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.