Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Parfum d’Empire seeks its inspirations in the annals of history, from the glory of Alexander the Great to the glittering decadence of the Russian monarchy. Cuir Ottoman tells a tale from the days of the Ottoman Empire, romantically painting the teeming bazaars of Istanbul, the supple leather of delicate gold embroidered slippers, and the rose gardens of harems. Even if the allure of Ottoman yore will not find resonance with everyone, an exploration of Cuir Ottoman’s leather impressions makes for an interesting experience. …

The fragrance offers a glimpse of leather upon the first inhale. The transparent top note quickly gives way to the pungent dryness that is accented with a subtle mossy touch. The sweet floral heart provides a bridge between the aggressive leather note and the balsamic darkness of the base. While initially the leather of Cuir Ottoman appears aggressive enough to rival the sharpness of Robert Piguet Bandit and Farina Gegenuber Kolnisch Juchten, it subsequently trades its roughhewn character for seductive sweetness.

On the one hand, the dryness of leather persists in the drydown suggesting the well-worn sword scabbard. On the other, the leathery facet of amber laced with the vanillic powderiness of benzoin alludes to the heft of suede. Although the leather accord possesses a pronounced sweetness, it differs from the unctuous syrup of Ambre Russe, another historically minded Parfum d’Empire fragrance. The opaque richness of Cuir Ottoman conveys a retro effect, placing the composition closer to the spicy ambers of the 1920s rather than among the crisp contemporary variations. As such, although it can be faulted for lacking in nuance, Cuir Ottoman is indeed a journey into the past that the lovers of vintage would find appealing.

Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman blends iris, jasmine, incense, styrax, leather, tolu balsam, and benzoin.

Ottoman Sultan miniature from darkage.fsnet.



  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    As you know, i , along with numerous perfume lovers do drfer to your utterly brilliant fragrance insight and perspective . Now don’t we all ? ? Victoria, I fell in love again with Hermes Hiris ! I subccumbed to the Eau de toilette (ahgain ) and shower mousse ! Ahhh, sheer lovliness and joy ! Hirus , for me is exaltive aromatherapy. Indeed, i want to ingale it. What, if amy , dear Vic are your thoughts in uts conposition, etc/ Nordstom’s sold it’s last bottle to………… !
    I have not seen any reviews . I wonder what you think !
    Best Regards to you== also, I read that you are in NY — would you like to meet , perhaps >
    Warmest Fragrant Regards,
    Madelyn E September 25, 2006 at 1:35am Reply

  • marchlion: V, that sounds just beautiful. Would you compare it to any other vintage leathers, such as Chanel Cuir de Russie or Lancome Cuir? It sounds more leathery than CdR but less perfume-y than Cuir… September 25, 2006 at 7:21am Reply

  • Judith: OOOOOOOOhhhhhhh!!!! I have been waiting forever for this to come out! And now–it sounds just wonderful! I can’t wait to try it! You didn’t mention a store that has or will have it, but I am guessing FiF and later, Aedes. Off to check! September 25, 2006 at 7:42am Reply

  • chayaruchama: How delicious…

    I’m still waiting for my back-ordered Ambre Russe-
    This sounds as if I would wear it happily [ and gratefully !]

    How are you faring in your new digs ?
    Hope all is well, and that you are happy… September 25, 2006 at 7:46am Reply

  • Judith: Sorry-I see now that you say Aedes has testers. Need more coffee!:) September 25, 2006 at 8:30am Reply

  • Mercedes Rey: Wonderful review, as usual!!!!!!I just tried Cuir Ottoman a few days ago and I like it, but I prefer Ambre Russe. September 25, 2006 at 9:23am Reply

  • Elle: Must. Have. And what an absolutely gorgeous review! September 25, 2006 at 9:39am Reply

  • Robin: And did you smell the other one too, the Iskander? Very curious since it is a chypre 🙂 September 25, 2006 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Marina: WANT! September 25, 2006 at 9:00am Reply

  • Ina: Second Marina’s sentiment. September 25, 2006 at 11:57am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, Hiris is wonderful. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying it. We shall certainly plan something soon. September 26, 2006 at 6:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, you are right on all counts. It starts out pungent and dry and then turns sweet and warm, like Ambre Russe. There are definitely many similarities between the two. September 26, 2006 at 6:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, Aedes has it, although I am not sure if it is in stock already. You will certainly be able to try it soon. September 26, 2006 at 6:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, I am settling in. Today I finished arranging my clothes, which have unfortunately been in piles all over the place. Finally, the place looks neat and clean. September 26, 2006 at 6:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, I am sorry for confusing you. I added the purchasing info last night, but the change did not show up until later. September 26, 2006 at 6:36pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, it sounds like your cup of tea. 🙂 September 26, 2006 at 6:37pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, those two are my favourites from the line. Ambre Russe is slightly on a sweet side for me though, but it is very nice. September 26, 2006 at 6:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, thank you. I think that you will find Cuir Ottoman very appealing. September 26, 2006 at 6:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, I will be anticipating your review! September 26, 2006 at 6:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, that one was not a favourite. I need to try it again though, perhaps I did not give it a good trial. It did not click with me. September 26, 2006 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Nick: Dear Madelyn,

    Hello from Nick,

    I am currently obsessed with Hiris too. Its my first brush with Olivia Giacobetti – and makes me want to try her other scents. It’s not on the Hermes website at the moment, because their stocks are all gone. I am told they will be replenished soon! Do you know whether they make a body lotion?


    Nick. September 27, 2006 at 5:04am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Nick, I have not see a body lotion, but I recall some sort of mist, or powder spray. I remember seeing it a few years ago, but not recently. I also think that they need to come out with the parfum. September 28, 2006 at 12:29pm Reply

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