Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Tabac Blond by Caron

Total Reviews: 74
Vintage cologne...

I had not smelled this in 28 years. At first spray, I remembered what I loved about this. I wore this sparingly, only at night, when I was younger. Now, I would wear this any time, with abandon.

The first blast I immediately smelled carnation, tobacco, and leather. Rich, smoky, and dark. After some moments iris and mild vetiver kick in.

When she settles on my skin I get smooth musk, a hint of vanilla, warm patchouli; earthy, dusky, ambergris and oak moss accords. I am enjoying this trip down memory, with this sample I've been given. What a fine masterpiece Tabac Blond "was". I write was, for I have not tried any modern, more recent versions. I doubt I will. I cannot imagine it is better than this.
05th April, 2018
Caron Tabac Blond Eau De Cologne Vintage

With all the wonderful praises of the EDP and Parfum I expected to be wow-ed by this. I have been, however it is in quiet contemplation of the structure, balance and non linear composition.
This opens with a splash of the Peppery Aspect of Carnation. Camphour of the same is subdued. Citric or Acid are minimal. Sugar, of which there is a careful balance, is counterpointed by a tannin, perhaps the Lime Blossom.
The scent takes on the Leather aspect of comparable perfumes,in my memory and direct comparison, to first Shalimar without the Guerlain-ade,Habit Rouge without the Incense,the Vibrant Contemporary lipstick of Cuir Cannage and the Godet Cuir de Russie with a little oomph and sexiness. Deep down is a little growl not unlike the Leather of the earliest Bel Ami.
A petroleum lilt is provided which I would guess would be Jasmine.
Iris is blended delicately and provides(for me) a gentle rigidity beautiful and I suspect a waxiness in background, which then blends with Vanilla to provide a semi-dry Talc in drying. I feel the light breeze of Ambergris and volume-nizing of the Oakmoss. Castoreum?
Is that what makes this so smooth and comfortable on my Masculine skin?
In spite of the Eau strength, I have, a three hour longevity, with a beautiful dry Tobacco nuanced accord and non-stuffy powder.
Although I pick up no smokiness in the scent proper, I played, by applying a light spray of a very smokey, linear Contemporary scent, to one of my girly's Leather jackets,(I'll pay for that later)sniffed and was brought back to moments of High School 70's and friends, who were girls.
At 15, as like most,I a boy, viewed girls, largely from a position clouded by sexual desire.
A girl wearing the Caron, smoking heavily, wearing glossy Lipstick and perhaps a Leather Jacket, the Caron would have added an intoxicating, "Womanly" scent to the mix. That would have had me... tormented.

Vintage Extrait

Ah Yum! The Feminine Knize Ten. Halo of scent that is sumptuous, with the sliver of Leather Whip. While the Cologne suggests fetish, with this I can hear the snap and feel the sting.

Contemporary Perfume.
While pleasant and balanced it carries little of the drama of the Vintage.There is an overall accord of Clove oil. Leather?
Maybe. Tobacco? Yes, Indonesian perhaps with it's scenting of clove.

On to the Vintage EDT soon.
17th March, 2018 (last edited: 30th March, 2018)
I love this classic scent. This is a perfume with history, rather like Habanita but perhaps with a bit more carnation or clove in it. And like Habanita, I love it.
It sort of smells like the inside of an old leather shaving kit I have....nostalgic, sweet, a bit dusty and spicy.
I love the notes of leather and tobacco that are there but very much in the back of the scent.
At first I get much carnation and clove but if you wait, the floral aspect quiets and then you have a wonderful skin scent.
I totally see why this was so effective in complimenting or covering up the smell of smoking on a woman in the 1920' actually works and goes well with the lingering smell of smoking that will stay on you....
A beautiful scent that has been harmed in reformulation. Most of the Caron reformulations are not done well....if you can, get a vintage sample from TPC and enjoy it. On comparison to the Tabac Blond available to purchase today, there is no contest. Go for the vintage perfume or EDP.
03rd April, 2016 (last edited: 26th June, 2016)
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Much has been written about the differences between the vintage and modern reformulation of Tabac Blond. This is a review of the current extrait, which - if not identical to its predecessor - is a beautiful fragrance in its own right, and a worthy bearer of the name. It smells very much like Habanita to me, albeit with more tobacco in the opening; in the drydown, they are almost identical twins to my nose.

