Perfume Review: Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir, Oud Wood, Purple Patchouli
Noir de Noir
In an interview to International Herald Tribune, Tom Ford once said that he have always loved the night. The nocturnal Black Orchid was the first olfactory expression of that love and many scents in the Private Blend collection most definitely possess a nocturnal quality. Noir de Noir, as the name suggests, has a very dark feel. When I first heard about the Private Blend collection and got to read the notes, I had a feeling that Purple Patchouli might turn out to be reminiscent of my beloved Black Orchid, or rather that it will be reminiscent of the earthy, raw aspect of it, which I love so much and which is so prominent on my skin. Not so. The scent that, upon very first application, made me think of Black Orchid, was Noir de Noir. Take Black Orchid, remove the "earth" and the fruits, and what you are left with is an elegantly sweet, rather warm floral accord. As far as my nose is concerned, Noir de Noir is built upon that very accord. The beginning of the scent is a bouquet of dark-red roses, honeyed, over-ripe, extremely luscious. The rose note is paired with saffron, a stunning combination, with the golden, slightly raw spiciness weaved through the crimson velvet of the petals. The raw/rooty aspect, which I always notice in saffron, is complimented by "black truffle" and patchouli. I don't really smell any oud in Noir de Noir, and overall I think I would have liked the scent even more if the woody-earthy aspect was a little stronger on my skin. Noir de Noir is not a shy little scent, it is quite forceful, sweet and with a luxurious trail of sillage. The drydown is incredibly delightful. The saffron note, which disappears during the middle stage, comes back, and the final accord is a soft skin scent composed of delicate spices, gentle vanilla, and a little bit of patchouli. It is my humble guess that Noir de Noir is going to be one of most popular Private Blend fragrances.
Leathery Oud. I am aware that Tom Ford Beauty does not list leather as one of the notes in this scent, but leather is what I smell as soon as I apply it on my skin and the note stays throughout the scent's development. The perfume really isn't so much about oud as it is about veriver and leather. It is an elegantly smoky blend, quite dry and very earthy. It has slight spiciness in the beginning and quite a lot of rather sharp sandalwood in the middle and in the base. The drydown is softer that the previous stages, but despite declared vanilla and tonka bean, is really not in the least sweet. I like Oud Wood a lot, but feel that it could have been a little more virile, had a little more character. This is a very refined and urbane rendition of oud, and I guess I was looking for something more wild and fierce.
Purple Patchouli is probably the strangest of the twelve Private Blend scents, and I am not quite sure that in this case I mean "strange" as a compliment. With notes of orchid, citruses, "noir leather", "purple patchouli", exotic spices, amber, more patchouli, Peru balsam and vetiver, the composition is a curious combination of fresh, almost soapy and utterly skanky-animalic. I had a "pleasure" of experiencing a molecule called saladolide, which featured the most bizarre clash of aggressively clean and rather putrid odors. Purple Patchouli doesn't actually smell like that molecule, but the disharmony of clean and animalic that it presents is just as striking. The floral accord of Purple Patchouli is sudsy and quite bold, slightly sweet, rather fresh, it keeps battling for domination with the dry patchouli note and the salty, "moist" leather. In the end, patchouli and leather win, aided by a little bit of vetiver; the drydown of Purple Patchouli on my skin is the stage of total skank, no more flowers, no more soap, just a clammy , slimy, morbidly fascinating earthy accord. I am glad I got to try this peculiar perfume, but I will never be able to wear it.
Noir de Noir, Oud Wood, Purple Patchouli are available at Bergdorf Goodman, $165.00 for 50ml, $450.00 for 250ml.
I am unable to find a source for the first image. If you know what it is, please let me know, I would love to be able to correctly attribute it. The second image, Female Satyr, is by Thomas Durham, from tomdurhamsculpture.com.
Labels: Tom Ford