Cuir de Russie: A Chanel Parfums Experience.


I was invited by my dear old friend Chew Lin??who I met back in my NS MUNing days to go smell some perfumes with her at the Chanel Boutique in Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore. But even that description feels pedestrian when set against what we actually ended up doing. What we did in the end really was an experience. A uniquely Chanel experience I must add, at once luxurious and yet at the same time, perfectly functional. It was meant to educate us, the uninformed consumer, to make me aware of all that Chanel had to offer on a whole, but at the same time – give me a taste of what perfumes can and really should be.

As we sat down in front of our perfumes specialist, Jean Loy, we were introduced to a table filled with little ceramic "wands" or blotters, to give them their proper name. And as I sat at this magical table, I was taken on a journey, through florals, woods, aromatics and orientals. I am so in awe now of the range of possibilities, and at the same time, reverential, of the process and the history behind each and every scent. What I did come away with though was a newfound respect for smell, and how as Jean so aptly put, we've lost our ability to smell. It's so fundamental, and yet, as I was taken through each and every scent, I came to realise how un-nuanced I was when describing smell, and how unable to discern subtlety one can be at times.

Not to sound sycophantic, but I now have a newfound respect for the House of Chanel, and really do want to go out and buy myself the two perfumes that you see I managed to cadge samples of as well as Egoiste: A manly, peppery, and yet intimate and well constructed scent. Also – Cuir de Russie: A deliciously woody, leathery scent, and yet balanced, without any of the "freshness" that you find in modern scents that feels so faddish but are probably here to stay. And of course, last but certainly not least: No. 5 (EDT). It is highly reminiscent of the classic 5 parfum, but places a stronger emphasis on the sandalwood and spoke to my animal brain, bringing up many happy memories of my childhood.??

I cannot wait to go make take a trip to 31 Rue Cambon (Coincidentally, a Chanel perfume) , and soak in all that Chanel is. And who knows, come away with yet another experience to remember.

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