Instead of merely writing Chanel’s Cuir de Russie off as a scrubber, and attempting to write a hilarious “Things I Hate” post, I’m going to test the theory that our sense of smell is highly influenceable.
Rachel Herz is an expert in the psychology of smell (and also writes great books) who has demonstrated that our scent perception is extraordinarily easy to manipulate: get some people in a room and tell them their smelling putrid socks and they gag. Get another group of people in a room, with the same aroma, and tell them it’s Parmesan cheese, and suddenly it’s yummy. Where’s the pizza?
So… I’m going to conduct my own little experiment, in which I try and figure out what it is I don’t like about Cuir de Russie, and see if I can’t convince my brain to come round to liking it. Maybe even loving it.
First, I’ll wear it (again) and figure out what I don’t like. Then, I’ll do some selective reading; I will read only positive, flattering reviews or comments. I’ll wear it again, and then repeat the process until… Well, until I decide that I genuinely like it, or I get bored trying, in which case I’ve got a category ready and waiting to embrace it.
Usually I avoid excessively long posts, but I think it will be best to present the whole process in one complete package. Read on, if I’ve piqued your interest…
What I hate about Cuir de Russie
- Cuir de Russie is an angry, smelly bear, and it wants to eat my face. The opening notes assault me, they are two-fold: powerfully citrus and grossly animalic. It smells Yellow and Brown. Like piss poured over a fart (to borrow imagery from George R.R. Martin). Gross. Must scrub, have no more strength for this today.
- Basenotes (just the thumbs-up reviews).
- Bois de Jasmin. Victoria’s star rating: 5 stars (outstanding/potential classic)
- Chanel website description (A rich, woody Oriental enhanced with leather notes…)
End-of-Day sniff: (Skipped for Love, Chloe)
Spraying very liberally (10 spritzes? 12? maybe more?) this morning, already my CdR experience has improved dramatically since yesterdays Positive Review Therapy*. I’m surprised to find that not only is the offensive fecal note no longer present, but that I actually smell a rich floral blend suspended on aldehydes. I don’t love it, but my interest is piqued by the quick change of perception since yesterday before the blog-therapy.
- Today I will wear Cuir de Russie to work at the bookstore, and plenty of it, to see how the public reacts.
- A co-worker exclaimed (startling me in the process) when I walked by, “Danielle, you always smell good, but today you smell especially great!”
- Another co-worker, one who knows about the project, sniffed me, and eyes wide informed me “That smells really good.”
- I am told by two people (not the two mentioned above) that I smell “powdery.”
End-of-Day sniff: I broke the spray nozzle with my AM enthusiasm, so I have to unscrew the atomizer to get some on. Here goes: I’m noticing the aldehydes first off, and the resemblance to the Classic Chanel’s is much more apparent— how did I not see this before? I’m still experiencing olfactive dissonance, but I’m also embarrassed by what I wrote above (see “What I hate about Cuir de Russie”), however, I feel like I need to leave it unedited for posterity. This is science, after all.
Since the atomizer broke, and dabbing isn’t doing it for me, I’m using the pour-method. That’s where you take off the nozzle and dump a few mL down the front of yourself. It’s a good method. Why doesn’t this have as much sillage as I originally thought? Need more sillage. Since Wednesday, I’ve used up about 4mL of Anne-Marie’s decant.
Bending down to shelve a book, I’m surprised to suddenly discover, there is vanilla in this! New facets are opening up to me— it’s smoother and more accessible today than it has been during any previous wearing. I dump more on after my lunch break; I can’t seem to get enough on.
I like Cuir de Russie.
I cannot believe how easy it was to bring myself round to liking Cuir de Russie. Really liking it. I’ve used a huge amount in the past few days, and feel grateful that I still have another un-touched 5mL decant waiting in the wings. Was this a fluke? Is it just because CdR is such a good scent? The notes appeal to me theoretically, so was it just a matter of learning to overlook a weird moment in the beginning?
… Or, can I come round to liking anything I set my mind to? To answer this question, I’m going to do the experiment again, with something that I have tried many times with zero success: Fracas parfum. Look for the second installment of “It’s not You…” in the weeks to come.