Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Black Orchid by Tom Ford

There are no words to describe how much I love this fragrance. The reviews sum up its notes well. I would only add that I detect a salty texture to the blend between the heart and base notes a few hours in that roughens up the sandalwood. This scent smells much higher quality than a lot of niche fragrances and has outsanding sillage and longevity.
02nd August, 2015
What is it about this fragrance? I came on this one too late, after half the world was wearing it. I never wanted to try it, it sounded so disagreeable and loud. So now that I have and discover it really smells nice on my skin, I don't know I can wear it because of its over-familiarity. Angel had that problem 20 years ago and I got tired of smelling it on everyone and everywhere. So I really hesitate to jump on the Black Orchid bandwagon.
But... this one should be totally not my style, and most fragrances like this smell awful on me, so  the miracle that this one wears beautifully makes me inclined to get it anyway.
The strangest combination of cucumber, silky flowers and dark chocolate.  Unusual, but undeniably silkenly sensuous.

It also wears like iron and lasts forever.
29th May, 2015
This had so much potential. The mix of oriental and fresh notes seems brilliantly least initially. It slowly starts to fall into the unpleasant Allure-like accord of "tropical" florals and vanillic basenotes. I get that it's intended to replicate the smell of an orchid, but it just doesn't work. They should have used the Voile De Fleur flanker as their main attempt. Thank goodness for the derivative, yet interesting events in the line like Sahara Noir, Grey Vetiver, and Noir.
18th May, 2015
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Everything about BLACK ORCHID speaks of Seduction.Yes it is definitely a Seductive Perfume that Attracts like Magnets and This is something different That you have never Experienced in Your life. Gorgeous,Luxurious,Heavy,Hot, Classic,Expensive,Rich,Spicy,Unique and quite Feminine.

A Perfect Oriental with mixture Flowery and Fruity That makes the Atmosphere Heavnely in Two Sprays.So Strong opening.Citruses and Jasmine are a perfect blend in the Top notes,While the Heart Encompasses Black Orchid and Lotus and a Weird and Special Base notes.

It has a Perfect Character Then if You are Looking for a Perfume that want Describe Your Personality and Your Emotion This might be Your New Fragrance. Suitable for SPECIAL Occasions in WINTER EVENINGS. I Recommend it to any Lady who just wants to smell Special but Test it first before Buying!


Longevity?Good on my skin.

11th May, 2015
This is a Lanvin Arpege for a new generation of women.

It settles thickly and stays for the day, projecting strongly. Lots of dried fruit and Amber. If that is your thing, the. Apply sparingly and you will enjoy. But if dark Amber dominated fragrances seem cliche to you, then stay far away from this one.
06th May, 2015
This is a bomb. Definitely has the wow factor with its sweet flowery concoction but the mystery intrigues me. How can men wear this fragrance at all? It reeks of femminile appeal.

Once was a good selection for femme fatale types but now due to its uber popularity, i do not suppose women would like to smell like everybody.
03rd April, 2015
Foul. I love feminine fragrances but this one is waaay too much. I was seduced by the fig top note so I bought a bottle. Big, big mistake. This is the one fragrance out of the 100's I have that I just cannot stand. One spray lasts for days on your skin and it never changes - no drydown, no change....just solid "old lady" for hours and hours.

Try on your skin before you buy and wait a couple of hours. Easily the worst fragrance I own.
03rd March, 2015
For years, I have heard about Black Orchid, so I decided to finally try it. The notes listed include ylang-ylang and black currant, black orchid, and, basically, a patchouli/chocolate/vanilla drydown. I am wearing it now, and, basically, all I smell is a slightly metallic chocolate/vanilla. There seem to be differences of opinion about whether or not Orchid is strictly for women, or could pass as unisex, but personally, I think it could be worn by either. I admit my nose doesn’t pick up “creamy” scents very well, so any depth to this doesn’t register. I have heard the Bath and Body Works fragrance, Black Amethyst, is a “cheaper version” of Black Orchid, but after wearing both, I completely disagree. In fact, I actually prefer Black Amethyst, which opens with a lemony bergamot, compared to Orchid’s slightly powdery chocolate. I guess I am in the minority here, but Black Orchid isn’t worth the hype, which doesn’t surprise me because, although I love Plum Japonais, I have found Tom Ford fragrances to be drastically lacking in the drydown stages. Black Orchid reminds me of a melted, chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bar in the back seat of a warm car.
06th February, 2015
Upon first spray, I was hit with a very almost pungent smell I couldn't identify, and then after about ten minutes, it mellowed some.

