Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

Total Reviews: 45
Cuir Ottoman is my second try from Parfum d'Empire, after Ambre Russe, and I detect a connection to Ambre Russe, but Cuir Ottoman is more middle-of-the-road, at the meeting of several different types of fragrances: leathery, powdery with the iris, resinous with tolu balsam and benzoin, and spiky with styrax.

The resins foil the iris excellent, and present a less sharp leather/iris fragrance than, say, Dior Homme Parfum, and I imagine that most of the time, that makes Cuir Ottoman preferable to DHP.

Performance is good, not quite as good as Ambre Russe, but still worthy of the type of scent it is and going rate (retail is $160 for 100ml at Luckyscent).

Overall, this is one I like but don't love. I'm picky enough about leather fragrances that I much prefer the more modest floral leather Knize Ten that I tried earlier this week, for one.

7 out of 10
16th February, 2018
Its nearly Christmas as I write and my nostrils have become well attuned to the smell of Scotch whisky. So, when I was going through a selection of scents today it wasn't difficult to pick up on the opening gambit of Cuir Ottoman as a booze fest for the nose. Not exactly a single malt but not far off...

Later in the winnowing process what turned up was iris. I can't be more specific because it wasn't a perfume review I had in mind but something new for the upcoming festivities.

Can't say that Cuir Ottoman smells much of leather, and neither does it remind me of the land of Turkey, but then, hey, I'm no expert...

23rd December, 2016 (last edited: 04th January, 2017)
Once it gets past the opening, I love this. Very creamy and lovely on me. :-)
26th May, 2016
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02nd April, 2016 (last edited: 11th November, 2016)
A delightful suede/nubuck style leather, with soft resins and a touch of powdery iris. After the heart it pulls back to a skin scent, but this shift to the intimate level does nothing to reduce its charm. Cosy, lived in and comfortable in its own skin, totally solid stuff from P d'E.
23rd September, 2015
It is a quality leather scent, not a butch. It smells elegant with not too much flower and it stays true to leather. So much of that, it seems to me that it sort of lacks other quality that makes it distinguished from other leather perfume. Overall, there really shouldn't be anything to complain about quality. It is well- put- together kind of leather fragrance without special characteristics.
02nd April, 2015
Cuir Ottoman is a very lovely fragrance.
A modern and seductive leather based fragrance with a faint light of classic feeling casting upon it.

After spraying this on your skin there are two notes that will attack your nose right away! iris and musk.
I can also smell other notes like some sort of fruity smell that give the scent a semi fresh feeling and a soft leather in the background, but iris and musk dominating at the start.
If you're a fan of vintage "Dior Homme" with that strong powdery and kind of earthy iris, this fragrance will put a smile on your face!
The leather note here is smooth with a little bit of dirty feeling and mellow smoky vibe which is completely wearable for both genders.
There is also a soft creamy vanilla beside these notes that gives the scent sensual feeling and more depth.

As time passes, that semi fresh fruity scent goes away and at the same time leather amps up. iris and musk still standing strong while incense from the base of fragrance starts to shine and give the scent a little more smoky vibe plus noticeable amount of spices.
The mid of this fragrance is a powdery, musky and dry leathery/smoky scent with kind of spicy/peppery aroma which is very elegant and manly.
The opening was perfectly unisex but I believe the mid is a little bit brutal to be worn by a woman.

The base is very close to the mid as far as the smell but it's smoother.
That strong musky feeling beside the powdery iris may somehow gives us kind of classic vibe but overall it's definitely a modern scent.
Projection is good (not great) but longevity is perfect. around 8-10 hours on the skin which is well enough for me!
23rd February, 2015
Cuir Ottoman -

My new signature scent.

I have been searching for the perfect leather scent, this is the closest thing to it that I have found. Im puzzled by the 'Femenine' label, I thought it was unisex. Anyhow, it's plenty masculine in my opinion...

I understand that this is an oriental leather, made to conjure images and emotions from a once powerful empire. The fragrance is aggressive, strong, at times pungent, but also regal and luxurious.

The opening as has been stated before is an aggressive, powerful, animalic leather. This feels utterly exotic and it is where the images of ottoman conquest are realized. It also reminds me of cavalries, Arabic music, belly dancers, raw leather.
I love this leather opening.

The middle is somewhat tamed, smoky and dry, and a floral (iris I understand) scent begins to creep in. I also detect the so called balsamic note here, very natural and very well balanced with all the other notes. The leather, thankfully, is still prominent.

