Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia & Purple Patchouli

Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia — notes of black gardenia, orange, jasmine, rose muguet, tuberose, dark plum, honey, beeswax, incense, labdanum.  Gardenia and I are not friends, we don’t even nod at each other when we pass. But read that list of notes. Anyone who has been reading here for a while knows my least favorite notes ever put in a bottle are gardenia, lily of the valley, and honey. This thing goes on like my worst nightmare — floral roquefort is all I can think of.  If you’ve smelled JAR Jardenia, you’ll have a little bit of an idea of what this smells like, there are some similarities mostly in that this is bleu cheese covered gardenia.  Do I hate it?  Looooooathe this little beastie, but it’s just a little hypnotic in its over-the-top slightly rotten lushness.  If Tom were trying to make a perfume that would appeal to me not at all and that I would find borderline to completely revolting, he could not have done a better job.

Tom Ford Purple Patchouli — notes of orchid, citrus, leather, purple patchouli accord, spices, amber, patchouli, Peru balsam, vetiver.   The most awful abuse has been heaped on this one. I get a very pretty citrus open sitting on top of buttcrack and leather.  A smelly dom wearing Etro Lemon Sorbet?  Well, that citrus buttcrack didn’t last long, a shame really… it was sorta interesting!  This is such a strange perfume.  Hate it?  No. Sorta like that ugly kitty nobody wants, there’s something endearing in here.  The longer it is on, the more interesting it gets.  Mostly get leather, little patch and balsam — sorta like engine-oil soaked gloves. It strikes me that men may find this much more wearable after the open.  It is not feminine on me at all, but it’s not horrible either. Are you you hatahs out there sure in your hate?  I’m digging this one!  It’s a total freak in that way SMN Nostalgia is a lovable freak.

  • Jose Luis Ramos says:

    I’m a butler in england, the gentelman I look after uses Purple Patchouli, all the guests that come for dinner ask me for the name.
    To me at first it overwelms me as I walk from the library follow the scent to the drawing room where my boss is sitting by the fire place listening to opera CD. Then it hits me, I’m in love with the scent and I got to have it. Ilove it
    Please I would be most gratefull if you could put me in the draw. Thank you.

  • Robin Smith says:

    I had the same negative reaction when I first sprayed it, but the dry down is as intoxicating as putting your nose into a fresh gardenia and closing your eyes, blocking out all but the luscious, heady scent. PLEASE put me in the drawing.

  • Hilda Herrmann says:

    I have read and heard so much about the excellent scent of “Velvet gardenia”. I am dying to have a chance to smell it.

  • Theresa says:

    Really enjoying the reviews. Please put me in the drawing. Thanks!

  • hope I can still enter the drawing—-just planted a gardenia bush—dreaming of Lady Day singing in the moonlight—May’s Full Flower Moon—I bet she’d wear the Velvet Gardenia.

  • cjj88 says:

    Can’t wait to test these:)

  • Emily says:

    I’d love to be in the drawing, if it’s not too late!

  • Rob says:

    Pretty Patty please! DROP ME IN FOR THE DRAWING! I gotta get started on sampling the Tom Fords!

  • melanie says:

    Please add me to the drawing, thanks!

  • BrothaG says:

    Awesome reviews as usual Patty! Looks like the Velvet Gardenia isn’t quite what most people had hoped for, LOL! I’d love to be entered into the drawing.

  • Amarie says:

    Great series of reviews, Patty. I have really enjoyed reading all the posts about T. F. and how amazing that he can bring out 12 perfumes at once and provoke this storm of interest.
    And yes please put me in as I would dearly love to try :(( what I just can’t afford at the moment.:x

  • Steve H says:

    Please enter me into the drawing.
    There’s no Bergdorf Goodman in my area for even the slightest sampling:(

  • noyna says:

    Very intrigued! Please put me in the drawing, if it’s not too late. Have been lurking for months — thank you for your wonderful site.

  • CindyN says:

    I haven’t gotten around to sniffing the VG yet. Like you, 2 of my top hated notes are LoV and Honey (peony and carnation closely follow), but I do love a well done gardenia. Blue Cheese, huh? Guess it’s time to break out the sample and give it a whiff.
    Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Justine says:

    I decided that if you reached 100 entries by 5 I would take it as a sign not to enter. But you didn’t! So clearly, I need to throw my name into the hat. The Tom Ford’s sound different and interesting and in this world of fruity florals, thats a nice change.

