Leather is just not my vibe. I can just about rock a leather jacket (I have a very casual John Varvatos one that I feel comfortable in) but anything else feels like a stretch outside of my personality. So you’ll never catch me at the Folsom Street Fair rocking a harness, as cool as that would be. My discomfort with leather also covers fragrances and I’m about as likely to wear Cuir de Russie as I am leather chaps – it’s just not gonna happen. For me, leather in fragrance is often too overwhelming – too dry, too meaty, too smoky. But every now and then I find a palatable leather that I can get on with – OMBRÉ LEATHER, the latest from TOM FORD, is one such fragrance.


The Notes

Cardamom, Jasmine, Leather, Patchouli, White Moss and Amber

How Does it Smell?

Now the name ‘OMBRÉ LEATHER’ may seem familiar to you and that’s because TOM FORD launched it as a PRIVATE BLEND following a runway show in 2016. OMBRÉ LEATHER is described as a unisex fragrance that is “Vast. Untethered. Driven.” (sign me up for all of that, TBH). I don’t know if the scent has changed from the PRIVATE BLEND incarnation (I never tried the original) but I can tell you that it is an incredibly easy leather to love, even for this leatherphobe.

OMBRÉ LEATHER starts out fresh and creamy, which sounds like a contradiction, I know. There’s a cool, suede effect that feels white in colour, marking OMBRÉ LEATHER as a much softer and calmer take on its titular material. A juicy, cloudy raspberry notes brings a warmth and colour, whilst an aerated jasmine and a diffusive intensity, creating a bold, bright clash of fruit and flowers.


The leather itself is on the expensive luxury goods side of the spectrum, as opposed to the dry, cracked leather jacket or horse’s saddle side. It is plush and buttery, with only a mere hint of smoke and dryness. This isn’t a leather that’s going to leave you parched, instead it provides comfort because it is wrapped in a shroud of soft amber and patchouli.

OMBRÉ LEATHER is a perfect leather as far as I’m concerned, mostly because it has balance, as well as an attractive, plush quality. The leather takes a back seat, allowing fruits, flowers and amber to take centre stage. Admittedly, it’s hard to smell OMBRÉ LEATHER and not compare it to TUSCAN LEATHER, and when compared side-by-side they are two entirely different beasts. TL is unbridled, dry, intense and OMBRÉ LEATHER  is the opposite – frivolous, buttery, comforting.  I really like it.


OMBRÉ LEATHER is available in 50ml (£82) and 100ml (£115) Eau de Parfum.


Sample, notes and quotes via TOM FORD. Images are my own.