I am no fan of the initial scent, but as it dries down, it smells amazing. I'm not so great with explaining specific elements, but let me paint a picture of it for you.

Imagine that you are wearing a lovely, simple, and elegant vintage black crepe gown. You'd have on pearls and you'd be the type of person who wears fur.

You're riding with a handsome man in a very lovely car, luxury but not conspicuous consumption. He's old money, and he smells like leather, tobacco, and trees. He probably smokes a pipe, but he's no hipster.

You're wearing red lipstick, but your hair is just disheveled enough to indicate some dirty fun prior to your event. And you're just edgy enough to have on black nail polish with the very classic look.

You check your lipstick one last time before you leave the car, and you see that you've had to reapply because your little tryst may have smeared it a bit. Your date would just wink at you, and the two of you would snicker and go have a good 15 year scotch at the bar. You're definitely a woman who loves a good scotch.

That's how it smells.
03rd February, 2015
The opening of Black Orchid is a tad tacky perhaps, but nicely made enough to avoid being completely cheesy: basically a sweet-floral sugar bomb, which soon gets more dry and balanced leaning towards a dark-sweet velvety floral blend, which is frankly quite pleasant. I get powdery-soapy notes (no flowers in particular, honestly) with a slight metallic aftertaste, something candied-fruity which smells tamed down enough not to look like teenagers’ gourmand stuff, vanilla (not that great), patchouli, incense, woods on the base (mostly vetiver). So shortly a sort of “mature”, fairly elegant and safe fruity-powdery scent with a sort of “dark” and silky allure. Somehow exuding a bit of cheapness overall, but not that bad – “it works”, in other words, this meaning it’s not stinky, it projects well, it lasts long, and in my opinion is decently, mediocrely, “generically” pleasant, which for certain situations (office for instance, or whatever other “mixed” social circumstance where you don’t feel wearing something more daring) may be an enjoyable feature.

29th December, 2014
Marais Show all reviews
United Kingdom
According to one telling of the Greek myth, although Perseus managed to escape the Medusa's petrifying gaze through nifty use of Athena's reflective shield, the Gods failed to equip our hero with a mighty nose clip and he fell victim to the gorgon's scent of the day, Black Orchid by Tom Ford.

Centuries may have passed, but the horror remains undiminished. Modern monsters who still wish to use BO, possibly in a misguided effort to detract from their hideously-deformed physogs, are entreated to think again, or at least apply with one dab of a brooch pin: any more produces a suffocating fog of sickening sweet stench - please have some thought for your fellow fiends, who would still like to be able to smell their own stink of the day once your awful presence has passed, without having to bolt back to the lair for a shower and change of rags.
14th November, 2014
Fall is here and that means I take out my Black Orchid by Tom Ford. I love wearing this scent on chilly Fall days. At the beginning it could be a bit over powering. The dry down is the best part of this masterpiece. I love the chocolate, patchouli, caramel, jasmine and of course the orchid. They combine to make a beautiful and passionate perfume. I am a guy and I love it!
10th November, 2014
Lush, Dirty, Sexy stuff...

Black Orchid was the first release for the Tom Ford brand. In his mind, he felt like the modern designer market trends didn't offer anything really unique, heavy or interesting enough... as most of them were watered down versions of bestsellers. With Black Orchid, he wanted to evoke a smell of "old luxury & glamour", a sort of "retro" feel back to perfume. He decided to create Black Orchid.

