Reviews of Black Orchid by Tom Ford

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    Shifty Bat's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    24 June, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    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.

    09 June, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    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!"

    04 June, 2014

    Cricketkitty's avatar



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    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.

    08 March, 2014

    MisterFrancis's avatar



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    '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.

    03 March, 2014

    Geldachron's avatar

    Netherlands Netherlands

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    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

    lavilove's avatar



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    The best !

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

    20th September, 2013

    mariana's avatar

    Brazil Brazil

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    Gorgeous!

    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

    tiramisu's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    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

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    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!

    24 July, 2013

    lairdangus's avatar



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    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"

    09 July, 2013

    Mario Justiniani's avatar

    Cuba Cuba

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    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.

    FADE OUT/THE END.







    06 May, 2013

    Spoombung's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    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

    Julessharp's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    as other reviewers state, it is very potent, but I do love it. Using is less is probably more!

    13 March, 2013

    LoriT's avatar



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    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

    upuautiii's avatar



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    Overall all, this is potent. The top notes are heady, overpowering, confusing, and project in no particular direction, or in all directions. As it dries down, it becomes more appealing to me. The mid and dry notes remind me, or resemble, a perfume from the mid eighties called FIOLE by J Casanova, discontinued a while ago. As a man, I loved FIOLE and used to wear it.

    This is definitely more on the feminine side. If I dare to wear it, I'd mainly do so to enjoy the dry down. It lasted 16 hours or so on my skin. I lean towards thumbs up rather than neutral, at least in appreciation of its uniqueness.

    15 December, 2012

    Manderava's avatar



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    This is a lovely fragrance. I recently went to Sephora and my nose just wasn't in the mood for anything it came across until I found this. Of all the samples I took home, this is the only one I actually want to wear again. And again. And again. Now my sample has almost run out and I'll definitely be buying this. There's something so comforting about it.

    28 November, 2012

    's avatar



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    That's a monster in terms of sillage and lasting power. I smells sweet coconut and vanilla mostly. Beautiful scent but very very feminine.

    29 October, 2012

    jarroditshallbe's avatar

    United States United States

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    An isolated grave is found in the middle of the forest by a young woman. She has only read about it. Strange flowers surround the rocks circling. An aura of light breaks from the trees and onto the ground around it and her. She knows the tales of the man buried here, but it all seems a dream. There is sweat on her neck, she ran here, and must continue on. It is already beginning to get dark. She hears breaking wood behind her, and the wind picks up the scent of a strange animal.

    23 October, 2012

    sjg3839's avatar

    United States United States

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    I was referred this by an attendant at Sephora. I could pull this one off. I am a confident man and I can see myself using this. More so for the Fall and Winter. This is sort of a unisex scent.

    25 September, 2012

    pianist75's avatar



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    well...YES!!! pure class! great scent and very potent!! strong for the first 1 hour or so then it calms downabit...to be honest, not for me , too feminine , i bought a full 100 ml bottle but I'm not using it at all. from time to time i smell it before bed but thats all, i guess i will give it to my sister.

    23 August, 2012

    Francolino's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    love it, it is classified as female scente but to the girl at the store was for me, dark gothic patchouli, chocolate, flowery and spicy, kinky and sexy and pricey

    30th July, 2012 (Last Edited: 01st August, 2012)

    gmstrack's avatar

    United States United States

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    Black Orchid is a big ass chocolate flower.

    The composition is constructed around spicy black orchid, and all of the other components (citrus, jasmine, gardenia, black current, spice, fruit, chocolate, patchouli, and amber) exaggerate each facet of the flower. The result is an enormous 3D black orchid: dark and psychedelic. Woodsy notes are barely detectable, but there is definitely something almost swampy lurking behind the onslaught of sweet chocolate. Also, there is a loud, constant stream of piss coming from the black current and/or jasmine.

    Nicely done, just keep it away from me.

    25 June, 2012

    teardrop's avatar

    England England

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    l've put off writing a review of this one, because for me it almost defies description! lt is very different from anything else l've tried, & had l studied the reviews beforehand, l might never have tried it at all. But one hot day in Athens last summer, l was in a department store when something drew me to this fragrance...
    The top notes l found challenging; dark woods & patchouli, & what l assume must be the truffle note giving it a deep & fruity richness. But l persevered. With one spray on my arm, l went about my day, & as the fragrance developed l was seduced by it's creamy, coconutty, rich floral heart, with the darkness remaining all the way to the drydown, many hours later, of vanilla & sandalwood. ln terms of projection & longevity, this far outperformed all of the other scents l'd sprayed on various spots that day, & as l settled down for a siesta, l basked in this weird & wonderful scent...
    Days later, l was browsing the perfume shelves at Athens airport, & couldn't resist trying this one again. As l went through the security check-in, one of the usually dour-faced guards broke into a grin & said; "You're wearing Tom Ford, aren't you?" l was tickled pink, & decided then & there to get one of the 4ml samples; l still could not quite believe that l'd fallen for this one.
    Cut to the present, & l've finally given in & got myself a bottle. After a few wearings, during which even my fussy bf gave it his seal of approval, l had to admit defeat. This is a powerfully seductive fragrance, feminine in a dark & mysterious way, & just a little bit naughty. Love it!

