“The Dark Matter III” by AthosLuca on Deviant Art. (Direct website link embedded within.)
Tabacco d’Autore is an homage to the complexity of tobacco from an ancient Italian house known for its rich, intense soliflores. It’s a new fragrance that explores tobacco’s many innate facets through a dark landscape that is embellished with dry woods, spicy patchouli, smoke, amber, and artemisia’s dual sides of bitter herbal greenness and oud-ish woodiness.
Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561 (hereinafter simply called “Farmacia SS Annunziata” or “Farmacia”) is an Italian house whose history goes back centuries. It’s a completely unpretentious, good quality, moderately priced brand whose fragrances are often more like extraits in their concentration, and they typically focus on one main note whose every characteristic or feature is then explored in great depth. I’ve never really understood why the brand gets so little attention; some of its soliflores are impressively hardcore treatments of their subject (like Patchouly Indonesiano), richly beautiful (like the gorgeous Ambra Nera), or just very easy-to-wear, versatile fragrances. The new Tabacco d’Autore very much bears the Farmacia SS Annunziata aesthetic. It may not my personal cup of tea, for reasons I’ll explain shortly, but, like every Farmacia soliflore, it takes the main note and runs with it.
One of the world’s oldest, working pharmacies lies just off the bustling streets of Santa Maria Novella plaza in Florence and the quieter Santa Maria Novella church square. It is one of the world’s oldest perfume brands, and arguably the real creator of what we know today as a “cologne.” It’s called Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (“Santa Maria Novella” or “SMN” for short), and it was at the top of my list of places to visit on my recent trip to Florence.
Santa Maria Novella. The main room. Source: MuseumsinFlorence.com
Peek behind the doors of London’s private members clubs, and sniff the rich tobacco that hovers over dark woods and boozy drinks in a haze of golden amber laced with expensive incense. That’s the inspiration behind Ryder, the newest release from Ex Idolo, a British artisanal brand. It is the sort of olfactory story that I normally love, but Ryder did not work for me, alas.
Each of the fragrances of Rania J. Parfumeur showcases a different raw material, and it is the turn of tobacco in T. Habanero. It seeks to give the dark, black note the spicy fire of hot Cuban nights and the aroma of Havana’s famous cigars, but it is more complicated than that for me. Honeyed sweetness, black frankincense, Middle Eastern oud, synthetic sandalwood, and leather all play a part in T. Habanero’s dance, resulting in scent which took me to some surprising places. There is a stage where T. Habanero is a drier, deeper Killianesque Back to Black tobacco that is more suited to an aristocratic, private club in London frequented by Prince Charles and captains of industry than to a wild tango in Cuba. At other times, the scent is like Cuban cigars by way of bedouins in the Sahara, thanks to the barnyard funk of authentic, Middle Eastern oud. And, in the very end, it is a simple trip to overly smoky, arid, blackened woods. It is the last stage which is my problem.