Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather : Fragrance Review

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Tuscan leather

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There is something so deliciously seductive and appealing about the scent of leather, whether it is the scent of a new car, an old vintage purse, a pair of new shoes still wrapped in crinkly paper, or equestrian gear. Whether rendered as animalic and sweet or smoky and phenolic in fragrances, leather notes can give a remarkable complexity to even the simplest accords. Tuscan Leather, a fragrance created for Tom Ford Private Blend collection by perfumers Harry Frémont and Jacques Cavallier is one of my favorite recent discoveries. It is not a particularly complex fragrance; in fact, it is almost a single accord. Nevertheless, it features the leather note so well and with such elegance, that whenever I am in the mood for a dark, smoky scent, it is the perfume I choose.

Tuscan Leather unfolds immediately into a composition of smoky balsam, leather and amber, and its character remains unchanged during its development. It is a very modern leather composition in that the animalic notes have a dry quality and the amber is not the classical sweet vanilla and labdanum base, but a transparent, crisp woody note. The darkness of the composition is pleasantly alleviated by the herbal and sheer floral (hedione) notes. Tuscan Leather does not shock, nor does it challenge, but for an elegant, day-into-evening fragrance, it is an excellent choice.

In a sense, the smoky dry woods facet of Tuscan Leather dominates it so much that I feel that the leather is a secondary player. Still, the dry, animalic note of leather is an integral element, maintaining the composition’s balance between the raw silk roughness of woody amber and the smoky balsamic notes; the dry austerity of wood and the dark richness of incense. Fans of L’Artisan Timbuktu, Bulgari Black and Comme des Garçons Tea (Series 1 Leaves) will find Tuscan Leather appealing. Sweet balsams, musk and incense notes soften the dryness of the leather; therefore, the fragrance has a decidedly androgynous character.

Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather (fragrance family: leather-woods) includes notes of saffron, raspberry , thyme, olibanum , jasmine, leather, black suede and amber. Private Blend collection is available at Tom Ford boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus. In the same genre, also worth exploring are Serge Lutens Boxeuses, Annick Goutal Eau du Fier, Lubin Idole, Parfumerie Générale Hyperessence Matalé, Tom Ford Private Blend Bois Marocain (much more classical dry woods-leather composition,) Lancôme Sikkim (another classical leather-woods, but with a strong mossy note) and Le Labo Patchouli 24.

Sample source: my own.

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22 Comments

  • dee: This sounds absolutely divine; you had me at equestrian gear. Ok, actually, it was the saffron. I’m a sucker for saffron! 🙂 January 11, 2011 at 1:05am Reply

  • Olfactoria: This is one of the few leather fragrances I like, I tend to get nauseous if the leather reminds me of cars at all (I am terribly car sick, when I don’t drive myself). I am wearing it right now, another Victoria-inspired day 🙂
    I need to try Boxeuses too. January 11, 2011 at 6:27am Reply

  • Marina: I sort of pulled back from leathers for a while, but Cuir et Champignon and Black Rosette in edp reminded me how, as you said, appealing the note is. I need to re-try Tuscan Leather now. January 11, 2011 at 9:52am Reply

  • Victoria: D, definitely, maybe you will see saffron here, since I do not really, but then again, it is such a leathery note that it blends quite well with the leather accord. January 11, 2011 at 10:47am Reply

  • Victoria: I get motion sickness time to time myself, but the smell of real leather (not the fake new car smell) is special. Granted, I have not been near a new car like that for ages…
    I think that as a leather note, it is a very elegant one. I am so glad that you are enjoying it. January 11, 2011 at 10:49am Reply

  • carole macleod: It’s so great that your blog is so active again! I really enjoy reading about different scents. Is Bulgari Black discontinued? I can buy the 40 ml size (or maybe it’s 50 mls) fpr $40. There is no tester. If it’s discontinued I would like to buy it: if it’s going to be available I’d rather wait.