In the drydown, the leather is still prominent but is now very refined. The floral notes are more prominent and they are gorgeous. I'm reminded of Voyage d'hermes here, but with a pronounced floral note. Here I also detect a powder note. This is where Cuir Ottoman becomes unisex and where such a scent on a woman would make her smell very sexy and intriguing. I'm thinking Angelina Jolie in the film 'The Tourist'. On me, it's still leathery and very much masculine despite the floral and powder note.

The perfume evokes luxury and sophistication throughout, from beginning to end.
Fascinating fragrance.

09th February, 2015
Genre: Leather

Everyone seems to be getting something a bit different out of Cuir Ottoman. Could it be a "chemistry" thing?

For me Cuir Ottoman went on tart, with the leather, a fresh, bitter green note, and something vanillic in the background. During the first hour the opening tart note becomes positively sour - even a touch vinegary - before softening and melding with floral and fruity heart notes and the now-prominent leather in a new accord. The impression is of something sweet and fruity: perhaps a cherry candy wrapped in leather. Odd and intriguing, but also a bit artificial or synthetic to my humble nose.

The tart note continues to fade over the next few hours, allowing the heart to soften, and the fruit and florals blend more completely with the leather. At this stage Cuir Ottoman began to ring familiar, though I couldn't immediately decide why. Then it hit me: Daim Blond. That's right, the Serge Lutens fragrance plays the same kind of fruit and leather game, though perhaps with a bit more finesse.

Leather and vanillic notes hold sway over the drydown, though the sweet floral elements never fully lose their grip. The whole performance takes place close to the skin, with only minimal projection. This is a nice scent, and if you like Daim Blond you probably ought to try it. Me? I'm more compelled by other leathers, including Oud Cuir D'Arabie, Tabac Blond, Knize Ten and Cuir Mauresque. Oh, and mochi227 is right – it’s unquestionably unisex.
12th June, 2014
Wow does this have some kick to it. I would say this is a love or hate fragrance at first sniff. My first impression was I hated it but once it dried down I couldn't help but sniff my wrists every few seconds. In a way its repulsive and intriguing simultaneously. Personally, its too bold for my taste.
04th June, 2014
Opens up with a very realistic leather note - not smoked, not tempered with flowers, not liquored up with hay or amber - just a true, beefy, new coat leather smell. It is not too butch or tarry. Just....realistic. There is a rubbery smell to new leather that is accurately represented here. This rubbery note is very similar to Bvlgari's Black. I may be wrong about this, but to me, this rubbery aspect of leather is created by using a black tea accord, such as Lapsong Souchang. I drink this tea myself, and it tastes exactly like the top notes of this scent (and that of Bvlgari Black).

Having said that, whether you want to smell like a leather coat or new pair of shoes is up to you, really. I felt rather self conscious smelling like this for the 45 minutes that this top note lasted.

The florals come in soon enough, and work to soften up the leather note. The florals to my nose are indistinct - rose, jasmine, iris? I don't know. It just smells like a dusty, powdery, vaguely flowery mix. If pushed, I would say that it reminded me of cosmetic powder from a makeup compact that had spilled into the lining of a leather purse. It is not the freshest smelling floral smell either; this is a purse and spilled cosmetic powder that has been sitting in Auntie May's closet for a season or two.

The base is the usual one used by Parfum D'Empire in their fragrances, and I am delighted to see it turn up. Rich, ambery, resiny, incensy, balsamy goodness.

In short, a well-made perfume, as one expects from this excellent house. Not for me, because if the too realistic, beefy leather up top and the mess of indistinct florals in the middle, but I respect the artfulness and quality of materials.
07th May, 2014
Another win from Parfum d'Empire. Here the name and the composition say it all, so there is not much need to "explain" this - you can expect an Oriental leather/tea scent (the leather is more on the suede side, super soft and hyperrealistic) with a stunning, uplifting opening of round, tasty, talcum-suede sweet base notes, gentle and velvety floral notes (iris), some of Parfum d'Empire's signature notes (notably an earthy oak moss/hay/anise-like accord) and a dusty, golden, warm amber base, which slowly, perfectly blends with leather fading into an evelasting bitter leather drydown. Now if you know vintage Bel Ami, Cuir Ottoman smells a bit like a contemporary, more "transparent", glossy version of it, referencing quite clearly its structure. Sadly, the main problem of Cuir Ottoman, as much as I would really love to love this, it that it is too light for me shortly after the opening, leaving me with a (really) subtle ambery-safraleine accord lasting for hours. Still the first phases are always breathtaking and worth the wear.