    On another note, yesterday I went sniffing at Nordies and told the SA I was just looking for whatever new scent that was out. She smiled broadly and said “oooh, Pink Sugar.” My jaw literally dropped. I was stunned. Pink Sugar? Yech. I replied, that’s hardly new. She tried again later, and finally said, “oh, I guess you don’t like sweet scents.” I told her I thought it was over the top sweet and too young for me too. I was very nearly insulted I tell you. Grossed out and insulted.

  • Jennifer says:

    Would you please add me to the drawing? I’d love a sample of these… since there are still decants available, I don’t have to worry about loving a perfume I can’t have. And Black Orchid was stunning on me… 🙂

  • Mary Beth says:

    I now despair at ever looking at Gorgonzola in the same way again!Between that and ‘citrus buttcrack’ I have to ask “How *DOES* he create these things? And why?” 😕

    Ah well…there are others out there more to my liking. Toss my name in the hat, run it up the flagpole.

  • Robin says:

    I am pretty much ignoring the Tom Fords so far, but now I’m almost intrigued by Velvet Gardenia only because I thought Jardenia was way cool, even if possibly unwearable (and I say possibly because I can’t get those nice guys at BG to hand over a sample). Purple Patchouli sounds like my worst nightmare, on the other hand!

  • CH says:

    OOOooOOOoOO I’d love to be in the drawing!

  • Abigail says:

    I once had a gardenia bush named George who died a horrible, slow death while I had mono. Now whenever I smell gardenia I think “Mmmm….oh, it’s George! I miss that plant!”

    ANYway, I’d love to be entered in the drawing, even though I’m new.

  • Patty says:

    Tom will eventually get you all!!!

    for those of you that wanted to be in the drawing, you are!

  • minette says:

    i was trying NOT to want to try these… and now, thanks to you and the rest of your perfume cohorts, i do. so please enter me in the drawing, too.

  • Kyra says:

    I had really been hoping to give the whole batch of TFs a pass (BO was very not for me), but I can’t resist them all. Throw my name in the hat for the drawing.

  • Mikael says:

    Hello, a long time lurking reader here, love the writing style of all your contributing reviewers!

    All the descriptions of these Tom Ford private blends here and on perfumesmellingthings sound really intriguing (except for the price…) , please enter me in the drawing 🙂 Thanks!

  • Stacy says:

    Please include me in the drawing. I’m hoping to make it into Bergdorf to smell these on a weekend trip to NYC but may not. Gardenia with blue cheese; I am still having a terrible visceral reaction to that descriptor!

  • eaumy says:

    After reading Marina’s review, I summoned up the courage to give VG a try. Ugh. This stuff is pure, unadulterated evil — and tenacious, too. I can’t wash this demonic stuff off. I may have to get the hatchet and chop my arm off.

    • Judith says:

      I tried to make myself like it for a long while b/c of M’s review, N.–and ended up taking an even longer shower! 🙂 Still, it’s not quite as bad as PurplePatch in my book.:o

    • Patty says:

      ha! See? All I can think of is my nose is very sensitive to something in that, and it picks it up and amplifies it so it’s like this growth that gets bigger and bigger and then starts eating the air around me until I… can’t… breathe!!!

      • Lee says:

        I’m now imagining it as worse than MPG’s very own Satan’s Brew, Fleurs du Nil (stagnant water, rotting flowers, mint. Blech.) I think I might have the name wrong even if my description’s spot on.

  • Billy says:

    Please enter me in the drawing!!!!


  • Jennifer says:

    Oooh, add me to the drawing. I’ve been reading the reviews all week and have been waiting for you to get to the ending of the Tom Ford scents to comment. I must say I am intrigued by Vanille Tobacco, Noir de Noir, Amber Absolute, and well so many. Good job.

  • sarah says:

    Gag me. No floral roquefort for me, thanks. But some of the others sound very nice! Could you please enter me in the drawing? Sarah P

  • Solander says:

    Me, me, please enter me in the drawing! *desperately jumps up and down waving arms* [-o< Thanks to the kindness of Ina, I already got to try two of them. Tuscan Leather left me weirdly cold, leather lover as I am. It's a great single note suede scent and I use to whine about the habit of drowning leather notes in florals and whatnot so I really should love it, but perhaps I like my leathers a bit rougher and less sweet... Black Violet was really interesting and unlike anything else. Thankfully, I got none of the sweet fruitiness you describe and the violet note wasn't even very candied. Instead I got a lovely earthiness I could swear was patchouli and a warmth I could swear was cumin. Overall, I'd classify it as a chypre, not a fruity/floral.

