The original Tabarome perfume from Creed was created in 1875. As far as I know it was kept in production continuously for more than 130 years. Then the last decade happened, bringing with it the dwindling of some natural raw materials, not to mention IFRA. Also, let's face it, despite what some of my favorite Basenotes members think (sorry, guys), Creed is no longer what it used to be.
Tabarome Prive (aka Tabarome Private Collection or informally "vintage Tabarome") was last seen on the shelves of authorized Creed distributors around 2006. It was then pulled in to the mysterious Vault only to make a brief appearance last year, which according to Creed official blog:
"Once it is gone, Vintage Tabarome will be completely unavailable. The CREED family stated this week in France it has no plans to create more Vintage Tabarome because several of its natural components are simply too difficult to source, despite the family’s extensive and longstanding network of growers, farmers and cultivators worldwide. Rather than use “substitute” ingredients yielding an inferior product, the family prefers to defer all production of Vintage Tabarome. It is a decision that places quality and artistry above all other considerations."Which leaves us with Tabarome Millesime, a new(er) and hardly related perfume, but let's not talk about that generic masculine. Tonight's focus is on Tabarome Prive.
There's something about this original Creed creation, but not necessarily in the way the house describes it. I don't think of Vintage Tabarome as
(the) ultimate statement of clubby luxury and quality. Its aroma wafted in England’s House of Lords as its primary clientele was those holding knighthoods and high office, including several Prime Ministers.
For me, Tabarome Prive is a surprisingly understated and elegant dry and crisp (sort of) masculine chypre that feels and smells a lot more modern and wearable than Winston Churchill's world as described above. The tobacco is not that of a stinky cigar in a stuffy room full of old leather furniture, but a sun-dried, almost fresh tobacco leaf. The bitter citrus notes in the opening lend Tabarome Prive an almost herbal quality that while not "clean" is still quite office-friendly (but would be just as welcome on a date).
I love the dryness of this perfume. It's a little woody, somewhat peppery, tinged with dark green and just a little leather. At their best, Creed perfumes lend their wearers a distinguished, well-dressed and impeccably groomed image. Tabarome Prive is most certainly exactly that. Surprisingly (or not), I feel very comfortable wearing it. It doesn't smell on me like a "men's cologne", but rather like a classic green chypre, and what's better than that? It's an all year-all weather perfume that can never go wrong. And apparently can not come back, though never say never.
Cary Grant (in the photo above, not sure of the source) is associated with another Creed classic, Green Irish Tweed. I can just as easily picture him wearing Tabarome Prive.