28th February, 2014 (last edited: 09th November, 2014)
An easy to wear leather scent that won't give you any grief.

The leather's very realistic, but also very clean — like a new purchase of a leather coat rather than one that's well-worn. There's a dry musky, vanilla floating around in the background that gives the impression of a better developed Bvlgari Black, but there's also an iris aspect to this one that creeps in with that trademark lipstick-y sensation. Overall, it's very pleasant and well put together — a tad tame for me, but well suited for others who want an easy to wear leather scent that won't rough you up in some dark alley.

Pros: Well articulated and easy to wear. Quite versatile in its application, and accomplishes a lot without over complicating it.
Cons: Could benefit from more nuance in the individual notes, perhaps.

25th June, 2013
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in the opening this smells like Chanel no 18 and later as FK Cologne pour le soire,

its benzoin dusty/ cashmire like, dry note with mix of light iris note,much more elegant then Francis Kurkdjian creation...and more complex......les rosey in the middle notes....

smells very woody, is not heavy just light transparent incense note, coming down from the base, balanced sweetness....

very unisex

21st March, 2013

A masterful creation for sure, a modern classic and one of the most realistically leathery (not only at the beginning) scents i've ever experienced. Those which seriously love the leather in perfumery must own this epic fragrance in their collections on the side of some modern pearls as Cuir Pleine Fleur/Fine Leather Heeley or PG Cuir D'Iris and together with the classics as Knize Ten, Derby, Royal English Leather Creed, Cuir de Russie Chanel (where you can smell the iris/leather combo), Cuir de Russie Piver and Cuiron. This fragrance is in my opinion also one of the most sumptuous iris around, a royal combination of iris and leather on the stage of Daimiris Laboratorio Olfattivo and the great Parfumerie Generale Cuir D'Iris (more fruity/spicy and finally barely more woody/vanillic than this). I suppose that the iris is the floral note (among the others) which works better if combined with the note of leather and Cuir Ottoman under my nose is basically a smoky/incensey combination of leather and iris finally soothed by high quality balsams.
The incensey touch is never dusty or invasive and the juice stands out in the air divinely smooth, finally due the interaction of minimal hints of balsams than does not overcast the dominating role of the leather. The standout note of leather is not dirty at all but more properly "carnal" and on this plane i detect the association with the type of Dzing's animal mould. I'm not frankly able to detect any trace of jasmine while catch a faint (just minimal) subsidence of the leathery/smoky mould in the final stage of the trip when the work of iris and benzoin becomes more impressive. A wonderful take on iris/leather more properly masculine in my humble opinion but due to be worn also by some stout women of the world.
16th January, 2013
The opening is a hyper-realistic, plush leather, like a fine pair of shoes. Over the first half-hour, this accord is sweetened by benzoin & incense, & settles fairly close to the skin. As it develops, the scent slowly becomes warmer & more powdery, fading to a smoky, balsamic base, reminding me somewhat of Guerlain's Bois d'Armenie, & lasting a good six hours. A very nice, friendly & comforting leather fragrance.
22nd November, 2012
A truly wonderful and unique scent- a tobacco/leather oriental.

Very subtle and soft, but with long dry down, one can detect patchouli and vetiver in the first blast, before the oriental blend (styrax, benzoin, balsam, frankincense) smooth it all out with a vanilla-like undertone.

The tobacco note is slightly sweet, reminiscent of opening a humidor of fresh pipe tobacco.

A complex winner!
13th November, 2012
It opens with a lovely floral jasmine and iris accord then the shoe polish note joins the mix. After a while when the shoe polish note fades you are left with the floral accord which has slightly sweetned with vanille.

I find this scent to be really weird, the florals are very nice indeed but I do not want to smell like shoe polish.
06th August, 2012
A fruity vanilla top note gives way to a delightful leather and wood drydown. I could wear this everyday.
12th January, 2012
Imagine you're wearing the softest, most comfortable yet extremely refined and elegant pair of violet suede moccasin: that's how I feel when wearing Cuir Ottoman!

