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.