A strongly soapy floral / wood accord opens Arabian Wood – and I agree that it does smell more like a quality English barbershop accord than an exotic Arabian fragrance. The florals of the opening exude the brightness of orange blossom and freesia, while the woods are rich and smooth; I don’t get a strong rose vibe from it. Although neither the floral aspect nor the wood aspect of the accord is extraordinary, together the florals and woods provide an excellent, attractive, and high-end introduction to the barbershop concept.
The middle goes all floral at a richer, deeper tone than the florals of the opening. It’s an excellent alto level floral accord – strong with “white” feel of the orris, gardenia, and jasmine with a mezzo Ylang-ylang accent. As usual with the May rose, I smell primarily a rose texture rather than a strong rose note. Although this middle level is very floral, it feels acceptably masculine to me.
The base is complex. With the waning of the middle florals, I first get a straight wood accord of sandalwood and cedar. The scant oakmoss that I manage to smell forms a minor part of the accord, or maybe I’m simply hallucinating the oakmoss. The patchouli seems to combine with the cedar to bring about an almost incense smell – an incense without the usual resinous aura. I do get lavender and a bit of a honey-like sweetness. I find the base intriguing in its quality and complexity.
Although I’m not a strong devotee of the barbershop genre, I enjoy and respect this fragrance because it puts a high quality stamp on a genre that I usually connect with the casualness of Brut and Canoe – which are just fine in their own arenas. Arabian Wood employs excellence in its interplay of quality florals and woods without barbershop’s usual (but usually appropriate) screechiness. Arabian Wood, regardless of its complexity (which leads to several interpretations of it) is very much Tom Ford in that it boasts high quality ingredients excellently balanced and blended… and the Tom Ford genius of often taking new perspectives on the old tried and true.
The name Arabian Wood is misleading since (as already noticed by others) this fragrance is neither "arabic" in a modern acceptation (or particularly woody) nor conceptually eastern. All i detect is a refined "classic in structure" but in a modern style orchestrated (i'm tempted to write "re-orchestrated") aromatic fougere (bergamot/citrus-lavender/patchouli/greens) with woody accents, a touch of undurable earthiness (orris roots and patchouli), some (tobacco flavoured) spices, hints of secret fruits (peaches?), a rosey/soapy/honeyed twist (rose/ylang ylang/jasmine/honey) and a typical almost incensey (galbanum) mossy complicacy conjuring me classics as Mitsouko, La Perla or V&A First (in a cleaner and easier to wear structure). Nothing darkly spicy or mystic but rather something slightly "yes" barbershop or mannered (slightly stuffy, stale, exotic but a basically wearable one and anything but really mouldy). Uncompromisingly feminine to me (but a man can dare to wear it proudly), slightly floral and with a classic mossy twist which conjures me a bunch of pillars of the french classicism. One of the best of the line. Classy and elegant, with a good sillage and a great lasting power.
21st December, 2013 (last edited: 22nd December, 2013)
As with all of Tom Ford's private blend scents, this reminds me strongly of something and I cannot recall what. The opening notes recall a wonderful women's perfume that I seem to remember smelling--and loving--in the 70s. There is a slightly animalic/civet note up front which is unusual as I associate that more with a scent's basenotes. It then drifts into a very nice floral woody scent--a drier Zino, in some ways. There is rose, but not too strong--a bit like C&S's No. 88. Very nice, a little sweet, totally unisex and, as with all of this line, seemingly may up of very good quality ingredients (as you would hope for the price!).
19th December, 2013 (last edited: 02nd January, 2014)
Great fragrance. Some people may not like it, but the majority do. It can't be worn for every occasion, but the same is true for all fragrances. Its one that should be used for special occasions, and is a great addition to any collection. Despite many that say it is "too feminine", I completely disagree, and think that it is extremely masculine. It truly is a representation of what Tom Ford wants his fragrances and entire brand to be, and he did a great job with this one!
Pros: Great smelling fragrance
Cons: Can't be worn everywhere (but is the same with all colognes)"
Some habits that you just can't lose
Recommended by an amazing Maven at the Ala Moana Neiman Marcus store I have been dipping into this to find her well of promise. Along with Champaca Absolute this was my equal favourite sample of the TF Private Blends. If I was hard pressed would i remember this fragrance against stern competition? Probably not. Does a fragrance need to be utterly distinctive to strike a lasting chord? Perhaps it only needs to be twenty something for the duration of its bloom before becoming an overblown rose. It's lovely, very wearable and appealing but not bottle worthy at this stage of my education.
'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying'
Pros: Instantly appealing
Cons: I can't tell you why"