It shouldn't surprise us that the perfume tribute to Tom of Finland comes from Etat Libre d'Orange. This French perfume house is known for raunchiness, sense of humor, and gender bending-- perfect for Touko Laaksonen, more famous as Tom of Finland, whose artwork defined a certain aesthetics of gay icons; Tom of Finland's influence can be found anywhere from music videos (Freddie Mercury, George Michael) to mainstream advertisement.
Speaking of gender issues, Luckyscent labeled this Etat Libre d'Orange fragrance as masculine to the extreme, but I have to disagree. Tom Of Finland is an abstract leather perfume with a somewhat chemical opening (rubber and aldehydes) that becomes green, woody, and interestingly sweet. Tom Finland actually smells quite clean-- there are no animalic, carnal or other scary notes. The pine and cypress notes are chilly, contributing to the freshly scrubbed idea. They're contrasted with warm leather and birch, and the result on my skin is very complex and attractive, drying down to an ambery musky skin scent.
Tom Of Finland was released in 2008. Since then I've worn it in every weather. On hot summer days this perfume starts crisp and becomes sweeter and warmer. During the winter it has a fuzziness that goes well with sweaters and scarves. As far as leather fragrancesgo, Tom Of Finland is very light and tame. It's nowhere near as edgy and raw as Rien, Etat Libre d'Orange's homage to the classic of Bandit. Tom is prettier and much easier to wear. And as I said above: I doubt I smell like a man when I wear it.
Notes: Aldehydes, citron, leaves, pine, pepper, cypress, galbanum, birch, vanilla, tonka bean, iris, vetiver, styrax, suede, musk, amber
Tom Of Finland by Etat Libre d'Orange ($90, 50ml) is available from MiN NY, Luckyscent, Henri Bendel, and Parfum1.com.
Illustration by Tom of Finland, 1979
Tom Of Finland fragrance display at the Etat Libre d'Orange store in Paris by Adam Sofen on Flickr.
Photo of Tom of Finland, 1984, via the Tom Of Finland Foundation.
Dedicated with love to my long lost friend Brian.