Black Orchid by Tom Ford – a perfume like no other

black orchid tom ford

Black Orchid by Tom Ford is a perfume that made history by attracting many admirers, who bought the perfume and made it their own signature. The following review will present you a genuine review, that tries to show the perfume not as a scientific craft, but as a daily accessory that will wrap you in a mythical blanket of vanilla and flowers.

Perfume name: Black Orchid

Concentration: Eau de parfum (EDP)

House: Tom Ford

Initial notes:

Black Orchid by Tom Ford is a clear illustration of the name of the perfume: black. Floral notes, extremely strong, are accompanied by pipe and vanilla tobacco.

The resemblance to Habanita by Molinard is quite obvious, but this aspect will be limited to the initial phase of the perfume.

After a few minutes after application on the skin (the situation stands differently when applying on clothes), a medicinal smell of dry herbs will strike your nose: Swedish bitter and Jägermeister.

Somewhere behind these avalanches of scents, you can feel bitter plants: think of a dense infusion of wormwood.

Black Orchid is not a flowery composition, but an oriental one, being in the same league with Youth Dew by Estee Lauder.

In approximately 15 minutes, Black Orchid by Tom Ford begins to calm down, leaving room for shy, culinary-looking citrus fruits.

Gradually, a minty smell will make its way, which will accompany the perfume to the end. This feeling of camphorated smell seems similar to that of La Nuit Tresor de  Lancome. It may or may not be pleasant, so this depends on your tastes. The fact is that the impression left is not of chewing gum or mint tea. It’s a different kind of menthol.

Middle notes:

Besides the initial notes of Black Orchid by Tom Ford, which, over time will fade, the fragrance begins to display a fruity, juicy side of very ripe strawberries.

Vanilla, tobacco, plants and strawberries will be accompanied, at this middle stage, by a fine smell of coffee with a lot of sugar (unfortunately, this wonderful flavor will not last very long).

Also here are found a few spices (maybe cumin and coriander), whose smell is oppressed by the flowers of the initial stage.

Doesn’t look like a genuine floral smell to me. (Anyway, it is not even necessary to talk about how “natural” is a perfume knowing that nowadays there are synthetic smells, otherwise extremely well made, like those of the brand Esscentric Molecules.)

In the middle phase, Black Orchid by Tom Ford seems to play a sarabande of smells, fooling you from one moment to the next with all kinds of illusions: flowers(?), spices(?), chocolate(?), coffee(?), Jägermeister(?).

To make it even stranger, at some point, a smell will come into the scene that will place you in a library full of old books. Too bad this feeling is a passenger (even Biblioteque  by Byredo fails to replicate this odor, so sought after in perfumery of the recent years).

Base notes:

Although a fragrance with predominantly vanilla notes, Black Orchid will partially transform into an example of the smell of musk, moving away from its gothic side and becoming “aerated” – the phenomenon will be easy to identify until the smoke disappears from the skin.

The flowers will abandon the lead role, but they won’t leave the stage for good.

Also now, Black Orchid will acquire, through the appearance of the smell of patchouli, a temptation of natural, terrestrial, and forest.

It also gave me an impression of a newly printed book – probably a sensation obtained from the togetherness of cumin with patchouli.

The final notes of this fragrance come, somewhat, at odds with the initial ones.

Black Orchid softens very much in its final stages, becoming an intimate fragrance.


This facet of the perfume will appear after you have worn it a lot on the skin (on clothes, the evolution of Black Orchid is different and not very spectacular).

If you do not reapply it during the day, the perfume will be quite “polite” with those around you, so it can be used in any circumstances and in any season.

In the EDP formula manufactured in Switzerland (which I currently have), musk notes will appear much faster.

I bought the perfume for its initial notes, which fascinated me. I was, however, also rewarded by the drydown with a pleasant aroma.

Used in moderation, Black Orchid  doesn’t suffocate you or the others.  


In the first two hours, the perfume is extremely strong, emanating a vanilla whiff, pipe tobacco, and many flowers (honestly, I never smelled an orchid that is fragrant, so I can not say with certainty what flowers were used in the making of Black Orchid. I had, however, the chance to smell the queen of the night, which I can smell here).

Although a floral-oriental fragrance, like millions of other perfumes created before and after it, Black Orchid offers an absolutely unique aura to its wearer.


The formula (EDP), manufactured in the U.S.A., had a “monstrous” longevity, highly appreciated by fans.

The variant (EDP), produced in Switzerland, (the one I currently have) is a behaved “animal” that sits in its place after about two to three hours, but which will persist, quite diffusely, until the evening.

Applied to clothes, the perfume will last longer, but it will not evolve.

Initial sensation:

Smelled in the store, without giving it the chance to show you all its facets, Black Orchid is a kind of unassuming beast, which will either make you buy it “on the spot” or cause you to hate it incredulously.

It looks like a perfume that requires a bold attitude, being very well made, original and refined.

Although it is redundant to say, this is a unisex fragrance (I find it frivolous labeling the fragrances, framing and classifying them by gender categories, season, and… I know what else. I wore with an absolutely crazy success 1 Million by  Paco Rabanne).

Black Orchid has many followers, which demonstrates that it offers quality and satisfaction.

Its scent is easily recognizable (maybe you already smell it to someone without realizing it).

In the U.S.A.-made version, the initial notes of the perfume are greatly extended, accompanied by an extravagant aroma of bitter chocolate.

The reaction of others:

In the U.S.A. formula, Black Orchid aroused the interest of many colleagues, who confessed to me that they bought it after they smelled it on me.

The Swiss version didn’t attract many admirers, but its has its place among fans.

It’s worth the money if:

You want a perfume tested over time that others recognize you.

You admire the Tom Ford house.

Tom Ford Beauty – official perfume page

Nicoleta S.

black orchid tom ford
black orchid tom ford
black orchid tom ford
black orchid tom ford