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Black Orchid Perfume Review

Tom Ford Black Orchid Perfume Review

Black Orchid has been called one of Tom Ford’s best creations and one of the perfumes that put the brand on the map. Released almost 2 decades ago, does this interesting perfume still live up to the prestigious hype? let’s find out in this in-depth review of Tom Ford Black Orchid.

Brand & Perfume History

Tom Ford is a heavyweight in the fragrance industry and rightfully so – he’s earned his stripes. Starting off working for the like of Perry Ellis and then Gucci, it was at the latter that he got his feet wet in the perfume industry, heading the creation of hits Gucci pour Homme and YSL’s M7.

In 2006, Tom Ford released his own fragrance under his own brand – Black Orchid. This fragrance was one of the primary drivers of his success in the industry, causing a stir when it was first released thanks to the mind-blowing uniqueness of the perfume at the time.

Perfume Story

Being his first release, he wanted to create a fragrance that was unmistakably him: bold, unique and one of a kind. He came up with the concept of an illusive ‘black orchid’ to be used in the scent, drafting in perfumers David Appel and Pierre Negrin to help with the direction. Together they concocted the luxury notes in Black orchid – a riveting and strange mix of amber, warm spice, fruits, black truffle, vanilla, chocolate and of course the titular fabled ‘black orchid.

There’s a rumour that Tom Ford wanted the creative direction to go in a slightly stranger direction: he wanted Black Orchid to smell like a man’s crotch! And some people do get that sort of vibe from the scent thanks to the earthy notes and musk.

The success of Tom Ford Black Orchid spawned two flankers: Black Orchid EDT and Black Orchid Parfum. Both of these have the same kind of vibe but with a few notes changed.

Perfume Bottle & Presentation

It’s Tom Ford: you know the presentation is going to be top-notch. The Black Orchid bottle just creams luxury – a sleek black bottle with a contrasting gold plaque on the front and gold tie. Quite a few people know what the bottle of Black Orchid looks like, so when they see it on your cabinet or wherever you put it, they know you’re wearing a luxury perfume and not a cheapie.

Our Thoughts

Black Orchid is one of the most unique scents I’ve ever personally smelled. It’s a total departure from the fresh and green scents you encounter. The darker, more earthy notes alongside the light florals help to give this a strange edge and it’s something you DEFINITELY need to try before you buy.

It’s quite the acquired taste and you have to be bold to pull it off, but when you do it’s so striking that it’s sure to turn heads.

How many sprays are required?

Black Orchid is not a perfumer to be trifled with. Too many sprays will leave you smelling pungent – you want to be taking it easy on the sprays in 80% of situations.

Any normal day-to-day wear and signature scent wear should be about 2-3 sprays max. That way you won’t choke anyone out (It’s STRONG) but you’ll still have a great scent cloud around you.

Cold winter nights, dates and evening events can see you getting away with 3-4 sprays. I wouldn’t go above this – the magic behind Black Orchid is the subtlety of the notes playing off of each other, not blasting it so everyone in a 10-metre radius can smell you.

You can get away with Black Orchid in summer, but you need to take it super, super light on the sprays. It also depends on how the perfume works on your skin – on me, the darker truffle, vanilla and musk really come out, so I can’t get away with it in the summer. If the floral and fruit notes are more prominent on you, then you’re good to go in the heat.

Notes

Let’s get into the interesting notes of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid:

Top Notes

Black Truffle

Gardenia

Black Currant

Ylang-Ylang

Jasmine

Bergamot

Mandarin Orange

Amalfi Lemon

There’s an absolute smorgasbord of notes in the opening. They sound like a random mish-mash, but they do work together incredibly well. Right up top, you get the Gardenia, fruit notes (the black currant and citruses). the clean jasmine and that earthy tone from the truffle. If you aren’t ready for it, it will catch you by surprise, since it’s a totally unique opening compared to many other fragrances.

I advise you to wait a good 10-20 seconds before having a sniff, the opening really is that strong.

Heart Notes

Black Orchid

Spices

Gardenia

Fruity Notes

Ylang-Ylang

French Jasmine

Lotus

After about 5 minutes, that abrasive and often divisive opening of Black Orchid Eau De Parfum starts to calm down and work its way to the middle notes. These notes are more fruits a tiny bit of spice and mythical Black Orchids.

