Tabac Blond 
Caron (1919)

Average Rating:  81 User Reviews

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Tabac Blond by Caron

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About Tabac Blond by Caron

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Fragrance House
Félicie Bergaud (Vanpouille)
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Tabac Blond is a women's perfume launched in 1919 by Caron

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Tabac Blond by Caron

There are 81 reviews of Tabac Blond by Caron.

Few fragrances stir me up into nostalgia and reverie as Tabac Blond. Maybe it's the languorous linden blossom, honeyed, mildly sweet, somewhat tart, or its the room-filling carnation, or perhaps the cool and musing iris. It could very well be the usage of the De Laire Mousse de Saxe base to full effect: this accord combines geranium, anise, isobutyl quinoline (IBQ) for a leather effect, heliotropin, vetiver and vanillin. The base makes fragrances such as Tabac Blond open an arresting, anisic green leading to a dark, somewhat sweet, woody and powdery, dry down.

The heart has a heady ylang ylang accompanying the carnation, shaded with a cedar and rendered somewhat smoky through the vetiver in the base. You may ask, where is the tobacco? Well, during the early 20th century, the impression of tobacco was a matter of "trompe le nez," a summation that results in the impression rather than any usage of materials deriving directly from tobacco. What matters is that it feels like tobacco, and I'd argue it does so even more so than many tobacco-centric scents of today that will use dollops of Nicotania Virginiana absolute and lots of modern materials to build an often blunt or obtuse accord.

Truly, I cannot do any more justice than my friend Ida Meister in highlighting Tabac Blond. I recommend you read her marvelous article on Cafleurbon. I am a bit envious of her vintage; however, the EDP bottle I have in my possession from I'd say, maybe 15 plus years ago, blows out of the water many modern releases that barely manage to capture the same spirit.

If it’s true that Jacques Guerlain used Coty’s Emeraude as the template for Shalimar (1925), Coty didn’t take the moral highground for long, he went and did the same thing to Ernest Daltroff.
He took the flowers and leather of Tabac Blond,
he had Vincent Roubert tart them up with strawberry,
and he called it Knize Ten (1925).
As in the previous incident, the outcome was an improvement on the original.

I wonder, why Basenotes says that Tabac Blond gender is feminine? According to Caron web site, Ernest Daltroff created this scent for men in 1919. Men were apparently not very keen on this then novel scent, so Daltroff turned his ad campaign to women, and hit the jackpot; women were craving for this scent. So,all you men out there, Tabac Blond was originally created for you, and there is no excuse not to try this ethereal concoction yourself. You might be surprised,to find this over 100 years old parfum truly ageless, divine, dandy, and manly. Highly recommended.

I recently acquired the extrait of Tabac Blond (2021) and it doesn't feel the same. For me, it's instantly recognizable when you are familar with it. It's instant rush of carnations and a powdery leatheriness. This recent edition has scaled it back further. At first, I thought I smelled lily of the valley and there is NO predonimant note of LOTV in Tabac Blond, NONE. But I think it's something else now, I'm not sure what it is, it's maddening. It smells kind of contemporary like there was ambroxan or something?! I'm just not sure. And using ambroxan would be WAY TOO SACRILEDGE!
Well, I'm familar with older versions of TB and they are much more beautiful than this. I have some older Eau de Toilette from the mid 2000s and an older eau de cologne version circa 60s as well as the early 2010s Eau de Parfum, all of those smell fairly consisent with Tabac Blond. But this version, not so much. It's a bit of a drag since I did buy the 100 ml. Extrait and IT IS NOT CHEAP. I'm figuring to just wear this extait and spritz some of the beautiful Eau de Toilette I own to round it out.
Final chapter, a really sad way to make a 100 years old classic scent and deface it once and for all. I wished it were otherwise. I'm not holding high hopes on the future of Caron with this output.
Tabac Blond is officially dead.

Caron Tabac Blond (1919) is easily the stuff of legend among collectors and worshipers of "the old guard" in perfume: The Guerlains, the Carons, the Houbigants; the early Cotys, Ardens, Danas, Myrugias, Lanvins and Chanels; the golden-era perfume names like Schiaparelli and LeLong that didn't survive into the current day and are only spoken about or traded between the deepest pockets and most committed of vintage enthusiasts. For all intents and purposes, a fragrance like Tabac Blond is extinct in the consciousness of the greater fragrance buying public, but the perfumers who still serve that public whisper its name like godhead between themselves and endlessly cite it as part of their education or inspiration for their modern works worlds apart from it in every way but the medium. Caron itself has had mixed success staying alive (let alone relevant) in the century or so since this fragrance launched, and among the original works by house founder Ernest Daltroff, Tabac Blond is the best fragrance of his that you just cannot feasibly buy. Part of that is likely the materials used, although at least up until the 70's most of what went into this perfume remained in it, and part of that is also just a lack of care in preserving legacy on the part of the various owners who have come and gone from Caron. Like most Daltroff compositions, Tabac Blond is built on "broad stroke" principles, with a few standout materials supported by minor players, all blended and blurred together until they vanish into a dance of big bold accords that take turns making their presence felt, but also collapse into each other making a "whole". This technique is pretty opposite to the endlessly filigreed method rival Jacques Guerlain used, placing a kitchen sink of materials and sometimes entire complete perfumes into other perfumes (a la "Guerlinade" to make something impossible to pick apart.

