Perfume Directory

Black Orchid (2006)
by Tom Ford

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Black Orchid information

Year of Launch2006
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 873 votes)

People and companies

HouseTom Ford
SupplierGivaudan
PackagingDoug Lloyd
Creative DirectorTom Ford
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Black Orchid

Black Orchid is a feminine perfume by Tom Ford. The scent was launched in 2006 and the bottle was designed by Doug Lloyd

Black Orchid fragrance notes

Reviews of Black Orchid

I love this fragrance. but I do have to admit its very acquired. im into very unique daring scents and this one takes the cake. my mom on the other hand hates it. she considers it to smell completely raunchy. and in ways, it does. very hard to explain. the top notes literally smell a bit like sweat and sexual secretion but not to a disgusting extent. but also, it reminds me of a cold concrete basement. as bad as this may sound, its actually not. when it comes to the spices and floral undertones, think a mans cologne mixed with a womans perfume. its odd, and at first, I hated it. I smelt like I felt like I needed a shower because to me it smelt somewhat "dirty" as in unwashed. but once I gave it time, it died down to a very mysterious pleasant dark scent. and I felt very frisky wearing it. i have no real way to describe it, but ive never had anything like it. but now its my favorite perfume. if you want something extremely noticeable and you don't mind strong scents this ones for you. but if you want to smell sweet like flowers or candy, and don't like obnoxious scents then pass this one. i like the eau de parfum spray and even put some of it in my oil diffuser in my bedroom, and it smells a bit different in the air than it does on my skin. when its diffused it has even more of a musky scent. but wearing it, i prefer the rollerball. its a lot stronger.
06th September, 2018
There's much ado about Tom Ford Black Orchid (2006), since it's a very controversial scent and one that started the house for Mr. Ford. Originally marketed to women, but sometimes also seen in the men's sections of Sephora or Ulta because guys like it too, Black Orchid is an unintentional unisex hit thanks to it's provocative nature that exclaims smelling like "a man's nether regions". As a bisexual but homo-leaning male myself, I can say that this simply isn't true, but like most animalic perfumes of bygone eras, this does try it's little heart out being something funky and virile, but it's simply no Kouros (1981) or Eau d'Hermès (1951), sorry Tom. What we do get is a fragrance that tries to be the darkest orchid-inspired floral on the planet, and I'd say it mostly achieves that aim thanks to ample amounts of dark fruit, chocolate, and aromatic notes spread throughout. Black Orchid is a strictly romantic affair, and like many old feminine orientals or indolic florals, is the essence of the "fallen" women or men of Victorian-era street culture. Tom Ford seems fond of this aesthetic, and would disseminate his work here in Black Orchid into a number of simpler and more-focused Private Blend pseudo-niche lines in the years that followed, so when a Tom Ford sales rep says this is the one that "started it all", they're not entirely incorrect. We don't know who the perfumer is, but we do know that Givaudan won the contract for development on this, and having smelled plenty of Givaudan perfumes, I'd say it's pretty evident this is no "light and pretty" IFF thing or "phoned in" Firmenich number, not that there is an overarching style among chemist firms, but just my observation with designer things in general.

Black Orchid opens with an oriental-chypre hybrid blast of jasmine, gardenia, blackcurrant, lemon, bergamot, mandarin orange and black truffle. All of this comes across like a head rush of floral citrus sweetness, with a dull thud of that truffle, which is essentially a musty fungus lusted after in culinary circles and the most expensive of such mushrooms available, hunted by pigs in the forests of France. The mustiness is slight, but combined with the indolic florals and juicy fruit creates apart of the "lust" in the scent. Black Orchid quickly reveals it's composite "orchid" note, which is reinforced with tuberose, cumin, cinnamon, and calone to add more sweet spiciness to the mix. Round and round we go by this time during Black Orchid's dry down, a fever pitch of fruit, florals, spice, and chemicals that will either scare away somebody of any sex, or lock them into place with fascination, like hypnotism through the nose. I find myself continuously sniffing the black magic on my arm during the trial wear, which is something I try not to do in public, and the animalic aspects intensify a little when the base appears. vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, incense, amber, dark chocolate, vanilla, musk and balsam fir complete the package, with the fir and vetiver being desiccants while the heady incense, amber, and gourmand notes kick the romantic intent into overdrive, supported by a dirty kind of musk that isn't your usual designer staple. Black Orchid finishes in patchouli, with traces of the musk, chocolate, florals, and spice pinned down in a slightly itchy amber glow, which is the only weak point in the scent. Black Orchid has nuclear projection and eternal sillage, like a darker sibling to Joop! Homme (1989), so beware when applying.

