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? »

On cover girls, textbook-sized magazines, and perfumes that mainly just look cool

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Katy Perry in ELLE Canada

Earlier this month (late last month? Early last month? The days are all a little fuzzy for me right now), ELLE Canada sent over a copy of their October issue, as well as their cover girl’s new scent: Killer Queen.

While I’m not big on either Katy Perry or her perfume, I’ll give Killer Queen one thing: it was a blast to photograph.

Katy Perry Killer Queen

Katy Perry interview ELLE Canada + perfume

Killer Queen ($49 USD and up) is a perfume that I’m not sure I’d want on my dresser, despite finding it remarkably easy to take pictures of. Like the larger versions of Burberry Body (which has to lie down horizontally, lest it fall over and club a small animal to death), it doesn’t have a base to stand on. Instead, it has to be lain on its side, like a beached whale or a vial of poison.

On one hand: what an inconvenience, right? I don’t want a beached whale on my countertop.

But on the other… yeah, a glamorous, gold-capped, ombré vial of poison and I would probably get along just fine.

Katy Perry Killer Queen EdT magazine

October’s issue of ELLE Canada was a door-stopping 312 pages long (their largest issue yet), with two separate covers: one for subscribers, and one on the newsstands. (The only image of the subscriber cover online comes from E! Online, and can be seen here). The issue also boasted their biggest beauty section ever, as well: 31 pages, including a 17 page Beauty Trend Report insert.

Keep reading! »

L’Occitane Verveine EdT Fresh Roll-on review, photos | Summer echoes

Friday, October 11, 2013

L'Occitane Verbena Fresh Roll On review

The product: L’Occitane Verveine (Verbena) Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on

Behind the collection: L’Occitane’s Verbena lineup contains organic verbena extract from Provence, and was created for use by both men and women. The Verbena Fresh Roll-on is a purse-friendly version of the original L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette; the “Fresh” in the name is irrelevant (this is the same scent.)

L’Occitane has Mint and Citrus Verbena fragrances available as well this summer, in addition to the Eau Fraîche Collection of verbena-scented body products.

L'Occitane EdT review - verveine:verbena

The notes: A soft, delicate fragrance in the green citrus family, the L’Occitane Verbena Eau de Toilette lists top notes of orange and lemon, heart notes of verbena and petitgrain, and base notes of rose and geranium.

A few fun facts: Unlike most flowers used in perfumery, Verbena (also known as vervain — yes, all you Vampire Diaries fans, that vervain) can sometimes deliver a second harvest in October, weather allowing. Used  in everything from love potions to sleeping draughts, some plants in the Verbenaceae are odourless; others, delicately lemon scented.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette review

My thoughts on the fragrance

I don’t love doing “verdicts” for perfumes, so I thought I’d change things up a little today.

I’m not entirely smitten with the Verbena fragrance, but it’s such an individual thing — I can easily think of half a dozen friends and family members who would absolutely love it. Very fresh, green, and lemony, Verveine opens as a freshly-zested lemon’s rind but sits a little too sharp and synthetic for my nose.

L'Occitane Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on review

The Verveine Eau de Toilette Fresh Roll-on fragrance is very light, with little sillage and a wear time similar to that of most lemony-fresh fragrances. Without any heavy or heady notes to “cling” to the skin, this summery verbena is gone within a few hours; perhaps due in part to its formulation, or perhaps due to its delivery method (roll-ons and EdTs tend to have less throw and tenacity than EdP and parfum sprays).

I would recommend this most to someone who wants to smell fresh and refined, and is alright with touching up throughout the day. I feel almost as if I love perfume too much for this perfume: it feels very much like a chic home fragrance, or a green bouquet sitting aside a bowl of lemons in the kitchen.

Availability: $22 CAD/10ml, limited edition and in-stores now.

LUSH Sun Review, Photos (Gorilla Perfumes Vol. 2) | A bitter orange splash to end the summer

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


The product: LUSH Gorilla Perfumes – Sun

↳ from Volume Two, the 2013 Gorilla Perfumes collection

Sun, packaged and tinted in a bright, lemony yellow, speaks toward traditional citrus splashes. With minimal sillage and unimpressive tenacity, it’s really best for use as a summertime cologne — bright and juicy, like the bitter rind of an tangerine as you peel it, with its sticky-sweet flesh hiding just inside. 

