Congrats, Tom Ford, on your new litter of perfumes! Tom Ford Jardin Noir series births four new perfumes – Cafe Rose, Lys Fume, Ombre de Hyacinth, and Jonquille de Nuit. Originally these were going to be called “Twisted Florals” instead of Tom Ford Jardin Noir. You know, I like Twisted Florals better just as a name, a little less cliched than throwing a “noir” at the end of a thing. Tom Ford had this to say about this twisty floral series – “When you showcase their darker and less innocent aspects, flowers can become so thrilling and beautiful, they could almost ruin you. That was the sensation I was after.” As has been noted by no less than the New York Times, at $200 for 50 mls and $495 for 250 mls, this could be ruination of the financial kind if you fall in love.
Let me introduce you to the new litter of Tom Ford Jardin Noir one by one to see if any of them might work over your credit card.
Tom Ford Jardin Noir – Ombre de Hyacinth
is all about the green-infused hyacinth. It opens pretty darn freaky, green, earthy, bitter and not super-likable and friendly. I was pretty much expecting this one to be a loser for me or a major winner. Big freaky bitter earthy green scents, I’m either all in or all out, having had a torrid affair with way too many of them while others just leave me deepening my Juvaderm’ed frowny crevice. Notes are galbanum, violet leaf, magnolia petals, olibanum, hyacinth, pink pepper, jasmine, benzoin and musk. Then it starts taking a turn about 20-30 minutes in, a floral softening, keeps the green but waxes it over with incense and magnolia. Right in here somewhere, it starts to remind me a little of Serge Lutens Bas de Soie, maybe a little big rougher ride, and it stays a buttered green once the earthy, more bitter green notes blend in. It turned into something I liked, but we weren’t going to have any memorable nights or days together.
Tom Ford Jardin Noir – Lys Fume
Notes on this are Italian mandarin, pink pepper, turmeric, nutmeg, white lily, ylang-ylang, artemisia, rum, madagascar vanilla, labdanum, styrax and oak. Okay, just wow on the open, no smoke, no lillies, just plastic something – this one scared me worse than the Tom Ford Ombre de Hyacinth. Probably because I was expecting more – you know, like lillies and smoke and booze! Given how he’s done his other fragrances in the Private Blend line (Amber Absolute, as my son says, is like putting a beehive on your head, and Tobacco Vanille is a shot of rum-soaked vanilla right in the kisser), this should have been a huffing, puffing black lily dragon, shooting hot buttered rum out of its pistils. Just when I was getting sleepy, a miracle happened, and rum popped its head up out of this morphing vanilla cloud that was a little peppery. Still some plastic (wtf?!?!?) smell. Even with the plastic, I was warming up to it, but the bar closed early. This one took a long time to form an opinion on because of that plasticky note. It eventually dried down, the plastic note took a hike, and it was really beautiful, but I wanted it to be much more smoky and intoxicating. I’d wear it and love it, but I hoped for something much more twisty-turny. Well, there was the plastic, which is a little twisty, if you like twisty ties in your perfume.
I do not
Tom Ford Jardin Noir – Cafe Rose
Okay, wow, great rose – really great rose! Full, throaty rose and…
Notes of saffron, black pepper, may rose, turkish rose, bulgarian rose, coffee, incense, amber, sandalwood and patchouli. May, Turkish and Bulgarian rose teamed up and smothered Mr. Starbucks in a dark alley outside the cathedral. The rose is exquisite. Oh, wait! 30 minutes, and coffee has survived the mugging, I smell movement, but he’s injured and bleeding as those rose thorns continue to clutch at him, drag him back into their prickly embrace. Yes, these are thug roses – clobber you over the head until you are senseless, but I adore them.
Jonquille de Nuit was the one I looked forward to the most. Love narcissus, and if you are going to make it all dark and smoldery, hey, that’s enough 411 to have my nose salivating. Notes of cyclamen, mimosa, angelica, violet leaf, bitter orange blossom, narcissus; base notes are orris and amber. Thinking Caron Narcisse Noir? Nope. It’s all dark and a little twisty on the open, and visions of Dali paintings start swirling about, then – plastic. WTF is that plastic thing? I’ve never really gotten it from a Tom Ford fragrance before, so I’m suspecting this is a me thing, and I’ll be interested to see what others say about these fragrances. Ultimately, after the plastic vanished, I liked the fragrance, but it wasn’t night-like, more like night-light. So it turned out pretty, but not memorable.
For me, Tom Ford Jarden Noir was just, well, okay, with the exception of Cafe Rose, which is a seriously great, great rose, still holding off most of the cafe after a few hours.
These entries into the Tom Ford Private Blend just have me confused. I’ve gotten used to the over-the-top note saturation of his perfumes, and I was expecting a similar approach to these four. And just no, not, some restraint. Tom Ford and restraint aren’t comfortable living in the same sentence together. So what do we think happened? And I am allowing here that my expectations were for dark, malevolent scents, and that they were pretty threw me and turned into the bitter dregs of disappointment. If he was ever going to go over the top with notes, these four would have been the place to do it.
They are really pretty – the Cafe Rose is great, but I can’t really co-sign that the other three are noir or twisted.
Tom, these twisty florals aren’t going to ruin me, I’m running straight back into the arms of Caron Narcisse Noir. So wanna try them yourself? Drop a comment and tell me something – favorite Tom Ford, which one sounds like it might work, if you’re going to just take a miss on them unless you win a free sample somewhere or what you’re doing for labor Day! – and I’ll pick four winners for a sample set of all four in the Tom Ford Jarden Noir series. (You can try all of the Tom Ford Jardin Noir perfume samples at Surrender to Chance)