  • Lee says:

    Over-ripe, lush scents make me look for rot of some kind. I’m not that sure I want to imagine the onset of gangrene…:-&

  • Sarah says:

    I’d love to be in the drawing, too!

  • edain33 says:

    please put my in the drawing!! An I too late??

    I am loving the reviews…

  • Susan says:

    Ooh – Sounds really purple! I like-
    Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Lavanya says:

    I’d love to be in the drawing,Patty. Thanks!

  • rockinruby says:

    I loves me a free drawing. Though your description of the Gardenia Horror makes me wonder why I’d want anything to do with TF’s stuff! I must be a glutton for punishment….curiosity killed the cat, you know, and it’s sure to get me, as well!! Thanks for the ever-wonderful reviews.

    • Patty says:

      YOu might like VG. If you have a yen for overripe, lush scents that verge on the rotting (not that that’s a bad thing), it will probably work. I do think my skin amplifies something in there and makes it not work so much.

      But at least now I have a Nazgul (Ambre Narguile) and a Velvet Nazgul (VG!)

  • donanicola says:

    I love it that I have read two reviews of VG today and the reactions couldn’t be more different! I was ready to fall in love afetr reading Marina’s review now not so sure although I love eating roquefort…. Oh well it looks like Harvey Nicks will be stocking these over here so I can see which side of the fence I fall soon. Would you enter me in the drawing please. Happy Weekend all!

    • Patty says:

      Yup. Just goes to show you how individual our noses are and our skins. I can imagine VG smelling wonderful… on someone else.

  • IrisLA says:

    Oooh, a drawing! Please enter me. (Hope I’m not late.)

  • pitbull friend says:

    Purple Patch is the only one that interested me. Tried it yesterday on me and my colleague (temporary Human Scent Strip). It started on me as fresh oregano, then spicy marigolds and canned peaches and dried down into mostly Bulgari Black’s rubbery spice. The most lasting impression on both of us was “curried lavender-vanilla ice cream,” a bit sweeter on him. Neither of us could detect any patch.

    It sure had staying power, though. At 6 hours, I lost the Bulgari Black and was left with that sweet-sweaty smell you get under a leather watchband on a really hot, humid day. This was an interesting journey, one I would maybe take once or twice a year. Not unlike magic mushrooms, and took about as long to come down… -Ellen

    • Patty says:

      That’s it! sweaty something!

      Magic mushrooms… never got around to those. I think that’s a good thing?

      • Lee says:

        Patty on magic mushrooms? Not an idea worth contemplating.:-ss

      • pitbull friend says:

        Glad I did it as a teen. Not sure I’d do it now. It was one of those things where you think you’re having some incredible insight but you realize later you were just being a goofball. Hey, I can do that sober now! 😉 –Ellen

  • Christine says:

    Hey, if you enter me in the draw my wallet would love you. And that poor unlovable Purple Patch. I wonder what March will think of it?

    • Patty says:

      I think March wound up in the same weird place with PP, though I suspect she’ll eventually get around to giving her opinions. 🙂

  • Lesha says:

    Count me in. Thank you! 🙂

  • dleep says:

    Your review made me laugh out loud! Looks like Velvet Gardenia is a love or hate scent from what I have been reading. I would love to be in on your drawing. Thanks.

    • Patty says:

      Yup, pretty sure it’s definitely love or hate. I’m off to go read Marina’s jottings today. Did she do VG? She must have,a nd I know she adores it!

  • sybil says:

    Wow, VG sounds like a train wreck. Did you ever read the kids’ book about the Stinky Cheese Man? Maybe Tom’s inspiration was the Stinky Cheese Man’s sister…Please put me in the drawing!

    • Patty says:

      That’s it!! Stinky Cheese Man’s sister! Thought I am absolutely certain that VG is probably amazing on the right skin chemistry. It’s just way too lushly rotten for me.

  • Nina says:

    ‘Floral roquefort’? Oh, my. That’s an image that will stay with me for longer than I think I want it to. Luckily, I can’t see your pic, so I will just imagine a really luscious flower…

    But please enter me for the draw!

