|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.