Tabac Blond, like Habanita and I'm sure every other classic fragrance, has been reformulated several times since its inception. I find no fault with the current version, although I had hoped for greater longevity (on me, it faded to a skin scent within three hours). It's a lovely, refined fragrance and its wafting tobacco notes add mystery to its sweetness.
02nd October, 2015
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.
12th August, 2014
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!
26th July, 2014
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.
08th June, 2014
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.
09th April, 2014
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...
28th November, 2013
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."

14th July, 2013
Vintage Tabac Blond is Habit-Forming

Tabac Blond is a Gasoline Blast going in. No mistake about it.

From that addictive top-note aura on through the compelling nicotine of it's namesake, Tabac Blond spins a habit-forming distraction.

Women started publicly smoking cigarettes shortly before1919. Ernest Daltroff created Tabac Blond as an elegant companion to their status symbol of tobacco.

Vintage Tabac Blond's initial top-note blast subsides into a "marshmallow" note reminiscent of those in vintage Shalimar and L'Heure Bleue. Not a sweet, cloying marshmallow. Dry and woody, it recalls marshmallows roasted over an Autumn bonfire, with a slightly sharp edge. That could be due to the combination of leather and lime, with carnation lingering softly in the background.

The projection seamlessly transitions into a refined, buttery leather. Towards the end of the topnotes, it's the flawless calfskin leather of an elegant lady's glove. Steady and mesmerizing, vintage Tabac Blond reaches its confident potential.

The first six times I wore Tabac Blond I detected no tobacco. Or rather I detected only the "idea" of tobacco.

But amazingly, during the seventh time, there it was.

It wasn't a cigarette type of tobacco. Nor was it the tobacco of a curing barn.

But rather I caught the heavenly scent of a faint and aromatic pipe tobacco, softly emanating from a wooden cabinet.

Vanilla, Cedar and Patchouli lend Tabac Blond its perfect aromatic and spicy dry down.

Pros: Unique, Refined, Complex
Cons: None

30th June, 2013
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The Vintage Extrait Perfume:
The begin is a full onslaught of phantastic leather with a bright tobacco note, initially showing a touch of gasoline Knite-Ten-like harshness that quickly evaporates and is replaced by a rich spiciness. A beautiful combination that lasts about two hours. Then a floral tuberose middle impression emanates to give it a gentler, rounder touch, with a creamy clove component. At times a metallic vanilla-based dryness appears that then goes and gives way to a gentle sweetness - not unlike Creed's Royal English Leather but less sweet - the Caron is never really sweet and never cloying. After about seven hours the vanilla moves into the foreground to compete with the leather, but never is as strong as, for instance, in Creed's Royal Delight. In the last couple of hours, a nice lean powderiness finishes the long and sensational drydown. Blending and ingredient quality are perfect, silage and projection are superb, and - a true old-style high-quality perfume - longevity on my skin is over eleven hours. A grand classic and one of the most amazing leather-tobacco fragrances I know.

10th May, 2013
When I first reviewed Tabac Blond I did not know I was reviewing a re-formulation. The current formulation is a remarkable carnation transformation, suggesting the slightly acrid aroma of cigarette tobacco and its ash. It is sharp and striking and totally original. I loved it and still love it very much. I have owned a 50 ml edp and now slowly refer to my 50 ml bottle of parfum.

Recently I was able to sample the original release from 1919, via a bottle circa 1960, which is completely different. It most resembles Knize Ten, a sweet leather scent, one that is light and floral, without any of the animalic leather notes found in Chanel's Cuir de Russie or Lancome's Cuir. The tobacco note is likewise light and sweet, not at all sharp or acrid. This lovely light combo of sweet leather and pipe tobacco is astonishingly fine. I wish I could afford a vintage bottle, but alas it is out of my range.