These are all accompanied by other floral notes, but not in the style of other flowery scents. They’re way more earthy than usual, which is thanks to the fact that white flowers are used in Tom Ford Black Orchid.

All of the spicy notes and the earth flowers really work well together and tie into a great composition.

Base Notes

Mexican Chocolate

Patchouli

Vanille

Incense

Amber

Sandalwood

Vetiver

White Musk

The base notes of Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de parfum are where it turns into an almost magical sensual fragrance. After a few hours of the mid, you’re left with a wonderful sweetness from the vanilla and amber, accompanied by slightly bitter chocolate and damp earth-like patchouli.

The woodsy notes of sandalwood and vetiver help to give it a backbone whilst the white musk and incense add a nice amount of dirtiness to make Tom ford’s Black Orchid dark and sexy. The dry down is yet another totally unique smell that just has to be sniffed to be experienced.

Performance

Sillage

The sillage of Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de parfum is insane for a good few hours. when you test it, you’ll see why we recommend only a few sprays – this thing just follows you around for hours. You leave a totally unique trail behind you wherever you go and in the dry down that scent trail is absolutely stunning – the vanilla, musk and earthiness just work so well.

Longevity

You better like your scents to last all day if you’re wearing Black Orchid because this thing hangs on in there for a good 12 hours easily. Whilst it won’t be projecting in the later stages, it’s still clearly visible when you smell your skin and if you spray it on clothes, you’re getting a good 4-5 days of the scent.

Projection

Again, Black Orchid is a monster for the first couple of hours. People will be able to sniff you a good few metres away and it will fill the room and overpower other people’s scent. After a solid 6 hours of way above-average projection, the fragrance starts to simmer down to become more reasonable. It would be wise to spray this fragrance on yourself a good hour or two before going out if you’re going to be in a confined space with other people!

Target Market

Black Orchid is marketed as unisex, but I sense it’s a tiny bit more masculine. Women can get away with it though, the sweeter notes help to balance out the more masculine woody and earthy facets.

Age-wise, I think this suits a person who’s a tiny bit older, so 25+. The fragrance is probably a bit too dark, mysterious and earthy for a younger person to pull off.

When to Wear

This is not a swiss army knife fragrance. It’s got too much attitude for that. This fragrance is screaming for special events, the colder months, nights out and date nights when you want to come across as dark, mysterious and bold.

You could get away with this as a signature scent if it suits your personality type – something a bit more out there and someone who doesn’t always play it safe, like Tom Ford himself.

Individuality

There are very, very few fragrances on earth this are similar to this one. It’s such a unique blend of notes that it would be pretty hard to come across someone else who’s wearing something with the same vibe.

In my entire time in the fragrance game – a good 8 years – I’ve only ever smelled this on two people. One was my friend who was actually wearing this the first time I’d ever experienced it and clued me onto it, and the other was a lady in the street. It’s that rare. That could be because of the higher-end price tag or the fact that it’s an incredibly divisive scent.

Value For Money

With Tom Ford fragrances, you’re really paying for the quality and composition and in my eyes, you’re getting more than your money’s worth with this. Whilst it’s not the cheapest fragrance, It’s totally unique and will make you stand out, will last ages thanks to the performance and you can sometimes get a good deal.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Totally unique scent
  • People who like it will really like it
  • Incredible performance
  • Luxurious presentation
  • Superb dry down

Cons

  • Divisive scent – if someone doesn’t like it, they hate it.
  • Slightly higher price than other scents
  • It can come across like a man’s crotch on some people’s skin thanks to skin chemistry.

Similar Perfumes

Tom Ford Black Orchid Parfum

The last flanker in the line, this is a relatively new release that adds rum and plum into the notes. Yet again absolutely stunning and luxurious, this is a much more masculine take on the original.

Ard Al Zaafaran Oud 24 Hours

This is Black Orchid on a budget. Dirt cheap and similar when it comes to scent, the notes are mixed around with a synthetic oud added into the base. The quality here is god-awful though and the performance isn’t quite up to scratch.

Our Verdict

If you want a fragrance that is totally unique and sure to turn heads, then give this a try. But be sure to sample it first and you’ll either absolutely hate it or fall in love with it.

0/5 Bottle
0/5 Smell
0/5 Sillage
0/5 Longevity
0/5 Projection
0/5 Price

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