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Tabac Blond by Caron

Flacon Design: Félicie Bergaud

Tabac Blond

by Caron (1919)  
85%
85 of 100%, 106 Ratings
Released in the year 1919, apparently still in production.
Perfumer: Ernest Daltroff

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top Notes Carnation, Leather, Lime
Heart Notes Heart Notes Iris, Vetiver, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base Notes Amber, Musk, Patchouli, Vanilla, Cedar

Ratings

Scent
85% (106 Ratings)
Longevity
79% (78 Ratings)
Sillage
74% (69 Ratings)
Bottle
80% (72 Ratings)
Researched and submitted by Kankuro
Very helpful Review - 08/12/2014
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Average
4 Review Awards
Words fail me...
What an incredible masterpiece this is! Like gold or pearl necklaces, and dresses made from finest black velvet. This is a perfume which has to be not smelled but rather experienced!

Tabac Blond (I'm reviewing the Eau de Parfum here) was released in 1919 (same time as the legendary Mitsouko by Guerlain) as a perfume for women who smoked! It was a revolutionary concept, and also a revolutionary perfume in many ways because firstly, it was the first time that leather had been used in a woman's perfume and secondly, this was one of the very first tobacco fragrances! I think it's more revolutionary than Mitsouko though.

It's a hard one to explain but I'll try to. What you get is dry, soft tobacco, like the paper which lines a pack of cigarettes, rather than the cigarettes themselves. Spicy carnation dominates, along with a gorgeous leather-iris combination and a hint of animalic notes. Damp cedarwood and dry, dark vanilla mixed with creamy ylang-ylang complete the base.

This is unlike anything I've tried in a very long time. When I smell this I get two images, elegant balls and women dressed in black with white gloves and cigarette holders, marble floored ball rooms and the golden aura from crystal chandeliers. The other image I get is the women of the 1920's, androgynous women (this was reportedly a favourite of Marlene Dietrich). I don't get "flapper" or "loose woman" out of this. I get "rich woman who smokes"... and yes it's a lot like the smell of makeup and tobacco but at the same time is so deep and luxurious that it really deserves a few tries to really see the elegance in it. It really gives of an aura of gold and black and luxury. I can't explain any better than that. If you can, please try and experience this. A legendary perfume.
Helpful Review - 02/07/2012
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Good
100%
5 Review Awards
The mystery of perfume presented to an alien.
If I had to chose only one fragrance that should reveal and explain the European perfume history, herritage and style to an alien (from outer space or a person totally blanc of associations towards perfumes in general), I would chose Caron´s Tabac Blond.

From the first time I tried it, it had me. And I was intrigued, repelled, fascinated and very much attracted. Tabac Blond is to me the perfume of the perfumes. It´s so close to what perfume is all about (to me) that I call it an archetype.

Everything you might want from a real high class perfume, you got it in Tabac Blond. Even thoug I have more expensive perfumes in my collection, nothing makes me feel as proud being a perfumista as Tabac Blond. Living without knowing Tabac Blond would be a great loss. Greatness beyond words really...

Oh, but oh... how does it smell? The opening is very sharp, like a lot of old school perfume openings are and I´ve learned to love those harsh, a little repelling openings, if the medicin isn´t bitter, it won´t work as well, right? It´s bursting with almost oily carnation, underscored by equally oily, slightly bitter lime and a raw, rugged leathery note. Love it.

The smokey character from vetiver reveals. Some softer notes from florals. It warms up, it meltens in to my skin, creamy yet still harsh, mysterious and dark. The dry down is all about golden creaminess, woody patchouli, soft vanilla (not the eatible kind), regal amber and animalic musk. Love it even more (if possible).

If you´re usually in to fruity florals, you´ll proably hate Tabac Blond. It´s far from a modern scent, yet I find it timeless and ageless, and I hope Caron will continue to keep it this way, as far as I know they´re still having the original formula (or at least as close as possible). I do not find the eau de parfum so different from the extrait. Not as long lasting, and you need to apply more of course, but the esscential fragrance seem very close to my nose.

