Demeter Whiskey Tobacco : Fragrance Review



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 and other online resources. It starts at $6 for 1/2oz splash ($10 for spray).

Sample: my own acquisition



  • Suzanna: I remember when Demeter fragrances were very difficult to find. They were featured, IIRC, as an editorial pick in Conde Nast Traveler. I had to call the company to find out where they were sold; lo and behold they were available at…certain larger gas stations!

    Whiskey Tobacco is also a wonderful room scent and lasts longer that way than on the skin. October 27, 2011 at 7:50am Reply

  • Tulip: Are there any brands/perfumes other than cheap and chic that do have quality compositions and ingredients worth their price? This has been my personal burning question for the past few years, not only for budgetary reasons but I have had the feeling we’re in a perfume bubble. Must be the influence of my economics training……. October 27, 2011 at 8:28am Reply

  • Nikki: That is a valid point, Tulip. I am asking myself the same question…I found an Amber by Kuumba for $5.00 which is to me just as nice as Ambre Sultan, even nicer as it smells more like the Moroccan Amber which is sold in little sugar like cubes to be stashed in drawers to perfume the garments.
    A list of really worthwhile perfumes which are inexpensive but deliver the same feeling one gets when smelling so called classics, would be great. I would add 4711 cologne to that list, original and less expensive than Eau Imperiale or Aqua di Parma. There is a company, Wisdom of the Earth that sells medicinal grade essential oils and their Vetyver is amazing and comparable to the Malle creation Vetiver Extraordinaire created by Dominique Ropion. That being said, I do own the “classics” and 5 star fragrances…but maybe it is time to re-think certain aspects of one’s addiction to scent, i.e. price? V, would love a list like that eventually… October 27, 2011 at 10:00am Reply

  • Tulip: Thanks, Dee. Yes, SSS has a nice line. I know the prices are what the market will pay, but I am alarmed by V’s comment, echoed by many others, that the juice ins’t that great. Or the bang for the buck isn’t there. I’m wearing Sycomore now, but for me that 200 ml bottle was $1 per ml, and worth it! LOL October 27, 2011 at 12:56pm Reply

  • dee: I’d recommend sampling the Sonoma Scent Studio offerings: liquid gold, that stuff is! All in extrait concentration, for under a hundred bucks. 🙂 October 27, 2011 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: Good idea, Suzanna! I always wanted a candle scented like this.

    Yes, I remember the lovely boutique in the West Village in NYC, where I once shopped with a friend who loved Frederic Malle’s Cologne Bigarade, but got tired of its nonexisting sillage. Gin & Tonic fit her bill perfectly, and I ended up wearing it often too. October 27, 2011 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is such a tough question, because in perfume the quality of ingredients and the quality of the composition doesn’t always match up. For instance, J’Adore was not a terribly expensive formula, but it is so fantastic and really distinctive.

    I will do a separate post on this, this is such a good topic. For now, here is what I think is worth the price, off the top of my head:
    Chanel fragrances (maybe, not all of Les Exclusifs,) but on the whole they do not skimp on money for their perfumes unlike many other luxury brands
    Estee Lauder — ditto, they are often looked down upon by the perfumistas, but the fragrances are very high quality.
    Tom Ford Signature Collection
    Serge Lutens for the most part is very high-quality and unique
    Robert Piguet

    I’m sure I can think of more, but it is well past midnight for me already…. 🙂 October 27, 2011 at 5:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: Agreed on SSS! Such nice fragrances! October 27, 2011 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: Nikki, ah, the price question comes up more and more for me, as I notice the cheapening of fragrance overall and the increase in price in the niche sector. October 27, 2011 at 5:10pm Reply

  • mridula: A little late to the discussion, but I think Smell Bent offers some affordable and interesting perfumes – Never Never land is one of my favourites – it isn’t sold as an amber but I believe there is amber and sandalwood in there and it has become one of top scents. Their sampling program is the way to go. I hope, Victoria, you will review something from this company and do that post about affordable perfumes of quality. March 22, 2013 at 5:22pm Reply

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