Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Oud ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Oud

I’ve never been tempted to smoke, but I love the smell of tobacco. Years ago I lived in an apartment whose former occupant smoked Dutch Masters cigarillos. I found a few empty packages — plus an envelope crammed with skull x-rays, go figure — in a cupboard. When the seasons turned, the fetid aroma of long-dead cigarillos wafted from the sheetrock. Delicious. Where I now live, on warm nights my neighbor settles into his backyard hot tub after swing shift at the sewage treatment plant and watches movies on his laptop while he smokes cigars. I like smelling the hint of smoke that made it as far as my bedroom window.

But, for me, head and shoulders above these smells is the aroma of pipe tobacco. Maybe it’s because one of my grandfathers smoked a pipe (when he wasn’t burning through packages of Winstons, that is), or maybe it’s the romantic idea of things associated with pipes — wood-paneled libraries, fireplaces, and cocker spaniels — that allures me. Whatever the case, I’ve longed to find a perfume that captures this fragrance without being too sweet or on-the-nose precious.

Could Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Oud be it? I ordered a decant unsniffed…

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Ralph Lauren Polo Red ~ fragrance review

Ralph Lauren Polo Red, flacon

Ralph Lauren is not an “exciting” brand (look at its fussy “lifestyle” photo spreads, or the models in Ralph Lauren fashion ads…stiff, overly groomed, mostly expressionless, wearing tight, armor-like clothes (even the clothes are photoshopped). When Ralph Lauren described its new men’s cologne, Polo Red* (not to be confused with Big Pony No. 2, also in a red bottle), as a “fiery blend” that “ignites the thrill seeker in every man” I chuckled.

I often wonder why Ralph Lauren, the king of aspirational EVERYthing (clothing, jewelry, even decorating — bedding, bathroom towels, glassware, furniture, paint), hasn’t released an ‘exclusive’ range of fragrances like other design houses (Oscar de la Renta, Tom Ford, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Van Cleef & Arpels); if ever there was a brand in need of some higher-quality perfumes to match its other expensive merch, it’s Ralph Lauren…

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