Tag Archives: Immortelle

Tabac Tabou by Parfum d’Empire

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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir  

Peach skin suede…

Naomi Goodsir is an Australian designer whose hats look as cool and striking and as her fragrances smell.

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Cuir Velours (Velvet Leather) was released in 2012 and includes notes of leather, tobacco, rum, cistus labdanum, incense and immortelle.

Despite the “Cuir” in the name, I get a refined suede rather than tough leather. There is nothing that reminds me of tanning fumes or birch tar and I don’t get any smoke. For the most part, both the aroma and texture is akin to velvety peach skin.

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On opening, the muted suede is drenched in fruity, boozy, syrup. At this stage it lies somewhere between Boxeuses and Bottega Venetta. I presume it’s the immortelle and rum that’s creating this effect, but it isn’t too spicy or harshly alcoholic.

It’s all a bit too sweet and boozy for my taste, but the whole feel is very smooth and luxe. It doesn’t shout and there are no rough edges.

If you love gourmand-inflected suede scents then I can imagine it verging on the addictive. It’s easier to wear than other fragrances in this category because while it is sweet, it’s not domineering.

It may also appeal if you have a fondness for cosmetic perfumes. As it settles, Cuir Velours throws off a beauty balm like quality which now reminds me of Ramon Monegal’s Cuirelle but without the honey. It’s that face-powder-mixed-with-cold-cream-on-suede effect which adds softness and an increased level of comfort.

I start to enjoy it a few hours in, when the booze has completely evaporated and the sweet syrup has dialled down a few notches. Now it really feels velvety soft and creamy with that “Your Skin But Better” vibe. I get some labdanum in the far drydown which only adds to that feeling.

For a fragrance layered with so many traditionally bold accords, Cuir Velours winds up being surprisingly low on projection.  I have to get  close to detect it, but when I do it’s inviting and rather sensual.

 

Woman in cape and leather boots

In style alone, it’s reminiscent perfumer Julien Rasquinet’s other creation for Naomi Goodsir, Bois d’Ascese and his Russian Tea for Masque Milano. They all have a striking yet subdued profile and seem to cling to the skin.  However, I would say that Cuir Velours leans more feminine than either of those two. Longevity is very good as it quietly lingers for hours.

It’s a low-key, sweetened suede with a cosmetic twist which would be equally appropriate at the office as on a date. Perfect to wrap yourself in on cold days when the chill wind threatens to get into your bones.

Cuir Velours is a fragrance to live in and make your own, like a second skin.

 

Have you tired Cuir Velours? Would you recommend I try Naomi Goodsir’s Or du Serail?

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