Fragrance Review: Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

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.

Initial Thoughts

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.


Smell: 4.5/5

It’s a wonderful scent, blended well. While I do really enjoy it, I wasn’t blown away enough to give it full marks.

Projection: 4/5

This scent projects well and you will certainly be noticed when you wear it. It’s not overpowering though.

Longevity: 3.5/5

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.

Concluding Thoughts

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.

Thanks for tuning in,

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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