The cumin, musks, and amber are likely responsible for the "crotch funk" claims from fans of the stuff, but they're very slight, and I've smelled 1980's fragrances that make this feel like a timid puppy by comparison, although for a new generation unfamiliar with the era of the powerhouse, I can see how this would feel very scandalous. I adore Black Orchid, and would easily wear it out to a bar or a night on the town. Likewise, a woman fond of the "fallen" image (think sleezy cabarets and back-alley taverns in 1800's London) would likely get a hoot out of this too, as it's street urchin/fop in a bottle. Tom Ford would pluck the truffle and patchouli from this, pairing it with rose and oud for Noir de Noir (2007) as part of his Private Blends launch, and the flanker Velvet Orchid (2014) would see Tom Ford set a whopping four Givaudan perfumers on the task of making the Black Orchid theme feel less scandalous and more effeminate, as if he was suddenly unhappy with the notoriety and unisex appeal Black Orchid had garnered. Overall, this is just a great floriental with tons of murky, mysterious character, bubbling with romance and naughty intent, designed for women but great for anyone as time has shown. Tom Ford would set a high bar for his Signature Line hereafter, which is why many of them on both the female and male sides of the line get shot down with impunity from critics and collectors. This is for all intents, Tom Ford's Jicky (1887), and that's a tall order to follow up. If you like sweet, sultry, and musky affairs, use this in your weekend or after work libations, but not really anywhere else. Great stuff but not for the timid.
20th August, 2018
This is nice. I think I like Velvet Orchid even more. They're similar. They both have a nice, easy wearability.

They remind me a little of Piguet Visa and V. Intense, effortlessly smooth sweet florals.

Black Orchid strikes me as more tropical than Velvet Orchid.
03rd August, 2018
I don't know why is this classified as feminine cuz depending on the skin PH it can fit very well on a guy too.

The opening is very medicinal and cold but in time some notes of vanilla, jasmine, patchouli, amber and musk are coming by, leaving an interesting and almost mysterious smell.

Not a masterpiece but a good choice for TF fans.

Projection, sillage and longevity are very big. Only 2 sprays will last on your skin more than you ever imagined.

31st May, 2018
Dear gods. <sigh> I tried to like this, I really did. It's original as all hell, and I do bitch a lot about the zillion boring, unoriginal fragrances out there. It's extremely accomplished, interesting work, and I also bitch about the dumbed-down construction of so much celebrity/drugstore juice.
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But to me, it just smells awful. As a previous reviewer said, it's hard, sharp and loud. On my skin, the metallic/sweaty brutalist weirdness of the opening doesn't go away. Maybe that's body chemistry, but whatever it is, this is just not for me. Ugh.
28th February, 2018
Not, as Tom Ford himself deadpanned, evocative of the smell of a certain portion of a man's anatomy. The strange opening dries down to something pleasant, at least to my nose. After spraying the back of my hand from my newly arrived and eagerly awaited bottle, I couldn't stop sniffing it for the next few hours. Although the consensus is against it, wearing it to the office just might be the thing. After all, I've worn Kinski to work and nobody there asked me if I'd been...smoking!
09th February, 2018 (last edited: 21st March, 2018)

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