Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The sad truth is that the price you are paying for prestige fragrances in no way reflects the quality of the compositions and the ingredients, and often the perfumes with luxury price tags are made more cheaply than your laundry detergent. Therefore, it is best to cast off the prejudices instilled by the price and simply shop with an open mind. If what you are after is “cheap and chic,” then the Demeter Fragrance Library can offer plenty of interesting options. At $10 for 1/2oz, these fragrances can rival many luxury perfumes on the market today. The large portfolio includes both pretty and romantic things like Wet Garden as well as strangely appealing ones like Paperback. My personal favorite is Whiskey Tobacco, a delicious accord of almond, cherry scented tobacco and smoky woods.
The reason I call Whiskey Tobacco an accord is because it is a very simple, straightforward composition. It is a sketch accomplished in bold strokes—the almond-cherry notes paired with woods suggest pipe tobacco; the apple and balsamic vanilla notes conjure up a boozy note. There are also some smoky accents, but those are kept minimal, with the chief impression of Whiskey Tobacco remaining warm and soft. It reminds me of sweet fruity tobacco blends used in narghile, a Middle Eastern waterpipe, rather than leather redolent cured tobacco leaves. While it is no Ambre Narguilé, Whiskey Tobacco’s hint of exotic is very appealing.
The only reason I am not giving Whiskey Tobacco an extra star is because its tenacity and diffusion are minimal. Of course, a lack of sillage is not always a negative thing, especially when one has to pick an understated, non-invasive perfume for work. Catching a whiff of Whiskey Tobacco on my collar never fails to put me in a good mood. Its subtle retro reference of cherry scented pipe tobacco is comforting, while the warmth of its drydown is like a tender caress. On some days, this is exactly what I crave the most.
Demeter Whiskey Tobacco Cologne is available directly from Demeter Fragrance as well as Amazon.com and other online resources. It starts at $6 for 1/2oz splash ($10 for spray).
Sample: my own acquisition