Perfume Review: Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman
I am not sure I can actually write a coherent review of Cuir Ottoman. Quite frankly, all I want to do is sit with my nose glued to my wrist, whimpering happily. Would “This is the stuff!” and “Wowza!” pass as a review? I guess not…But good lord, this stuff is so good, it leaves me speechless. First Parfum d’Empire created my Holy Grail debauched amber, now they came up with a fantastic, dirty leather scent. As Ali G would say, Respect!
Cuir Ottoman, which “reveals the erotism and the mystery of the East”, starts with a leather bang. The scent states upfront that it is all about leather and that if you happen not to care for strong leather fragrances, you better scrub it off before it gathers momentum on your skin. The bang is somewhat softened by a wonderful orris note, which is bright and sweet. There is also a certain herbal-incensey motive that ornaments the blend in the most appealing manner. The leather grows stronger and acquires a) the most welcome dirty undertone and b) a very attractive, warm, balsamic quality. At this point it certainly evokes the “mysterious East”, the Ottoman splendor, dirt and sensuality. After a while, however, the scent returns to the modern day. The note appears there, which makes me think of …gasoline. Strange and perhaps disagreeable as it sounds, it is actually rather alluring and serves to emphasize the uncompromising, powerful leather note in Cuir Ottoman. Now, instead of a young sultan leading his bloodthirsty troops, the scent calls to mind an image of a gorgeous biker revving up his metallic beast. The scent is full of character, it takes no prisoners. And yet that sweet, balsamic leitmotif is always present in the background, like a delicate feminine element forever softening the brutal masculinity of leather.
The lovely Karl of Aedes noted that Cuir Ottoman reminds him of L’Artisan Dzing! and Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia, and I can certainly smell the similarity with the sweet-dirty, circus leather of Dzing and the gasoline-soaked old racing car leather of Nostalgia. I would also add that the sweet, herbal, incensey feel of Cuir Ottoman is somewhat reminiscent of Andy Tauer’s Lonestar Memories and even Orris. It often helps to imagine what a scent smells like when given the comparisons to other scents, and that is why I am drawing these parallels. Cuir Ottoman is entirely original and not in any way derivative. As soon as it is available in the States (Aedes should be getting it quite soon, I believe), it should become a must try for fans of hardcore leather perfumes.