Created in 2007 by perfumers Harry Frémont and Jacques Cavallier for the Tom Ford Private Blend line, Tuscan Leather is an atypical leather fragrance not quite for everyone; leather enthusiasts might find enough quirks and crannies to elaborate on, but still be puzzled by its antithetical, polarising nature.
On one hand, the introductory blast of petrol fumes plus red fruits (mainly the tart scent of raspberries) is not exactly conductive to what people have come to expect from luxury leather blends. The expected pipe tobacco-leather upholstery richness with its fruity, bittersweet and whiskey nuances contrasts intellectually with the effect witnessed here. We have also been familiarised with the fuzzy apricot and amaretto-apricot-pits ambience of Lutens's Daim Blond, for a suede-like scent, but the tartness of berries offsets the leathery pungency here rather than mollify it. The leather perfume note in the Tom Ford is rubbery, smoky, like shoe polish and cool tires. If your elegant leather ideal has always been Chanel's Cuir de Russie, Tom Ford proposes a modern take on leather, but with much less vanilla and musks than in Bvlgari's rubbery Black.
On the other hand, pungent but restrained and under specific circumstances even velvety, with a true leathery note like a nubuck handbag fresh off the mending shop, Tuscan Leather is a cross between luxury items, new bucket seats in your new Bentley and furniture polish smeared generously on wooden planks. The leathery nuance by saffron, bittersweet, fits perfectly. There is even a hemp like note, and I was under the impression I was delusional until I saw The Non Blonde claim the same. The terpenic, pine-like facets, revealing themselves through resinous citrusy elements (frankincense being one), are jarring, instead of airy or citric like in Etro's Gomma. Perhaps even more jarring by the addition of an oud base, a direction in which Montale followed with his Aoud Leather two years later. Perversely, the more the fragrance stays on, the more the raspberry comes through. Trippy!
Essentially linear, Tuscan Leather projects well and lasts average. In a pinch, if you sprayed Givenchy's Hot Couture over a gritty leather armchair, preferably in a newly polished library, you might start getting what this is all about. Butcher on women's skin than on men's but also sweeter in the final whisper, it's a unisex fragrance like all the Tom Ford Private Blends, which demands trying on first. It's not for shy, girly-girl women or men lacking self confidence.
Notes for Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather:
Raspberry, thyme, saffron, jasmine, olibanum, leather, oud/aoudh/agarwood.
Tom Ford Tuscan Leather is available in 50ml and 100ml bottles (from what I have seen, other Private Blends come in 250ml) of Eau de Parfum in select doors where the Tom Ford Private Blend is sold.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Leather Fragrances reviews series, Tom Ford news & reviews