A Smaller Empire – Review: Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman

Leather – I have to say, I love it. That is fairly new for me and therefore I’m still somewhat  amazed at the fact. I had good experiences with the Parfum d’Empire line, so to try their leather scent was a must.

I look for feminine leathers, not too dry, not too harsh, combined with lush or sweet florals, no gasoline or rubber aspects, soft and worn in, that is how I like the note (My top favorite is Cuir de Lancome).

How does Cuir Ottoman fit into that profile?

Cuir Ottoman includes notes of jasmine, leather, iris, benzoin, balsams, resins and incense.

It starts with a fantastic-plastic-leather (pleather?) note, that initially put me off. But wearing it for a while, I realized that Cuir Ottoman begins to soften and becomes pliable, for lack of a better word, on your warm skin. Iris comes to the foreground, shrouding the leather in a powdery veil, rendering it less distinct and less harsh. A background of warm resins and incense adds to the smoky, gauzy, indistinct vibe of the leather-iris duet that dominates Cuir Ottoman throughout its long life span on my skin.

Instead of the great empire the name intends to evoke, in my mind’s eye, I see a leather couch. And not any leather couch, but the old Chesterfield in my Grandmother’s house. I used to hide under it, when I played hide and seek with the neighbor’s son.

I always chose this hiding place, despite the strong smell of old leather and copious amounts of dust, because for some reason my friend never thought to venture into that particular corner of the house – or maybe he didn’t dare – so he pretended not to find me for the longest time, until I finally got bored and came out on my own, with a smile of triumph on my face and cobwebs in my hair.

I hadn’t thought about this in years, but one whiff of Cuir Ottoman brought that time back in an instant.

Curiously enough, my friend, the neighbor’s son, has grown up to become a historian, he surely could tell me a lot about the Ottoman empire. But somehow I’m content with the little empire underneath the dilapidated leather couch it signifies for me.

Other Parfum d’Empire reviews on Olfactoria’s Travels.
Image source: luckyscent.com, antiquaireonline.com
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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Incense, Iris, Jasmine, Leather, Oriental, Parfum d'Empire, Resins and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to A Smaller Empire – Review: Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman

  1. Undina says:

    I love this review! It’s so warm and somewhat romantic… Oh, and I like Cuir Ottoman: it’s my first bottle from Parfum d’Empire (I bought it so that my vSO could share it with me ;) ).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh you have it? Excellent! It’s great to have shared perfumes. My husband and I share Puredistance M and Ambre Sultan. :)

    • Annina (nina) says:

      Just getting into leathers myself and purchased my first – Chanel’s Cuir de Russie – so both the husband and I could wear it. We both adore it! I have my sights set on Lancome’s next. Have yet to try it. This one sounds lovely too.

  2. lucasai says:

    Great review!
    I love Cuir Ottoman, it’s gonna be my next purchase. To me leather in Cuir Ottoman smells like a brand new pair of leather shoes.

  3. It was my first from Parfum D’Empire too – I don’t get the shoes or couch or bag or anything like that – I guess I’m not really familiar enough with the smell of any of those things – in fact, the first time I tried it I almost found it a little barnyardy because that was my nearest association! Now though It just quickly slips from a rough leather into a benzoin vanillic soaked suede – gorgeous perfume, but one I hardly ever crack out these days! :( Hopefully it’ll get more wear in the winter.
    I find in the summer in the heat, it can really turn my stomach D:

  4. Alexandra says:

    Oh I love Cuir Ottoman, I’ve only just bought a bottle and it will definitely be a winter staple. I love the gruff opening there is something very ‘Blacksmith’ about it but then it just softens wonderfully and the drydown is beautifully sweet on my skin, oh now I wish I was wearing it today!

  5. Love, LOVE, Love Cuir Ottoman so great even on Spring nights. Delicious.
    Portia xx

  6. Civava says:

    Lovely nostalgic memories! It’s so nice how some smell brings back the most hidden memories we thought we had forgotten.

