Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman

Leather in summer. Sounds like the title of a German mountain film or an avant-garde poem from the Weimar Republic. Inevitably, these are the words that come to mind when I think of Parfums d’Empire Cuir Ottoman.

For some reason, here I am reminded of Etat Libre d’Orange Jasmin et Cigarette. It inhabits an olfactory space where delicacy vies with debauchery. While one is a leather scent and the other a tobacco scent, they allow us a casement-view into their twinned identities. And, often, I have found them appealing to the same noses. The genius of Jasmin et Cigarette is the amped-up, fruity jasmine. Bananas and Beaujolais. The genius of Cuir Ottoman is the double-caress of Indian and Egyptian jasmine absolute and cool, powdery orris in its disjointed-yet-instantly-appealing heart. Like Jasmin et Cigarette, Cuir Ottoman eschews the indolic, sweaty-body aspect of jasmine for something pretty but not prettified.

After a while, Cuir Ottoman sticks close to its leather base. It never strays into the bejeweled Orientalist realm but, rather, remains Parisian through and through. For those who would find themselves seduced merely by the name, a caveat: this is not Serge Lutens territory. The Ottoman Empire minus the hair and the ointments and the camel dust. Think of Proust’s “petite bande” on the boardwalk at Balbec transformed into a band of enchanted lederhosen-clad Bavarian youth—Hedi Slimane-thin––beholding the Golden Horn and the minarets of Sultanahmet for the very first time.


Blogger chayaruchama said...

This is an adored favorite, for me; leather, orris, both harsh and caressingly suave, by turns...

It's no Knize; it's no Yatagan...
It's an altogether 'other' beast.
And it's mine.

[ Wonder how this smells on Denyse ?]

June 18, 2008 at 3:35 AM  
Blogger carmencanada /Grain de Musc said...

Chaya! I may need to smell this again, because it didn't appeal much on the first try -- I got the horse, the saddle, the hay and the manure, all of which I liked, then a king-size wallop of the amber M-A Corticchiato uses in his bases, and pipe tobacco. Cannot do that amber.
C., that lederhosen tour group image is hilarious. Will I ever be able to sample Cuir Ottoman with a straight face after having read it?

June 18, 2008 at 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the fragrance that tipped me over into Leather Love. I agree with all but the lederhosen imagery - I get draft horse tack, just before they are to go into the ring for competition. I'm helping cinch them up, but I'm doing so in a 50s Worth silk chiffon tea dress. Other than Chanel's CdR it's the only 'leather' I would consider wearing in warmer weather.

June 19, 2008 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A to-die-for favorite of mine and this is one of your best reviews, yet!

For me, theres nothing dirty about this on my skin - it just exudes elegance. And thats exactly how I like 'em.

June 19, 2008 at 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also get the huge wallop of amber in the drydown that Carmen describes, but it is tempered with the roughness of the leather. What a coincidence that I am wearing it today!

June 20, 2008 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a little late for this re-post but I decided to spritz this on today, to test it in relative heat (80s). It's wearing wonderfully. Unlike in the fall, where some harsh notes sear through, in the heat this dries to a nice, mellow leather/hay/leatherflower (I yakked about this already on Perfume Posse - not 'floral' flower - more a flower made of leather?)....really nice!


June 28, 2008 at 5:52 PM  

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