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What Does Tobacco Smell Like?

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A flowering plant commonly found growing in areas with mild, sunny climates, you may be more familiar with tobacco as something you smoke, not something you smell. Well, we’re here to tell you that you’re missing out.

Tobacco smells sweet, with a subtle spice and woodiness. It’s often used in sweet, spicy perfumes, but the aroma can vary depending on the type of tobacco, mixing notes, and overall composition. Many people are surprised by the sweetness because of how fresh and uplifting it smells — nothing like the the smell of a cigarette.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how tobacco is used in perfumery, what it smells like, and what other notes pair well with it. Let’s dive in.

What is Tobacco?

Tobacco is a flowering plant that grows in hot, humid climates. It is a member of the genus Nicotiana and the Solanaceae family.

Tobacco has been used for centuries by humans to make products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco that are enjoyed by millions of people worldwide every year. Tobacco plants have been grown in the Americas for at least 2,000 years; however, it wasn’t until Christopher Columbus discovered America had many varieties of tobacco that Europeans began using it regularly themselves.

Tobacco plants flower for about 70 days and produce 2-4 flowers per day during this time period. After 8-10 weeks, the tobacco leaves are ready to be harvested and dried out so they can be used to make several products including cigarettes, cigars (cigars), pipe tobacco (pipes) or chewing tobacco

What Does Tobacco Smell Like?

Tobacco smells sweet and earthy, with hints of woodiness. Sometimes tobacco can smell fruity, other times herbaceous. The scent of tobacco varies depending on the kind of wood it was dried on as well as genetic differences between plants. This can make the note very difficult to pin down, but it also makes it extremely versatile.

Because of its innate richness and depth, tobacco is commonly used in masculine fragrances to add character and make it smell more interesting.

How Is Tobacco Used in Perfumery?

Tobacco is generally a base note, which means it’s the longest lasting of the fragrance notes. It can also be used as a top or middle note depending on how much is used in your perfume. Tobacco in perfumery, regardless of how it’s used, adds depth and richness to the composition.

While tobacco may smell strong on its own, when blended with other scents, it becomes warm and aromatic. Tobacco typically blends well with spices such as vanilla and nutmeg, dark florals like roses and violets, honeyed fruits like figs or pomegranates, and dark leathers and musks—basically anything dark and warm!

Best Men’s Fragrances with Tobacco

Tobacco is one of the most popular notes in perfumery, and there are many men’s colognes with tobacco. Some of our favorites include:

  • Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille is a fantastic tobacco-vanilla centered scent. Obviously. Eternal, it’s warm and cozy while being lively and multifaceted. A marvelous holiday-season scent, we can’t recommend Tobacco Vanille enough. Read our full review here.
  • Versace The Dreamer (A masterful composition of tobacco, rose, and tonka bean.)
  • Gucci Gucci By Gucci Pour Homme (Top notes of bergamot and lemon scented air followed by a base of woody and sweet musk.)
  • Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb (A hearty blend of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves that is powered by ginger root and spicy tobacco leaves.)
  • Penhaligon’s Opus 1870 (Aromatic top notes of jasmine, hyacinth and bergamot contrast the woody amber accord in the middle before a delicate base of ligustrum leaf provides the finishing touch.)


As you can see, there are many ways to use tobacco in perfumery for a wide range of effects. It’s important to know what type of fragrance you’re creating and which notes will work best with your formula before you decide on any ingredient. Tobacco is a great way to add depth, richness and complexity but it’s also important not overdo it because too much tobacco could potentially overpower other ingredients.

Isaac Marks

Isaac Marks

Isaac is a fragrance expert from Chicago, Illinois, specializing in smelling good at all times. When he isn't sniffing things, Isaac likes to read, write, run, bake, and play the guitar.

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Jack Harbor

Full Time Fragranista

Jack Harbor is an expert in all things scent – from wearing, to mixing, to making perfumes, his expertise is varied and robust. He loves to smell good, and loves helping other’s smell good – for the good of us all!

Jack Harbor

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