1/24/14

Eau des Baux (L'Occitane)



It is rumored that Eau des Baux is a poor man's Tobacco Vanille. This doesn't mean much to me, because I'm not interested in Tobacco Vanille, or any other flavored tobacco fragrances. There are two kinds of tobacco fragrance: (1) the raw/unadorned tobacco leaf (this sometimes strays into cigar and cigarette tobacco), and (2) the flavored pipe/cigarillo tobacco. I prefer the first kind by a wide margin. Flavored tobacco smells nice, but unnatural, fake, intentionally embellished with additives into something that smells like potpourri. The closest I've come to appreciating that sort of tobacco scent is Jil Sander's Feeling Man.

Generally though, I don't see the point of making flavored tobacco a perfumery note. Tobacco leaf, and even treated, unflavored cigarette tobacco smells excellent without the addition of sweet, fruity-woody notes. Lagerfeld Classic, VC&A PH, Cuba by Czech & Speake, The Dreamer, and Jazz are prime examples of how tobacco can smell in a simpler state. The Dreamer is a notably difficult fragrance for some people. It's unusual, marked with overtly synthetic notes, yet its spine is the basic aroma of unfiltered cigarette tobacco - treated, but not flavored (albeit very dry and "raisin-like"). Think original Gauloises, not Newport Lights.

Eau des Baux attempts to give consumers a luxurious flavored pipe tobacco experience "on the cheap." It's not a super-cheap scent, mind you, but you can get a large bottle for around fifty bucks. I think it's an OK bang for the buck, although I personally wouldn't pay more than twenty for a bottle. My problem with EdB is that it smells like a room spray, and not a fine fragrance, for reasons that are hard to pin down. I suppose it's the potpourri thing that L'Occitane's Vetyver had going for it, rendered here in a "vanilla theme." All the notes can be smelled with perfect clarity, with bright cypress, pink pepper, and cardamom on top, followed by a tight incense-cedar accord, which resembles Dutch pipe tobacco in tandem with the fresher elements.

Eventually it all devolves into a sweet vanilla amber, the ultimate mall-rat oriental, ready for a legion fanbase of hoodied crustpunk misanthropes who think shopping at L'Occitane gives them a worldly edge. Discontinuation rumors also swirl around this fragrance. The fact that my brother's partner can accidentally Christmas gift EdB to him - the wrong L'Occitane as it turns out - suggests this is still very much in production, and probably will be for years to come.





2 comments:

  1. Unaltered tobacco scents like CIGAR by Remy Latour or CUBA RED by Paris are one of my all time favorites. It doesn't get any manlier than that. A more refined one and a personal preference of mine is MOODS by Krizia. These three are absolute must- haves for me...

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    Replies
    1. Don't forget Vermeil for Men! To be honest, I haven't encountered anything that comes close to that one for a straight-up tobacco leaf, but then again I haven't tried Cigar, Cuba Red, or Moods.

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