A couple of days ago, I gave a fairly positive review (twice actually if you count my review of Clive Christian “C”) to Tom Ford’s Private Collection (TFPC) Tuscan Leather, something that has become somewhat of a signature scent for me. I found it fitting that I should follow this up with another TFPC fragrance in the collection that has also garnered very glowing reviews.
Spoiler Alert: This will not be one of them.
Tobacco Vanille (2007): What can I say about a fragrance that’s been reviewed and written in so many blogs that hasn’t already been said? Quite a lot actually, so let’s begin with the key notes to this fragrance, of which you need to know just one: Vanilla. Not simply any vanilla, but something on the order of vanilla extract.
I’ve had ample opportunities to walk around with it against my skin for several hours just to give it fair treatment. At first scent, the top note is a very heady vanilla with a hint of ginger and a variety of other spices. It transforms after the first 20 minutes, and that becomes when the ginger fades and the vanilla is gradually revealed further. So I wait, and wait some more, and after the first hour, it continues to transform into its base notes. Guess what it becomes?
Vanilla. Tobacco? I can’t find it. Anywhere. It’s indistinguishable, unlike Creed Tabarome where the dry-down is a very heady tobacco and leather aroma that exudes the essence of a refined gentleman’s club with leather chairs, sweet tobacco aroma, and a bit of whiskey in the background. TV? I smell like cookies. In fact, I smell like the whole damn Gingerbread Man. It’s more confection than fragrance, so if I wanted to smell like pastry, this will do the trick. On the other hand, I could just as easily bathe in Pure Vanilla Extract and get the desired effect without spending $195 for a 50ml atomizer of this olfactory disaster. To be blunt, I feel as if Tom Ford is just taking a piss at all of us with this scent.
Tobacco Vanille smells as if a child exchanged maple syrup with vanilla extract and poured it over pancakes before serving. It’s sweet, it’s cloying, it’s a bakery delight; it’s a gingerbread house in spray form. There are probably people who will disagree with me on this count, though I’m perfectly willing to defend that with one experiment: Spray yourself with Tobacco Vanille just liberally enough that the sillage is apparent. Then walk around the mall for a couple of hours and see if someone doesn’t follow you wondering where the Belgian Waffle stand is located.
Tobacco Vanille is simply too heady, too over-the-top, and most of all, too androgynous. After hours of the wafting aroma of sugar plum fairies dancing in my nose, I could not wait to remove it in rubbing alcohol and try something completely different – anything, actually. In all fairness, I’ve shared samples with others who have grown to love this scent because the sweetness of the vanilla is more to their liking, their olfactory can withstand it under the right circumstance, and they’re fine with what amounts to a confectionary and dirty vanilla. It sounds by now as if I’ve soundly thrashed this scent, and to many that may be the case; however, I’m asking for the truth in advertising, that being the tobacco, which isn’t at all evident in the mix.
Rating: 2/5. Not recommended.
Bottom-Line: If you’re a fan of vanilla, and believe this reminds you of your grandfather’s pipe tobacco, by all means give this a try. If you’re seeking a richer, boozier vanilla aroma, seek out Guerlain’s Spiritueuse Double Vanille, which for a similar price point is a much better rendition of vanilla than TFPC Tobacco Vanille will ever portray. In an attempt to create a unisex scent, this is one on which Ford missed the mark by a mile.
Editor’s Note: There won’t be any posts on Sunday or Monday for the Labor Day Holiday. Look for articles to resume on Tuesday, September 6th.