LUSH Sun review

Mark Constantine (LUSH co-founder & one of the noses of Gorilla Perfumes) crafted Sun to remind him of “warmer, sunnier climates;” of a roadtrip he had taken down the East Coast, from the New Jersey Turnpike to Cape May. In all honesty, he did an amazing job: though this isn’t my sort of scent, I’d have loved it when I was first getting into perfume, and it’s well-composed in terms of its notes.

Sun opens as a freshly-cut tangerine, and transforms over the next few minutes to reveal its sandalwood base. One thing I’d say about it is that you really need to treat it like a splash: expect it to be gone within an hour or two, and be prepared to apply both liberally and frequently.

LUSH Volume 2 Sun review

The overview

It’s a bit like: A Marc Jacobs Splash or Guerlain Aqua Allegoria (though the Guerlains are really in a class of their own). The notes of Sun make it a good non-perfume perfume, but it’s nothing you couldn’t find elsewhere.

You might notice: Brazilian orange, tangerine, mimosa, sandalwood.

Availability: Online & in select stores now, $14.95 – $55.95 CAD. (Featured here: 9 ml, $14.95 CAD).

Keep reading! »

LUSH Furze, The Voice of Reason: Reviews, Photos | Gorilla Perfumes Vol. 2

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LUSH Gorilla Perfumes Volume Two

The product: LUSH Gorilla Perfumes – Furze & The Voice of Reason

↳ from Volume Two, the 2013 Gorilla Perfumes collection

I had meant to get this review up first, but my plans were thwarted by Sikkim Girls’ undeniable, heady scent. With that in mind, here’s a very quick rundown of the “feel” of the most recent Gorilla Perfumes collection, overviewed earlier on theNotice.

LUSH Gorilla Perfumes Vol 2 reviews

The four scents I’ll be reviewing are all vegan, alcohol-based, and very, very LUSH. There’s something interesting about all of them, really, and I don’t think LUSH fans will be disappointed: despite their “mainstream” alcohol base, they still smell like something a super-cool tree-hugging environmentalist would wear.

Giving off a vibe more akin to a LUSH store than a perfume counter, Gorilla Perfumes layer well (if you ask in-store, the sales associates should be able to show you some layering duos so surefire they’ve named them), and all seem a little earthy in their base notes. For quick reviews of the entire line, I really enjoyed this post over at Perfume Posse — its a great “primer” for Volume Two on the whole.

Y’know. If you didn’t like mine enough (hysterical sobbing).

LUSH Furze, Sikkim Girls


Furze is a bit of a weird one: it opens coconutty and brash, almost like a sour garden – fresh and bright, but with a clinical, acidic surprise.

Had Furze been softer around the edges, as it was promised to be, I think I’d have have been a lot more fond of it. As it is, though, I’m on the fence: I think it’s an interesting take on your classic summer coconut scents (you know, the ones you see in everything from perfume to sunscreen), but I’m not sure if it’s the good kind of interesting.

LUSH Gorilla Perfumes Furze

Furze dries down to a wisp of vanilla against the skin (deliciously soft, but you have to push your nose right up to the skin to smell it.) I’d have loved to see this open with a creamy coconut & then settle into a vanilla halfway through, but as it is, Furze is a “skip” for me. 

A fun fact, though: LUSH perfumer Simon Constantine, one-half of Gorilla Perfumes, keeps furze bushes in his backyard to protect the home from curses and hexes.

LUSH Furze review

The overview

It’s a bit like: A coconut rendition of Lavanilla (Lesnoixdecoco?), or an olfactory rendition of a nondescript, coconut beach drink. You know the kind — obnoxiously coloured straw, maybe a flower or pineapple sitting awkwardly on the rim, either too much or not nearly enough rum.

You might notice: Vanilla, coconut, mimosa, neroli

Availability: Online & in select stores now, $14.95 – $44.95 CAD. (Featured here: 25 ml, $24.95 CAD).

Keep reading! »

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