Tom Ford Noir ~ fragrance review

Tom Ford Noir fragrance bottles

When a perfume company like Tom Ford produces two distinct fragrance lines, one upper-tier prestige (the exorbitantly expensive, limited-distribution Private Blends) and one ‘simply’ prestige (the more affordable and widely distributed Signature line), I’d expect the quality of ingredients or the quality of the formulas to differ (for instance, the Private Blends should smell “luxurious” and/or innovative compared to the Signature scents). As the Tom Ford lines stand, that is not the case; there are hits and misses in each line (more misses in the Private Blends because the offerings are more numerous).

I liked the first masculine Signature fragrance: Tom Ford for Men (2007); I liked Grey Vetiver (2009) a little less. Tom Ford just launched the third Signature men’s perfume — Tom Ford Noir; the fragrance notes sound promising: bergamot, verbena, caraway, baie rose, violet flower, black pepper, nutmeg, iris, geranium, rose, clary sage, opoponax, amber, patchouli, vetiver, civet and vanilla.

Tom Ford Noir begins with a creamy, slightly vanillic bergamot note tinged with “green,” reminding me immediately of Guerlain Jicky. The citrus opening fades to reveal powdery opoponax. In mid-development there’s an almost-minty “tingle” present in the brash verbena-pepper-(rose) geranium accord (accent on geranium). Finally, light amber, a note smelling like coumarin, and “civet” musk round out the perfume.

As I smelled Tom Ford Noir’s stages of development, a beauty parlor scenario came into focus: a customer, wearing Jicky (good taste!) and lots of make-up (opoponax), goes into a salon, gets her hair washed with an Aveda shampoo (verbena-pepper-geranium) and then has an old-style (semi-stinky) permanent wave (civet). As she leaves the shop…she spritzes on more Jicky.

Tom Ford Noir almost succeeded: I enjoy the opening and closing of the perfume…but the middle! I describe the heart of the fragrance as “shampoo”; a friend said it smelled like an “environmentally friendly” cleaning product. Those geranium-tinged notes are awkward, not interesting, and they make the perfume smell unfinished. These problematic notes last about 20-30 minutes on my skin. If, like me, you enjoy the opening and closing of Tom Ford Noir — buy Jicky.

Has Tom Ford, who used to spearhead some interesting and innovative fragrances, given up control of his perfume business? Have his tastes changed? Is he tired of perfume? At any rate, all of a sudden, after the Jardin Noir collection and this one, the prospect of another Tom Ford perfume does not excite me at all.

Tom Ford Noir, certainly unisex, has so-so lasting power and sillage; it’s available in 50 ($90) and 100 ml ($124) Eau de Parfum.


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30 Comments

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  1. I might be one of the few who actually liked it. Yes, I already bought a bottle, lol. Most of my friends gave it a thumbs down.

  2. donnie says:

    That’s a fine review but your review of Jicky is Proustian.

    • Kevin says:

      Donnie: one needs inspiration!

  3. sinnerman says:

    Oh Kevin I was so nervous when I clicked on and saw your review! I have been waiting for this to hit oz since it was announced ! I have to tell u I’m not a fan of Jicky at all , I have tried it on skin 3 times and I have trouble with the civet ! Im totally scared now to tell the truth, as I hair stylist I know those smelly perm aromas and it made me giggle , thanks for your honest review, I think this could be a spender or a saver for me at this point , can’t wait to try it and see !

    • Kevin says:

      Sinner: since you don’t like Jicky…I’m guessing you’ll give it a thumbs down

  4. sinnerman says:

    What a shame ! I wanted to love this so bad , I am wondering if I had not read this review I would have made the connection to Jicky, after all it was your scene setting review that led me to seek it out, although its not my cup of tea I have a lot of respect for Jicky , any hoo ! Another day another chance to fall in love with something else, If I do love it and happen to grab it I will let u know. Thanks Kevin

    • Kevin says:

      Sinner: yes, interested in what you end up thinking….

  5. nozknoz says:

    Between this Noir and Coco Noir, noir is really striking out recently!

