Cigar Photography - Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em - Phoenix Arizona, originally uploaded by ACME-Nollmeyer.
Feuilles de Tabac is one of those strange scents that I love yet have a difficult time writing about. I’ve been smitten with it ever since I came across it, sometime in 2003 after meeting with a perfumista client who kindly bombarded me with tens of samples from European niche perfumeries. I immediately fell for it, and when the vial ran out, begged my friend who lived in London to get out of her merry ways and fetch me a bottle.
Whatever it was that caught me in the Feuilles de Tabac trap, I can’t describe. It was the sense of familiarity in it that was intriguing to me. Something that happened to me before with Habanita (which reminded me of my grandfather’s Old Spice). But Feuilles de Tabac had something else, and was certainly more dry at first, and later on became sweeter, though not nearly as sweet as Old Spice.
Feuilles de Tabac dances between astringent and woody finesse and rustic herbal medicine.
The opening is dry, a little medicinal even, with the cascarilla bark dominating. Cascarilla is a bark used for flavouring tobacco, and has a scent that is both woody, musky and a little spicy-warm. There are also citrus and coniferous notes, though no particular one stands out, and allspice (pimento), a spice that has a dry-woody character. The other important note is sage, which is bitter and astringent at first, and than becomes velvety and warm, especially with the slight touch of rose at the heart.
Dry tobacco and vetiver peak in, but quickly, Feuilles de Tabac is cured into a very warm and sweet concoction, similar to pipe tobacco, with the tonka bean giving it a significant soft sweetness, as well as an amber accord with a muted labdanum. Only patchouli saves it from becoming powdery, adding a bold, animalic undertone and depth.
Feuilles de Tabac exudes such confidence that wearing it is akin to gulping some bravery potion, or just having a courageous powerful man on your side (unless you happen to be one).
It's interesting to compare sometimes notes from time past with the current impression of the same scent. In 2005, I described it as follows: "What starts as a medicinal, somewhat harsh drink – reminiscent of Absinthe – extremely masculine and sharp-edged – dries down to a seductive earthy sweetness. Warm, enveloping and sophisticated, Feuilles de Tabac is the emblem of what leathery-tobacco scents should be: Daring, sensitive, and seductive in a reassuring confident manner". Cascarilla has a certain liquor-like aroma to it; and sage is very similar to artemisia (absinthe). Perhaps this is where the courage comes from...
Top notes: Citrus notes, Coniferous notes, Cascarilla, Allspice
Heart notes: Sage, Rose, Vetiver
Base notes: Tobacco, Tonka Bean, Patchouli, Amber
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