Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tom Ford Private Blend- Purple Patchouli

Today's edition of "What was Luca Turin smelling?" is brought to you by Purple Patchouli from Tom Ford's Private Blend. Labeled in The Guide as a "harsh floral" and declared a green chypre "with a rasping floral accord reminiscent of those sticky spring blooms that smell halfway between fish skin and honeysuckle", it was probably not the biggest seller of the 12 original Private Blend perfumes. But not because of any fish skin issue, if you ask me. Purple Patchouli's downfall was most likely that it smells like a real perfume of yore- a dark, big flower looming behind a sweet leather screen. For some odd reason, people don't want to smell like this, and that's a very sad thing.

I don't know about patchouli. I don't smell much (if any) of it in Purple Patchouli. But it sure smells purple. While I agree with Dr. Turin about a chypre leaning, it's definitely not green when I wear it. It's sweet, but doesn't cross the line into candied violets, and have I mentioned this perfume is dark? There's certainly an image of a weird and exotic flower, a mutant orchid ensconced in a beautiful leather case. It's elegant, noticeable and feels very feminine, though I'm sure some men can pull it off. For me, it requires a hat and a matching nail polish. This season's Vendetta from Chanel comes to mind.

Purple Patchouli is one of several scents from the Private Blend line that are being discontinued . It is still available ($180 for 1.7 oz, $450 for 8.3 oz) from the top department stores.

Photo by Richard Avedon for a Harper's Bazaar fashion spread titled Ultra Violet, 1958.

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