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Tom of Finland


Launched in 2007 by French niche line Etat Libre d’Orange, Tom of Finland is a beautiful olfactory homage to artist, Touko Laaksonen a/k/a Tom of Finland. His stylized homoerotic fetish drawings of muscular  sailors, bikers, lumberjacks and construction workers profoundly influenced gay culture in the late 20th century and have earned a place in New York's Museum of Modern Art’s  permanent collection.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a fragrance inspired by the man whose drawings show hypersexual, half-dressed, leather-clad men enjoying themselves to smell like, but I wasn’t expecting such a wearable, beautiful, unisex fragrance.

Tom of Finland opens with aldehydes and lemon that create a gorgeous rubber accord. This is not the hot, smoky rubber smell of Bulgari Black, this a clean and enticing smell of rubber. It gets green as it blooms from birch leaves, pine, galbanum and cypress. For a while, it smells like a fresh forest on me. It soon gets leathery, spicy, warm and woody from safraleine, while pepper adds more warmth and spiciness. Safraleine has a rose facet too, that is heightened by geranium, which gives the frag a floral aspect that rounds it out perfectly. At times I get a whiff of plastic that isn’t jarring or odd because it belongs.  At the base, vanilla, tonka bean give it a cozy sweetness, while iris and vetiver give it an earthy underside. But the part I love is a salty-skin note warmed by musk and smoothed by a soft, sensuous note if suede.

The drydown is clean, green, salty and sweet on me. It’s complex, unusual and beautiful and not edgy, raunchy or lascivious at all. It respects the life of the man who was Tom of Finland and is a perfect olfactory homage to an artist whose work had an impact and who made a difference.

I bought two bottles of Tom of Finland – one for myself and one for a dear friend, who every once in a while when we get together, tells me how many compliments he receives when he wears it. “I know” I say excitedly. “Me too!”

Notes: Aldehydes, lemon, birch leaves, pine, safraleine, pepper, cypress, galbanum, geranium, vanilla, tonka bean, orris, vetiver, pyrogened styrax, suede, musk, ambergray.

Type: EdP

Parfumeur: Antoine Lie

Price: $4.00