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.
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.
Every week, I get at least three or four emails from people seeking fragrance recommendations. The vast majority of them are men, but there are some women, too. Most of them are not long-time readers of the blog and have simply stumbled upon it, so they don’t know my long-time favorites that I talk about often, but a few are subscribers who seek specific suggestions. Sometimes, people start by giving me a brief idea of their tastes and/or names of prior fragrances they’ve worn. Typically, though, the information is insufficient for me to know what might really suit them, so I write back with a list of questions, trying to narrow down what notes they have issues with or love best, how they feel about sweetness or animalics, how their skin deals with longevity or projection, and what sort of power they want in both of those last two area.
What I’ve noticed is that I tend to make certain recommendations time and time again for particular genres or fragrance families. So, I thought I would share them with all of you. However, please keep in mind that these names are in response to some pretty set criteria given to me by the person in question, even though many of those factors end up being quite similar. For example, the men who like dark, bold, rich or spicy orientals all seem to want a certain sillage or “to be noticed in a crowd,” as several have put it. In contrast, most of those who want clean, crisp scents prefer for them to be on the discreet side and suitable for professional business environments. Men whose favorites are classical designer scents that fall firmly within the fougère, green, fresh, or aromatic categories (like Tuscany, Guerlain’s Vetiver, or vintage Eau Sauvage, for example) tend to want very traditional scents, even “old school” in vibe, and not something sweet, edgy, or with a twist. So, that is what I try to give them as recommendations, which means that there are a whole slew of fragrances that fall outside the category.