This is such a complex fragrance. It could be gourmand, oriental, chypre, all rolled into one! I mainly get an earthy, chocolate patchouli mixed with a floral vanilla composition. The earthy smell also comes from truffle, which is damp and mushroom-like, with something reminding me of different fruits, including blackberry. But it never goes into the typical fruity-floral category as it manages to stay quite dark and earthy throughout, drying down to a dark, woody vanilla by the end. It smells decadent and rich, and that is certainly the vibe he was going for. There are a lot of conflicting notes, but the overall vibe works well.

I think this is definitely a seductive, going out type of fragrance, it's also probably unisex, as some women may find it a little "dark" for them to wear compared to light, happy florals. I think this would appeal to people who love gourmand perfumes and heavier, darker orientals, and older classics.

The bottle is very stylish and innovative, as is the presentation of Black & Gold. It really gives a rich, decadent, almost over the top vibe... yet still tasteful enough to appeal to most people. I think on the right person, in the right setting, this would smell amazing, as long as you spray lightly it can be worn in most places and occasions. A dark, sexy, dangerous and slightly edgy mix which manages to hold together and impress, just be ready to be a little shocked in the beginning, but it really is something unique and special. Dirty, sexy, edgy stuff!
30th October, 2014
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This one is a bomb.

There is a lot going on: Patchouli, vanilla, chocolate, blackcurrant, creamy caramel and some kind of violet that I can't quite place.

As a guy who is ok with wearing more feminine "boy or girl" fragrances I think Black Orchid is a real winner (If not the best).

Only wear it in cold weather though (and preferably at night, Black Orchid is definitely a night fragrance) .

If you happen to spray this on youself in summer, be prepared to smell like rotting fruit for the day, it just does not play well with hot weather.

A true masterpiece this one though, it reeks of decadence and excess and may be too much for some, but if you want something a little special don't hesitate.

Two sprays is enough!
01st October, 2014
I knew it! I knew there was ylang in here, poking its head through the stage curtain with its quiet impression of banana. Black Orchid is a plush, velveteen oriental that stacks white florals (funny) on a nearly-edible woody base. It smells 'purple' to me, likely because of a good dose of currant (which, in concert with the balsamic vanilla base, reminds me of Opium Pour Homme). I was discussing this one with a friend and he brought up comparisons with Obsession Night by Calvin Klein, for which we share an affinity. We concluded that Black Orchid is the crushed velvet to O.N.'s smooth suede. It's well-made and lasts ages. A bit oppressive in hot weather but we'll forgive such minor trespasses.

To anyone interested in trying this one on - go light on the application or you risk becoming the scent equivalent of costume jewelry.
24th June, 2014
Genre: Woody Oriental

The crude, adolescent aspect of Tom Ford’s taste responsible for the notorious Tom Ford for Men advertisements finds olfactory expression in Black Orchid. There are certain over-ripe, almost rotten, fruit notes that hold a perverse attraction for the nose. Eduard Roudnitska used them with brilliant subtlety to throw a lascivious shadow over the otherwise sunny woody florals of his Diorella, Le Parfum de Thérèse, and Ocean Rain. In Black Orchid a similar rotten fruit note plays at tremendous volume against a huge, dense, 1980s-throwback spicy floral oriental composition. The idea was no doubt to evoke lush tropical decadence, but the outcome actually falls uncomfortably between high camp deco nostalgia and horror movie makeup job. (Think irradiated mutant Narcisse Noir or Freddy Kruger with pink lip gloss.)

The problem is mostly one of proportion. Why have just a little fleshy indole with your tuberose and orange blossom when you can pour on buckets? Why use a dash of nutmeg or cardamom when you can toss in the whole jar? There’s just too much of everything here, and the lack of restraint leaves Black Orchid feeling garishly overstuffed and over-embellished. I’m a confessed sucker for outrageously melodramatic fragrances – Mandarine-Mandarin, Black Aoud, Amouage Gold, Intrigant Patchouli, Kouros, Onda – but Black Orchid doesn’t work for me. The execution is not only too crude, but far too loud as well. As with Opium, Amarige, or Giorgio, it’s nearly impossible for me to apply Black Orchid lightly enough to leave the house without feeling self-conscious.

