I was always intrigued by Russia, for it’s a country of contrasts. It’s a place where richness clash with poverty, where you can find luxurious objects and old, destroyed things. I was also curious why so many perfume with words such as “russian” or “russe” are either ambers of leathery composition. I have not found the answer yet but who cares, if they smell fabulous. Another one that I found is no exception. It smells incredibly good, especially that it’s a fragrance journey… or a trip diary.
Upon first whiff Memo Russian Leather takes me for an imaginary walk in coniferous forest. Pine tree accord becomes obvious as soon as I apply a single spray on my skin. This very aromatic, uplifting tone is the source of freshness, an icy cold freshness. Just a few minutes later lavender joins the composition and adds herbal touch to the aromatic opening. Not only it warms up the composition so that it doesn’t feel icy cold anymore, it also adds some gently floral tones. Mint – a crispy and chilly note of this perfume cools down the perfume again. It’s a mysterious forest indeed.
Once we wander deeper into this forest (taiga?), the perfume becomes more embracing. At some point it warms up for good, you leave the icy impressions behind and welcome the warm ones ahead. Memo Russian Leather at this point smells of cedar. But the scent is refreshing, crispy and a bit like a tree sap. The note is described by brand by cedar needles – so let it be as they say. Then tonka bean arrives, adding a lot of creamy, sensual warmth with hints of delicate spiciness and woody tones. Some coriander adds more spicy vibe but its paper-dry.
It takes around 30-40 minutes before I was able to smell leather directly. I mean earlier it was appearing somewhere in the background & assisting other notes that were stronger. Now leather is the accord that starts to dominate. It feels surprisingly cosy. On my skin it has a soft, almost plushy fragrance. It feels rich but at the same time it’s gentle, to not use a word caring. It’s continuously warm and this aspect is additionally highlighted by some spicy aspects. like earlier mentioned coriander, among others. I also find it really seductive in its unique way.
Leather chord lasts on my skin for a really long time, probably 4 hours or so. In the meantime it was rather constant, I was able to smell tonka, woods, spicy elements. Lavender or pine from the opening stage were definitely less present, almost not present. You could compare this stage of Memo Russian Leather to a taiga wanderer who took a break and decided to camp by a fireplace. Then he resumes his trip and enters the forest again. This time it’s winter green scenery. Basil appears for a truly green impression. It has support of clary sage that reintroduce an herbal feeling. This particular note also gives the sweaty effect that brings more masculine vibe to the perfume.
Cypress and fern make you feel as if you were really in the forest, sitting on a fallen tree that is covered with moss. Positive thing is that all these notes smell warm and quite welcoming. I would definitely classify Russian Leather as fougere now. Rosemary along with juniper (this one is not officially mentioned but I think it’s there) introduce a slightly metallic, cold berry vibe. Nutmeg adds a dry, warm facet that makes me think of wooden bark. Addition of guaiac wood adds depth to the composition. Hint of patchouli gives dimension and wraps everything together.
Russian Leather by Memo is a multi-faceted fragrance with many layers and surprising twists. I really enjoyed wearing it and imaginary trip to Russian tundra was an interesting treat. I’m glad the perfume kept me warm in austere cold condition of that region. This perfume is kind of like a fur coat, perhaps that’s why founders decided to put a wolf howling to the moon on the front of Russian Leather flacon. Perfumer behind this composition is Alienor Massenet.