by Max Berlinger (original content from New York Post)
We all know smoking is bad for you. Smelling like you do, however, is not.
In fact, in certain chic circles, the scent of tobacco has become an aromatic indicator that you’re in the know, part of an olfactory in-crowd that’s embracing the fragrance note du jour.
“There’s something sweet about tobacco, but it’s also amber-y and rich,” says Carlos Huber, founder of fragrance brand Arquiste. His unisex scent “The Architects Club” was inspired by trips to Fumoir Bar inside London’s tony Claridge’s hotel and seeks to conjure the aromatic lushness of cocktail hour in a 1930s smoking lounge. It features blond tobacco, which adds a certain lightness — and, no, it doesn’t smell anything like a cigarette.
“It’s woody, it’s complex … but if you see it, it’s just an innocent leaf,” says Julian Bedel, founder of boutique fragrance label Fueguia, which carries a few tobacco-based colognes, including the sumptuous “Ballena de la Pampa” for men and women. “I have a fascination for these leaves because they transform into these complex, deep smells that have a real herbal depth.”
It’s the reason why luxury brands, ranging from Tom Ford to Le Labo, have included shared tobacco fragrances in their lines.
“There is a decisive shift to embrace masculinity in its rawest form,” says Michael Fisher, vice president of menswear at the trend-forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. “There’s a whole group of guys who are inspired the most by their grandfathers’ generation, or ‘the greatest generation,’ as they’re often known. They want to make traditional scents like tobacco new again.” Huber agrees: “I think there’s a nostalgia in tobacco,” he says. “Especially in the digital age, when everything is so hygienic and sanitized, people are starting to embrace a more olfactive experience. It creates a sense of time, of place. It frames moments.”
And, of course, tobacco maintains a whiff of danger and rebellion, which, throughout the ages, has always been alluring. “Smell is a pleasure for the senses,” Huber says. “And with anything like that, there’s a line between vice and virtue. There’s something naughty about it. It’s addictive, and it’s something that makes you feel good, even though it’s dangerous.”