The often interchangeably used terms — tobacco and leather — are used to describe a family of scents that, in essence, prove to have properties reminiscent of the two different materials. Primarily, the associated aromas related to this family of fragrances, are those that are most akin to the scents produced by leather materials and other forms of cured hides. More broadly, the terms may also be used to apply to scents that appear to have characteristics that may be associated with any musk, amber, or animalic based aroma. As a result, the leather family thus encompasses a wide array of features and elements, and holds an extensive and vast network of individual members. Used at one point in time as an odor masking agent for hides, the scent profiles of leather have since grown to be mainstays in the world of perfumery. The key scent characteristic that is shared amongst all fragrances of this kind is the rich aroma that’s classic of leather: musky, natural, warm, and soft.
The aromatic compounds of the leather and tobacco family that are used in perfumery can be of either a synthetic or organic extraction — the two types are of equal standing with regards to the frequency of use. Natural sources of these aromas include things like cade oil, styrax, cassie, and myrtle. The most commonly used source for organic leather notes and elements is birch, or more specifically, the distinct material of rendered birch tar: deep, strong, and bold. Various synthetic compounds are often used in conjunction with naturally derived materials like rendered birch tar, to add strength and potency to the composition. Safraleine, aldehydes, and lab developed suede inspired scents are all used to achieve this goal, with the synthetic isoquinolines providing the backbone of most animalic emphasized leather fragrances.