Reviews of Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

    Find out more about Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Sly2scents's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    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

    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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.

    8/10

    28th February, 2014 (Last Edited: 09th November, 2014)

    deadidol's avatar



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    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

    iivanita's avatar

    Croatia Croatia

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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

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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

    teardrop's avatar

    England England

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    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

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    katchan's avatar

    United States United States

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    A fruity vanilla top note gives way to a delightful leather and wood drydown. I could wear this everyday.

    12th January, 2012

    iodine's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    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

    Odile's avatar



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    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

    sherapop's avatar

    United States United States

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    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)

    calnadur's avatar

    Switzerland Switzerland

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    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's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    TwoWordReviews's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    almasinti's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    Primrose's avatar

    United States United States

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    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

    MFJ's avatar



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    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

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    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

    moss1310's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cuir Ottoman is amazing. It opens with a strong, luxurious leather scent. The leather stays through the wear. Notes of wood and tobacco come through to me. There is a slight floral or vanilla tht begins to open up and soften it, but never makes it sweet. I have tried to many leather scents to count, and this is definitely the one that achieves complexity without betraying the essence of leather.

    10th March, 2009

    Stereotomy's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    Leather and Iris, that's what I got when I sprayed this on my arm. The scent dries down to a less vanillic Bulgari Black, a bit more subdued and refined.

    Classy offering, definitely wearable for a man, but nothing groundbreaking.

    08th March, 2009

    surreality's avatar

    United States United States

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    Cuir Ottoman starts off rather boozy, for the first five minutes I could smell is a note that reminds me of Jack Daniel's Old No7. The floral heart notes start to creep in on top of the boozy note with the leather not far behind; at this point in its development Cuir Ottoman seems to lose coherence, becoming a raucous cacophony of rather synthetic smelling notes. The iris comes in adding an earthiness and a little dirt but it still seems muddled by the time the basenotes are fully apparent.

    After all of the good words I have read about this fragrance, I wish I could find a redeeming factor... but it eludes me. This is an unbalanced, muddled, synthetic smelling mess of a fragrance; all in all quite a horrid scent.

    27th January, 2009 (Last Edited: 01st February, 2009)

    moltening's avatar

    Thailand Thailand

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    Slightly dirty and kinky leather with iris, fruits, and something balsamic. Intoxicating sillage. A guilty pleasure.

    09th January, 2009

    SirSlarty's avatar

    United States United States

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    Interesting, this smells like leather and... candy powder. Like Romeo Gigli for men. Leather and florals in reality, it just doesn't get anywhere else aside from SweeTarts dipped in tanning solution. Smells very well construction but definintely not for me to wear.

    17th November, 2008

    PigeonMurderer's avatar

    Finland Finland

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    I will join to the neutral reviewers gang here.

    CO is a nice, well done leather scent, but it doesn`t deliver me any particular vibrations.
    Dark, little bit chemichal burnt styrax note and oily leather engaged with iris, jasmine and some balsams. Nice blend, but it really lacks that wow-factor plus overall impact despite the reasonably edgy character. I`m not quite sure whats wrong with it, but it really doesn`t melt my heart at all.

    For the fan of Aoud Cuir d`Arabie and Knize Ten like me, this just isn`t that satisfying fragrance.

    15th November, 2008

    taliaseki's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    The very first note made a flash scent memory from childhood. The old sewing machine of mum; the lubricating grease combined with the leather strain on the metal wheel you run with foot. In ten minutes you notice leather but synthetic and metalic note stays over leather for half an hour. beside being very chemical to my nose the leather note in it is not the soft alluring note of tabac blond or daim blond but the cloying and masculine note in the royal english leather by creed.

    22nd September, 2008

    FloatingPoint's avatar

    United States United States

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    When this first goes on it smells like soft, exquisite, freshly-tanned leather. I find it quite intoxicating. As it dries down it takes on a fruitier character, although I can't quite identify the fruits other than to say it's a mix of berries, though they never turn sweet, exactly.

    Vibert mentioned a "vinegary" phase in his review. I pick up a note of balsamic vinegar on certain occasions when I wear this, though not always. I can't say I find it a particularly pleasant note (although I love balsamic vinegar on salad) and it's the only mark against this fragrance in my book. Who wants to smell like vinegar? Fortunately, I only detect it intermittently.

    Not for everyone, but definitely worth trying.

    01st July, 2008

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