30 Days of Scent 2.0, Day 13: Tom Ford Black Orchid

black orchid

My Friday started out with Hothouse Flower by Ineke, but one of my coworkers was really snippy about it. Apparently the indole molecule that’s in a gardenia scent bugged her (that’s the one that can make white florals smell a little bit dirty), because she called my perfume “nasty.” And admittedly, big white florals aren’t for everyone. So for the sake of getting along with people, I scrubbed it.

I happened to have a sample of Tom Ford Black Orchid with me, that I’d been meaning to try out. I’ve been dubious about Tom Ford scents in the past, because Sahara Noir was really weird on me, and the Private Collection is both a little too dirty and WAY too expensive. However, the sample of Black Orchid came in my last Sephora sampler, and the notes intrigued me.

Rather than being signed by an individual perfumer, Black Orchid was developed by a fragrance development firm called Givaudan, and released by Tom Ford in 2006. It opens up with an earthy tuber note, with traces of gardenia, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, a hint of blackcurrant, and supposedly there are citrus notes in that top, but I didn’t pick them up. Strange, because usually, if there’s citrus, it’s LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS on my skin. As it dries down, the namesake note of orchid kicks in, with notes of spice and dried fruits, giving it a warm, intoxicating sweetness that plays particularly well as it bleeds into the chocolate-patchouli-incense base with hints of vanilla, sandalwood, vetiver, and amber.

Black Orchid isn’t innocent and friendly and inoffensive. It’s dark and sensual and strange, and a little bit addictive. She doesn’t smile shyly from across the room, inviting you to come closer. She stalks across the floor in her stilettos, pinning you against the wall as she kisses you passionately. This isn’t an obnoxious projection monster, but working in close quarters with others as I do, people noticed, and I got several compliments through the day. I thought it had faded to a skin scent after a few hours, but then a customer commented on it again, so perhaps not. And that’s with my standard two-spray limit, which almost always stays close enough to my skin that people don’t notice until they’re within touching distance. So the projection is a little bolder than i usually prefer. That may be due to my warm skin, though, because it also didn’t quite last the whole day. It was a very respectable 6 hours, which is quite normal for an EDP, just not extraordinary. I’ve ordered a full bottle of Jeanne Arthes Love Never Dies Gold, which is pretty similar notes-wise, but I like this well enough that I may end up buying it too at some point. Even with the need to experiment a little on how to wear it for the projection level I prefer, I think I can see myself having a really good time with this.

The technical stuff:

Released: 2006

Perfumers: Givaudan

Availability: department stores and specialty retailers

Overall rating: 8/10

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