Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tom Ford- Velvet Orchid

Cocktail Shoes by Mary L. Parkes

Eight years later, I'm still a fan of Tom Ford's first perfume, Black Orchid. It's a big-boned floriental-gourmand with more complexity than most modern designer perfumes put together. I also liked its short-lived flanker, Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which was basically a gardenia version of the original with the gourmand aspect toned down. But I didn't know what to think about the idea of Velvet Orchid. Is it a Tom Ford flanker? It sure sounds like that, especially considering some of the marketing babble surrounding it. The first sniff confirmed that. The large shadow of Black Orchid was hovering over my skin to such a degree that I had to wonder why they even bothered. It's that fantasy orchid accord that is oddly earthy and fruity. I like it a lot, which is why I have a 100ml bottle of the original. But a flanker?

Soon after the deja vu of the opening things take a turn, and I wasn't convinced at first that it was for the better. The perfume was still following the Black Orchid path, but in a muted fuzzy way. It's oddly combined with a strong honey-booze note that peeks from beneath every once in a while. It's not really velvet; more like mohair. Again, I wasn't completely sold, but it's the kind of stuff that grows on you.

Where Velvet Orchid truly shines is in the dry-down. That's where this perfume comes back to the familiar Tom Ford sexiness, offering a thick and rich facet of myrrh, suede, and even more honey. It's not quite as sweet as Black Orchid, but gets very close, and somehow that's where the impressive sillage becomes even more noticeable. There's nothing to mask it or cover the trail. It's just perfume and skin, and the result becomes magical no matter how hard I try to resist.

Who will enjoy Velvet Orchid? Fans of other Tom Ford perfumes, those who found Black Orchid a bit too much, and lovers of sillage bombs with otherworldly longevity (24 hours for one spray). Do you need it if you already have and wear Black Orchid? Probably not, but it's still worth trying.

Tom Ford- Velvet Orchid ($112, 100ml EDP) is available from Sephora and most department stores.


  1. I guess I'm not a lover of sillage bombs, lol. I keep sniffing Tom Fords and can never bring up the courage to try them on the wrist because they just feel so HUGE and overpowering, and I suffer from perfume induced headaches quite a bit. I got this on the Sephora scent card in the mail and while it smelled fine, it was just so strong. I did wonder, however, how different it was from Black Orchid - so I'm glad to read about it here! Thanks for the review!

  2. I definitely enjoyed the sample I received. Need to try it again.

  3. Love that painting. Am a huge fan of Black Orchid - not at all vintage, but has that same rich textural quality and depth I like in so many vintage scents. I have a fair sized decant of this and am really enjoying it, but am not sure if I'm going to get a full bottle when I finish the decant or just get another decant (have *got* to stick to a budget).

  4. I've had Black Orchid for a while but I don't wear it often. It seems a bit "much" for every day. I just got a sample of Velvet Orchid from Nordstrom and the first spritz isn't thrilling me, but I'll wait it out and see if the dry-down is better,


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