“What?” you might be asking. “Black Orchid. Umm, haven’t we covered this ground before?”
Well, yes, sort of. Robin reviewed Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum soon after it was released in 2006, and we’ve since reviewed its flankers: Voile de Fleur and Velvet Orchid. But this review is for the newly launched Eau de Toilette, which the perfume house touts as different from the original, saying:
Exposing itself at first moment, Black Orchid Eau de Toilette is a distinctly different encounter. Experience the seductive breakthrough in a new light with its own olfactive journey. With a more open, immediate expression, the custom-grown Tom Ford Black Orchid instantly takes center stage, inviting you inside in a way never before experienced in the classic signature fragrance.
So, is the Eau de Toilette truly a “distinctly different encounter”? As a test, I wore both Black Orchid formulations side by side, and I didn’t note a stark difference. The Eau de Toilette diverges from the Eau de Parfum a bit in its opening and far dry down, but most of the rest — the heart notes, sillage, persistence — is pretty darned close to the Eau de Parfum.
In its opening, Black Orchid Eau de Toilette sparks a bit more with orange and bright citrus before launching into Black Orchid’s signature hazelnut-jammy fruit-white flower-truffle heart. Curiously, at this stage the Eau de Toilette is a few decibels louder and sharper than the Eau de Parfum. Within fifteen minutes, the formulations are hard to distinguish, although the Eau de Toilette carries a little more soapiness and is perhaps a touch more brash than the Eau de Parfum.
Both the Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum power along for five or six hours before beginning to retreat. Here’s where they take different paths. The Eau de Toilette turns to soft vanilla, while the Eau de Parfum, although still on the sweet side, holds tight to its wood.
So, there’s bad news and good news. If you were hoping for an intriguing interpretation of Black Orchid in its Eau de Toilette, the way, say, Guerlain tends to distinguish its EdTs from its EdPs, you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you adore Black Orchid and want a less expensive version with a bit more punch, you’ll want to give the Eau de Toilette a try.
Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Toilette is $98 for 50 ml and $135 for 100 ml (compare this to $115 for 50 ml and $165 for 100 ml for the Eau de Parfum). It’s widely available at department stores.