After all the agonizing I did over color choice, I figured I'd share my results so they may benefit the next neurotic SBL purchaser.
This is what Oakwood Leather Conditioner did to my Large Dark Tobacco Briefcase. I was inspired by this posting on Saddleback's Facebook page.
Antoine got just the results I was wanting, so I followed in his footsteps, and I couldn't be happier! (I love the matte finish, though, so I'm not planning on buffing my bag like he did with his old pair of jeans to create the "pull up leather" finish like Chris explains here
These pics were taken at different points as I was applying the conditioner. You should know that the tone mellows after some time passes and the conditioner has time to penetrate into the leather. The contrast isn't as great as the pictures would lead you to believe. Besides that, the original color simply isn't as light as it shows in pictures. Something about the Dark Tobacco finish that defies a proper picture (or at least exceeds my skill with a camera).
The conditioner softened up the leather nicely, too. Gives the bag a more relaxed character instead of an English Palace Guard personality.
At first I was mildly dissapointed that the conditioner's sweet smell seemed to overpower the leather smell of the bag; but as it turns out, after sitting for a day the smells complement each other quite nicely and the conditioner even winds up enhancing the smell, too!
I especially love how the conditioner enhanced the natural scarring on the top flap. (closeup side by side pic). I couldn't be happier! This gave me the nice, friendly, rich, (but not too dark) tone I was looking for. I've also named my bag: Toc. (for T
f a C