I encourage those interested to sample both, asking of your supplier exactly which version you are buying. I continue to love both. A true classic and the embodiment of ultra sophistication.
27th March, 2013 (last edited: 29th December, 2016)
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Ratfink Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I get a beautiful floral, with a hint of herbal tablets thrown in. There's *no* 'tabac' that I can identify, and I've tried it three times now. It's still lovely, but it's not what I expected at all.
22nd September, 2012
The opening is smokey, leathery & slightly spicy, with a hint of the floral notes to come, & an animalic growl beneath. Over the first half hour, the florals become more prominent; mainly iris & carnation to my nose, with a hint of something bitter & medicinal. Two hours in, the ambergris begins to take over, & takes on the "doughy" aspect that l noticed in Vol de Nuit & Dans Tes Bras, although here it is more subtle. lt is joined by musk in the base, before fading out after around eight hours.
l don't really get the tobacco note here, though perhaps as a smoker l don't notice it in the way that a non-smoker might. This is undoubtedly a classic scent & easily unisex, but for me it is a little too dark, bitter & austere. l did try layering it with my modern EDT of Narcisse Noir, & the two scents together actually fit beautifully, the light of one complementing the shade of the other, like two halves of a whole. l think l will enjoy using up my sample in this way.
12th June, 2012
Elzéard Show all reviews
United Kingdom
There is a noticeable amount of tobacco and leather within this fragrance. There is also an element of smoke at the beginning, which is maintained but to a lesser degree throughout the rest of the duration. The leather stays quite prominent however.

Overall, it's quite affable, but the drydown is a little bit too sweet for me, and generally I can tolerate a lot of sweetness. Unfortunately, as the top notes fade, an entire box of those white chocolate mice, the ones which cost a penny each in the sweet shop and aren't really made of chocolate at all, begin to show their little faces.
02nd April, 2012 (last edited: 17th January, 2015)
Ohh but I love Ernest Daltroff perfumes, here was a man who knew how a woman should smell , not of fruit and synthetic flowers but of , dare I even say it ,no, I dare not so I will substitute the word I should use for this : a scent of stolen moments, stolen kisses and stolen hearts.
Tabac Blonde stole my heart years ago but it's not a scent to wear in the height of summer ,it's too dark, too leathery , just too much for everyday use.
Excellent sillage on my skin which despises most aldehydes to the point where they do not linger for more than a few moments.
I don't expect young women to like this but the animalaic quality certainly turns the heads of young men caught in the waft of it's trail.
Daltroff had a signature, so evident in Tabac, En Avion , Can Can and Nuit de Noel that I can wear any of these wonderful concoctions and feel quite illicit and singular - everyone else is welcome to smell the same if they want to, I need Daltroff to feed my inner Goddess.
19th December, 2011
I am once again on a quest, this time to find an EDT or EDP (parfum) that will not break the bank if worn every day! Creed's Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie and Malle's Musc Ravageur will always be beloved. However, at nearly $250/75ml and $240/100 ml respectively, I must find more affordable alternatives if I wish to wear a fragrance every day...and I DO!!!

I recently bought several fragrance samples and among them was Tabac Blond. I purchased the fragrance after reading so many positive reviews about it here on Basenotes and I’m glad I did!!

I feel a bit confused by this fragrance but overall, I think I like Tabac Blond a lot. However, in order for me to purchase a fragrance and wear it often, I have to know that I really really like it, almost love it. I really want to love Tabac Blond but for some reason, I feel ambivalent about the fragrance. Like it, definitely…like it a lot, yes…love it, uh…not sure.

For me, the opening is quite heady with lots of floral…carnation (of course), iris, ylang-ylang and other floral notes that I would NOT expect from an incense-leather-smoke fragrance. As others have stated, the opening is pure floral, like carnation floral…and lots of it, along with a wee-bit of smoke and leather. I did not find the opening to be overpowering or unpleasant…just surprising. Having said that, I wish the floral opening notes remained more prominent and not (as one writer stated) “just there to smooth out the rough edges of the other notes...there’s nothing floral about Tabac Blond.” So true, so true…

Be careful what you wish for (I, wishing for more incense, smoke ‘n leather, less Oriental floral) because after a half hour or so, Tabac Blond morphed into a relatively nice, albeit mild mild mild solofleur that was positively choking with leather & smoke, perhaps a wee-bit of amber and vanilla, too…but leather…and smoke & carnation. More leather, I would say than smoke At times, I found the dry down almost too leathery and smoky for my tastes, at one point even questioning if my eyes were burning & tearing, if my throat was becoming scratchy and if I was having some difficulty breathing due to the overabundance of leather & smoke & some carnation-lolol.

