One of three from Tom Ford’s grey bottled OUD collection, Tobacco Oud is the heaviest of the lot. Living in the shadow of the very famous Tobacco Vanille also by Tom Ford, there are very succinct similarities present – after all, they were both made by the same perfumer, Olivier Gillotin. Tobacco Oud is grim-er, less sweet, and bares an immaculate sultry woodiness with undertones of ravage.
Photo by Tom Ford
There’s something addictive about Tobacco Oud. The juxtapositions between sweetness, sourness and dryness create a very regal and a very rich fragrance. If I continue to draw parallels to the house’s probably most famous Private Blend: the honey sweet and dry tobacco interplay of Tobacco Vanille; Tobacco Oud shares very similar qualities. They both have an undeniable tinge of sweetness coming through – but this juice has grown up quite significantly from sweet golden honey.
The tobacco in this blend has an intoxicating quality, leaving individuals mesmerised in its wake. It is blended with more than just semi-dried tobacco leaves; and presents the almost niche hookah pipe form of tobacco – A dizzying cloud of finely shredded tobacco, aromatic herbs, tree barks and resins. However, unlike smoking tobacco, oud is incorporated to give the green vibe of complexity. Chargrilled leather and roasted tonka bean, amber resins, labdanum and coriander seeds make for a smell replicating the smokiness and clinical properties of christian incense. This mixture of tobacco replicates, very lightly, the sweetness of wild cherry or raspberry jam, dried grass and dried fruits – I get some of the raspberry sweetness and leatheriness from Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather also.
And yet, you still get a more confrontational sweetness than just the intense and water-extracted sweetness of dried fruits. A vanilla note is delivered thanks to the coumarin hit (from the tonka bean), and yet a brown spirit note still radiates out.
At first I was inclined to say cognac or brandy, which almost always bares the taste of oily and sweet legumes, vanilla and the moreish-appeal of caramel, with the burn too, of course; but even that has a certain deepness to it. That isn’t it. And then I was a little sceptical saying it was whisky – however I had to escape the mindset of merely smokey whiskies; in this instance, the oud makes up for the lost smokiness anyway. What it uncovered, was in fact the smell replicating young scotch whisky; bright and cheerful in scent (but incredibly harsh in taste), and just like the atypical bar setting, the young stuff is best mixed and diluted anyway. The spicy sherry-nose shines through creating a very mature fragrance with a mere impression of sandalwood in the backdrop. Because of my suspicion of a young whisky, an expected roughness should be pronounced. It is, just.
Finally, the combination of patchouli and castoreum reminds me of Chanel’s Antaeus (the modern reformulation); without the powderiness. The incredible intensity of castoreum reeks intensely (in a good way) of power, of animality and of masculinity. The patchouli smooths it out in a very elegant way ensuring no offence whatsoever; giving another impression of old books, a dark greenness and an enriching sweetness that works marvellously with the sweet tobacco. These notes deliver (especially the castoreum), yet another nuance of dried fruit and a muskiness without powder, in the background of the ashtray smoke.
All of these notes amalgamated into one is like the smell of a smoking lounge for the rich – and those who puff away on fat and smoggy cigars on old leather chairs. A very good benchmark for tobacco fragrances – you begin to realise why they have cigar bars and not cigarette bars. The cigars are more complex! When we consider the use of oud in this fragrance it is somewhat holographic and transparent in the middle. Both oud and tobacco are in the opening, and whilst the tobacco mellows beautifully the oud is gone into the abyss (gadzooks to you, evaporation!). This is like Interlude man toned down by 500% (the oud in that is verging offensive) with the darker aspects of Antaeus. Tobacco Oud is a subtle changer.
I’m a sucker for all things deep, mulit-faceted and complex. Whisky, tobacco and a glimmer of oud – yes please!
Alternatives: Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford; Antaeus by Chanel; Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford; and Interlude Man by Amouage.
Rename this Tobacco Whisky and this fragrance would lose its criticisms. It has been the victim to some unfair treatment in the ‘fragcom’, fortunately I have a level head.
Subjective rating : 4/5
Objective rating: 4/5