    Sincerely,

    Carole January 11, 2011 at 10:49am Reply

  • Victoria: As I mention, it is more woods than leather, so I think that even if you are not a huge leather fan, it might still appeal to you. If you like leather, you are even more likely to find it interesting, unless you like your leather more like Bandit or Cabochard. Tuscan Leather appears quite meek by comparison. January 11, 2011 at 10:50am Reply

  • Victoria: Carole, thank you, I so enjoy writing the blog and sharing thoughts with others. Of course, things happens in one’s life that one has to decide what needs to receive more attention and what less, but everything is under control now. 🙂

    As for Black, no, it is still available. Sometimes it is kept behind the counter and you need to ask for it. The problem is that the retail does not want to keep stock of anything unsold and it leads to the counters pushing the newest things up front (and the fragrance brands respond by creating things that are meant to be mere quick sellers.) I place a lot of blame on the retail for the current situation of blandness and similarity in the prestige launches. January 11, 2011 at 10:57am Reply

  • Gaia: You just reminded me how much I like Tuscan Leather. You’re spot on regarding other beautiful perfumes in this genre. I’m currently loving Boxeuses and feel there can never be enough leathers. January 11, 2011 at 11:36am Reply

  • carole macleod: Thank you, Victoria! I just blew ye olde perfume funds on Shalimar EDP, and so will wait on the Bulgari Back! January 11, 2011 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do not blame you, I cannot resist Shalimar myself, whether vintage or modern. Enjoy it! 🙂 January 11, 2011 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Gaia, I got a sample when a bought a bottle of Velvet Gardenia, but it was only a few months ago that I finally managed to try it. The moment I put it on, I was wondering why it took me such a long time to sample it.
    Boxeuses is gorgeous too! It was one of my top favorites last year. January 11, 2011 at 2:43pm Reply

  • Alice C: You’ve reminded me of several I want to try…Tuscan Leather, as you describe it, sounds delicious! January 11, 2011 at 8:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Alice, if you like woods, smoky incense and leather notes, then you will find it very interesting. A herbal note is a nice touch as well. January 11, 2011 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Vintage Lady: I must try tom ford’s scents absolutely this year! Thanks for the great review! January 13, 2011 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! Hope that you will like it. January 13, 2011 at 3:36pm Reply

  • MK: I really hope I get a chance to try this and Tobacco Vanille out sometime soon. They always sound so interesting, but I find them difficult to imagine (me being new to the wide world of perfumery and all). But your review was very helpful.

    I’m glad I stumbled across your blog while looking for a review of Sycomore! Thanks for taking the time to do these posts. January 13, 2011 at 11:24pm Reply

  • Victoria: Matt, I am very glad to hear that you found the reviews helpful! I hope that at least you can make a shortlist and then try a few that catch your eye at first. Tom Ford's line is very large, after all. Tuscan Leather and Tobacco Vanille are in the same family, and I enjoy them both. Tuscan Leather is woodier and drier. January 14, 2011 at 10:06am Reply

  • eminere: I really, really wanted to like this but for the life of me I can’t detect any leather or smoke when applied on my skin – all I can smell is mentholated woods (perhaps this is the balsam/herbal notes?). The menthol screeches so loudly it goes right up my nose and onwards to the back of my head where it lodges there and gives me a headache. Sad June 2, 2012 at 2:08am Reply

    • Victoria: There are so many other great leathers that I’m sure that you will not miss this one. 🙂 I can see what you mean about the aromatic notes lasting far too long. It doesn’t bother me, but I do prefer Tuscan Leather on skin (rather than on the blotter) where these notes flash off quickly. June 2, 2012 at 9:44am Reply

      • eminere: I’d love to try some if you could recommend some of those great leather perfumes, as I’ve yet to discover one that works on me! Bottega Veneta for instance I was looking so much forward to but all it smelt like to me was stale egg whites (strange, I know) and Armani Prive’s Cuir Amethyst was more full-on sweet florals than cuir… June 2, 2012 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Ismail Mayat: Wife bought me some for my birthday. She loved it first time she smelt it. For me its one of those scents that grow on you now I too love it. February 1, 2013 at 4:41am Reply

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