Noir de Noir (Tom Ford Private Blend): The ‘other’ black.
Recently, I reviewed Tom Ford Noir which I panned as a fragrance lacking a clear personality. It seems Ford has some fascination with the label of “Noir” (Noir, Japon Noir) for at least a few of his fragrances. Noir de Noir — not to be confused with the similarly-named recent release — is a completely different creature, appropriately placed in Tom Ford’s Private Blend line-up. It has become a perennial favorite among those who’ve sampled and purchased for good reason.
Perfume: Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir
- Release Date: 2007
- Perfumer: Harry Fremont
- Concentration: Eau de Parfum (26%)
- Notes: Top – Black Rose, Saffron, Truffle; Heart – Patchouli, florals; Base – Oud, vanilla, oakmoss
- Availability: Tom Ford Boutiques; specialty and high-end retail (Neiman-Marcus; Saks)
Tom Ford describes his Private Blend line as his platform for experimentation, though given that Ford uses a rotating list of perfumers known for their craft, that may be somewhat of a stretch. Nonetheless, it remains his high-quality, luxury line and where he often places unique creations or those of a higher formula concentration. It’s where he is most likely to offer things he’s ‘gotten right’ for lack of a better term. Noir de Noir, as one of the inaugural creations from the line, continues that role as a stalwart.
True to its name, the combination of Oud, deep rose and saffron imbue Noir de Noir with a very soft and darkly sensual profile, leaving it both comforting and entrancing. The emphasis here is on the experience of those elements in combination and balance, not in providing an over-the-top encounter. One could draw some similarities in elements to one of several Montale fragrances (Black Aoud, for instance), By Kilian’s Rose Oud, Bond No 9′s New York Oud and others. Each of those places more or less emphasis on a single element at the cost of the others. In the case of the Montale, it can be an exceptionally daunting experience. Noir de Noir uses all of its charms in balance, becoming the seductress. Here, Oud is not the star attraction.
Longevity is top-notch, sillage is good but not overly strong.
When considering Tom Ford’s Private Blend collection, it’s very easy to remember the popular mainstays of the line — Tuscan Leather and Tobacco Vanille being the two most often mentioned. For those who’ve explored further, Noir de Noir emerges as the sleeper. Other than pricing, it’s difficult to find fault with Noir de Noir. While not in the By Kilian or Clive Christian price stratosphere, it does reach a luxury price point. (50ml is $180; 100ml is $280; 250ml is $495)
My personal cautions? It’s highly addictive. It’s the highlight of the entire line. While not a cloying or suffocating experience, some caution should be considered with this scent in very warm weather. The elements will sit relatively close to the skin and lack an initial opening brightness. As stated, this is a warm, hypnotic and comforting adventure.
Rating: 4/5. Highly recommended.
Bottom-Line: Excellence in a bottle. Noir de Noir is an exceptional luxury fragrance, very deserving of sampling, nicely balanced, and not showy or ostentatious. Not for a bargain shopper, but a must-have for someone who wants a fragrance that speaks volumes about the person wearing it.