Peau d’Espagne 1872 is the most recent addition to Oriza L. Legrand‘s collection of leather fragrances. It’s supposed to center on Spanish Leather, a specific sub-genre of the leather family of fragrances. I found it to be more of a hybrid, however, that also used Russian Leather and modern isobutyl quinoline methods of leather recreation. I think that makes an olfactory difference, especially if you’re expecting the softer, gentler fragrance style of Spanish leather, so today I’ll talk about the different olfactory ways in which the scent of leather is recreated in perfumery as well as what Peau d’Espagne 1872 smells like in particular.
Oriza L. Legrand‘s recent release, Empire des Indes, is an addictive delight with many faces: spicy floriental; gourmand amber; ambered vanilla; ambered opoponax incense; spicy woody amber; smoky, sweet, spicy resinousness; and a few more. There is even a stage where the fragrance smells like spicy vanilla infused with dark, smoky French Roast coffee on my skin. While Empire des Indes skews a little too sweet on occasion for my personal tastes, I would absolutely wear it for myself and I want to buy a bottle some day soon. I loved it.
Oriza L. Legrand Empire des Indes bottle and packaging. Photo: Oriza
There is not a person alive who has been unaffected by the wretchedness of 2020 and the pandemic that has dominated the list of traumas. I won’t even start to talk about the issues of this year because they are many and all hideous. But what about the escape methods for many of us during the best of times: scent? How much is perfumery still a big escape in the midst of one of the worst years in the 21st century?
The Russian imperial coat of arms and eagle. Source: Wikipedia.
1892 was a year of empires, part of The Golden Age when aristocrats flourished and opulence was the order of the day. It was also the year when Oriza L. Legrand released a leather fragrance designed to appeal to its imperial Russian clients. A few weeks ago, the modern Oriza re-released the scent which it called Cuir de l’Aigle Russe. The name translates to “Leather of the Russian Eagle,” and the fragrance is based on the 1892 original formula with only a few tweaks to conform to modern perfume regulations.
The scent is quite different from what I had expected. To the extent that there is leather, it is the Spanish leather or Peau d’Espagne of Catherine de Medici, not the tarry, smoky birch leather of the Russian cossacks. And the first three hours were something else entirely.