    • Actually, I liked Coco Noir too ;)

      • hajusuuri says:

        It would be kinda boring if everyone loved or hated the exact same thing. Count me in to the camp of Coco Noir “likers” — the bottle pushed me over the (good) edge.

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: enough with the noirs…let’s shift to blancs at least!

      • KateReed says:

        Yes, and I vote for your first review to be Hello Kitty Eau de Crepe de Chine Blanc Eau Fraiche! featuring the cleanest oud and patchouli imaginable, along with fantasy notes like “breath of white cherry” and “snow angel” and “puppy smiles!”

        • georgiawells says:

          Lol @ Kate :)

        • Kevin says:

          KR: sounds good…especially white cherry!

  6. NinaraPoll says:

    “If, like me, you enjoy the opening and closing of Tom Ford Noir — buy Jicky.” That is one of the best reviews I’ve read in a while! And thank you very much for the laugh that line provoked :D

    • Kevin says:

      Nina: you’re welcome

  7. sinnerman says:

    Hey mate , after work today I thought I may swing by TF and see if they had a bottle yet ? Bingo , they did but no tester as yet as its not released for 3 more weeks ! I could not resist and blind bought, hoping it would be amazing ! Well …… It’s good but not amazing! I have it on now in my car and I reminds me of a more expensive version of sex appeal from jovan musk ! I get lots of patchouli and powder and Lucky me I can’t find jicky anywhere! The bottle is great and as I have almost all the Tom fords new and old from other houses it’s a collectible for me , but it could be so much better ! No excuses , it has that same softness that Gucci envy has and the projection and strength is not impressive ! Thanks again for your opinions , regards Tim

  8. Kevin says:

    Tim…thanks for writing back. No tester for THREE weeks? A new selling tactic!

  9. Personally, i loved this..on me..on my husband…pretty much an aphrodisiac scent for me..however, the scent just doesnt last..its gone in like 5 minutes for me..

  10. eminere says:

    So disappointing to read. :(

  11. RobWales says:

    I was looking forward to “Noire”. But it’s an unremarkable peppery smell. And it doesn’t last on skin. It’s not worth buying.

  12. Petra says:

    I received a sample yesterday and entirely contrary to my
    usual behaviour I actually ordered a bottle.

    On me the scent evolves into a scent so soothing, which even
    lasts for quite a while. The dry down is a bit sweet, but all in all
    this is a lovely ambery perfume (for men???).

    I often wonder why people react so negatively to Tom Ford’s two
    lines: they’re a very well done Estée Lauder branch with some
    disappointments. You’ll find that with any perfume brand.

    As for Jicky: I get none. Anyway, Aimé Guerlains Jicky, as well as all the Jacques Guerlains, are, in my opinion, unrivalled and probably will be.

  13. Petra says:

    Oh well, I’ll have to put this right: there’s lots of Jicky, as Jicky is
    Shalimar à la Vanille.

    That’s why I liked this scent so much; I’m just buying Shalimar
    over and over again…I also bought Musc Ravageur from Malle…

  14. Petra says:

    This is just not possible…Shalimar is Jicky à la Vanille.

  15. Petra says:

    This cannot be true: Shalimar is Jicky à la Vanille.

  16. relleric says:

    Got a sample of this and tried it a few days ago, reminds me a LOT of a cleaned-up, watered-down Noir de Noir. I know I’m probably missing some of the nuances, but as soon as I applied it and after wearing it a few hours I knew I had experienced it before.

  17. katesonskates says:

    I’m late to the party, but when I tried my sample last night, I sniffed after about an hour and got a less-sweet Prada Candy!

  18. marios.georgiou says:

    Kevin,
    I’m wondering if this worths a purchase. I love jicky, mouchouir de monsieur and would like to know if this is ok for blind buy. Others says that is closer to habit rouge. What do you say? shall i take the risk and blindly buy it or it doenst worth it? i want to get a tom ford perfume as i never it. what do you suggest? I’m in late 30s.

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