It brings a feeling of warm melancholy, sweet old memories…Or just wear it anytime and create new ones!

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl

Samples of perfumes provided by Le Jardin Retrouve

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