Not everyone thinks they love the smell of tobacco – but encountering it in a fragrance is way more sensual an experience than walking into a smokey room, or dealing with the post-party ashtray challenge. It can add sweet, sexy, smoky and mysterious nuances to a fragrance, and works gorgeously alongside rich florals and Ambrée spices, giving hints of caramel or whiskey.
The dried leaves – sweet-smelling, a touch earthy and hay-like – are solvent extracted from the plant. (Which was one of the four ‘sacred’ plants of the Native American culture, alongside squash, corn and beans.) Famously, Nicotiana tabacum – member of the nightshade family made its way to Europe via the Spanish, in around 1528. Plenty of people seem to find tobacco almost as addictive in perfumery as cigarettes or cigars – but it’s a healthier way to indulge, for sure.
Here, meanwhile, is perfumer Andy Tauer‘s unexpected take on using tobacco notes in his creations, which he shared with The Perfume Society. ‘Tobacco: loved by many when lit, smoke inhaled, brain bright and crisp. But in perfumery, I love it for its multitude of facets. There is a wood line. There are dried fruits giving it a gourmand character, supported by what brings “cocoa” to mind. There is an animalic, furry, dirty line. And there is a quality that says “bathroom, used, not cleaned for a while”, and so much more. Thus, it can be combined with all sorts of other notes: Think flowers, roses. The darkness of tobacco sets the flower petals in fire. Think patchouli, think vetiver, think amber, think musks, think…. endless.’
Smell tobacco in:
By Kilian Back to Black
Chanel Les Exclusifs Sycomore
Guerlain Tonka Impériale
Nasomatto Black Afgano
Nasomatto Hindu Grass
Serge Lutens Chergui
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium