What a revolutionary perfume Cuir de Russie must have been in its day! It is so masculine, so gender-bending, that I imagine it even would make a huge splash today--and ruffle some feathers. This is classy, classy, classy woman-as-man scent, and it has a certain theatricality to it, a sort of "I'm pushing the limits" cigarry, almost urinous, edginess, but then the florals swoop in, and it says, 'I'm only kidding; I'm just a woman, after all.' Like all classic Chanels, for better (Bois des Iles) or worse (No. 5), this is a super complex thing; it tells a very upper-class story. I imagine one of those virago femme fatales that populate Wodehouse novels wearing this; brassy, horsey, masculine, yet deeply feminine, with hidden urges towards female role-playing that need only the right situation to bring them out. A tour de force, truly, something that both sweeps one's imagination into the past and fits in perfectly into our own postmodern world.