So, I LIKE Tabac Blond…I really do. It is a welcome departure from the usual and ordinary citrus-floral-amber Oriental. Yes, NOTHING really floral about this fragrance. I’m going to try a few other incense-smoke-leather samples and perhaps pass on buying a full bottle of Tabac Blond…for now. I would like to give Tabac Blond a fair try, which I do not think is possible with a few drops from a 2 ml sample. I’ll try this fragrance again and hope to fall in love.

24th October, 2011 (last edited: 28th February, 2015)
I have a vintage bottle of Tabac blond I bought at the Avenue Montaigne Caron boutique in Paris, back in the early 80's. I still wear it occasionally in the winter. The spicy carnation and the rich vanilla are toned down just a bit by the dry leather note which makes for a truly original deliciously daring composition. They don't make fragrances like this nowadays, unfortunately.
05th September, 2011
I tried this on in the Caron boutique in NYC (in phytouniverse), and within the first 2 minutes of wearing it, I got a compliment from another customers HUSBAND, and a total stranger. So there you go. Not bad for a fragrance from 1919. Edgy but wearable and classic.
02nd July, 2011 (last edited: 17th July, 2011)
Okay, I give up totally on Caron. Going through a leather phase and thought I couldn't go wrong with this. So I got a large decant of the extrait, apparently the way to go? WRONG! (wrong, wrong, wrong). Amber treacle and nothing more. Ghastly, made my blood sugar spike it was so sweet and bland. Cuir de Russie you own my leather loving soul. Caron should get rid of that Fraysse? moron or pack it in.
23rd March, 2011
A most beautiful oriental heady smoky leather scent for those days of the year when you crave for these notes...

Absolutely incredible and a true luxury to wear...

Great longevity and sillage.

Big thumbs up...!!!
22nd March, 2011
(Review edt)

Tabac Blond is unique, Caron allways bring a classy elegant touch.

Is an interesting Soft-leather fragrance, the edt version is a close to skin scent, powdery and smoky.
26th January, 2011
This review is for the actual/new version compared with the vintage stuff ( which I own as well)
The new and fresh Tabac Blond is a mere ghost of scent, compared with the old perfume.
I must admit I was very curious, and after a few moments of sharp and edgy leather,tobacco and a touch of carnation a nasty sweet and cloying honey note comes up to me which really is more or less disgusting. This note does not at all appear in any of my vintage versions, regardless how old or "turned" they may be.
The staying power of the EdP is mediocre, what lasts for about 30 minutes is a girlish flowery sweet breeze- nothing spectacular, boring and not worth to be mentioned as one of the most talked-about perfumes of the past.
I am utterly disappointed and will ebay my new "find" asap.
21st December, 2010
I have never smelled the old Tabac Blond. I can only imagine how wonderful it was. However, this review is for the new version. Tabac Blond starts out spicey vanilla tobacco with a touch of vetiver. I thought, "Wow! A refined Habanita with a beautiful brightness & clarity." Unfortunately, this impression lasted only for a few moments until the scent trailed off into an overly sweet, slightly floral memory. 5 stars for the first minute, 0 stars for the nothing that followed.
16th October, 2010
Tabac Blond is a hell of a naughty and ‘mean’ fragrance. It is rather difficult to pull off 'with style' or better with 'the right attitude' and grasp it in its complexity. After all, it takes quite a woman to love this on herself as the usual female fragrances today smell so totally different in comparison. Part of Tabac Blond's thrill IMO is that it is sort of 'daring' for every wearer... it is not a perfect fit for women nor for men. It’s ambiguous or androgynous, its intentions are concealed and never clear. So, I think Roja Dove is very right in saying that Tabac Blond is a 'difficult' fragrance.

