Noir de Noir from tom Ford's Private Blend was not a love from first sniff on my part. My first thought was "too rosy, too boozy". I first tested it on a warmish day, when it promptly went sour on my skin, as too many rose scents tend to do. I got the saffron note, but there was nothing dark or mysterious about it, and definitely no "noir", except a resemblance to another black scent I can't wear, Montale Black Aoud.
It was a while before I felt like testing Noir de Noir again, but eventually I got it. While it's as rosy and boozy as ever, on cold days there's no sourness whatsoever, while all the dark notes appear and envelope me in a black velvet cape that is closer to Ford's Black Orchid with its chocolate-earth theme than to a traditional red or pink rose perfume. Compare this broody, secret garden-worthy scent to something sunny and uncomplicated like YSL Parisienne, for example, and it's hard to believe both explore a similar main note.
There's something about Noir de Noir that makes it the ultimate rose scent men can wear. Maybe it's the oud (agarwood) and patchouli combination, maybe it's that earth and stone aspect. In any case, as far as I'm concerned, it's another great beauty in the Tom Ford line, and at least this winter I plan to enjoy it thoroughly.
Noir de Noir and the rest of the Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances ($180, 1.7 oz) are available from top department stores and Tom Ford boutiques. Samples can be purchased online from The Perfumed Court. If you come across the box set of 12 minis, I highly recommend it. That's the one I bought last year and it has allowed me many wearings of each scent.
Photo from outdoors.webshots.com.