The vanilla-amber oriental drydown is Black Orchid’s nicest part, but it’s also a conventional formula that can be had elsewhere, without Ford’s overwrought decaying floral fright wig. The basic idea behind Black Orchid still appeals to me. Once, while wearing it, I found myself wishing it had been realized with more élan. Then I remembered Roudnitska, gave myself a dope-slap, and dug out my sample of Le Parfum de Thérèse.
09th June, 2014
I bought it, like the idiot I am, based on a quick sniff of it in a little perfume store here in my town, an obscure Balkan outpost where the most "niche"-y that our perfume stores get is an odd bottle of Bulgari Black hidden behind the Feerie bottles angled at our callow youth. So delighted was I to find Tom Ford anything in our dusty little backwater that I whipped out my wallet with feverish intensity and just about managed to croak "I'll take it!" to the young girl manning the counter. I trembled as I punched in my pin number into the credit card machine - at that point I had never spent so much money on a full bottle of perfume in my life. I bought it home, cradled in my arms like a precious baby, and gently placed it in my then meager collection of Bulgari tea scents and Burberry cheapos, taking care not to let the other bottles touch the splendid ribbed, horny-looking bottle in the price of place lest they contaminate its extraordinarily sexay Tom Ford-ness.

I wore it.....exactly three times.

I tried to convince myself I liked it, because of the price I had paid. But there was no getting around it - I could never bring myself round to even tolerating it on my skin, that's how much I dislike this scent. It is like a wildebeest that dry humps your leg in a dark alley and you are too scared to say anything or move, and then in the end, you find yourself squeaking "Thank you" just to get away with your life intact.

It is an unholy mix of dark chocolate, raspberries, truffles, dirt, and something watery.....Luca Turin says cucumber, so hey, who am I to argue with him. The opening is impressive at first sniff, yes, but soon it coalesces into a greasy, sickening sweet-aquatic mess of a thing that you can almost taste with your third eye. Goes on and on and on until you shower or die, or whichever comes first. When they are digging us out of the ground and displaying our bones in museums in the far future, if any one of us had been wearing Black Orchid at the time of our burial, then it will still project pretty strongly right off our old bones, causing the ur-people in the future to exclaim, "Whor blimey, what a stink!"
04th June, 2014
The first whiff was pretty loud with a medicinal note, but settled quickly to a nice fragrance that stayed close to the body. This is an old Hollywood fragrance despite being somewhat new. This is not office or work fragrance, but meant to be enjoyed while really dressing up. I don't see young girls enjoying this fragrance, it seems to me to be for the 30 and older crowd, and yes I get the unisex. It is very glamorous and moody fragrance that, alas, I can't pull off anymore.
08th March, 2014
'Road Trip with Great Aunt Dorothy'

It's like being driven in the car of a chain-smoking great aunt: Lambert & Butler cigarettes; old lady perfume; lipstick; hairspray; a little car air freshener dangling from the rear-view mirror.

It mellows down into a kind of happy, nostalgic memory of that smell a couple of years after she died.
03rd March, 2014
Had a hard time trying this one after hearing it could be unisex. On the mid and the base for sure. The opening not so much. It's loud and bold. At first I liked it but did'nt know when to wear this fragrance. Now I use it as a clubbing scent. It works for me in that setting but I would'nt wear it anywere else.
01st February, 2014
Get a bottle of Chanel Anateus instead.
02nd October, 2013 (last edited: 15th September, 2014)
The best !

For 5 years for me it was my best friend. Different , unique and powerful !

20th September, 2013

This stuff is amazing, a wonderful blend of spices, wild fruits and dark chocolat. Mysterious, provocative, and sexy as hell. Extraordinary sillage. I love Voile de Fleur also, but this is my Tom Ford #1.