  7. ringthing says:

    Nice evocative review, thank you! Cuir de Lancome is a favorite early fall scent and as the weather gets cooler, I move to Cuir Ottoman for my leather fix. I agree with lucasai, it smells like new leather shoes in the best way. Parfums d’Empire is one of my favorite houses.

  8. Suzanne says:

    I totally dig Cuir Ottoman. I would also dig having a Chesterfield couch … not likely to happen, which makes me say, thank God for perfume! :)

  9. Tara says:

    Really lovely review. Thoroughly enjoyed the tale of hide and seek and the Chesterfield couch.

    The note list is wonderful and you and others make it sound so good. Unfortunately I found that plasticky opening too harsh the couple of times I’ve tried it. I obviously need to get past that and give it another go, especially now the weather is cold.

  10. Natalie says:

    Isn’t this line fantastic? So may wonderfull smells. I’m eyeing that Ambre Russe first, but this one is high on my list too. These last few weeks seem to revolve around leather and amber in my house, there is a plus-side on the weather turning :-) Next step; Fille en aiguilles!
    humhumhumhum (of she goes, humming a christmas carol)….

  11. Dionne says:

    Ahhh, Cuir Ottoman. My Mother’s Day present this year, and now that it’s snowing, time to wear this beauty again. I love the contrast between that big slap of leather at the start and the softening it goes through just a few minutes in. It’s one of the few leathers I can wear.

  12. Isn’t it amazing how smells can instantly take us back in time and space? I’m sure that the Ottomans smelled divine, but I think the memories of your empire touch me more. Thanks for another great review!

  13. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Hm, another wonderful cuir I’m testing today : Naomi Goodsir’s Cuir Velours…

  14. Andrea says:

    I think cuir ottoman is the perfect representation of pure pulpy brown leather. I love this perfume even if it doesn’t change much on my skin. I also keep a mouillette in a small plastic bag and I like smelling it every once in a while, I don’t even know if I would wear it, but I am sure I love smelling it! I love how iris perfectly blends with leather. I wouldn’t even speak about the notes, this is just like a picture: real, clear, that takes each person to different memories.
    I loved your review!

  15. Eva S says:

    Cuir Ottoman and Azemour are my favorites from Pd’E, it’s FB worthy for sure! No suprise really since I love leathers. My grandparents also had an old Chesterfield sofa just like the one in the picture (with matching armchairs) and indeed I can remember the smell!

  16. Merlin says:

    Some people describe this fragrance as more of a soft oriental than a leather…which is sad because I want there to be at least one LEATHER that I like:) I was wondering what you think of its lasting power. It has little sillage on me and seems to fade away quite quickly which is why I have been unsure whether to purchase… Truly though, I find it the sexiest, most exquisite scent ever!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Merlin,
      it lasts quite well on me actually.
      But a leather I find incredibly gorgeous that lasts the entire day, is Cuir de Lancome, maybe give this one a whirl before you make a purchase decision?

  17. sugandaraja says:

    A long-time favorite of mine for, wow, half a decade now. I’m picking up another bottle this Wednesday. :)

    You probably know this, but “ottoman” is another word for one of those small, upholstered foot-rests. I know all the ad copy goes on about the Turkish empire, but for YEARS I thought that’s what “Cuir Ottoman” referred to.

  18. ginzaintherain says:

    Truly delightful images painted, and a lovely review. I think the scent was just too animalic on me, just too LEATHERY, though. I prefer it very faint, like in the base of No 19 vintage parfum, which I happen to be wearing today. Eleven hours in it is nothing but vetiver and leather….

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, N! I see what you mean, in warmer weather Cuir Ottoman is too leathery for me as well, it needs the cold. N°19 on the other hand ALWAYS works, a masterpiece indeed.

  19. laniersmith says:

    What an absolutely wonderful memory and review! Now I have to try this …sounds like it is right up my street.

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