However, I had people literally walking around me in circles to finally stand behind me or following me on a train to sit exactly next to me or a woman at the gas station (how fitting with Tabac Blond’s gasoline and harsh smoky opening! ) commenting in total awe that she had never smelled such a perfume. Tabac Blond does this to the ones not in the know and often strikes them like lightening... its absolutely weird, harsh, butch but opulent opening with the delicious and slightly sweeter and softer heart/base gradually joining is a moment of perfect perfume bliss. Iris/orris is a big helper here to keep the picture blurred all through its progression. The overall mood of Tabac Blond is dark, very dark and seethingly sexual.

Tabac Blond is a glorious piece of perfume history… did Ernest Daltroff initially have men in mind to wear this? Was it meant to conceal the stains of smoking, which was still a rather scandalous pleasure for women in the 1920s? Flapper girls… and and… It is all part of the magic and allure of Tabac Blond today.

To my experience there is no 'reformulation'. Tabac Blond - like e.g. En Avion - was newly interpreted when Alès - with Richard Fraysse as nose - took over mid/end 1980s. All samples I got hold of from the period afterwards smell basically the same (including the so-called ‘vintage Tabac Blond’ from ThePerfumedCourt). The original Tabac Blond (and En Avion) was fundamentally chypré in character and as such ‘old-fashioned’ in the style of the 1920/30s. All these chypré classics of the time were redux in their heart and base, but lingered on for a long time. The idea of the time was refinement (Caron was and still is the pinnacle of luxury!). A comparison with the great Lanvin classics is inevitable. It is immediately clear when you put on some original Tabac Blond how rich of animalics it is. If you took Rumeur, Scandal and My Sin minus the sweetness from the florals (mostly jasmine) you would be indeed very close in feel to the original Tabac Blond as if they all together were variations on the same theme.

Some last words of advice: Do only buy from Caron directly and only go for the extrait! I think some reviewers here (mainly U.S.) got an EdP without knowing. This is really half the story, short-lived on skin and not special and rich in the way the extrait is. Bear in mind that Tabac Blond is not a big sillage fragrance (I apply more), smells fantastic if part of it gets on fabric, keep trying if you are 'confused' but intrigued (in case it does not instantly click with you - it took me quite some tries to get it). Vary spraying and dabbing to find your preferred method.

In the end, I think Richard Fraysse is doing an excellent job at Caron and his interpretation of Tabac Blond is outstanding. Caron is the ONLY house today to keep the grand French Haute Parfumerie style alive.

How I love thee, my Tabac Blond! *****
12th October, 2010 (last edited: 09th November, 2011)
Tabac Blond is amazing! It's everything retro and youthful and rebellious rolled into one scent. I really can't get away from this one, and I'm eternally thankful it fits my skin chemistry. I can see how it is rather hard to wear and not for everybody. I hate the smell in the bottle. The second it hits the skin is when the magic happens. It's a very uplifting fragrance, though not in a soothing way (so girlie girls: beware). This is one you put on to conquer the world. When the world's against me, that is when I love to splash this on and head for French Quarter.
31st July, 2010
The eagerly awaited decant vial arrived late Saturday afternoon. I opened it and applied just a tiny drop to each of my wrists. First whiff: naughty thoughts began to play in my head of digging out my little black book, calling up the virtuoso lover of my lifetime and suggesting he come over immediately for a tryst. I remember thinking I should try to locate some opium before he arrived. Strong stuff, I thought. Apply judiciously.

I decided my evening plans would include road-testing this fragrance in public while dancing the tango at a milonga. How better than with a dozen dance partners on a sweaty summer full moon night in the tropics? I took a long, cool bath, put up my hair, did my makeup, donned my dress and applied the perfume in earnest this time.

Instantly, a movie began in my head. The first whiff was vaguely automotive – a quick petrol stop at twilight in a roadster with leather upholstery and a wood dashboard. I glimpsed my own face in the rearview mirror and saw I bore a striking resemblance to Faye Dunaway in “Chinatown.” I wore a thin, champagne-colored silk charmeuse blouse sans bra, wide-legged trousers and trailed fox furs. I called at the penthouse suite of an aging yet still dangerously handsome actor. His butler showed me past tall vases of white flowers in the foyer into the wood paneled library where the actor sat waiting for me in a leather chair by the fireplace, smoking a cigarette. Perhaps he was some kind of Eastern religious cultist; I detected the smell of incense there. He rose and tried to kiss me on the mouth. I wrenched away, secretly flattered and not a little curious about what it would be like to kiss him. I had him sign the papers I carried in my Hermès satchel with the fountain pen on his desk. He offered cocktails. I declined.