Tabac Blond was made as a "smoker's perfume" when launched in 1919, because at that time, smoking filter cigarettes (usually unfiltered cigarettes on long plastic filter stems) was considered a fashion statement for women. Naturally, the perfume had to be able to appropriately mask and blend with the smell of burned tobacco, accumulated nicotine and tar in hair or clothes, and still smell good. Tabac Blond was Daltroff's answer to this need, since other early chypres, fougères, florals, and orientals of the day were decidedly not focused on that, so they either clashed with the smoke or died within it. The structure of Tabac Blond is at its simplest a near-fougère, containing everything but lavender from a proper fougère accord, but it's really more abstract than that. The opening contains notes later perfumes would have in their bases, like an early use of coumarin to simulate tobacco, since tonka was used to flavor cured tobacco (and the note is still used to this day to simulate tobacco in modern fragrances). A carnation/clove-backed leather note (based on eugenol) also joins a lovely linden blossom note in the top, with a puff of aldehyde. The heart gets a bit creamier and more floral, with ylang-ylang providing musky indoles along with powdery iris and smokey vetiver. That last note is likely there on purpose to help convey the tobacco "smoke". Base notes are also of the bygone-era type, with sandalwood, breathy ambergris, oakmoss, and patchouli rounded by vanillin, then a new aromachemical toy (created by Haarmann & Reimer, now a part of Symrise). The overall effect is sweet, dusty, a bit spicy, and profound yet quiet; an assertive but soft-spoken confidence with all-day wear. Best use for those lucky enough to own Tabac Blond is as a precious special-occasion scent, but in a perfect world, likely a postmodernist signature that reads unisex to my nose.

Tabac Blond inspired Habanita by Myrugia (1921), and perhaps to an extent Knize Ten (1924), which when combined with early "Cuir de Russie" fragrances, in turn later inspired orientals like Dana Tabu (1932), Shulton Early American Old Spice/Old Spice (1937), then leathers like Piguet Bandit (1944) and MEM English Leather, finally leading to the modern aldehyde leather and/or tobacco oriental/chypre genres that gave us Tabac by Mäurer & Wirtz (1959) and Grès Cabochard (1959). Smelling Tabac Blond in it's pre-revival form, you can even see echos of it in cheap "plebian" men's colognes or aftershaves of the 60's and 70's like Avon Bravo (1969) and Swank Royal Copenhagen (1970), meaning it would take quite some time for the impact of this prewar ultra high-end perfume for socialite smokers to finally trickle out of the common DNA of Western fragrance design. Yet, a modern nose might find something like Tabac Blond overly floral, powdery, or cloying for something meant to be a cover-up for tobacco smoke, especially since tobacco fragrances have gotten increasingly rich with overdoses of tonka and other sugary materials a la Paco Rabanne 1 Million (2008). Still, the bloodlines are there, and there is an undeniable gorgeousness of design that belies the "butch" appeal this fragrance may have had with flappers of the roaring 20's. In conclusion, Caron Tabac Blond is indeed every bit the masterpiece its remaining fans claim it to be, deserving the praise heaped upon it by writers of perfume reference guides and trusted personalities within influential online taste spheres. Even if this stuff were somehow in production and attainable at prices a bit more down-to-earth, I don't know if I'd be up to the task of actually pulling it off, but that's okay. Maybe I'll grow into a person fit to smell of (let alone afford) Tabac Blond. Thumbs up.

Modern edp, like the bottle pictured above.

This is an Old Spice killer. I know Old Spice well from youth, and there were spice versions of deodorant sticks from other brands.

This takes that scent profile, and makes it a sparkling fragrance. For someone who just wears Old Spice, but would like a special occasion fragrance, this is my vote.

This modern version (long ingredients list) still has a touch of oak moss, I think. It's nicely done. It's light, but it smells and feels like the real stuff. And it has an incensey sandalwood note - it's delivering on multiple fronts, but still more of a 4 stars out of 5 fragrance than a vintage masterwork.

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