It’s all in the name.
Tobacco Vanille is said to be inspired by Tom Ford’s interpretation of a London gentlemen’s club – the lunch kind, not the American kind – and I must say, in beginning, that the pictorial inspiration is certainly there.
It’s part of Ford’s private blend line, alongside other well-known fragrances by this house such as Tuscan Leather, Neroli Portofino and Noir de Noir.
If I were to sum up Tobacco Vanille as a mental image, it would be an olfactory depiction of an aged leather chair in an English lunch club, moderately permeated by a few years of tobacco pipe smoking and vanilla liqeur.
Like most Tom Ford private blend fragrances, Tobacco Vanille often presents in a dark coloured 50mL flacon like the above (in addition to larger sizes). It’s an eau de parfum strength, and is quite a strong scent so it’s wise to apply with moderation.
The Olfactory Notes
When freshly applied, I can smell some aromatic and spice accords in the top notes. They combine to give off an aroma that’s reminiscent of rum n’ raisin ice cream.
These give way to a dry-down with a strong heart of tobacco, which is said to be comprised of multiple tobacco sources; citing notes of tobacco blossom and tobacco leaf in addition to simply stating ‘tobacco’.
The heart of tobacco is smoothed over by a touch of tonka bean, which gives it a creamier texture. I’m a big fan of tonka bean and tobacco so this combination was a big winner in my book.
After a few hours, the tobacco simmers down to reveal a base of sweetness comprised largely – to my nose anyway – of vanilla, supported by a slight accord of cocoa and dry wood.
It’s a wonderful scent, blended well. While I do really enjoy it, I wasn’t blown away enough to give it full marks.
This scent projects well and you will certainly be noticed when you wear it. It’s not overpowering though.
I think a scent like this could easily last from morning to morning, so it’s a bit of a shame that this one tops out at 8-10 hours with only 6 hours of projection.
What Would I Wear This With?
I think this fragrance pairs really well with both jacket and tie outfits, and country inspired outfits. It’s super versatile, the only real guide I go by is that I like to wear it with something English inspired. Tweed, double breasted blazers, corduroy and traditional gentlemen’s hunting styles are all fair game.
I don’t personally think of it as a suit fragrance, but you could easily do so if you fancy it.
I can see this fragrance being an easy wear at any time of day in the cooler months, and possibly in moderation during warmer days too. I wouldn’t reach for it on a really hot day, due to the thickness of tobacco and sweetness.
I think that Penhaligon’s Sartorial would be a good choice if you wanted a fresher, lighter version of this fragrance. If you want something a little more strong and imposing, try this fragrance’s sister composition Tobacco Oud.
But this fragrance is a classic. I’d recommend trying it, and at least picking up a decant. There are very few people who will dislike it – it’s a classy, well-made and opulent scent.
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