20th September, 2013
Too sweet and intense for me

I so wanted to love this scent! The reviews were great; the bottle was beautiful; the combination of ingredients was intriguing. Of course I wanted to wear such a modern, luxurious, sensual fragrance. But, unfortunately, it was not to be. On me, this smells like bubble gum mixed with some baby powder and a room full of flowers. And it is intense! Nearly headache inducing. I was looking forward to the dry down, but it never came. I'll wear it and two days later it is still sickly sweet and synthetic. I have tried wearing it some 6 times during different conditions, both in the summer and the winter, but to no avail. It does smell a bit better when I sniff the bottle directly or even on a piece of paper. I get whiffs of incense, spice and can even identify the orchid among the flowers, which is why I am giving it a few stars. It is also the reason why I still am hopeful that it someday will turn into a swan, but I may just have to give it up for adoption.

11th September, 2013
Floral spicy but not unisex

I picture Tom Ford putting a floral orchid fragrance together, and at the last minute, he says, We want this unisex! I should dump in some spices to Make this masculine. Oops, what a waste of oils!

24th July, 2013
Girly girl girl show

My first scrubber. Couldn't get this off my skin fast enough. I had read a number of reviews here and on Fragrantica suggesting that Black Orchid was a unisex. That, combined with its legendary sillage and longevity, was enough to pique my curiosity.

To my surprise and disappointment, this was the most feminine fragrance I have ever sampled. Please understand, I write from a masculine perspective. This may be a lovely ladies' perfume, but it is not unisex. For the first 45 minutes, I detected nothing but overpowering gardenia, one of the most feminine scents in the perfumer's repertoire.

I wish I could comment on the middle and drydown, but I didn't last long enough. Gentlemen should avoid this dark flower at all costs.

Pros: enormous projection and longevity
Cons: cloying floral nasal mist"

09th July, 2013
Oh, Buddha! Where do they come up with these names? The scent itself is like John Varvatos on steroids, possibly estrogen. Fruity and cloying with a pungent kick that's supposed to bestow elegance.

Still, one must concede points for the moniker!
Have you watched any corny spy movies lately?

FADE IN: Our agent is trying make contact with the deadly Natasha. Could this really be her? This wholesome looking salesgirl behind the fragrance counter? He gives the code signal.

-- " Excuse me but do you carry CARNAL FLOWER? "

She smiles and replies with the countersign,

--" No, but have you tried BLACK ORCHID? "

Whereupon they engage in car chases, exotic hideouts, wild sex, betrayal, 10,000 rounds of ammo, hand to hand combat--and at the end save the world, fall in love and forsake weirdly named flower frags-- for cactus flesh.
They both sport XERYUS ROUGE at their wedding.


06th May, 2013
A powerful, deep, fruity, patchouli and vanilla scent. It's a beautiful composition.

I did own it for a while but eventually found it a bit too feminine and could never find the right occasion to wear it, so I moved it on.
30th March, 2013
as other reviewers state, it is very potent, but I do love it. Using is less is probably more!
13th March, 2013
Crazy projection on this one, for at least the first hour. If you're going for understated, I'd probably opt for something else.

It starts out like a dark, spiced hybrid of sweet and pepper. And I also sense some subtle combination reminiscent of mint. I don't know what gives it that feel (in terms of the note pyramid), but it leaves a very clean impression, while somehow remaining a little murky. It's almost strange smelling, in that it reminds me of an alluring witch's brew, or like I'm inside "The Neverending Story."

What's disappointing to me is the overall outcome. I love that the scent evolves into something completely different than what it started as, but in the end I lose all the components I loved about it in the beginning. It turns out a deep, one dimensional, earthy smell that I just can't get into. Simple patchouli almost. I don't know if a black orchid actually exists, or what it might smell like if it does, but maybe the idea behind the heart of the fragrance just isn't for me.

But if you do in fact enjoy the end result of the scent, that same drydown lasts for days, so the longevity is great. And it does indeed look stunning on my nightstand with its slender black and gold presentation.

I'll keep wearing it, because I absolutely love how it opens up within the first couple of minutes, but my search for a new signature scent will continue. However, its introduction of the top notes alone might warrant a blind buy.
11th March, 2013