Perfume Review: Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille, Tuscan Leather, Velvet Gardenia
With notes of tobacco leaf, spices, tonka bean, tobacco flower, vanilla, cocoa, dry fruits and wood sap, Tobacco Vanille is described by Tom Ford Beauty as "a modern take on an old world men’s club". In my opinion, to be such a take, the scent has to have a very strong leather note and be even smokier and perhaps a littler harsher. The image that Tobacco Vanilla evokes in my mind is more domiciliary, cozy and warm. It is an image of a dad smoking a pipe, a mom baking something aromatic, maybe gingerbread...It is winter, snow is falling softly, there is the smell of bonfires in the air and the sound of bells...Is it Christmas? Perhaps. It is definitely somewhere in Russia, and most probably even not in the 21st century, maybe even not in the 20th. Tobacco and vanilla go wonderfully well together, and in this particular fragrance the balance of the two accords is perfect. The scent is neither too smoky, nor too fluffy and sweet. The spicy note, which, to me, smells mostly of ginger, ornaments the honeyed smokiness, adding a sweet zing to the composition. The drydown of sugared prunes and soft wood is a cuddly delight. I loved Tobacco Vanille and I think that fans of Ambre Narguile, Sensuelle Russie, Fumerie Turque and Parfumerie Generale's super-secret Un Crime Exotique, should pay special attention to this Private Blend.
Mix Tobacco Vanille with Tuscan Leather and the result would be that very "old world men's club" so dear to Ford's heart. Tuscan Leather, with notes of saffron, raspberry, thyme, olibanum, jasmine, leather, black suede and amberwood, is a husky and warm rendition of leather. The first accord combines tarry smokiness with a very surprising and very delightful raspberry note. I love leather paired with sugared citrus fruits (Piver Cuir de Russie), but I would have never thought that raspberry would be so appropriate in a leather fragrance. And it truly is. It brings charming sweetness, playfulness and sunny warmth to the otherwise rather austere blend. It is like an unexpectedly childish, happy smile on a weather-beaten face. With time, the distinctive berry note subsides, but slight sweetness remains and it softens the composition, toning down the smoky harshness of leather and the peppery sharpness of incense. The latter two notes are the most prominent on my skin throughout the scent's development, with perhaps just a hint of herbs in the heart of the fragrance. Tuscan Leather is rugged and cuddlesome, a very interesting take on leather and a delight for this lover of leather perfumes.
The last three scents to be reviewed turned out to be my most favorite in the new Ford collection. Velvet Gardenia is perhaps the one that I loved the most. The realization came to me as somewhat of a shock, because I am decidedly not a fan of gardenia perfumes. So far the only rendition that I was able to wear was Jardenia. In a way, Ford's take on the flower reminds me a little bit of JAR's, in a sense that in both compositions the gardenia note has a certain thick, fleshy quality...the note seems so palpable and corpulent, it is almost more than a flower, there is almost something animalic about it. I am invariably attracted to the scents that combine white flowers with incense. In Velvet Gardenia, the incense and the even more prominent ambery-incensey labdanum note pose a striking contrast to the creamy velvet of the gardenia and tuberose petals. The scent has a very vague fruity undertone that enhances the sweet voluptuousness of the flowers. Velvet Gardenia is indolent and dark, slightly brooding, extremely alluring. If I can only have one bottle from the Private Blend line, this would be my choice.
To sum up my impressions from the collection...I was impressed. I did not love all twelve scents, but I liked most, and even in those I didn't like, I still admired the creativity of the blends and the quality of the ingredients. The collection is not cheap by any stretch of imagination, but it smells expensive. I also liked the fact that the scents, different as they are, seem tied together with a certain common thread running through them. To me that thread is a woody-ambery, slightly spicy undertone present practically in all perfumes, even the citrusy-sunny Neroli Portofino. Overall, the perfumes are long-lasting, with a luxurious sillage; most of them have a sleek, urbane feel and a slightly retro glamour that is so very Tom Ford.
Just for the fun of it, I decided to rank the twelve scents, with the first being my most favorite. The hit parade concludes the Ford week on Perfume-Smellin' Things, thank you for reading!
1. Velvet Gardenia
2. and 3. Tobacco Vanille and Tuscan Leather
4. Amber Absolute
5. Bois Rouge
6. Noir de Noir
7. Moss Breches
8. Oud Wood
9. Neroli Portofino
10. Japon Noir
11. Black Violet
12. Purple Patchouli
The scents are available at Bergdorf Goodman, $165.00 for 50ml, $450.00 for 250ml.
Labels: Tom Ford