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Friday, October 06, 2006

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.


Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh baby baby oh baby oh oh oh ...

That good, huh?
And me, I'm waiting 2 months now for back-ordered Ambre Russe.. whimper...

Lovely post, Ms. M. !
[BTW- How was the bithday?
Did your petite flower enjoy her day? Do tell !]

Enjoy your w/e, and recuperate...

7:06 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I think I am on the wrong side of the chemistry lottery this time. I liked my sample of this--I really did--but it smelled like pleasantly sweet light-colored suede on me! No black leather, gasoline, or bikers in sight! Of course, it might be different when sprayed from the bottle, which I am hoping to do at Aedes during the sniffa. And even though I can't afford it, I really hope it morphs into what you are describing. Still, I DID like my sample.

7:39 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Praying, lighting candles, putting petals on altar (or what do people put on altars?) to perfume god of hard core leather scents that I have your skin chemistry on this one and not Judith's. It sounds so unbelievably perfect that I am practically on the floor in a swoon. A perfume to mainline.

8:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That good. Ambre Russe is back-ordered. Well, I am not surprised at all. It is amazing.

The little one enjoyed her day enormously. Funny thouugh, she keeps claiming that she still 3, not 4. So little and so vain :-)

9:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Wow, just wow. One of our samples is mislabelled? Just joking. And really, "yours" sounds as good, just in a different way. Mine punches in the faces, yours seems like a more refined creature.

9:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think it would be fine either way, elegant suede or biker leather. Or you might get something in between :-) Brown calf leather of an expensive glove or something.

9:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If you like those too, especially Dzing, then you'd like CO as well, I think. I thought it was as wonderful as Ambre Russe, only in a different way of course.

9:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

Oh my, I must get my hands on this one! Leather? dirty? biker? Oh yes. And I adore Ambre russe too. I didn't find Dzing neither very leathery nor very dirty though, more like cardboard and sawdust or something, so I keep my fingers crossed it will not resemble that one too much, that it will indeed be darker and rawer...

10:44 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Similar to Dzing! and Nostalgia? Sold.

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aedes has (or perhaps had) at this point a tester. I believe they are the only ones to carry Parfum d'Empire in the States, no? Hopefully Cuir Ottoman will be available soon. I wonder if perhaps First in Fragrance has samples already?

10:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dzing is very leathery on me, but Cuir Ottoman is more leathery still and, as you say, darker and rawer.

10:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

My work here is done.

10:52 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

I ain't going to like this one, am I?

12:16 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

How was the longevity? I found it lackin on both Dzing! and Nostalgia- it was the only thing that kept me from purchasing them.

12:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I honestly don't know! :-) Do you like Dzing? Imagine that one stronger, more robust, more of a leather scent...

12:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It lasted well on me, better than Dzing and certainly better than the very fleeting Nostalgia.

12:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds hot!

I'm in a terse word mood.

12:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Aww, you are quoting the classic...Paris Hilton :-D

12:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't think you'd hate it. Especially if you like Dzing.

12:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did not know me and the Hilt had a terse word thing we shared. Man, it's tough to write with just one syll.... see what I mean?

Tried AS and CR as one this day - man, Chay is right - it's da bomb!

2:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

AS and CR? I wonder if two wrongs will make one right for me.

3:06 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Now, now, Lollipop, be charitable...

You never know until you try !

[LOL- my mama always said that, usually after she nailed my brother and me for something very naughty !]

5:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


5:13 PM EDT  
Blogger TurkishHookahDancer said...

I just created a blogger account specifically so I could respond to this . . .

If I don't get it I may just tear my heart out and die. Die. DIE, I tell you!! Diiiieeeeeee!

Columbina, I've been a long time reader of your blog, and I just adore it. Thank you for all the beautiful writing - you are a dear asset to my perfume obsession!

1:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much for your very kind words!
I understand that Aedes will be getting Cuir de Russie and Iskander in very soon. They might still have a tester. Perhaps if you write to them and tell you'll die, die, die, if you don't get to try it, they might take pity on you and send you a sample :-) That's what I did . :-)

1:37 PM EDT  
Blogger TurkishHookahDancer said...

Thank you, Columbina - I think that's just what I will do. Shall I send them a short video clip of me tearing at my breast and throwing myself at the ground?

1:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That might certainly help!

2:04 PM EDT  

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