Positive 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

    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

    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)

    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

    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

    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

    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

    Ordinary Girl's avatar

    England England

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    Smoking handbags was the considered opinion of my chap when I wafted my be-Ottomaned wrist under his nose.

    I tend to agree...when I first put this on, I could just smell very pure tobacco and leather notes...

    I guess the holy grail of the perfumier is to create a fragrance that makes people want to describe it in adjectives that are nothing to do with actual smell, but which instead conjure up a place or a feeling. Unfortunately all too often this results in a narcolepsy-inducing bog-standard fruity floral "celebrity" perfume...but what a find!...Cuir Ottoman succeeds completely in this for me, reminding me of my grandfather's study, all expensive wood and ancient books and fine brandy.

    I don't get any floral notes at all, weirdly, but am only just starting to train my nose to fine gradations of scents. There is a fairly strong suggestion of incense (not sure what the technical term is), and generic timber too.

    More of a winter fragrance I think - but it's comparative lack of sweetness means it doesn't cloy in the summer - I wear it to work every now and then. I love the sillage and its reassuring cuddliness. It's strong and reassuring and Mr. Darcyish, but so reminiscent of luxury-goods I think it would be happily at home on either a woman or a man.

    The comparisons to Tabac Blond are interesting....I had high expectations for TB but found it sharp and uni-dimensional and air-freshener-y...sort of like a stroppy, aggressive businesswoman who thinks she's being assertive and go-getting but actually just alienates people ...Cuir Ottoman is the same sort of genre of perfume I think, but for me, CO is like a businesswoman who's as fabulously calm, stylish and kind as she is talented and capable. Definitely a thumbs-up from me.

    19th June, 2008

    Sugandaraja's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Like some of the reviewers before me, I find the variety of interpretations as to just what this fragrance smells like are quite surprising.
    Bearing in mind that I'm relatively new to the fragrance world and this is my first test of this fragrance, here is what my nose tells me.
    Cuir Ottoman opens with a sweet, powdery, almost tangy violet note. This is probably caused by the orris, but the orris here is so strongly modified by the other florals as to send it directly into violet territory. The scent almost reminded me of Parma Violet candies, which were favorites of mine as a kid.
    The leather entered fairly soon after the brightness of the top notes faded, but it's very soft. While related to the leather note in Tabac Blond - the closest as far as my nose has experienced - it's far, far more mellow than that leather or for that matter, any of the other leathers I've tried. If this was translated into leather, it would be sueded cotton. It is, however, a realistic leather note, especially as its presence becomes more noticeable in the dry down.
    I didn't sense the other florals too strongly. I think I might have smelled a touch of rose, but no jasmine, despite it being listed.
    The base notes came as a surprise to me.
    I noticed two distinct base note sections. The first happened about five hours after I put it on, when the leather faded and the violet morphed into a recognizable orris note, that scent dominating for some time. After about two hours of this, the orris mellowed out, bringing forward the benzoin and balsam, a gentle vanillic quality initiating the second base section.
    The smell at this point is almost gourmand; it reminded me of fresh-baked sugar cookies. There's a slight impression of almond, too; those who've experienced Farnesiana will find it in miniature here, hidden in the last phase of this fragrance.
    The sillage and longevity are both great on my skin.
    All in all, a lovely leather fragrance, though I hesitate to call it unisex and I'm pretty sure it's not for me.

    14th December, 2007

    Buzzlepuff's avatar

    United States United States

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    Had to review this because I just don't know what the other reviewers are smelling. Could there be a variety of samples out there?

    A very gentle and soft leather - possibly the softest leather I have sampled. Very wearable. There are no animalic, stinky elements here, and no castoreum or tar - very warm and alluring. It's like Daim Blonde without the apricot opening. A suede leather - leather between an elevating iris opening and balsam finish with nice leather in the middle. An old leather club chair. Very Chanel in its gentle leathery quality. A nice one.

    29th June, 2007

    GentlemanFarmer's avatar

    Switzerland Switzerland

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    Beautifully made composition; a mix between Knize Ten & Nostalgia from Santa Maria Novella.
    Smooth sweet and dry leathery smell, with good lasting power, really nice to wear.
    As someone else pointed out Cuir Ottoman is listed here as a Women’s scent… estrange…I would say very masculine.

    16th May, 2007

    mochi227's avatar

    United States United States

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    Interesting. My experience was totally unlike robyogi's. On me, Cuir Ottoman is redolent smoky styrax (I thought castoreum at first), gasoline, and leather. It smells like hot asphalt being laid down by hot sweaty workmen in leather coveralls. Not to say this is a bad scent ;)

    The day after, on my jacket, this scent had shown a shimmer of sweetness, but during its long wear on my skin, it was all dark, sticky tar and leather, with nothing sweet about it at all. Was quite interesting on a cold winter night.

    Surprised its listed as a women's scent. To me this is about as unisex as you can get.

    05th February, 2007

    Caltha's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    Ah, what an exquisitely dry and smokey leather, almost with a hint of tar and gasoline, like som chic, urband CdG but stronger and more rugged, more like a worn leather chair with a biker in it.

    10th January, 2007

    robyogi's avatar

    United States United States

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    Parfum d'Empire has to be one of the most overlooked houses. Every one of their scents is, to my mind and nose, successful in what it tries to do. This scent is all leather, smooth and refined. There's a slight powdery and sweetly floral quality to it, but I can't pick out any individual notes. The scent it most reminds me of is Pierre Cardin's Cuir Casaque. Cuir Ottoman is actually pretty close to that scent, but less powdery, less floral, and because of that, to my nose, more unisex and more approachable. It's softer, wearing closer to the skin than Cuir Casaque, which to my mind makes it more wearable for those semi-formal occasions where I imagine scents like these work best. If you like smooth, powdery leather, you need to try this. Another winner from this house, which already boasts one of my favorite "citrus" scents (Iskander) and one of my favorite Ambers (Ambre Russe).

    23rd December, 2006

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