If you don´t have any fancy clothes or golden jewelry, not worry, Tabac Blond will be happy to wear you for a while even if you´re dressed in jeans and t-shirt.
Very helpful Review - 01/23/2012
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Very good
100%
8 Review Awards
The Mystery of Tabac Blond
Tabac Blond is a hell of a naughty and ‘mean’ fragrance. It is rather difficult to pull off 'with style' or better with 'the right attitude' and grasp it in its complexity. After all, it takes quite a woman to love this on herself as the usual female fragrances today smell so totally different in comparison. Part of Tabac Blond's thrill IMO is that it is sort of 'daring' for every wearer... it is not a perfect fit for women nor for men. It’s ambiguous or androgynous, its intentions are concealed and never clear. So, I think Roja Dove is very right in saying that Tabac Blond is a 'difficult' fragrance.

However, I had people literally walking around me in circles to finally stand behind me or following me on a train to sit exactly next to me or a woman at the gas station (how fitting with Tabac Blond’s gasoline and harsh smoky opening! ) commenting in total awe that she had never smelled such a perfume. Tabac Blond does this to the ones not in the know and often strikes them like lightening... its absolutely weird, harsh, butch but opulent opening with the delicious and slightly sweeter and softer heart/base gradually joining is a moment of perfect perfume bliss. Iris/orris is a big helper here to keep the picture blurred all through its progression. The overall mood of Tabac Blond is dark, very dark and seethingly sexual.

Tabac Blond is a glorious piece of perfume history… did Ernest Daltroff initially have men in mind to wear this? Was it meant to conceal the stains of smoking, which was still a rather scandalous pleasure for women in the 1920s? Flapper girls… and and… It is all part of the magic and allure of Tabac Blond today.

To my experience there is no 'reformulation'. Tabac Blond - like e.g. En Avion - was newly interpreted when Alès - with Richard Fraysse as nose - took over. All samples I got hold of from the period afterwards smell basically the same (including the so-called ‘vintage Tabac Blond’ from ThePerfumedCourt). The original Tabac Blond (and En Avion) was fundamentally chypré in character and as such ‘old-fashioned’ in the style of the 1920/30s. All these chypré classics of the time were redux in their heart and base, but lingered on for a long time. The idea of the time was refinement (Caron was and still is the pinnacle of luxury!). A comparison with the great Lanvin classics is inevitable. It is immediately clear when you put on some original Tabac Blond how rich of animalics it is. If you took Rumeur, Scandal and My Sin minus the sweetness from the florals (mostly jasmine) you would be indeed very close in feel to the original Tabac Blond as if they all together were variations on the same theme.

Some last words of advice: Do only buy from Caron directly and only go for the extrait! I think some reviewers on the web (mainly U.S.) got an EdP without knowing. This is really half the story, short-lived on skin and not special and rich in the way the extrait is. Bear in mind that Tabac Blond is not a big sillage fragrance (I apply more), smells fantastic if part of it gets on fabric, keep trying if you are 'confused' but intrigued (in case it does not instantly click with you - it took me quite some tries to get it). Vary spraying and dabbing to find your preferred method.

In the end, I think Richard Fraysse is doing an excellent job at Caron and his interpretation of Tabac Blond is outstanding. Caron is the ONLY house today to keep the grand French Haute Parfumerie style alive.

How I love thee, my Tabac Blond! *****
1 Reply
Fleurine 908 days ago
thanks for a great review!
Helpful Review - 01/04/2012
Longevity: Good
90%
3 Review Awards
Old school femme fatale
Tabac Blond is an exquisite golden tobacco-and-amber perfume from the great house of Caron. It's luxurious, mature, complex and very sensual, transforming any woman wearing it into a classy rich goddess. The leather and carnation add a bit of spice and a naughty twist to the more classical base of amber, vanilla, (light) patchouli and musk.

I'm very much in love with this fragrance, I adore its opulence and impressive style, but it is at the same time quite demanding and it would take a lot of self-confidence and a very fashionable outfit to pull off this one. Not to mention golden jewelry seems like a must when wearing it.

A grande dame of the classical school.
1 Reply
Louce 1025 days ago
I doubt. I´m looking grande-dame-like and wear rarely super-fashionable outfits, never golden jewelry... but my self-confidence is quite OK and I LOVE Tabac Blond. :-)

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