Someone wrote a few years ago either on one of the blogs or a perfume message boards that wearing Cuir Ottoman is like wearing your leather couch. I think they meant it in the best possible way. Personally, I think of Cuir Ottoman as wearing a supple, exquisitely cut leather jacket over a feminine dress- a vintage floral print or ethereal silk.
I never got the Parfum d'Empire obsession with empires and emperors of yore. Naming a perfume after the Ottoman Empire makes as much sense to me as doing the same for Palpatine and his Galactic Empire. But that quirk aside, there is something about Cuir Ottoman that evokes a romantic westernized idea of that part of the world, like a sepia photograph from the turn of the (previous) century. But this perfume is mostly about iris and leather, a weird synthetic note that appeals on the same level that causes some of us to enjoy the smell of a gas station, a hint of ripe fruit and a vanillic drydown.
Cuir Ottoman is just weird enough to be interesting, but never crosses the "do I like it because it's odd?" line. No, this is one of the best smelling leather perfumes I own, on all its quirks. I find the powdery iris aspect very appealing and the vanilla-benzoin of the base very sumptuous. While the first instinct regarding leather scent is to only wear them between Labor Day and Memorial Day, I find that it develops nicely even in the heat of summer and never turns sour.
Cuir Ottoman ($110, 100 ml) , like the other Parfum d'Empire scents, is available from MiN New York, Luckyscent and Aedes.
Photo: Leatherist on Flickr.