Perfume Directory

Tabac Original (1959)
by Mäurer & Wirtz


Tabac Original information

Year of Launch1959
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 356 votes)

People and companies

HouseMäurer & Wirtz
PerfumerArturo Jordi-Pey

About Tabac Original

This fragance has been doing the rounds for over 40 years without any signs of losing its popularity. The fragrance is complemented by a very wide range of grooming, shaving and body products.

Tabac Original fragrance notes

Reviews of Tabac Original

I have the Eau De Cologne, and it is stronger and longer lasting than a lot of the Eau De Toilette's out there. Tabac is a very rich, natural smelling symphony of notes playing off your skin for hours. Applying to your shirt, it will last for days. Summer heat amplifies it's beauty. And compliments galore! Two thumbs up and 5 stars for this timeless classical legend. Unparalleled quality/price ratio. Maurer & Wirtz has been in business since 1845, and Tabac Original epitomizes the knowledge and craftsmanship acquired over 175 years practicing the art of perfumery.
26th July, 2020
In some ways I guess it could be said that Tabac by Mäurer & Wirtz (1959) is Germany's answer to America's medicine chest stalwart Shulton Old Spice (1937), and in some ways has held up better in the long run, since it is still very much used in Germany, rather than being sold part and parcel to a healthcare conglomerate like Old Spice then exploited as a brand label until all meaning was lost. In that respect, Tabac is a rare survivor of the corporate bloat and downmarket destruction that has afflicted most drugstore perfumes of yore, to be either replaced with cheapo aerosol body sprays like Axe/Lynx or become a pale veneer of what they once were sold only in gift sets around Christmas. For better or worse (perhaps better or wirtz), Tabac has remained the beast it originally was, so much that it now bears the subtitle of "original" to differentiate it from competitors and its own host of modernized flankers. The smell of Tabac is not really tobacco, but neither is the smell of Old Spice strictly spicy, as both are of that rare breed of men's oriental which borrow much from the orientals sold to women through much of the early to mid 20th century, just with Tabac being intentionally masculine by design (whereas Old Spice was originally for women). The results of intentional masculinity superimposed on what is otherwise an oriental accord conventional for the day includes the sucking out of nearly all sweetness, and beefing up of base notes that appealed to men at the time.

Tabac was composed by Arturo Jordi-Pey, who spent more time behind the scenes at Firmenich than composing perfumes for big name houses, despite being widely-respected as a master nose within the industry, meaning you're more likely to see his name in a book on perfume method than on a perfume. He must have looked at what made Old Spice so appealing to men, then took a look at what men loved about dry leather chypres like Javier Serra's Russian Leather/MEM English Leather (1949), combined them, and embellished them into something unique. The opening is fairly "knock you back" stuff, combining bracing aldehydes, bergamot, petitgrain, spices, and some powdery tones. The barbershop aesthetic is actually really strong with Tabac in this stage, but it's no wonder since this stuff was meant to be an entire men's grooming solution. The heart of carnation is dotted with cardamom, clove, lavender, and geranium, but honestly the carnation/clove (both powered by eugenol) dominate here. The isobutyl quinoline leather of Robert Piguet Bandit (1944) fame is also here, but so is amber, oakmoss, vetiver (for smoke), sandalwood, tonkin musk (or proxy), olibanum, and coumarin (for tobacco). Wear time varies by concentration but the original eau de cologne is deceptively long-legged, while later EdT sprays can choke a crowd if not careful. I'd call this a cool weather scent but if you enjoy Tabac unironically, you probably don't give a damn about when or wear you use it. Like most older masculines, any sense of context has long since been erased with the passage of time (and relevance).

Fans of Clubman Pinaud Special Blend (year unknown) may enjoy Tabac as a rough clove-heavy leather scent with rounded oriental charm, but that heavy plonk of animalic musk in the base removes any preconceived notion of casual use from the start. This was and still is a "man's man" stereotype of a fragrance, coming across surly, brusque, individualistic, and not foolin' around. It's almost amusing to see the Germans "out-America" a mostly-American style of masculinity, but so much time has passed that this kind of thing isn't really stylish in America anymore, meaning something like Tabac might be seen as a challengingly exotic fragrance at best, or unforgivably dowdy and aggressive at worst (much like Old Spice). Wet-shaving enthusiasts are probably apt to enjoy the kind of rough-hewn manliness on display with such a dense and dry, spicy leather accord as Tabac has, and if you want to play into the German leather bondage stereotype, this will also work very well for you. Tabac is sold in the US but never gained traction like some of the Italian barbershop staples did, so while you might see people stocking Pino Silvestro (1955) or Acqua di Selva (1949) stateside (especially in New York city), you aren't likely to find Tabac outside an independent perfume shop that specializes in oddities or vintage brands. One thing is for sure: if your Old Spice isn't old enough, your English Leather not English enough, or your Jovan Musk (1972) not musky enough, Tabac has you covered for the price of a beer. Just remember that this chap drinks Paulaner or Bitburger, and not that pissy American beer, Thumbs up.
14th February, 2020
Very Nice Smell. Aftershave smells much better than EDT.
03rd December, 2019 (last edited: 08th December, 2019)
Tabac is old school. Not bad but gives off a too-much-ingredients vibe. To me similar to potpourri, baby powder or skin cream. Lanvin does this too with Arpège but somehow that gets away with it in the feminine spectrum.

The pepper and muskiness that do surface save it.

I rate it neutral in this day and age yet it does particularly suit men aged 50+ going for classical. Which is also Tabac's main client base. Would rate it neutral to positive for them.
16th June, 2019 (last edited: 16th July, 2019)
Dodgy mix of Old Spice and citrus cologne that doesn't work.
EdC formula
13th December, 2018 (last edited: 18th December, 2018)
Ifti Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Got out the shower
Got my !$*# together
When I'm good I'm good
When I'm Tabac I'm better.

Splash cologne - well groomed freshness. DuNez hits it on the head, a top splash for a satisfying few hrs.

No frills no nonsense masculine.
No offense.

11th September, 2018

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