Designer perfumes rarely live up to their hype – millions of dollars worth of ad space and purple prose copywriting can make even the most banal scent seem scintillating but the proof is in the juice. No matter how many celebrities or big name brands associate themselves with the product it all boils down to the personal interaction of fragrance and body chemistry – the nose knows.

One designer who recognizes the importance of actual quality in fragrance is Tom Ford. His first solo scent Black Orchid, was an uncompromising love it or hate it sensual gourmand that stood out like a beacon amidst the seemingly endless parade of fruity florals. Even those who didn’t like Black Orchid had to respect its visionary commitment. Not since Thierry Mugler’s inimitable Angel has a mainstream fragrance conjured such a glaring image of candied carnality.


With his second mass market for women (not counting the toned down remix of Black Orchid, Voile de Fleur or the 12 unisex creations in Ford’s own Private Blend series) Ford explores tamer territory. If Black Orchid is pornographic, then White Patchouli is erotic – it represents a kinder, gentler Tom Ford than the man whose notorious shock tactics consistently set tongues wagging. Opening with a sharp almost harsh citrus and then unfolding into sweeter, deeper territory the fragrance certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but that’s part of the allure. The fusion of fresh and spicy makes a statement – bergamot, incense and coriander resonate more than patchouli and though the target audience is female one can easily imagine the aroma on a dashing man. All in all its well worth a sniff – if only to experience the seduction.

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