The brand goes all the way back to 1768 when a Russian nobleman called Count Orlof commissioned a brand of perfume from Bayleys of Bond Street in London. The perfume was called ‘Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe’. Russia leather was a high-quality leather exported widely from Russia and recognisable by a distinctive aroma from its birch oil tanning process. In 1921 Bayleys was acquired by Cussons Sons & Co, chaired by Alexander Tom Cussons. It was not until some years later in 1938 that Alex Cussons used the original perfume and created Cussons Imperial Leather soap and other toiletries. The soap was initially called ‘Imperiale Russian Leather’, but was soon renamed to Imperial Leather. In 1975 the Cussons Group was itself acquired by Paterson Zochonis, recently renamed to PZ Cussons.