  • chayaruchama says:

    You SUCH a silly, Pattycakes !
    Bring your cheesy self on over- I’ll be HAPPY to nip at your heels !
    Blue cheese IS my HG, along with olives and Balvenie, baby.
    but for a non- Southern Belle, I’ll admit I lurve it.
    Gives me the vapors.
    We’ll just agree to disagree-
    No need to spoil the love affair…

    May I play piggy, too ?

    • Patty says:

      Of course you may! I love to agree to disagree with my friends. I have to say, the VG is beautifully constructed, has great lasting power, it’s just not me at all. I mean, really not me, like some person in the next county not me.

  • Elle says:

    OK, my skin chemistry is very kindly hiding the bleu cheese from me. Saying a little thank you to it right now. Madly love the VG. The Purple Patch, however, is not doing it for me. I live in fear of being in a closed space w/ someone wearing this one, but I have to admit that I’m going to be retesting it since, apart from feeling that it was a fruity floral buried in an non-aerated compost pile, I found myself just a bit intrigued by brief moments where I could detect real positive potential. Your review’s convinced me that I need to pay more attention to those moments and maybe they’ll blossom out.

    • Patty says:

      You get no roquefort at all? Wow. I wish. And it’s not that I mind that sort of thing, if it smoothed out at all, but its foulness has kept up unabated for about 18 hours now. Amazing, really.

      Keep trying on the PP. I didn’t get fruity floral ever on it. Just went straight to weirdness. I’ll never wear it out, but it sure is an interesting one.

  • Rhonda says:

    Please enter me in the drawing. I’ve just begun to sample the Tom Fords, starting with Moss Breches, which reminds me so much of Parfumerie Generale’s Aomassai.

  • March says:

    That is hilarious, because the first thing I thought reading the Gardenia notes was: wow, Patty must HATE that thing. And looky, I was right?

    The purple patch … yeah, weird. I don’t like it at all. I put it on and sniff and think, damn, that’s ugly. I don’t even get any patch, I don’t know what it is. It smells like a mistake, like they grabbed the wrong two bottles in the lab. Having said that, yeah, you’re right, it’s kind of interestingly bad. /:)

    • Patty says:

      Yup, THat was a textbook PerfumeNotesPattyHates. Love the name, though!

      PP, I bet, could smell great on some people. It’s just, well, special and unique, and I know I’ve smelled this smell somewhere, and I’m just not placing it exactly.

  • Christina H. says:

    You sure summed up my sentiments about Velvet Gardenia too. I so badly wanted to like this since I’m usually a sucker for white florals, but this was putrid!!

    Thanks for the reviews!

    • Patty says:

      It is wretched, no? I love my white florals with a passion, and it was the only one in this bunch, so I was hoping… I’ve got to say, though, I am so glad Tom has a couple in here for me to hate because I’d be worried that I was going all soft if that were unso.

  • Marina says:

    HAHAHA is all I can say :d Are you my Evil Scent Twin now, Patty? Because our views on VG could do not me any more polar opposite 🙂

    • Patty says:

      In some areas, yes! But I am loving some things I used to hate that you love, and my hate of VG is more academic than actual. I mean, it’s just awful on me, but I keep sniffing it. I’ll never, ever, ever wear it, but it is surely a scent I will never forget, and that’s what perfume is about.

  • Anne says:

    Hmmm, these are the last 2 I planned to sample. Maybe if I’m hungry when I try the Velvet Gardenia, the experience will be better. Please enter me in the draw, think I would pick my 2 favs at this point, Moss Breches and Japon Noir. Thanks for a fantastic read, as always.


    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Anne! Japon Noir and Moss Breches really are lovely. I think I’ve got that and Bois Rouge and Neroli Portofino and Tuscan Leather left to do a thorough testing on.

  • Judith says:

    I don’t think I hate the Gardenia as much as you, but I’m not fond of it–and I completely agree with your description. It does remind me of the JAR–which smells JUST like bleu cheese on me! Here, the cheese is not quite as strong, but it’s definitely there, which makes me wonder whether that’s actually part of the smell of gardenias themselves–though it’s certainly not in the lovely Isabey.

    I find Purple Patch a totally yucky, strange scent that has NO relation on me at all to my beloved SMN Nostalgia, which doesn’t smell strange on me–just like a lovely vintage car.

    • Patty says:

      I’m trying to figure out the blue cheese thing too. I swear I’ve never smelled it before in gardenia, though the slightly overripe aspect of a gardenia might be a little bleu cheese’ish?