The lines above were written after just having sampled the fragrance.
I still subscribe them, but after having bought a full bottle and having being able to enjoy properly the scent, I’ll add something.
The opening is so vividly leathery that you almost feel the soft roughness in your nose. I don’t know how this effect is rendered, olfactorially speaking- birch tar, animalic notes… but it’s like your smell receptors are gently brushed by the microscopic asperities of the inner side of tanned leather. The leather notes gently give way to velvety, enveloping, almost gourmand floral notes- iris being the one I can more easily detect.
The drydown is rich, bittersweet, faintly smoky resinous with incense and benzoin.
The longevity of Cuir Ottoman isn’t impressive, to be honest, nor its sillage: after a few hours the fragrance can be perceived only with close skin sniffing.
Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful perfume, so elegant, yet so easy to wear and definitely perfect with every weather and on every occasion.
14th October, 2011 (last edited: 31st January, 2013)
It's actually pretty bizarre how I don't get any sweetness out of Cuir Ottoman. To me this composition is all about an hyper-realistic leather (brand new bags/shoes), a sort of smoky/woody tea note and orris. Vanilla is not enhanced in its sweet aspect, instead is handled in a very similar way to the one in Dzing (smell of paper/books).

Despite being inspired by the Ottoman Empire this is an extremely modern composition. A soft leather that will, more realistically, appeal to fans of Dzing than other popular floral/leathers.

Personally? I love it! One of the most true to life examples of a luxurious leather jacket.

Totally unisex.
14th September, 2011
Yum yum. This has that butch-meets-femme quality that I love so from Bulgari Black except this is more sultry than cool, more well-worn cowboy leather than kinky rubber. It doesn't blow my olfactory mind but it nonetheless quite delicious and and pleasant to wear. Full bottle worthy. A truly unisex and sensual leather.
03rd July, 2011
Parfums d'Empire CUIR OTTOMAN is a smooth and ever-so-slightly sweet leather with a lovely drydown. The opening seems a bit beefy, but the drydown is definitely worth the wait. I love tolu balsam, benzoin, and orris butter, so no wonder I like this composition. My cat loves this perfume.
02nd July, 2011 (last edited: 11th July, 2011)
Leather and incense is what I get out of it.

Personally I like the latter better than the former.

Interesting scent though, and yes, definitely suitable for guys as well as ladies
26th June, 2011
blueyezz Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Maybe I don't get it - it just smells like cinders that have been doused in chemicals.

Its rare that I find a fragrance so disagreeable, but this is truly hideous.
15th May, 2011
Plastic. Floral.

I guess this doesn't impress me like it does others. The top note smells like a cheap toy in a dusty aisle of a toy store that's seen better days. It has hints of the floral it's trying to be, but comes off as more plastic, vinyl, and synthetic than anything. The effect is that of something that's clearly trying to be something else, but isn't getting it done. If it weren't so banal it would be a scrubber. Right now it's just ... eh.

That said it's not terrible (read my review of ELdO's Rien to see what that smells like). It's just not that good either. As for it being a leather scent, I cannot agree. If you think "thin, dainty, leather driving glove on the hand of someone too old to drive," then maybe. But you're not getting saddles and horseback and cowboy boots (though you might get dust), and you're definitely not getting whipped and dominated. It does not bring the kinky. Plastic + synthetic + dusty - kinky = not for me.
30th April, 2011
This opens with a tannery strength leather burst, which includes a chemical/plastic smell that is not particularly appealing but enhances the feel of authentic, freshly made leather, still off-gassing its chemical components. Amber thickens the scent trail, like butter opening the flavors of food, making the scent very rich. There is a lightly floral and incense component which hangs around and as the leather scent settles down, this becomes a very satisfying fragrance. If you like leather, this is definitely worth trying.
15th March, 2011
Cuir Ottoman is, hands down, my all-time favourite leather floral. I would rank this with my love for Chanel's Cuir de Russie. Cuir Otttoman has a true leather scent (as others have noted) mixed with florals. The leather note at the top stands apart from the jasmine and iris, then warms down to a very subtle vanilla/benzoin. Longevity and sillage are both good and I find most eau de parfum offerings from Parfum d'Empire to be of this quality.
02nd June, 2010
A thick, woody leather, with a very good dose of buttery iris. There is a sweet ambery and resinous complexion to Cuir Ottoman that makes this composition a rather rich one. One of the best leather representations I have experienced.
18th March, 2010
If you like your leather scent to be less floral but more leather-like, look no further. This is the real deal. Unlike fine leather impressionists such as Heeley's Cuir Pleine Fleur and Serge Lutens' Daim Blond, CUIR OTTOMAN's florals are subdued enough to allow for a more realistic projection of the leather scent you smell off shoes, bags, even furniture. There is also a certain dry 'saltiness' about it that reminds me of preserved fruits and I find myself salivating. While I can imagine men wearing this, this is not for me - I don't wish to smell like a pair of shoes. I also think the only women who can pull this scent off with panache are the leather-clad rock chicks. But then again, with that much leather in their attire, they probably won't be needing this scent at all.
01st October, 2009