The Real Great Debate: Battle of Tom Ford Leathers

Inspired by his recent runway show, Tom Ford has a new leather fragrance out – ‘Ombre Leather 16’ – and it’s a doozy. One of the first Private Blends he ever released was ‘Tuscan Leather’ – a potent beast that I despised for a few years before coming around to its smoldering, dark beauty and delicious dry-down. Which brings me to the dilemma of the day as I seek out a leather fragrance: do I go with the ‘Tuscan’ or branch out to the lesser-known ‘Ombre’? This past weekend I had the opportunity to try both, but rather than sort things out, it only intensified the debate.

‘Tuscan Leather’ was the flagship of the Private Blends when they made their debut. The ultra-luxe line offered a niche for those looking for something exceptional – in quality, sillage, longevity, and, of course, price. Each was a decadent treat, and while a few soon fell by the wayside (‘Purple Pachouli’ and ‘Moss Breches’) about half remain in circulation (and some such as ‘Tuscan Leather’ and ‘Oud Wood’ are gloriously timeless).

The new ‘Ombre Leather 16’ actually opens with a bigger leather burst, and it’s a bit drier than its ‘Tuscan’ predecessor (which appeals to me as we head into fall/winter). However, the ‘Ombre’ dry down becomes something more delicate and soft, while ‘Tuscan’ powers on with its leather kick for a bit longer before softening into a well-renowned raspberry musk sweetness. The bad news for my wallet is that each is beautiful in its own right, and distinct enough to stand alone. Which leaves me in a pickle. A deliciously-scented pickle.

Thanks to the kindness of my Tom Ford experts, however, I have a couple of samples to see me through the decision-making process. These things take time. These things must be done delicately…

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