We review Black Orchid, an amber, oriental, and luxuriant Eau de Parfum (EDP) introduced in 2006 by Tom Ford.
Having served as the Creative Director at Italy-based fashion powerhouse Gucci and, previously, at French luxury house Yves Saint Laurent, Thomas Carlyle Ford founded Tom Ford in 2005.
Ford opened an online store in 2006 and, the following year, his flagship boutique at 845 Madison Avenue in New York City. His clothing, eyewear, watches, and fragrances quickly became a favorite among celebrities. Fashionistas and frag-heads expectedly followed suit.
When it comes to clothing, eyewear, and accessories, Ford’s sense of style is undeniable. In 2006, he made his mark on the world of fragrances when he launched the iconic Black Orchid in collaboration with American conglomerate Estée Lauder.
A year later, in 2007, Tom Ford introduced the Private Blend Collection of luxury fragrances, and, with the addition of new scents, that collection has been growing since.
|Concentration||Eau de Parfum (EDP)|
|Description||Dark, amber, spicy floral fragrance with a strong hint of truffle and chocolate|
|Sizes||0.3 fl oz (10 ml), 1 fl oz (30 ml), 1.7 fl oz (50 ml), 3.7 fl oz (100 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Water, Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Benzyl Benzoate, Geraniol, Limonene, Coumarin, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Eugenol, Isoeugenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citral, Farnesol, Cinnamal, Methyl 2-Octynoate, Benzyl Cinnamate
Source: Tom Ford, last retrieved December 23, 2021
Some call it an aphrodisiac. Others say it is the greatest statement of status of all time. Us? We find it timeless, enigmatic, and larger than life. No other fragrance has smelled remotely close to this, and no other fragrance will.
Black Orchid is the culmination of Tom Ford’s lifelong search for the perfect flower. A flower so warm—and, at the same time so dark, mysterious, and sophisticated—nature hasn’t created it yet.
With the alchemy of perfume and the craftsmanship of the master perfumers at Givaudan, the Swiss multinational Tom Ford partnered with to concoct this one-of-a-kind fragrance, that misstep of nature was finally been corrected in the year 2006, when Black Orchid was introduced to the world.
The result is in front of your eyes: a black orchid with golden petals to perfume your body, mind, and soul for life’s finest moments, and for the most demanding of occasions.
The tall, ribbed bottle, which looks as if it came out of Great Gatsby’s dresser drawer, is inspired by 1920s and 1930s architecture. Indeed, had this fragrance been a motion picture, it would have been shot in just three colors: black, white, and gold. Half would have taken place in the Big Apple, and the other, after a dramatic twist, in The City of Angels.
This is a spicy, narcotic, and grandiose perfume that isn’t fit for every wearer. It signifies poise and power; it announces your presence before you’ve even opened the door.
Black Orchid is a perfume that wears you as much as you wear it.
The top notes are black truffle, bergamot, black currant, and ylang-ylang. The heart notes are orchid, Arabian jasmine, and pink pepper. The base notes are amber, dark chocolate, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, and vetiver.
Black Orchid by Tom Ford is for the bossy, ambitious, high-status person who gets chauffeured around in a black Mercedes S-Class and who walks around like they own every room that they enter (come to think of it, maybe they do).
It isn’t a perfume for the faint-hearted.
It exudes confidence, and you need to have plenty of it to wear it. It will turn heads, encourage gossip, and raise questions. Everyone will want to smell you, follow you, worship you.
Ladies, be warned: This isn’t the typical girly floral perfume. It’s a powerhouse that dances, with magnetic and indecipherable Mata Hari moves, between the ever-so-blurred lines of the feminine and the masculine in a way that will only appeal to certain wearers.
To say that Black Orchid is cosmopolitan and, at the same time, polarizing would be a major understatement. At first whiff, you will either love it or hate it; there is no chance you will be in between.
This perfume is the epitome of unisex and is definitely not a good fragrance to buy on the blind. Those who identify as women will find it overly masculine. Those who identify as men will find it a little too capricious and spicy.
If you would wear it in an office, make sure you are the most senior person in the room. It’s a great scent for a dark-lit nightclub and a terrible choice for confined spaces and travel (unless, that is, you want the nearby seats all to yourself).
Wear it at an engagement party or a wedding only if you want to steal all of the attention from the groom and bride, and never to have to hear from, talk to, or see them again. Yes, it’s that much of a heavy hitter. And no, don’t ask me how I know.
Spritz it on when you want to put yourself in an imperious mood for getting things done. Or for when you want to seduce, yet remind your flirting partner that you are as dangerous as you are attractive, like James Bond or Ava Lord, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘s chief villain and femme fatale.
As for longevity, Black Orchid is a true beast of a perfume: depending on your skin type, it can last anywhere from 8 to upward of 12 hours. When I spray myself with it in the morning, I still smell something of it the next day—even after showering.
You asked, we answered: Why some perfumes last longer than others
Black Orchid has such a strong sillage, especially in the first few hours of wear, that you have to be careful how much of it you spray on. On a warm day or in a confined space, the scent can easily become overpowering. A few sprays are more than enough to awe a crowd wherever you go.
You can buy Tom Ford’s Black Orchid Eau de Parfum (EDP) in four sizes: a 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray and 1 fl oz (30 ml), 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) and 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) black-glass bottles with ribbed detailing and a gold-tone metal inset.
The 1-3.4 fl oz (30-100 ml) bottle is tall and flat, which makes it more convenient to carry in a purse and travel with compared to the chess-piece-shaped bottles in Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection.
However, owners of frequent flyer cards will probably find the 0.33 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray to be the most convenient, especially for domestic flights and/or short trips.
Read our guide: Which size perfume to buy?
One of Tom Ford’s best fragrances to date is also one of his most affordable, especially when compared to some scents in his Private Blend Collection, such as Soleil Blanc ($360/3.4 fl oz) and Lost Cherry ($499/3.4 fl oz).
On the day of publishing this review, the 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) bottle sold for $136 at Tom Ford’s online store and the 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) for $190. The smaller sizes were unlisted, so we couldn’t retrieve a price.
If you love warm, spicy, and oriental notes, and you like perfumes with orchid and patchouli, there’s a high chance that Tom Ford’s Black Orchid will win over your heart and become one of your signature scents.
Picture a blooming orchid accompanied by black currant juice, a box of chocolate truffles, freshly-cracked pink pepper, resinous amber, and woody patchouli. The scent is warm, but also dark and spicy.
Black Orchid is a genderless, unisex fragrance. That said, it’s leaning toward the dark, peppery, masculine side, which is why it wouldn’t appeal to every female wearer.
Apart from the fact that one comes in a golden and the other in a black bottle with a golden inset, the Parfum is warmer, sweeter, and more on the gourmand side. The Eau de Parfum (EDP) is drier and more on the white-floral side.
Black Orchid Eau de Parfum (EDP) contains more perfume essence and is stronger. On the flip side, Black Orchid Eau de Toilette (EDT) is lighter, but not as long lasting; go for it if you find the original a tad too heavy and overpowering.
If you like Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, there’s a good chance you will also like Musc Ravageur (genderless, musky and animalic), Coco Noir (for women, spicy and lady-boss vibe), and Dior Homme Intense (for men, floral and powdery).
A dark, gothic, and narcotizing perfume that will forever be written about in the annals of the fragrance industry, wear Black Orchid on days when you are about to make history.