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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Perfume Review: Caron Tabac Blond and En Avion

Review by Tom

A month or so ago, I got a big selection of Caron samples. Over the next few weeks, I will try to do them justice.

Tabac Blond

Smelling this one, it's hard to credit that this is from 1919: it smells as fresh as anything coming from any of the niche houses. It starts with an almost acrid smokiness that reminds me of Fumerie Turque, but is almost immediately softened by leather. Not a strong leather, a light glove leather scent: an Hermes bag, not a biker jacket. As the initial smokiness becomes more a delicate tobacco (the "white tobacco" of the name), amber and vanilla join in adding some depth and a hint of sweetness, while the faintest iris and carnation join in as the scent is grounded in musk.

While the scent is not particularly classically "feminine" it does make me think of the sort of woman who can be showing horses in the morning, race cars in the afternoon, and host a ball in the evening for heads of state. The sort of perfectly coiffed "Hitchcock Blonde" that would have been played by Madeleine Carroll or Eva Marie Saint.

En Avion

Created in 1932 to celebrate the aviatrix: women who took to the skies and captured the imagination of the world. It starts with a powdery woods, clove and carnations. As the scent progresses, the cloves die down, letting the carnations and roses come to the fore. As it dries further a leather comes forward, oddly for a scent that celebrates activities far more dangerous than holding a ball, it's a very soft leather. If I was actually naming these myself, I would have switched them: to me En Avion seems much softer than Tabac Blond; the cloved roses smells of and homey and the leather and woods are less challenging.

These are both lovely, and surprisingly modern. En Avion seems almost to want to take aviatrix and let the men of the '30's know that she is really a woman at heart: she can wrestle that single-engine plane solo over the Atlantic, but she would let you win at bridge. Tabac Blond seems designed to let the men of the 20's know that the lady may be wearing white satin, she is perfectly capable of beating you at anything from poker to polo. Guess which lady I'd like to spend time with?

These two are only available from Caron in Paris siphoned off from giant urns, which is something I would normally bitch about from here to eternity. But since it seems that Caron is one house that keeps these formulations as sacred as they can. Other houses should take a page from them on that.

The first image is from, the second from


Blogger Marina said...

In the movie about the Tabac Blond woman, can I please, please play her? I'll learn to drive racing cars! *whines*

10:29 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Of course you can! Hair up, white satin bias-cut Adrian sheath with matching Manolos and of course red lipstick and all.

And an Aston-Martin

Tabac Blond is the fragrance a Bond girl would wear. That is, if she had been better at Bonds job than Bond.

10:58 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

...They should have hired a woman to play Bond...I've heard a rumour that such an idea was being entertained at one point...I would have liked that better than this new thug they got.

11:10 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Tell me about it. Think what Famke Janssen would have done with that!?!

11:18 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ooh, the woman with thighs of steel! (remember Goldeneye?) She is fierce.

11:23 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Remember? That's where I go the idea!

11:40 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Good thinking! And it's a shame They didn't have the same idea. Ugh.

11:45 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not unlike some drunken sailor (only instead of a tattoo) i indulged on parfum at caron's madison avenue dive... i actually wound up buying a hundred bucks worth of that very blonde "booze" of which you speak (topped-off by this furtive ceremony involving gold wire and its tight fetishistic entwinement upon crystal)... but yeah... enough of that... weeks later down the drain that precious goo went... unfortunately the word dowdy began to seep in conquering all notions of my previous (and enraptured) distraction... oh well... how our poetic waxings can lead us astray... and then snap you back... but thanks for sharing yours

2:37 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, no...

Marinushka and I are going to have to do some naked mud wrestling for that role...
And as I've been a weightlifter for 30 years,and a demented yoga nun for the same 30, I fear for her well-being !

[However, if we sell tickets to this match, we could raise enough dough to keep us rolling in the Carons, LOL !

[Truly, my dear, I only jest- there's not a vicious bone in my body- but this makes great copy !]
We'll have Leo and Dusan salivating in no time flat...

7:15 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On me, Tabac Blond is soft and sweet, almost suede-like leather, whereas En Avion is all black leather. I'm more of a soft leather type, so Tabac Blond is the one for me.

7:33 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*holds back the dribble*

7:33 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Great reviews! Adore both of these scents. I think many of Daltroff's creations smell amazingly modern. Glad to see you mentioned Madeleine Carroll - she was brilliant and seems to be forgotten now as the first of the Hitchcock blondes.
And, I agree, a female Bond would be brilliant. :-)

7:59 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not fighting in no mud...but all that potential cash for Carons might tempt me to fight in jelly.

8:28 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Down the drain!!??? Have you not heard of sending to friends, acquaintances, or people you don't know (like me, for example)? Down the drain!!!??

Sorry Tom, I loved your review, but I got distracted by Anon.'s comment. I adore both of these perfumes. I used to find En Avion easier to wear, but now I find myself gravitating more often to TB. Down the drain????!!

8:37 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

ps i AM quite good at poker. :)

9:01 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...



Of course I haven't lived with it so I can't say. I have friends who consider Caron dowdy. So far with these I can't see it, but like I wrote, it's early in the affair.

11:29 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


If we sold tickets to that match we'd outgross "Casino Royale"!

11:29 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


funny how chemistry is, TB on me was soft leather, but vaguely threatening (I must admit, I was trying also to view it from the perspective of someone from 1919 as well as 2006). EnA seemed to have a soft leather, but more like well-used seats rather than opera-length gloves. The cloves and flowers softened it a lot more than I would have liked. I found TB to be a lot more subversive, so of course I liked it.

11:37 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Don't hold back. You know you want it!

11:38 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I am amazed by how modern these are, especially since a clueless friend of mine upon my mention of trying these dropped the "old lady" bomb.

As I wrote: these aren't just surprisingly modern, they are subversive, and that's a very good thing!

11:41 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Oh and Elle-

Madeleine Carroll was the best- the original "39 Steps" and "Secret Agent" were brilliant!

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Mud, Jell-o, baked beans, take your pick. Champagne maybe?

The First Annual Mumms-Wrestling Palooza to benifit the Society to bring more and Better Carons to Us!

11:47 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I know. I made the Miss Mapp "old friends though we are" face at the drain comment. But he's made that one before. It's very dramatic, very French.

11:49 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


It is Caron month everywhere! Total happenstance: I've had these for a while and just haven't delved into them.

11:52 AM EST  
Anonymous horoscopo de hoy gratis said...

...They should have hired a woman to play Bond...I've heard a rumour that such an idea was being entertained at one point...I would have liked that better than this new thug they got.

12:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Leather Jacket For Sale said...

nice post love it

4:05 AM EDT  

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