According to the house of Caron, the yatagan was a Turkish saber once used by the fierce, proud horsemen of the Ottoman empire, with a ‘curved and finely sharpened blade’, its very name hinting unambiguously at the unmerciful, sheath-laden phallus and its inexorable, compulsory conquests.

A virile journey: a battle in the sour-thighed, chest-rugged stakes with a similarly resolute fragrance, Piver’s classic Cuir de Russie. Both flowerless, dry, rugged creatures, expertly constructed to throw up jaw-clenched, fist ready accents as the accords develop within their worn, leathery hearts and they prepare to slay their (knee-buckling, pliant, and often extraordinarily willing), victims.

Yatagan is severe: dry, spicy, with precious woods, artemisia, styrax, and a good, healthy dose of sweaty leather. It is a pine forest: our frowning Saracen alone, in battle garb, listening to the trees and the smell of the soil.

In the distance are snow-capped mountains.

The Turk, growling, quite sure of himself, is a more ferocious stalwart than his Russian counterpart, and we watch him prowl his terrain; alert, ever-ready to wield his not inconsiderable weapon.

Later, when finally reaching home, exhausted, there is a lingering of smoke and incense as his wife pulls off his damp clothes by the fiery light of the hearth and she administers, lovingly, a sweet and sincere kiss to his rough and weathered cheeks.

Cuir de Russie is the smell of a proud cossack’s boots: animalic, manly, and polished, as he rides out across the steppes in his attempt to slay the Turk. While similar in theme, the cossack is more swarthy, rugged and sour, has more tobacco, a wide, salacious splendour of dry leather. More convivial too: there is humour in this vodka-swigging man: refinement even, though never ostentation….




Filed under Leather, Masculines, Perfume Reviews


  1. brie

    Fantastically written post!!!

    and WHERE DO YOU FIND these obscure perfumes that I have never heard of….I am amazed!

    • ginzaintherain

      Glad you liked it; I felt like a bit of gruff.

      Both these can be found at Les Senteurs in London, or they could last time I looked. It’s nice such brutishly elegant scents still exist, I think (though you wouldn’t catch me dead in them!)

  2. Stephen

    Great description of Yatagan, it’s on my ‘in constant rotation’ shelf! Could you tell me though, where did you get the Cuir de Russie? Was it a sample you were given? Your writing is very vivid and, honestly makes me want to track some down. No problem buying Yatagan, it’s available for around $35 for 100mls. A bargain! Cuir de Russie I have never seen despite my hours of trawling †he interwebz, so I would love to know where it can be purchased online.

    • ginzaintherain

      I am not sure; I know it is very cheap, and can, or could, be found in the UK in various places such as Les Senteurs and I think Cologne and Cotton.

      Perhaps I exaggerate its features, I don’t know. I just remember that it did smell very full and leathery, and that a friend of mine fell in love with it. The bottle was nice too. No masterpiece, but a great cuir standby I would say.

      If I can find it online I will let you know!

    • ginzaintherain

      Try Fragrantica and Amazon
      : LT Piver

  3. I’ve previously heard (read) about Yatagan and thought it would be interesting to try it one day but I’ve never come across the second perfume in your review (not that I would want to smell like cossack 😉 ).

  4. Marina

    I’ve been thinking leather. Knowing me would it suit me? The Yatagan? Or another?

    • Yatagan is more for Duncan I reckon but you never know. Let me think.

    • Personally I love leather as a back note (No 19, Cabochard, even Shalimar) rather than the full strident hide, but I can imagine you being quite stunning in a full leather; your skin does drink things up though and make them delicate, so perhaps you WOULD need a forceful leather, come to think of it. I would just smell like a skank as my skin does exactly the opposite. Always hones straight in on the base.

  5. Rafael

    This launched the year I went off to school. I haven’t been without a bottle since. It adds the final “masculine” note to some of the other winter fragrances I like to wear closer to the cuff. I’m just back from Peru and scored a bottle of Mugler’s Angel Shower Gel at the Duty Free. This topped off with Yatagan made for a wonderful combination. Rather like eating spice-infused dark chcocolate truffles after having bedded the better part of the Navy.

  6. Katy

    It is the herbaceous aspects of Yatagan that I adore. When I wear it, I feel like I have been hanging out in a Middle Eastern Kitchen and have magically absorbed all the wonderful herbs. I think this can be worn quite successfully by a woman, but go easy and apply it to skin. I wear Cabochard, as well, the modern iteration. One of my favorite soft leathers is Elizabeth Taylor’s Black Pearl, peach and suede. I also happen to have a tube of the Angel shower gel and I am so layering that with Yatagan! Sounds delicious!

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