One Thousand Scents

Friday, February 01, 2013

Leather Man: Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange

Tom of Finland was an artist who liked to draw shall we say pictures of genetically exemplary gentlemen enjoying one another's company in various ways.

On the one hand, you would expect that a scent named after Tom of Finland would consist entirely of an excess of masculinity: tobacco and leather, say, maybe rum or bourbon and perhaps some sweaty cumin, a hint of black rubber or vinyl. On the other hand, this is Etat Libre d'Orange we're talking about, and they generally have no intention of doing anything anyone would expect of them. Consequently, their Tom of Finland starts out with fresh citrusy aldehydes which disperse to reveal a fresh, soft-green outdoorsy scent with a hint of warm sweetness underneath.

And then it turns into leather! It could have been the harsh tarry leather of Eau de Fier, but instead it has a creamy-smooth surface and an abundance of vanilla, even softer and sweeter than Jacomo Art Collection #2. It lasts forever, hours and hours and hours without flagging. Despite the hyper-masculine imagery, it's wearable by any woman who wants a supple-kidskin kind of leather scent without any fruit or flowers to get in the way.

I admit to not liking it at first, partly because I didn't get it (you'd think by now I'd be used to ELdO confounding all my expectations) and partly because ELdO is such a mixed bag that it never surprises me to discover that I really dislike something of theirs, so I wasn't prepared to either love it or hate it. (I've yet to come across one of theirs that I genuinely hated, though I suppose it's only a matter of time.) But I wore Tom of Finland for a few days and it's grown on me in the worst kind of way: I don't need a full bottle and I'm determined not to buy one, although it's awfully nice and you can never have enough leather scents, so I guess in a moment of weakness anything is possible.

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