    13 June, 2012

    electric33's avatar

    United States United States

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    Wow! Yes I love it. On me it is very fresh chocolate and a very slight cool mint. So nice.

    25 May, 2012

    eyefeelgood's avatar

    United States United States

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    Magnificent. Just a little, please! Halve what you wanted to use. Then halve it again. And now only put that fourth where you wish to be kissed. If you wear it judiciously, you'll respect and love Black Orchid, you'll have a spring in your step and the one who kisses you will linger longer. It is absolutely uni-gender when worn this way.

    06 May, 2012

    Awssum's avatar



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    I have been a "cologne junkie" for many years, probably wearing cologne at 11! Therefore having sampled many scents good and bad over the years, I got a pretty keen nose on the various flavors and aromas there are to offer.

    I stumbled upon Tom Ford's Black Orchid by mistake. While sampling scents in the newly built Nordstrom's, I came across Tom Ford's Black Orchid. Over the years some of his scents were not to appealing to me, either to woodsy or florally or just not " buy me now" kinda thing. I sprayed it on the sample card, then tried a little on my wrist. Immediately a sales associate walked up and said.."Now how did that get there..it's a women's fragrance..excuse me let me take it to the woman's section on other side of the store!". Immediately I was like OMG! Darn I got female perfume on, no wonder I thought it had a little sweet kinda feminine aroma to it, but for some reason it was erotic. As I turned to ask the associate for an alcohol packet to wipe it off, my co worker walked up, very attractive female...she said hey.."Whoa..come here". She leaned over and said "Oh my gosh, you always smell good...but that is amazing, it's like the best cologne you ever had on, what is it?". I said its Tom Ford, she said "Well its great! " Although she said she liked it, I was still a little apprehensively about buying it. Hesitant,I just got a few samples to try.

    First and foremost, it's not a female fragrance, it's unisex. Funny thing is most women I have spoken too, don't like it on them.

    I have to say the scent is not for everyone. It has a floral, woodsy odd but erotic, charismatic,flamboyant aroma. At first sampling you may think its not like your normal fragrance. Get a sample and see how you like it. I have had everyone from Females, to other guys come up and say..whats that your wearing, its nice. My second impression was Wow! This scent smells like a rich guy would have it on (the price dictates that!) the only other Mens Fragrance that I ever thought and bought that was mind blowing was and still is, Terre D'Hermes by Hermes for Men.

    I decided to get the Black Orchid and it and the Terre D'Hermes by Hermes for Men Are my only two I own. Both turn heads and get compliments.

    03 April, 2012

    Akahina's avatar

    United States United States

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    A dark and delicious masterpiece by Tom Ford. I smell more gardenia than anything else in this composition, but there is so much more than Gardenia! A strong and heady concoction with so many notes I can't pick all of them out. Silage and longevity are amazing. A top 5 scent for me. A woman's parfum? OK, but ladies, step aside, this man is wearing your scent! Very suitable for a man, or a woman. Go easy on the trigger.

    31st March, 2012

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Extremely floral and overbearing (albeit, it does live up to its name). This one was a scrubber for me. I honestly could never pull this stuff off, and while it would smell better on a lady, I am not sure I would want to smell it on *anyone*. Just way too much, IMO The sillage on this one is tremendous, btw, so if you *do* want to wear it, be well aware that everyone else around you will be smelling it too. Just the thought of that makes me want to hide. 1.5 stars out of 5.

    02 February, 2012 (Last Edited: 22 December, 2012)

    MOONB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Controversial? Perhaps, but undeservedly so. Sniffing Black Orchid calls to mind four things: lipstick, makeup powder, bubblegum, and grape candy. Much has been made of rotten fruit notes in this scent, but I get none of them. The fruits simply smell dense and synthetic, perhaps intentionally unbalanced, and are wedded to cold orchid, milky ylang, and indolic jasmine notes, but nothing here smells overripe. There is a rich, smooth, sweet, and dramatic feel, with emphasis on the darker side of everything represented. Still, I'm not in the least bit compelled by Black Orchid, see very little unisex potential in it, and would rather be smelling something else.

    30th January, 2012

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