Tom Ford – the designer and the man himself – seems to have a certain Midas touch with almost any endeavor in which he embarks. One of my own first impressions was noting his work on bringing Gucci back from beyond the grave as a franchise during his tenure as the house designer.
It was under Ford that he created something I still consider a truly unique and wonderful mass-market and accessible fragrance: Gucci Pour Homme (2003), and it was among the last items he commissioned during his tenure. I’ll make mention of it briefly here, despite it being discontinued and becoming more difficult to find, but stay tuned for a future piece on that scent. GPH 2003 was the very definition of a late autumn day, the smells of harvest-time, and a crackling fire, all rolled into one very unique and special fragrance. Unique because it doesn’t quite resemble anything he’s done since (neither Tom Ford for Men nor Tom Ford Extreme focus on the same olfactory impression).
Let’s consider the next portion of this article an introduction to the Tom Ford Private Collection by way of one of the most popular fragrances from the line.
Tuscan Leather (2007): By the time I’d discovered TFPC Tuscan Leather in late 2008, I’d already known that he’d established his own line and label and had quickly branched into the fragrance aspects of the line. It was a discovery I’d made quite by accident while searching for a new Creed to consider for my collection. Having been ‘skunked’ once on Creed’s Royal English Leather, I was seeking something with a more authentic and less cloying leather base. The SA in a Neiman Marcus had asked if I’d yet tried Ford’s line, and was happy to provide an introduction. Tuscan Leather had an instant affinity for me — it represented a subdued, rich, and somewhat woodier fragrance that was pleasing to the olfactory, yet it had notes of saffron, raspberry and even a touch of oudh that struck a very quick appeal for me.
Defining the traditional olfactory pyramid is somewhat challenging for this fragrance as it seems more an amalgam of all of the notes, including suede and a mild touch of amber. It dried down on the skin from it’s immediately heady opening to a very calm and warming experience, reminiscent of the smells one would find in an old world gentleman’s club save for the Scotch and pipe tobacco.
As an Eau de Parfum, it was a very divine scent, not over-the-top, not over-stated, not showy. There’s little question this is a fragrance with a very masculine profile. While I mention the Oudh notes and Amber, these are executed in a way that only augments the leather and suede notes, not overshadow them. Longevity is very good, it will last through the day, though if applied in the morning, a reapplication by nightfall might be required. It begs for indulging…nay, nearly bathing and luxuriating in the fragrance, but beware of sillage as over application will result in a long vapor trail that follows behind.
Bottom-line: This was a fragrance that I found to be FBW twice-over; the first purchase was a 50ml (current retail is $195 USD), and the subsequent purchase was a 250ml flacon (current pricing $475 USD). The flacon was an indulgence as I was also considering Clive Christian “C” and pulled the trigger on the flacon first. For those so inclined and seeking a signature scent, Tuscan Leather could very well fit the bill for someone seeking a masculine, elegant, and warm scent. I personally find it can be somewhat cloying for summer wear, but it works well for the remaining three seasons and it’s remained a staple in my own collection.
A couple of foot notes: The ingredients are of very suitable quality despite production being outsourced to Estee Lauder (this is not uncommon); however, some wearers have commented on the leather/suede combination seeming slightly chemical in nature. This is more subject to the nose of the wearer and the mix with body chemistry; ergo, this is definitely a try-first/buy-next type of decision. At its price-point, it does tend to be somewhat more expensive than a comparable Creed on a per ml basis, like to like. A millesime Creed will be somewhat less expensive, a Signature Creed slightly higher. Ford sits near the mid-point.
Rating: 4.5/5. Highly-recommended.
Simply put, this is a fragrance that demands attention, and asks the wearer to either love it or hate it as it evokes very strong feelings. I thoroughly enjoy it as a substitute for Clive Christian “C” when I don’t quite have occasion to use that, but still find it suitable for my daily routine. This is not a scent-on-paper fragrance; therefore, if you are seeking a leather-laced scent, it truly requires interaction with the warmth of skin for a proper judgment. From there, only you can end the story…