Caron Tabac Blond : Fragrance Review (New and Vintage)

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Ernest Daltroff (1870-1941), a great perfumer and founder of Parfums Caron, must have been quite a character and also a man of great marketing vision. When smoking became appropriate for women after WWI, in 1919, he promptly created Tabac Blond. It was a fragrance that would imitate the scent of  blond tobacco, thus, placing a cigarette among the accoutrement of a chic Parisian woman.

Caron house

Although I find nothing chic about smoking, Tabac Blond never fails to make me feel like someone effortlessly glamorous, outfitted in black satin, long gloves and pearls, with lips varnished crimson red. The elegance of this perfume is suggested by the unique combination of leather, tobacco leaf and vanilla. It is a dry fragrance, with a strong smoky note that initially reminds me of smoldering pinecones. This impression is pleasant one, and as the notes meld into unique dry leather composition, the warmth of amber fills the outlines of the composition. A smoky vanilla note makes its entrance relatively soon and adds a welcome touch of sweetness. A fragrance that is not traditionally feminine, Tabac Blond is a great choice for someone who is confident and daring (or at least wants to appear this way.)

The extrait de parfum is by far the best choice, and I cannot stress enough how amazing it is. The eau de toilette is nice, but it lacks the beautiful radiance of parfum. Tabac Blond includes notes of leather, carnation, linden, iris, vetiver, ylang ylang, cedar, patchouli, vanilla, amber and musk.

On Reformulation (March 2011):

It is telling that every time I try to write “Tabac Blond,” I invariably end up with “Tabac Bland.” Indeed, the new version is just that, a bland carnation. The original Tabac Blond has a dark smoky leather note that in combination with rich tobacco and sandalwood create a haunting, smoldering effect. None of those elements are present in what passes for Tabac Blond today. There is a hint of clove and sheer moss, a whisper of something green, but overall, Tabac Blond in its current form is not even worth smelling. Might as well try some other leathers on the market, like Robert Piguet Bandit or Chanel Cuir de Russie.

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17 Comments

  • mreenymo: Well, I disagree a bit, V! Smoking is not a healthy thing, but posing in your pearls, red lipstick and long gloves with a beautiful cigarette holder is, afterall, quite chic! LOL!

    I would love to test Tabac Blond. I’m not sure that I would like it, but I love the image that it conjures in my mind. I picture a gorgeous, dark blond woman, reclining on an art nouveau divan, in her silk dressing gown and high-heeled slippers (you know the ones!), drinking expensive champagne. Of course, she has the cigarette holder in her hand, a languid gaze and perfect ruby red, bow-shaped lips. The aura of Tabac Blond swirling around her is, in a word, intoxicating!

    Hey, I wouldn’t mind being that woman for a day…or two! :):) June 3, 2005 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Robin: It is such a lovely, well made perfume. Sorry to say that it is another Caron that I admire but don’t wear.

    Do you know if this one has been reformulated V? June 3, 2005 at 12:37pm Reply

  • sdn: i’m a smoker, and i can’t wear this — i already smell of smoke! but boy, is it glamorous. i believe marlene dietrich wore it. October 2, 2006 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Lulu: Hello, this is my first time posting to your (WONDERFUL!) site. I’ve been a perfume fanatic for 30 years. Tabac Blond is my favourite of all les Carons. The warm coumarin-leather note drives me mad! The smokiness, to me, has a slight burnt-rubber quality…but divine…like lapsang souchong tea. (Bulgari Black also has a burnt-tyre note.) Another tobacco smoke-inspired perfume developed during the ‘teens was Molinard’s Habanita: both celebrated the new, modern woman, androgynous and daring! January 8, 2007 at 11:10pm Reply

  • Lulu: Hello, this is my first time posting to your (WONDERFUL!) site. I’ve been a perfume fanatic for 30 years. Tabac Blond is my favourite of all les Carons. The warm coumarin-leather note drives me mad! The smokiness, to me, has a slight burnt-rubber quality…but divine…like lapsang souchong tea. (Bulgari Black also has a burnt-tyre note.) Another tobacco smoke-inspired perfume developed during the ‘teens was Molinard’s Habanita: both celebrated the new, modern woman, androgynous and daring! January 8, 2007 at 11:11pm Reply

