Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille: fragrance review

As the cooler months draw to an end I have a faint pang of nostalgia on fragrances which will be rather difficult to bring out in the heat of summer due to either their density that feels like a warm blanket that obscures light when playing on the bed as a kid, or due to their characteristic warm bouquet that feels at home only beside curduroy jackets and black & tan riding boots. Tom Ford's Private Blend Tobacco Vanille checks both boxes in question and, if the female reception of this rather unisex vanilla fragrance is any indication, some more figurative boxes as well. With my anticipation for Lavender Palm building, I returned to this deep and sweet scent for a re-introduction now that woolens are slowly coming off.

Part of the luxurious Private Blend by Tom Ford line which comprises 12 fragrances (like Champaca Absolute, Noir de Noir, Tuscan Leather, Japon Noir, Arabian Wood, Bois Marocain, Italian Cypress, Azure Lime, Neroli Portofino, Oud Wood, and the now discontinued Velvet Gardenia etc), Tobacco Vanille as its name suggests is an oriental; suave, smoldering and quite smooth. Its salient characteristic is the unguous fall of a rich tobacco bouquet into the creamy, cocoa butter-like vanilla with unexpected accents of dried fruits. The sweetness is not accountable to the vanilla though, but to the honey note that good pipe tobacco often displays.

Indeed for a while one loses the tobacco pouch for the honeyed-drenched cream pudding being served. But the two do co-exist and the dried fruits accents is reminiscent of the Lutensian school of thought, easily. Or of Coco by Chanel, the original spicy one, with its inclusion of a cocoa note amidst it all; perhaps of the mood of Dior's Hypnotic Poison (the poison scaled down considerably in Tom's version, like in the Hypnotic Poison Eau Sensuelle), or, if one is being mean, of rootbeer float. I seem to detect an almond note too, which is a classic but delicious pairing with vanillas. Indeed Tobacco Vanille takes on gourmand aspects that go beyond a simple cookie vanilla, built on complex notes that end up smelling like two voices singing in musical thirds; harmony... Up close, sniffing on the wrist, Tobacco Vanille can take an ash-tray note, while a little space between it and one's nose reveals a more sultry sillage that is rich and tempting. This is one reason why this is a perfume that I do not recommend spraying on one's clothes; I suspect the result by the end of the day might get a little stale.

Nevertheless, I can't seem to personally enthuse on Tobacco Vanille too much, for what is worth, due to its rather excessive sweetness. I prefer my vanillas drier, somewhat more powdery, and my tobacco given a palm-on-sweaty-thigh-rolling-it vibe reminiscent of Havana and Habanita. But that's just me, don't let it stop you. Tobacco Vanille is one of Tom Ford's most popular fragrances and a must-try for vanilla or tobacco lovers everywhere. Plus, it's marketed as a unisex (you have to enjoy sweet scents on men, though, to appreciate it) and it lasts very long.

Notes for Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille:
Spicy note, aromatic note, tobacco, tonka bean, tobacco flower, tobacco leaf, dried fruit, vanilla, cocoa, tree sap.

Private Blend
Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford comes as Eau de Parfum (1.7oz, 3.4oz and 8.3oz sizes), available at select points of sale such as Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Nordstorm.

Picture of Demi Moore smoking a cigar, originally printed on Cigar Aficionado Magazine.


  1. Tobacco Vanille was my first niche parfum ever and it has triggered my interest in the world of scent. Thank you Tom Ford! I love everything about it! It's creamy and sweet but with an edge: I enjoy smelling of tobacco, though I don't smoke myself =)

  2. I like this one. I have a decant. I don't wear it often enough.

  3. Mitchin,

    as you say (thanks for commenting) it's sweet but it has an edge. It's an interesting interpretation of the theme and like you, although not a smoker, I enjoy tobacco in scents.
    In general there are quite a few in the TF line that are worthy of continued attention :-)

  4. Karin,

    it's very popular for a reason I guess. I wouldn't wear it all too often either: it can become a bit much sometimes. But it's nice to have some on hand.

  5. I like this one a lot but I agree that it's very sweet for a tobacco perfume (and I like this part about it). For a dryer tobacco scent I want to mention also SSS's Tabac Aurea.

  6. Undina,

    yeah, isn't it? Usually we associate tobacco with a semi-sweet, semi-dry scent (pipe tobacco has sweeter nuances than cigar or cigarettes).

    I do love Tabac Aurea, so great thinking on your part!

  7. I would also like to thank you for your blog. I don't know how to express it right, but I've learned so much from it! Thank you so much!

  8. Awww...very kind of you to say so! *blushes*
    I learn from my readers as well, it's quite an interactive process.


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