In real life, I was by then arriving at the milonga. The perfume continued to develop and unfold like a story. I saw my regular tango partner sitting at a table with two other gentlemen; they rose as I approached. The white flowers were at that moment coming on: tuberose, carnation. The men told me I smelled ravishing. The dancing began and I was swept into the close embrace of a succession of partners. I perspired. The perfume only gained potency from my body’s heat.

And then, in the second or third hour, the dark flowers came on. At this stage the iris nearly closed up my regular tango partner’s throat and nose and his eyes burned. The movie in my head changed: now the handsome actor was some kind of fetishist and I was Belle de Jour, lying in a coffin naked except for a chiffon shroud, eyes closed, pretending to be dead while he practiced some secret perversity. The scent had gone all purple: regal, funeral, decadent. But not sad.

In deference to my favorite partner’s allergy to the perfume, I went to the ladies’ room and bathed the nape of my neck and my throat in cold water. The perfume persisted, mutating. And as it dried again, the movie changed. Vanilla, clove, church incense, books – the library again. Hard liquor. I smelled the interior of the roadster. I craved a cigarette. Only then did I begin to smell the powder, and it was face powder and incense that finished the fragrance story to my nose.

I did not shower before falling exhausted into bed. The perfume gave me dreams. When I awoke, the sun was blazing. I sniffed my wrists. What was then left of Tabac Blond on my skin was what I’d smelled when opening the fitted drawers of the 13,000 Euro antique Louis Vuitton trunk I could not possibly have bought, but coveted, last year in Paris.

As to Tabac Blond being thought dyke-y by some: I think it’s possible it might have emboldened some already curious Vassar heiress to make out with a glamorous, worldly older woman in the ladies’ room of a Monte Carlo casino or a glittering nightspot decades ago. Particularly if the woman wearing it were, for instance, Marlene Dietrich. If it’s a fragrance deemed equally suitable for men, I have not yet met the man who could carry it off during the flower passages. It seemed estrogen-loaded to me then. The evening after the milonga at which I’d tried it out my regular tango partner told me no man could keep his eyes off my derrière. And I know it wasn’t the dress I wore, but the perfume. Perhaps Tabac Blond is suitable for both genders because the story it tells is of a meeting. Whether that’s the masculine/feminine duality of one individual nature or a rendez-vous between a man and a woman, I cannot say. But to me, this fragrance is never androgynous.

This one, I think, is a monster worthy of its notoriety. It tells a story that keeps unfolding for the better part of a day, like an acid trip. Timing must be everything in deciding when to apply it, since it will play out in its own time. On me, it’s often a tigress. I will admit to feeling at some times during its unfolding that it wore me, not that I wore it – but in much the same way I’d feel if draped in exquisite sable furs from head to toe. I was just its model, but I can’t complain. I think Tabac Blond must be what Daphne Du Maurier imagined Rebecca smelling of as she ordered those transparent undergarments of hers from the nuns. Memorable, seductive, strong. C’est plus fort que moi.
27th July, 2010
BayKAT Show all reviews
United States
I"m coming back to Tabac Blonde after first trying it seven months ago. During that time I increased my exposure to leathers and the Caron suite of urn parfums, and was curious to see if my experience wiht TB would change.

The opening tests my patience, as the carnation is just too sweet and the leather too rough. After 2 1/2 to 3 hours the dry florals kick in, and I am much happier; this is the phase i liked best the first time around.

in the end, however, this sits just below a 'love' from me. For everything that I like in this fragrance I can point to another that does it better. But i highly recommend it to anyone looking for a leather, becase tastes differ and this one should not be passed by.
13th June, 2010 (last edited: 14th June, 2010)
Spicier than I like on a woman, more powdery than I like for a man. Perhaps it's a coincidence, but I can think of at least 3 55+ female smokers I know that wear this one. Despite my preferences and the mental image I have of the wearer, you can't deny the quality here. Neutral, but leaning negative.
31st May, 2010