Tom Ford Black Orchid EdP fragrance review, photos | A date-night fragrance not for the faint of heart

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tom Ford Black Orchid perfume review photos notes

The product: Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum

The feeling: Black Orchid is a far cry from my usual fragrance picks — full of amber, woods, or patchouli, quietly sitting close to the skin. Instead, Black Orchid is loud: exciting, brash, and full of sharp, bursting fruits set against a dark base.

It reminds me most of Dior Poison, but they’re not copies of one another. Instead, the two fragrances seem to have similar intent moreso than anything else: both are wonderfully audacious, and because of the way they’re composed, each give off a bit of an 80s vibe, at least to me. One because it set the era; the other because it’s a fresh take on the same ideas.

Tom Ford Black  Orchid Eau de Parfum

I wasn’t around in the 80s (for which I’m glad; if everyone was wearing Poison, there’s no way it wasn’t too much), but they smell like how I think an idealized version of the decade would smell. Bold, and glamorous, and fruity and floral and a little bit spicy but not in any way just another cookie-cutter scent.

Black Orchid smells like confidence. It smells like a woman with the most amazing retro-Hollywood wave in her hair, walking out of the shadows of an Upper East Side bar, leggy and red-lipped and hopefully, hopefully powerful and outspoken. She gets what she wants because she’s gorgeous, but it’s in the way she works, not the way she looks — by the time she’s asked for it, she’s already worked out ten ways she could outsmart you to get it.

Tom Ford fragrance review photos Black Orchid

The mechanics: Designed by Givaudan in 2006 (Now Smell This cites David Apel as its creator; Bois de Jasmin credits Roman Kaiser for capturing the scent of the Tom Ford black orchid; most sites mention no perfumer in specific), Black Orchid highlights the custom-bred Tom Ford black orchid with woods and fruit accords overtop an oriental base.

To be honest, things get a little dicey if you try and pick out notes from this one. Taken as a whole, however, Black Orchid slots right into that perfect, intriguing spot between harmonious and cacophony. 

Tom Ford Black Orchid looking terribly sexy

Opening with a bright, almost disconcerting beginning, Black Orchid lists citrusy top notes of bergamot, citrus, and mandarin alongside floral French jasmine and fruity black currant. These blend into a floral heart, highlighting black orchid with black gardenia, ylang-ylang, and lotus wood. Finally, the show closes with a woodier base (patchouli and sandalwood), sweetened with vanilla and made even more complex with a hint of incense.

As I said — things get a little dicey. There’s a lot thrown into Black Orchid’s art-deco inspired flacon, and the company’s “oriental chypre” label is probably as accurate as you’ll get. It’s every bit as interesting as a chypre, if you ask me, but it’s darker, spicier — more modern, more sexy; less dated and stuffy.

Tom Ford Black Orchid review photos boring

The verdict?

I had initially assumed this would go into my holiday gift guide (after all, it was my big fragrance love of last winter, and I missed it all summer), but it seems too intimate for gifting. I would have hated this when I just started getting into perfume, and while the dark, twisting composition of fascinates me today, it’s too much of a live wire to be one of those won’t-stun-but-probably-won’t-offend scents.

That said, Tom Ford Black Orchid is a perfume that really deserves a chance if you want a sexy, glamorous date-night scent. While not show-stoppingly unique, it sets itself well apart from your run of the mill floriental, and has managed to completely end my hunt for the perfect bold perfume: it has fantastic tenacity, great sillage, and most importantly, it’s interesting.

Black Orchid is a throwback but it’s modern; it’s spicy but it’s fruity and it’s floral. I may not have been a Tom Ford believer in the past, but Black Orchid has me in its throes.

Availability: $72 USD/$80 CAD & up at Sephora. International readers can find this one at Nordstrom, who unfortunately don’t stock the 1 oz (which I’d recommend — this one is strong!)

Tom Ford Black Orchid EdP fragrance review notes photos

Keep reading! There are no more actual words, but could I perhaps entice you with some pretty, pretty pictures?

Tom Ford Black Orchid looking terribly serious

Tom Ford perfume review photos

Tom Ford Black Orchid EdP box

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15 Responses to “Tom Ford Black Orchid EdP fragrance review, photos | A date-night fragrance not for the faint of heart”

  1. When I smelled it in-store, I really REALLY liked it.
    My recent post Holiday Gift Giving Guide: For Him (Under $100)

  2. It sounds very…err… grown up :-) It definitely doesn't sound like the next frilly floral girly scent, that's for sure!

  3. It's totally caps-lock worthy, isn't it? ;)

  4. I would definitely agree with that statement! It's a lot more refined, a lot less cheaply sweet than "sexy" scents targeted at a younger crowd.

  5. It is. It really is. It was sweet and foody and floral without being a cheap scent you can pick up at The Body Shop.

  6. abeautifulzen, on November 22nd, 2013 at 6:12 pm said:

    smells like confidence eh? that is pretty entising! i love the look of the bottle it's so lux.
    My recent post In the Moment #1: Creatures of Habit

  7. It's weird — I never liked the look of the bottle in its standard packshots, but in real life, it's so much more glamorous. There's just something about the way the light hits it (if you let it, that is) that I love.

  8. *small purring noise*

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  14. Ha!! *pet pet pet*

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