Launched in 2016 by Parisian niche fragrance house MEMO Russian Leather is part of their Cuirs Nomades series, which ‘explores the leather note through six emblematic destinations, from Africa to Italy.’ For the Molloys, it’s all about the journey.
Russian Leather opens with a green, herbal, mint-tinged note of basil. Its camphourous facet makes my nostrils flare. This is followed by a beautiful Fougere accord: lavender, medicinal and anisic; it amplifies the basil. A note of lichen smells earthy and mossy, while coumarin adds its distinct hay-like smell to the mix. Together they usher in more green notes: clary sage, fern and pine. Top notes blend to give Russian Leather a green, slightly sweet-smelling start that is soothing and surprisingly seductive.
As it settles, it gets richer and woody from cedarwood, but what I really get is a gust of cool bracing Arctic air blowing owing over it all. It comes from a note of refreshing green mint. Rosemary, camphorous and herbal and spicy-sweet nutmeg stop the mint from wandering into mouthwash territory. Now the stage is set for the Russian leather, and it’s a beauty; the rich, sensuous smell of supple, worn leather boots. Guaiac Wood, smoky and tar-like, provides a campfire. Sweet, dark, earthy patchouli is the perfect base for this EDP to rest on.
The dry-down is green, slightly sweet, woody, and so sophisticated. To me, it's green-forward more than it is leather-forward because this is the exploration of a leather note from a journey through the forest in winter, after all.
Russian Leather isn’t the sweaty smell of trekking all day in the frozen forest. It’s the romantic idealization of it which makes it the perfect scent for winter and one of the best forest fragrances made.
Notes: basil, Fougere accord, cedarwood, pine, coriander, mint, rosemary, nutmeg, Guiac wood, patchouli, tonka bean, leather, clary sage, cypress absolute.