Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire

Total Reviews: 32
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
Once it gets past the opening, I love this. Very creamy and lovely on me. :-)
26th May, 2016
starry starry night by van Gogh
02nd April, 2016 (last edited: 11th November, 2016)
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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
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
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
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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
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)
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
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
Slightly dirty and kinky leather with iris, fruits, and something balsamic. Intoxicating sillage. A guilty pleasure.
09th January, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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