Last year I tried a few fragrances from Pierre Guillaume’s Phaedon but I didn’t click with any of them and as a result, thought perhaps the line wasn’t for me. However, I heard positive things about Tabac Rouge so picked up a sample when I came across one.
For some reason the name didn’t tempt me, even though I am still on the look out for my perfect tobacco fragrance. Nothing has hit the spot apart from the vintage Tabac Blond I tried at the Osmotheque. Sadly, I’m not about to get hold of a bottle of that Caron rarity any time soon.
While reading about Tabac Rouge I discovered that it was inspired by Art Deco and one of my favourite artists, Tamara de Lempicka. Like her paintings, Tabac Rouge was said to be “androgynous, stylized and luxurious”.
Now it had my attention.
Created by perfumer Anne-Cecile Douveghan and released in 2013, it contains Turkish tobacco absolute, incense, ginger, cinnamon, honey, musks and benzoin. Phaedon also refer to Tabac Rouge as “Turkish Blend” – Turkish tobacco being highly aromatic and exceptionally mild. This is very much reflected in the fragrance.
The cinnamon, ginger and honey opening initially reminds me of the similar blend in Tea for Two. It has that same soft, foodie feel. It’s not anywhere near as overpowering as the combination of notes might suggest.
Before long, it calms down to a soft honey tobacco fragrance. I don’t get more than a hint of incense despite Phaedon crediting it as part of the core accord.
Tabac Rouge makes me think more of aromatic dried tobacco leaves than smoke. It has an almost hay-like quality.
The fuzzy base is made up of slightly powdery, balsamic benzoin with a little of the remaining spiced honey.
The amount of throw is moderate and the longevity is better than average
Tabac Rouge is a very likeable tobacco fragrance; not too “chewy”, sickly or strong. It is an extremely well blended and balanced composition with the gentle spice, honey and tobacco melding together nicely. It’s not too sweet or in the least bit acrid the way some tobacco fragrances can be.
It isn’t as potentially addictive or striking as the honeyed cherry tobacco of Back to Black, but could be a good alternative for those who found the By Kilian fragrance too overwhelming.
It’s very smooth and easy to wear with a warm, golden glow.
An awful lot of people seem to compare Tabac Rouge to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille which I’ve tried a couple of times but didn’t take to for reasons I can’t recall. So I’m afraid I’m unable to give you a comparison, suffice it to say, if you like Tobacco Vanille but find it too rich for your taste (or your wallet), it may be well worth giving Tabac Rouge a try.
If you have a tobacco fragrance to recommend, please let me know in the comments.