Words fail me...
What an incredible masterpiece this is! Like gold or pearl necklaces, and dresses made from finest black velvet. This is a perfume which has to be not smelled but rather experienced!
Tabac Blond (I'm reviewing the Eau de Parfum here) was released in 1919 (same time as the legendary Mitsouko by Guerlain) as a perfume for women who smoked! It was a revolutionary concept, and also a revolutionary perfume in many ways because firstly, it was the first time that leather had been used in a woman's perfume and secondly, this was one of the very first tobacco fragrances! I think it's more revolutionary than Mitsouko though.
It's a hard one to explain but I'll try to. What you get is dry, soft tobacco, like the paper which lines a pack of cigarettes, rather than the cigarettes themselves. Spicy carnation dominates, along with a gorgeous leather-iris combination and a hint of animalic notes. Damp cedarwood and dry, dark vanilla mixed with creamy ylang-ylang complete the base.
This is unlike anything I've tried in a very long time. When I smell this I get two images, elegant balls and women dressed in black with white gloves and cigarette holders, marble floored ball rooms and the golden aura from crystal chandeliers. The other image I get is the women of the 1920's, androgynous women (this was reportedly a favourite of Marlene Dietrich). I don't get "flapper" or "loose woman" out of this. I get "rich woman who smokes"... and yes it's a lot like the smell of makeup and tobacco but at the same time is so deep and luxurious that it really deserves a few tries to really see the elegance in it. It really gives of an aura of gold and black and luxury. I can't explain any better than that. If you can, please try and experience this. A legendary perfume.
A beautiful Caron classic! Tabac Blond is one of my favourite perfumes for autumn and winter, and one I have worn for many years. I have seen numerous reviews that call it a masculine fragrance (or at least having "masculine notes"), but I really don't get that (having said that, the line between what are classed as masculine and feminine scents is becoming more and more blurred). On my skin, Tabac Blond becomes a heavy, though soft and slightly powdery perfume; it is slightly syrupy and chypre, with the merest hint of leather, and no tobacco or smoke that I can detect. For a long time I knew Tabac Blond reminded me of at least one other perfume, but I couldn't place what it was: finally I have realised that it is like a mixture of Shalimar and Dioressence, and perhaps a touch of Jicky. Far too heavy for warm weather, but perfect for the colder months!
The current EDP iteration is a faded leather with very little throw. Why bother?
The top is a bit better, a brisk carnation and leather combo, with an ‘I mean business’ demeanour. Underlying it is the kind of smell you get on a coat when the wearer has worn the same perfume for a long time and there is a build-up of the drydown and staleness. Still, not bad in a fuddy duddy fashion. However, minutes in, the dry vanilla joins in to leave one with only a reluctant leather with the occasional powdery waft of the now somewhat wilted carnation. It’s not unappealing, it just refuses to project.
Just bought a 1970's Lotion Tabac Blond version and I have to say it reminds me a lot of the recent formulations of Knize Ten big time, which although I own, I still don't really like it until the very end of the drydown and Tabac Blond is following the same path. Perhaps the Knize is a little harsher as another reviewer puts it. I cannot see what all the fuss and astronomical pricing old bottles fetch is on this item.
Some says that it has nothing to do with good ol' days... Maybe.
Though, that's a knock-off. A very subtle fragrance suitable for women and for men. "Tabac Blond" is a metaphor as it does not contain any tobacco in it. Figurative & complex, it is the first perfume that does not try to copy/paste natural stuff.
I wear it for very special and formal situations...
Vintage or nothing
This was a perfume I knew I'd love immediately, both from its backstory (flapper girls discovering cigarettes and Charleston-ing till dawn) and its notes (leather, vanilla, smoke and sandalwood).
So I managed to get a sample of the vintage juice from the Perfumed Court - and indeed, it was love. At the time, I was reading a lot of John Le Carre novels. And more than anything, Tabac Blond occurred to me as the perfect spy scent - it was sophisticated and clever, had a history, and carried notes of dusty books and opulent leather that I could imagine in the London men's clubs where diplomats and agents would meet to talk of world affairs.
However, when I tried the newer version, I found it a very different animal - it has some smoke and vanilla, but is overpowered by a sharp floral note, and it has none of the dusty leather that I had recognised in the vintage. If you have to buy a new-version Caron, I would go for En Avion, which seems a bit more interesting.
Pros: Smokey, dark, but soft
Cons: The new version is not worth it."