      Well, the PP went through a brief phase as Nostalgia, and now it’s morphed into almost soft sauerkraut? Kinda fun!

      • Twibbet says:

        You guys are freaking me out. Now I’m afraid to smell a gardenia again for fear bleu cheese will leap out and bite me 😮 And I do love gardenias.

        I’m scared of the Tom Fords, but sign me up for the drawing anyway!

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  • Louise says:

    Patty-you got ’em! The two Fords I am most ambivalent about. The Gardenia is kinda gross-but I am still a bit drawn in-go figure.
    I am a patch lover, but the purple was tough for me. Great to have in a sample, but not leaving the house in this.

    Happy Weekend to All!

    • Patty says:

      So I gotta ask, did the VG stay forever? I should shower to get it off, but there’s some sick part of me that wants to see how long this horror will last. 🙂

      The PP I think smells better the second day. It is a weird one. Was Tom just going, “Hey, most of these perfumes are really pretty, let’s make a two-headed one with webbed feet!”

      • Louise says:

        Oh Patty! Nothing really lasts on me. The only Ford I can smell much after 2 hours is Japan Noir-surprising since it is “light”-and yummy, and Noir de Noir, which goes to vanilla (one of the few notes that lasts on me).

  • Silvia says:

    I’d like to be included in the draw, please !
    Nice w-e to you all %%-

  • Kelly says:

    No one can disgust me and yet make me want to try a perfume the way you can! I love Gardenia and despise any form of cheese – it’s the perfumista’s version of Russian Roulette, no?

    I gotta get in on this draw! :d

  • Alica says:

    Scarry pic…………….but it doesn´t discourage me to ask for being entered in the drawing :x, thx.

  • Gina says:

    I totally agree about the Purple Patch. It sort of grossed me out at first, then the longer I had it on, the more I liked it. Bizarre! The Velvet Gardenia, well…it’s pretty. It’s not me, but it’s pretty, definitely has a smell of down South gardenias crushed in a sweaty little palm. Ha.

    On an aside, Andy Tauer is so nice. He’s really wonderful, and I loved hearing how he got to be a parfumeur, and a bit on how he created his lovely perfumes.

    • Patty says:

      The PP intrigues me. I don’t find it nearly as ugly as my co-fragrance fiends do, so I’m glad to find someone else who appreciated this little hairless dog! /:)

      did you get to hug Andy?

      • Gina says:

        At first blast, I really didn’t think I’d like PP at all. The ugly thing grew on me…ha.

        I didn’t hug Andy…I’m too shy. I did get to talk to him and shake his hand. I’ve only spoken to Andy via the blog a few times…I think Maria will be giving the hugs.:)

  • julia says:

    Todays picture is really creeping me out! The name Nightmare is totally appropriate:-ss

    Fleshy bleu cheese Gardenia sounds horrible, would love to try it! Please include me in the drawing.

    Have a nice weekend you all!

    • Patty says:

      You people are just sick and twisted. 🙂 I swear, we all have a fascination with bad smells. The worse it sounds, the more I want to smell it.

  • Bryan says:

    Patty, sweet Patty,
    OK, touche for the lilas review. I adore Velvet Gardenia and find its heady white floraly goodness a perfect foil for the darkness that pervades the collection. I love it, and just as it starts a bit lightheartedly, BAM, here comes the incense. I’m sorry you loooooooooooathe it so….I wish I had some ether hairspray, errr lilas to swap.

    • Patty says:

      Lightheartedly, incense? Are we talking about the same perfume? I think my skin is amplifying the rotting gardenia smell (read roquefort) because if I got either lighthearted or incense, I’d be a happy girl.

      Ether Lilas is a joyous, beautiful perfume, and it must be spritzed, not dabbed, and I bet you would change your mind. 😉

  • Maria B. says:

    I’m rather partial to blue cheese. On a salad, it’s great. On a gardenia salad with honey dressing? I’m withholding judgment. :d

    Please add me to the drawing! There are others I’d love to try.

  • Tigs says:

    Please add me into the draw, P, and thank you for having it! I think winning would be the closest I get to any of these for a while, as they are definitely budget-breakers for me right now…

  • ahtx says:

    Loving these reviews — too bad there’s not more dark plum than blue cheese! I am a honey-lover…

    Please put me in the drawing!

    • Patty says:

      Lord, dark plum would have just killed me. Bad enough as it is, and of course it has the half life of +/- 300 days. Ack.