Dogs have been a big part of my life. My first baby pictures feature a series of photos with Snowball, my aunt’s black (yes, Aunt Lois had a sense of humor) Cocker Spaniel. In those shots, Snowball has her tongue up my nose, in my ears and all round my mouth. (Ah, the long-ago days when the fear of germs didn’t rule our lives.) Judging from the pictures, I remained calm during Snowball’s onslaught.
How many dogs have I known by name? I stopped counting today at 40…the list is too long. I’ve known worthy dogs, wacko dogs, giant dogs and mini-dogs. My face has been kissed by dogs; my legs have been humped by dogs; and I, and my dogs, were bitten by “bad” dogs (I’ve already written about Shaggy). I still love dogs!
The last two canines in my life were Don Diego de Fontana (a pug) and The Hon. Brenda Catchpole (English bulldog). Since their “departures,” I miss their scent in my home. Over the years, I tried to identify the combination of aromas that comprised my dogs; they smelled like a mixture of raw cocoa (a somewhat musky-meaty aroma), honey, yeast (freshly baked bread meets ear infections), hay, vinegar, old fashioned musk, cured tobacco, Aveda Shampure shampoo, medicated ointment, cotton balls and corn chips.
I’ll bet for most of you, that list of “notes” does not sound appealing, but whenever I’m lucky enough to meet English bulldogs or pugs, I place my nose in the shallow indentation situated between their round foreheads and their flat noses and inhale. That sweet, soft, comforting, powdery smell packs an emotional punch and brings back great memories, thousands upon thousands of laughs.
Imagine my shock when I found a perfume that conjures the aromas of my dogs. Odori Tabacco does not contain ALL my “dog accords” (what scent could? even my dogs’ scents fluctuated) but it comes closest for me in reviving the smells of Diego and Brenda. (Odori should accept this as a great compliment, based as they are in dog-loving Florence, Italy.)
Tabacco contains bitter orange, incense, eucalyptus, jasmine, vetiver, vanilla, oak moss, and tobacco leaves. Tabacco’s notes trickle, one by one, into each other, creating a fast-changing stream of interesting accords. Tabacco starts off with a bitter orange-eucalyptus-incense accord that supplies my cotton-ball/ointment dog-scent requirement (it’s a clean, slightly ‘old fashioned’ medicinal aroma); next up: jasmine-vanilla which has a natural, fresh, expensive shampoo vibe with a hint of vinegary astringency. Though no cocoa is present in Tabacco, there is a sharp cocoa powder-like note mixing with vanilla in mid-development (not “food-y” in the least) that leads to an even rougher musky tobacco-hay-honey accord. Oak moss (very discernible to me) and vetiver add a nice “outdoorsy” element to the composition.
As you’ve probably guessed, my dogs smelled GOOD; they were well groomed and constantly “scented” thanks to their proximity to two perfume-wearing owners. For you non-dog-centric readers, Tabacco, especially its base notes, brings to my mind (and nose) an imagined morning at the “spa” for a gentleman, circa 1900; the perfume contains the aromas of a well-appointed barbershop, where men were allowed to smoke their pipes and cigars as they got a shave and a haircut.
Tabacco has excellent sillage and lasting power. In my current canine-less house, Tabacco’s $210 price does not seem too extravagant given its power to evoke two beloved, and much missed, dogs.
Odori Tabacco Eau de Toilette (which smells more like an Eau de Parfum to me) is $210 for 100 ml; for buying information see the listing for Odori under perfume houses.
Note: Top image of Diego and middle image of Brenda by the author; middle images — Fritos via fritolay and Heinz Vinegar via heinzvinegar; all other images via Wikimedia Commons (clockwise from bottom-middle – Aztec tobacco, cotton ball, musk deer, bread, ointment, cocoa, honeycomb and hay field).