We review White Suede, a sophisticatedly musky and deeply leathery Eau de Parfum (EDP) from Tom Ford’s White Musk collection
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 fragheads 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)|
|Family||Warm and spicy|
|Description||Tom Ford channels the addictive pull of leather and suede into white suede, an elegant, musk-inspired fragrance capturing their supple sensuality.|
|Sizes||0.3 fl oz (10 ml), 1 fl oz (30 ml), 1.7 fl oz (50 ml), 3.4 fl oz (100 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Water, Fragrance, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol, Coumarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citral, Limonene
Source: Product packaging (in the photos), retrieved January 26, 2022
Linen dress. White leather seats. The wind caressing your hair as you’re driving down the curved coast of the French Riviera on a sultry summer day in a 1980s Mercedes-Benz convertible—rooftop open, steering wheel enormous, engine roaring with each twist and turn.
Such is the vibe I get when I close my eyes and walk through a cloud of White Suede, a sophisticatedly musky and deeply leathery perfume, released 2009 in Tom Ford’s White Musk collection.
The top notes are thyme sprig and green tea. The heart notes are lily of the valley, saffron, and white rose. The base notes are suede, white musk, amber, sandalwood, and frankincense oil.
Trust me when I say that this perfume is an acquired taste: many of you will deem the opening peculiar. I know I did. And yet, chances are you will love the drydown.
The opening is one of old leather. The kind that’s well cared for and looks better with age—far from falling apart at the seams—an age that can be seen in the folds, the creases, the softness.
It transitions quickly into the harsh, herbaceous scent of thyme, with a subtle hint of green tea somewhere in the background. Lily of the valley winks at you with its sweet-smelling flowers, accompanied by the powderiness of white rose and the leathery scent of saffron.
The drydown deepens the leather, which is warmed by amber and thickened by musty and spicy frankincense oil. It’s opulent, luxuriant, and timelessly vintage, just as a Chanel bag becomes ever-more precious with the passage of time.
What fascinates me about White Suede is that, from the moment you spritz it on, you are almost immediately met with every note from the list of descriptors. The scent is composed so well, the leather and musk are omnipresent; they can be sniffed throughout the whole maturation of the fragrance on your skin.
It is also deeply personal.
For me, this perfume is an olfactory time machine that takes me back to my 6-year-old self when I was a happy, carefree girl in my grandfather’s car enjoying the warmth of the midday sun. I like to smell it when I want to recall memories of summer drives with my grandparents in their old-fashioned German car with the white leather seats.
Oddly enough, and let me know if you feel the same way by leaving a comment, White Suede is one of the few Tom Ford fragrances that I like to smell on others but that I don’t necessarily want to wear myself.
Some perfumes smell like memories you’ve experienced, places you’ve been. But just as you wouldn’t wear a dress with a picture of those places printed on it, you can’t really justify smelling like them. For better or worse, White Suede falls right into that category.
It’s so unique and different that I wouldn’t recommend blind-buying it. Get the travel spray or a decent-sized decant that so that you can wear it for a few days and decide whether it’s full-bottle-worthy for you or not.
White Suede by Tom Ford is a leathery and musky perfume that appeals to wearers of all genders. Depending on the preferences and the occasion, you can pull off wearing it, no matter if you identify as more masculine or more feminine. (Many find it to be a fantastic office scent.)
Although White Suede can be worn all-year round, it shines in the spring and summer, especially at night. It has a “dirty-clean” vibe to it: it’s fresh, but also abstruse and mystifying.
White Suede by Tom Ford fails to impress with its longevity. If you spray it on freshly bathed skin in the morning, it will last 4 to 6 hours before you need to reapply it. If you spray it on your hair and clothes, it will last a bit longer.
You asked, we answered: Why some perfumes last longer than others
White Suede by Tom Ford has a weak sillage. After application, others can smell it on you for 1-2 hours. Then, it becomes a skin scent; someone has to be physically close to you to smell it.
Layer White Suede by Tom Ford with Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel for a cosmopolitan and soapy work scent.
Layer White Suede by Tom Ford with Soleil Blanc or Eau de Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford for a sultry-by-the-beach fragrance with a warm and leathery twist.
White Suede, an Eau de Parfum (EDP) by Tom Ford, can be purchased in four sizes: a 0.3 fl oz (10 ml) travel spray and a 1 fl oz (30 ml), 1.7 fl oz (50 ml), and 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) standard-size bottle.
Read our guide: Which size perfume to buy?
On the day this review was published, the 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) bottle of White Suede sold for $270 at Tom Ford’s online store, and the 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) bottle for $365.
Consider Musk Therapy, an Extrait de Parfum for women and men by niche perfumery Initio, and Bal d’Afrique, a unisex Eau de Parfum (EDP) reminiscent of 1920s Paris by Byredo.
All in all, White Suede is not my favorite perfume from Tom Ford’s White Musk collection. That said, the craftsmanship behind it is unmistakable, and many swear by this scent. It’s so unique and different, it’s worth a try.