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In J. B. Priestley's play, "Time and the Conways", it is conceivable that the vivacious, outgoing, character of Hazel Conway, would have worn this devastatingly risque perfume.
Set between the Wars, both Acts I and III of this challenging play offer the audience a window in to the lives of an upper-class family just after the close of the Great War and the mood of optimism that accompanied the year 1919.
In this context, we view the Conway's household as a sort of big game of charades, exemplified by their frivolity, indulgence, and improvident spending.
Priestly presents the opinionated, vital, Hazel as a woman who appears to know exactly what she wants from life, and I would argue that she would have 'died for' and worn this exquisite and radical creation released by Caron in the same year.
A massive 'leather' fragrance; the entrance of "Tabac Blond" is like that of an on-stage Matador: muscular, masculine, and saturated with vivacity. Devoid almost of a classical citrus top accord, there is a dry, almost bitter and 'sweaty', animalic edge to the moments after the perfume explodes that hypnotises the perceiver with a continual sense of movement and control: a torrent of floral tuberose and sweet tobacco creating a dramatic, almost visceral, unforgettable effect on one's senses. There is no doubt as to its authority, focus, and the sexually implied statement of 'come hither'.
More delights follow. Vanilla, amber and musk emerge from this richly choreographed perfume and perform an almost animated dance alongside the powerful tobacco notes, reminiscent of the Paso Doble. As minutes become measurable as hours, the sweetness of the vanilla shifts the axis towards the feminine, although this is, in the author's opinion, a 'masculin/feminin' perfume.
'Old-fashioned'? Well, maybe, though this is a perfume experience to explore and treasure rather like the poignant themes within Priestley's play that remain apposite today.
'Expensive'? Yes, however, this is one of the truly great achievements in perfume history and arguably both the birth of, and the epitome of 'Noir'.
20th February, 2010