  • Lulu: Hello, this is my first time posting to your (WONDERFUL!) site. I’ve been a perfume fanatic for 30 years. Tabac Blond is my favourite of all les Carons. The warm coumarin-leather note drives me mad! The smokiness, to me, has a slight burnt-rubber quality…but divine…like lapsang souchong tea. (Bulgari Black also has a burnt-tyre note.) Another tobacco smoke-inspired perfume developed during the ‘teens was Molinard’s Habanita: both celebrated the new, modern woman, androgynous and daring! January 8, 2007 at 11:11pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Lulu, your description of your favourite fragrance is so ravishing that I ran to put some on to remind myself of it. 🙂 Thank you! January 9, 2007 at 1:22pm Reply

  • Divina: I am a smoker and i was wondering if you guys have any idea what perfume i can wear to smell nice. 🙂 You know what i mean, i smoke quite a lot and i want a perfume who can smell great blended with the chigarrette smoke smell. Emmm 🙁 April 8, 2007 at 7:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Divina, try anything with jasmine. As I discovered recently, the combination is wonderful. Also, oriental fragrances can be very nice with a touch of smoke, but be careful with the amount you wear. April 8, 2007 at 8:21pm Reply

  • Julie: V –

    I tried a sample of Tabac Blond last week, and I am in love. It took a full workday to develop on me, from the first leather note to the last hint of a vanilla cookie. (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be wearing anything that sultry to work – but I’m off by myself, I applied it sparingly, and it was a particularly challenging day.)

    Since it is my new favorite, I may need to stand in a mall with a sign that read “Will Work For Perfume.”

    Thank you for this review.

    Julie May 7, 2007 at 2:38pm Reply

  • Sheryl: Who sells this fragrance? February 16, 2008 at 4:31pm Reply

  • IRISJET’AIME: Je le savais que sa reformulation ne respectait pas l’ancien parfum !!!
    J’ai les boules !!!! Des Chefs d’Oeuvre de la parfumerie sont massacrés !! October 16, 2011 at 1:46pm Reply

  • Ferris: Which version of the reformulated Tabac Blond did you review the edt or extrait? November 1, 2013 at 7:26pm Reply

  • Eisengrim: Hi,

    I would like to know how do you test the “vintage” version and the “modern” version

    Your first review was done on a 2005 sample ? or an older version.

    I am writing on my blog a test between the different bottles that i own.

    A 1960 Bottle “Eau de Toilette”
    A 2007 Bottle “Eau de Toilette”

    A 1935 Extract Bottle (still sealed for the moment)
    A 2000 Extract sample (obtained at Montaigne)

    (To prove this i will put all photos on blog)

    For the moment i test both “Eau de Toilette” side by side on skin.

    I dont see so much “Destruction” “Abomination” between the 2 bottles.

    I have done a blind test with 4 people around me .. they were unable to told me if it was or not the same perfume.
    Of course they had few perfume skills and certainly not your noose.

    There are differences between the 1960 and the 2007 that i test … but frankly i am surprised it goes from 5 stars to 1 ….

    I am wearing Tabac Blond since 25 years now … i can be stupid … but there is something i dont understand in this test.

    Hope you can answer me
    Great continuation

    Yours December 14, 2013 at 7:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Vintage means the original formulation (or as close to the original, based on what I smelled in the Osmotheque, the perfume conservatory) and my own bottles of Tabac Blond from the 1940s, 50s, 70s and 90s. The first review is based on an older sample, I don’t remember which one, but it was pre-2000.

      The modern sample means the perfume produced in 2010. December 14, 2013 at 9:33am Reply

      • Eisengrim: Ok

        Thx what i dont understand is why my 60 is near the 2007 version …

        And when i say near it is really close
        I just check also the extra extract sample from 2000 … it is clearly the same juice than my eau de toilette 2007 … really really strange December 14, 2013 at 9:56am Reply

        • Victoria: I look forward to reading your post! December 14, 2013 at 10:15am Reply

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