If I didn’t have a very boring naming convention for all my perfume posts, I might have titled this “Oh alright, Tom Ford. Fine.” Because I had just recently decided I was writing this line off, and now they’ve launched a perfume that I think is actually pretty good.
Coming from Tom Ford, Sahara Noir is unexpected. Many of the perfumes in the Private Blend collection (which are most of the newer releases) feel very blunt to me, intense explorations of one or two notes. Although I like some of them, that style is not generally my favorite. Sahara Noir is mellow, subtle, and nuanced. The mellowness partly comes from the ingredients, of course. I think it’s tough not to perceive frankincense, for example, as meditative. But it’s also a quality of the blend itself, which mixes hot and cold. Frankincense, cedar, amber, and—yes—oud are providing one story line, and the florals (mostly a transparent, sweet rose to my nose) are providing another. Both stories are shot through with a chilly, damp note that is like wet cedar. If Sahara Noir is meant to represent the desert, it’s encompassing day and night.
Even with all of its nuances, Sahara Noir is well blended. Because it’s so smooth, it doesn’t go off the rails into lumberjack territory, like some woodsy masculines do. But it’s still more masculine than, say, Trayee or Tam Dao—which I would consider cousins of Sahara Noir in terms of their overall feel.
I like. So yes, I’ll say it. Well done, Mr. Ford.
For a review of Sahara Noir, see Victoria’s take at Bois de Jasmin. Our impressions were quite different. When I got to the end of her review, I realized why this might be: the bulk of my spray of Sahara Noir (remember, my “Impressions” posts are just first impressions, put together after usually one wearing) landed on my sleeve, rather than my arm. Apparently this is one that’s quite different on skin than on clothing.
Edited: Kevin at NST has now also reviewed Sahara Noir, and confirmed what Victoria and I found, that this is very different on skin than on clothing.
Image courtesy HD Wallpaper.