A roll in the hay…
Notes: Immortelle, Tobacco, Narcissus, Honey, Grass and Musk
Most tobacco perfumes take a “smoking jacket and gentlemen’s club” approach. However, last year’s Tabac Tabou sought to take tobacco right back to a time when it was used in primitive spiritual practices.
When reading this, I got visions of the Carlos Castaneda books I consumed as a teen. I don’t get a mystical vibe from Tabac Tabou, although it’s none the worse for that. It’s more about golden fields and horses’ manes than Native American pipe ceremonies and Shamanic rituals.
A few sprays on skin and I’m surrounded by giant heaps of hay. Not bone dry, neatly stacked bales of straw but moist, messy mounds of freshly cut hay with bits of green grass, wildflowers, clumps of earth and a touch of the barnyard hidden within.
I get lots of gorgeous narcissus, the proper stuff, which is more earthy than floral and redolent of cow pats.
In this initial stage, Tabac Tabou tips over into animalic but not quite enough to scare me off. I’m easily spooked but even I am more than comfortable with this feral aspect, which feels right at home here in the countryside.
This fragrance is much more about narcissus and hay than pipes and tobacco. It’s the Great Outdoors rather than an air-sealed smoking den.
The immortelle is there but it’s not nearly as prominent as it usually is. It’s a difficult note for me because I usually find Its spiced maple syrup character too gelatinous and overwhelming. To start with, it’s surprisingly sheer and restrained, adding a slight honeyed sweetness but without any weight.
After the opening half an hour Tabac Tabou becomes less green and more honeyed as the animalic note fades away. It warms up and becomes a little humid, as if we’ve moved from the field into the barn. It is Extrait de Parfum strength and though it doesn’t project far on me, it does feel like an extrait in terms of longevity.
I may not find it smoky or remisicent of tobacco leaves, but I love narcissus as a material and am happy to see it highlighted here by perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato. It’s so deep, complex and full of nature wild and free, I can see this one appealing to horse lovers as much as tobacco lovers.
I’ve been on the look-out for the perfect narcissus perfume since forever. However, on balance, even if the honeyed sweetness is low-key and slow to develop, I’d still need it to be drier in order to invest in a bottle.
All the same, Tabac Tabou is a fabulous fragrance.