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Many reviews have been dedicated to this great perfume over the last century. Created by Ernest Daltroff in 1919, it was one of the first leather chypre perfumes of its kind, an ode to elegant ladies who smoked.
My first encounter of Tabac Blond was in 2007 in Paris.
Dispensed from a crystal urn at Caron Boutique on Avenue Montaigne, Tabac Blond was tobacco and leather wrapped in silky cellophane and molten white chocolate. Cowhide gloves, celluloid dreams and vanilla. It was unlike any fragrance I had ever smelt before.
I saw Marlene Dietrich types wearing it. Women of substance. Interesting, intelligent, in charge of their sexuality.
I was captivated immediately, but I wasn’t ready to commit. Caron’s N-Amaiz Que Moi and French Can Can had already stolen my heart and wallet. At 300 Euro a bottle, Tabac Blond and I parted ways, but we promised to meet again.
Over the years I looked for her everywhere online, but she was elusive. It turns out she had become a true vintage starlet.
I almost gave up on a reunion…until the beginning of this year when I managed to secure a bottle of extract. Joy oh joy!
On this occasion, Tabac Blond greets me nonchalantly. From a distance, she blows smoke at me through an elegant cigarette holder. Beneath a haze of burnt embers and charred cigarette paper I smell her spiciness – carnation, cinnamon sticks, patchouli.
But she isn’t as bold as I remembered. Her notes appear to me in soft focus. Silage is mild. Her persona has changed. She is best worn up close and personal. She doesn’t last long on me.
At her heart, there is leather, iris and something that smells like jasmine. Dry down is quiet. There is cedar at the base, along with some vanilla and patchouli. Pink musk sticks, vetiver and ylang ylang. But she is too sepia for my liking.
I have since found out that Tabac Blond was reformulated in 2011, explaining her indifference to me. I preferred her in her full strength and glory in her vintage years.
The perfume spray down: The original Tabac Blond is a classic chypre that is elegant, handsome and refined. Count your blessings if you can get your hands on the vintage version. Save for special occasions when you want to make an impact and keep men and women guessing.
As for the reformulation, there are many other leather perfumes I would recommend. See my upcoming reviews.
Fashion notes – wear the original with high-waisted silk trousers and tuxedo jacket, animal pant-suit or chinoserie dress or some dapper chap wear if you are a boy.