Hello fellow perfume heads!
Well, sometimes my perfume discoveries really make me feel like I have been living under a rock. This is slightly due to the fact that my sampling and testing methods are never methodical or take a logical course. I always just sniff what intrigues me at the time, rarely just concentrate on testing an entire line, and sometimes I’ll get round to testing a new release maybe months after it has been out. In the case of Black Orchid it’s been years. The oriental chypre was released way back in 2006 and when I finally got round to sniffing it, I was smacking my head with the combined annoyance and disbelief that I hadn’t stumbled on this magnificent beauty much, much sooner.
Photo stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: French jasmine, black truffle, ylang-ylang, black currant, Amalfi lemon, mandarine, bergamot
Heart: Orchid, lotus, fruity notes, spices
Base: Patchouli, sandalwood, dark chocolate, incense, amber, vetiver, vanilla, balsam
According to the PR, with Black Orchid Ford wanted to create a perfume that was ‘old fashioned but in a new sense’ and in my opinion, he has succeeded. Love it or hate it, this is eons away from the masses of sweet, fruity patchoulis out there and brings classical retro glamour back on to the department store shelf front and centre. It’s safe to say it’s impossible not to have an immediate reaction to this scent. It is so huge, so va-va-voom, so sultry, it like a diva on steroids.
It opens with a dark earthy and woody truffle accord that is so lush and thick, it almost feels like a perfume in reverse, as if the basenotes have been swapped with the top but still have the latter’s volume. It is the smell of a rainforest in bloom, with boggy, peaty soil the colour of midnight ink, tinged with fruity spices. There is also something there, perhaps some of the white flowers and vanilla, that lends a burnt caramel quality to the earthiness of the mix. As the scent develops, the darkness of the opening persists and I get a flash of green grass which heightens the accord’s mineral quality. The composition becomes more tropical in effect and the truffle accord is enhanced by a strong melon note, mostly reminiscent of honeydew, with lush, dense creamy white florals darkened by a resinous mix of patchouli and amber. Black Orchid is sumptuous, narcotic and wanton. It is the olfactory equivalent of a spiced dark chocolate pudding and a snifter of brandy.
Photo Stolen ImagesDeParfums
I wasn’t surprised to find the ad for the scent was a very retro and glamorous looking shot of a red-lipped brunette because Black Orchid for me would suit the likes of femme fatales such as Gina Lollobrigida or Ava Gardner. A sexy, intelligent woman that is confident in her sexuality. She doesn’t wink and say ‘come hither’, but looks you straight in the eye and says ’take me on.’
When I smell it, I imagine the following scene: an actress is on a film set in a tropical forest locale. Having just filmed a scene at the local colonial manor, she’s hung her scarlet chiffon ballgown on the back of her hut door. Resting on the balcony, she’s changed into a silk slip but is still in full makeup and jewels: flicked inky eyeliner and red lips; ears and throat emblazoned with chunky diamonds. She’s drinking brandy out of a heavy crystal highball looking out into the starry night.
Photo Stolen ImagesDeParfums
If you’re someone that view today’s modern department store fragrances with a sense of disillusionment and haven’t tried Black Orchid yet, you must at least give it a try. It is just that different. Having said this, according to the sales assistant who sold me my bottle, Black Orchid is the line’s bestseller. If that’s the case, it makes me feel just that bit more confident about the future of mainstream scents.