Being a fan of hesperides and heavy incense fragrances (I know, from one extreme to the other), I expected little from Caron Tabac Blond. Being a Leather, it doesn’t fall into either of my favourite camps. However, I’d read such enthusiastic reviews by experienced parfumistas both male and female that I decided to hunt it down.
Thanks to a very kind friend (you know who you are) I was given a full bottle on loan. The bottle itself is delightful: all gold caps and gold ridged lid and raised polka dots on the beautiful glass. At first sniff I was uninspired. It was dry, brown and dusty. However the previous day I had been wearing the diametrical opposite: Chanel Cristalle (see my earlier review), which is fresh, citrussy and dewy.
I tried again, and this time, being in the right mindset for Leather and Tobacco, I fell a little bit in love with Tabac Blond. Imagine finding an old leather satchel in an antique shop. Imagine an ancient unsmoked packet of cigarettes in the bottom, along with some dog-eared love letters and a pressed carnation. Take a deep sniff. That’s Tabac Blond. Papery, dry, Tobacco and Leather. It brought to mind the yellowing pages of an old book, dusty and forgotten. The perfect destination for this fragrance is either Paris, for any reason at all, or Hay on Wye – the Second Hand Book Capital of the World, where some of the ancient shops still have bells on the door.
Caron Tabac Blond was an edgy contender when it was created in 1919. Emancipated women were coming out of the woodwork and, can you bear it?, they were smoking. In public. Like men. Enter Stage Left: Tabac Blond. Designed to complement the smell of Le Smoking, the Tobacco notes are not as common now. In fact there is nothing modern about this dusty treat. Bearing in mind today’s fruity, screechy monstrosities, that in itself should be celebrated. Tabac Blond is the classic trench coat in a room full of neon anoraks. Pure class.