Before CK One, There Was Tabac Blond

Vintage Tabac Blond

Vintage Tabac Blond

The year is 1927. John Welles and his two best friends, Sam Feldman and Claude Willoughby, are planning a clandestine night on the town. Their destination is a speakeasy hidden on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. For the young medical students, the night will be both thrilling and disastrous.

Before John slips out for the night, he sneaks a dab of his Aunt Prudence’s perfume. This might seem like an extremely feminine thing to do until you become familiar with the scent he chooses to borrow.

One of my favorite subjects researched for my novel, The Secrets of Dr. John Welles, was perfume from the early 1900s. It is how I discovered Tabac Blond. The perfume was perfect for Prudence, a rebel-before-her-time class of woman who smokes, and John, by the simple fact that he’s male. Let me explain.

Ernest Daltroff

Ernest Daltroff

Tabac Blond was created in 1919 by perfumer and founder of the house of Caron, Ernest Daltroff. The fragrance was intended for women who smoke cigarettes, the symbol of women’s liberation and Parisian chic. What made Tabac Blond appealing were the leathery top notes, usually found in men’s fragrances, blended with a feminine floral bouquet. The added scents of undried (blond) tobacco leaves and vanilla made it desirable to both men and women.

Many reviewers insist upon a decanting of vintage Tabac Blond complaining that the new version doesn’t present as well. I’ll have to take their word for it as I do not own either and have yet to experience them in real life. It is, however, my goal to do both.

Artwork inspired by Tabac Blond

Artwork inspired by Tabac Blond

If you’re a lover of rich, exotic, glamorous perfume, Tabac Blond may be for you. Don’t let the price tag deter you from your passion. Whether you purchase the new version or a vintage decanting, there will be a small investment. I believe this is testimony to the allure of the fragrance. Be warned, however: wearing Tabac Blond may encourage behavior such as wild dancing, excessive drinking, and dressing like a flapper or F. Scott himself.

Yesterday’s Perfume

Perfume Projects

The Pleasure of Unexpected Surprises

I married into a family of car lovers. My only requirements for a vehicle are automatic transmission, air conditioning, and reliably get me from point A to Point B. For them, the purchase of a car is met with the same excitement one feels when bringing home a newborn for the first time.

One Sweet Ride

One Sweet Ride

My husband’s family loves to watch NASCAR, a sport devoted to cars. They sit glued to the television as the parrot-colored cars speed around the track over and over and over for hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles. After the National Anthem reverently sung by a country singer, impressive military jets soaring past, and the thrill of the classic line, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” you only need to watch the first and last lap to get the gist of what is going on. My in-laws would remind me there are spectacular crashes not to be missed.

So, if I have completely failed to understand their love of cars, how is it that one of the best days of my life was spent with my husband, Will, at a car show? The answer is that it had nothing to do with the cars and everything to do with the man who loves the cars.

This past Saturday, my best fella and I attended the annual car show hosted by Holy Cross Lutheran Church. The crisp fall day was perfect for walking around the church parking lot looking at a variety of vintage cars. The small sized ensured that a non-lover of cars like myself wouldn’t be bored.

A silver and black, 1969 Camaro was the first vehicle to catch my eye. Instead of the grease and oil smell of a garage that I expected, I leaned in through the open window to inhale the sun-warmed aroma of the pristine interior. Like old-book scent, to which I am addicted, the smell of the car exuded history.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Baby You Can Drive My Car

William, whose automotive knowledge obviously exceeds my own, kept walking away from the cars before I was ready to leave. I had to examine the front, each side, the back, the inside, and any little detail that caught my eye before I could move on. He laughed at me when I told him to either go on without me or slow down.

Our afternoon included delicious free food, a raffle of automotive-themed prizes, and the friendliest church members I have met in a long time. Still, the best part of my day was the fact that I spent it with Will. A couple child-free hours with the man I love doing what he loves best went a long way to recharging my own batteries.

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