Scented Advent, December 3

Scented Advent, December 3

Today’s Scented Advent SOTD is Tom Ford’s Ombré Leather 16. (Aha! I remembered, with help from Google, how to put an accent aigu over an e!). I rarely seek out leather-based fragrances, the exceptions being Cabochard and Zara’s Vibrant Leather, so it’s actually a good thing to try this one in a small sample, as a surprise in my Advent calendar.

Bottle of Tom Ford's Ombré Leather eau de parfum against colored leather
Tom Ford Ombré Leather; image from

As soon as I dab it on my wrist, I smell that smoky, tarry scent we have come to associate with “leather” in fragrances. It’s not overpowering, but then again, I was dabbing from a small sample vial. I imagine that if one were spraying, one would have to be careful not to overdo it. Many commenters online, including the great fragrance blogger Kafkaesque, have concluded that Ombre Leather 16 is a lighter sibling of Tom Ford’s mega-hit fragrance Tuscan Leather. I don’t know, as I haven’t tried Tuscan Leather, but if Kafkaesque says so, I’m inclined to defer to her!

Created by Sonia Constant and launched in 2016, this leather has notes of leather, violet leaf, oakmoss, cardamom, jasmine sambac, and patchouli. Some commenters smell the violet leaf right away; I don’t. What I get right away is the smoky, tarry leather; then it fades (but doesn’t disappear) just enough to reveal the other notes. Apparently the leather note is based on an older synthetic molecule with a distinguished perfume history, isobutyl quinoline. Overall, the additional impression is dry and a bit green, thanks to the violet leaf, cardamom, oakmoss, and patchouli. The way the leather appears strongly at the outset, then slowly retreats, really does give the impression of ombré fabric — very clever! It becomes very slightly sweeter during its drydown, but it is not fruity, to my nose.

About an hour into wearing it, I’m really enjoying Ombré Leather 2016, though it’s not something I would buy for myself (full disclosure — I wouldn’t buy most Tom Ford fragrances, as I think they’re ridiculously overpriced). It has been reformulated, also by Sonia Constant, and there is also now a parfum version, launched this year, which is said to be a more floral leather. I might like it a lot on my husband, though; I’ll have to try my sample on him!

What Men Should Smell Like has a terrific analysis of Ombré Leather; the featured image is borrowed from that review. As Friday is usually Perfume Chat Room day, please feel free to chat about anything in the comments!

Refillable wooden Advent calendar
My fragrance Advent calendar