When I went into Nordstrom a few weeks back to try the new Tom Ford Jardin Noir perfumes, the sales person proclaimed: “People are coming in and buying all four (perfumes) at the same time.” I said: “I hope they sniff them first!” The response: “Oh, no! They say ‘we love Tom Ford.’” The perfect Tom Ford Private Blend customers! If it says Tom Ford on the bottle and costs $200 to $500 a pop…you are “in!” (And buying the Private Blend perfumes is WAY cheaper than buying almost anything from Tom Ford’s clothing lines.)
If you read Tom Ford Private Blend reviews on this site, you’ll notice I’m probably the biggest fan of the line here at Now Smell This; the early perfumes in this line were interesting and I enjoyed more than a few of them. As the years passed, the perfumes kept coming, but they didn’t grab me like they used to. Robin has always thought the lower-priced “signature” Tom Ford line smells better than the Private Blends, and I’m beginning to come around to her way of smelling.
The nadir of the Private Blends was the White Musk collection; it took balls to put that stuff in bottles and charge $180 (old pricing) for 50 ml. Now there’s a challenger to the White Musk collection’s dullness – Jardin Noir.
Today I’m reviewing only one of the four perfumes — Jonquille de Nuit — but I’ll say that Café Rose reminds me of any number of Montale “ouds”; Ombre de Hyacinth smells like, but not better than, Mrs. Meyer's honeysuckle-scented hand soap (but with a dreary “man cologne” base) and Lys Fume is thin, almost screechy, and does NOT conjure a lily of any type. Tom Ford said these perfumes would present the “darker and less innocent aspects” of flowers so they “become so thrilling and beautiful, they could almost ruin you.” Exciting idea; bad execution.
Jonquille de Nuit contains notes of narcissus (presumably), “wild Alpine cyclamen,” acacia and angelica seeds, violet leaf, bitter orange leaf, orris and amber. I’m a huge lover of narcissus…my garden is full of narcissus in spring. Of all floral fragrance notes, a true narcissus note would make me swoon, and perhaps even “ruin” me…because, no matter the price, I’d need to buy a perfume that brings alive that scent.
When first sprayed on skin, Jonquille de Nuit does deliver a lively, indolic/pungent, sweet (almost to the point of decay) shot of ‘narcissus.’ I actually became excited and almost turned around on the street to go back to Nordstrom and buy a bottle. Thankfully, I decided to get in my car and drive home instead, letting the fragrance develop fully.
As Jonquille de Nuit’s opening notes change character (quickly), narcissus loses its “nuit” aspect (and touch of filth) and becomes lighter and even sweeter in character. The floral/ “narcissus” phase gives way to a note that’s jasmine-y with hints of iris (both of these flower notes smell artificial). In fact, this floral accord, that has endurance to spare, seems more like an entity than a blending of fragrance notes (is it an aroma-chemical with some name like Jasir-1001?) This note turns unpleasant the longer it sits on skin, with hints of overripe fruit, plastic and cheap make-up. The dry-down of Jonquille de Nuit is simply the diminishment of this one major accord (or note) with a smidgen of lightweight amber added.
Jonquille de Nuit was a disappointment. What started out promising became obnoxious (the lasting power and sillage of this fragrance are amazing). The fragrance seems geared towards a younger consumer (so SWEET — the perfume, not the consumer) and that consumer is female (no unisex vibe here).
Is there a new trend in perfumes, especially “luxury” ones like Tom Ford and Ramon Monegal: to present a thrilling or unusual opening note or accord that grabs the attention…and then dissipates super-fast, leaving behind nothing but inexpensive, ordinary-smelling formulas? For impulse buyers, this could be ruinous indeed!
Tom Ford Jardin Noir Eaux de Parfum are available in 50/250 ml ($205/$495).
Note: top image is Une jonquille sauvage [altered], via Wikimedia Commons.