Most so-called tobacco fragrances don't smell much like tobacco to me. The majority are so spicy and heavy, I can barely detect the tobacco. Tabac Aurea is one of those.
This isn't to say that I don't smell any tobacco in it. I think I smell a faint hint of it in the drydown, but it's almost flattened by all the other notes piled on top of it. I'm not saying this isn't a good fragrance, but rather that it's not something I reach for when I want my tobacco fix.
Tabac Aurea has to be one of the spiciest fragrances I own. That's a good thing, in my book. It shares similarities with Miller Harris' Feuilles de Tabac in its brutal spiciness, but it's a lot sweeter and has less tobacco presence than FdT. I smell clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cedar, patchouli and a whole lot of other nostril-singeing woods and spices in this. It's an aggressive scent, and the first hour is very enjoyable in its intense aromatic cloud.
Over time, the spices tone down a little bit, but unfortunately it reveals Tabac Aurea's sweet underpinnings like benzoin, amber and the dreaded vanilla. It pushes the envelope of my tolerance for sweetness and vanilla, but never makes me feel the need to run to the sink for a scrub brush; fortunately the spiciness is strong enough to cut through the sugary sweetness, and I can still enjoy this scent for the most part.
I find that if I limit myself to simply wearing this and smelling the scent radiating off my skin from a distance, I can enjoy Tabac Aurea. If I put my nose up close to my skin, however, it smells crude and much too sweet; it smells like maple syrup up close. Fortunately, perfumes are designed to be worn, not sniffed by sticking your snout into the crook of your arm.
So many people call this a "pipe tobacco" fragrance. I used to smoke a pipe, and I think it smells a lot more like the additives used to flavor pipe tobacco than the tobacco itself. It could also just be me. There are a lot of people who adore Tabac Aurea, and swear by it for their tobacco fix.
Though I like Tabac Aurea, I don't love it, and it's one I'm more likely to reach for when I'm looking to wear a spicy oriental, rather than a tobacco scent. For me, Tabac Aurea is a good but not a great fragrance.
MY RATING: 7.5/10
Fragrance House: Sonoma Scent Studio