Not Smoking…Really

Tobacco, tobacco!                                                                       Sing sweetly for tobacco,                                                    Tobacco is like love, o love it,                                                   For you see I will prove it.

Tobias Hume (1567-1645)

If the new electronic cigarettes turn out to be truly less menacing to human health than the old ones, I wonder if smoking will find favor with a new generation?  My mother-in-law, who gave up smoking almost forty years ago, still misses it.  Periodically she remarks that one day, when she really gets old, she will take it up again.

I never smoked, but in common with many people who remember the sixties and seventies, I miss the smell of tobacco products.  I’ll admit that chain smokers did not smell very good but pipe tobacco, which I associate with the earliest memories of my father, smelled wonderful to me.

I only have one perfume that recalls that smell;  it’s Plus Que Jamais, a late composition attributed to Jean Paul Guerlain.  It really is a lovely thing, a floral oriental with a bouquet recalling that of 1983’s Jardins de Bagatelle only with more ylang-ylang, tonka bean, vanilla and tobacco of course, than its likely inspiration.  It is much the most floral of these tobacco allusive fragrances, and it is, of course, discontinued.

Sonoma Scent Studios make a very good actual tobacco scent called Tabac Aurea.  This is much more tobacco centric.  It is strong, relatively dry and has a lift in the top that makes me think it is heavy on the aldehydes.  I wonder if its inspiration is not the old male floral aldehyde Tabac Original (1955) by Maurer and Wirtz?  It is completely transferable between the sexes, and a pleasant reminder of the days when tobacco was not the demon it is now.

Finally, there is also Tabac Blond.  Oh crap, you will say, here comes another lament for a lost perfume.  I won’t do that.  I will point out that the version currently sold by Caron is not much like the one I smelled as late as 1989.  That was much darker, drier and more complex, and it smelled a bit like Tabac Aurea/ Cuir Ottoman by Parfums d’Empire, except that the latter is really emulating Cuir de Russie.  You can get an idea of what the old Tabac Blond smelt like if you try, by smelling that combination.

This makes me think that at some point it may be possible for Caron to do a better reconstruction than its contemporary one.  We just have to sit and wait and, if we only could, have a smoke to pass the time.

 

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