Cafe Rose by Tom Ford 2012




Hi there Fine Fragrant Friends,

Tom Ford , even the name produces this weird reaction in me. I love that this out, gay, handsome man has taken the world by storm in a field that he never was trained for. On the other hand he seems like a complete head up arse twat totally obsessed with form. His fragrances for Estee Lauder create the same ambivalence within me. Many are lovely, others only for about 15 minutes till they collapse into quagmire or worse banality. It’s a long way from his Gucci Envy Man days.


Yet I still want to try them all, often with a prearranged sneer ready for action. Don’t worry, I am ashamed of myself when it happens.

Cafe Rose Tom Ford BBQ'sOnSunday A Single Man FlickrFlickr

So the Jardin Noir range came out in 2012 and I was in LA with Tom Pease early 2013 trying to get my hands on Madonna Truth or Dare Naked (which had already been pulled off the shelves everywhere except one store) and we came across the set. Desultory sniffs ensued and already Cafe Rose had been heralded as the sets big winner. I agreed it was the best but everyone else had already done pieces and I thought I was a bit late to the party so ignored the whole range basically. Yeah, I’m a dufus. Anyway, Cafe rose is the last one standing of the Jardin Noir set, all others D/Cd so I bought 10ml in a split.

Cafe Rose by Tom Ford 2012

Cafe Rose Tom Ford FragranticaFragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: May rose, Saffron, Black pepper
Heart: Bulgarian rose, Coffee, Turkish rose
Base: Amber, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense

I love that freaky plastic smell of saffron, here the pepper gives it a gourmand zing. It’s a little like a pepper cracker biscuit, dry and spicy. Almost gunpowder-ish or like unlit fireworks (but not really, just the idea of them).

Cafe Rose is one of Tom Ford’s good ones. While not being the most unusual of his offerings it is elegant and refined, seems to have the best ingredients and offers a very smooth non challenging ride.

I never really get much coffee but I think the name was a device not a description. The rose are luscious, verging on radiant but a bit heavier. All the other notes give Cafe Rose a depth and add lustre, like a Caravaggio or Rembrandt chiaroscuro in their paintings. We have warmth and spice, the heart is dryer than the open.

Cafe Rose by Tom Ford The Supper at Emmaus Rembrandt_ WikiMediaWikiMedia

Dry down ends up smelling like a smoky, charred, powdery, used incense stick.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and NotableScents
LuckyScent has $225/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples from $4/0.5ml

Are you a Tom Ford fan? What’s your fave?
Portia xx

24 thoughts on “Cafe Rose by Tom Ford 2012

  1. Portia, I snorted over your description of Tom Ford. The whole Fing Fabulous thing was what pushed it over the edge for me. I haven’t fallen for much in his range… so many are a little too in-your-face for me, my buy list tends to be things I can wear to work as a preschool teacher. I have a few “deluxe” samples of various scents and those will probably be all I ever need!


    • Hey MMKinPA,
      Totally get that Tom Ford is not regularly a Wear-At-Preschool buy. All the stuff that is in his range you could wear is done equally well elsewhere for 1/3 the price.
      Portia xx


  2. Funnily enough I wore Noir de Noir out for dinner tonight and sprayed arms, neck, hair, and later my husband said he couldn’t smell anything on me. I can’t detect anything now, 4 hours later. Sad.
    I am a fan of others in the line, Tobacco Vanille is good on me.


  3. I love his Black Orchid and Orchid Soleil. These are of course from his regular line and within my price point. I don’t know why but I think there’s an element of “all fur coat and no knickers” with a lot of his fragrances. Way too expensive for what they are. I have to agree that he’s very easy on the eye, though, in that over-groomed and without a hair out of place way😉


  4. I love Tom Ford. I really enjoy many of his perfumes, and I think his movies are great. Having said that, I think recent blogger Kafk***que summed up a lot of good points about his new entree Fucking Fabulous. I’m not enamored of the name either, and I’m not a prude. But Cafe Rose is a gorgeous beautiful perfume. It is one of his best. But I also like his tobacco series and various Noirs. The style of his perfumes suit me with excellent silage and longevity and I like the deep heavy woods so ubiquitous in many of his scents.
    There’s something a little bombastic about his perfumes that I dig. I have two bottles of Sahara Noir. Personally I like Estee Lauder perfumes. I like the backstory of Estee Lauder and that she was one of the first American women to enter perfumery and play at the A levels in Europe. And frankly I think Youth Dew bath oil is the bomb– it’s the one and only clearly recognizable bath oil that will scent you and your bathroom for a week. If the company had produced only that one it would be a major achievement. The perfume I can’t do, but the bath oil…
    So yes I’m a fan of Tom Ford but not a fan of his recent offerings, and the price points are a bit wow.


    • Hey there Shiva-woman,
      YAY! A fan. Glad to see it. It is a very specific, sophisticated group that loves him. I knew we’d have some here at APJ.
      I have a few of his frags and love them too. Not all of them last very well though, especially Jasmin Rouge.
      Oh yes, Youth Dew Bath Oil is THE BOMB!!
      Portia xx


  5. Tom Ford is an interesting phenomenon from an anthropological, cultural theory and social psychology point of view. I will spare you the pain of my train of thought, though.

    The only one to grab my attention is Vert d’Incens. I came about a sample via a Myscent subscription box. I did order a 10ml decant, but I really need to be in the right mood to wear it.


    • Hey Kate,
      I liked Vert d’Incens a lot. Robert Herrmann sent me a decant, YUMMY!
      One day over a bottle of wine we can discuss your Tom Ford theories.
      Portia xx


  6. For me, Tom Ford is an expense I can not afford to like. Lucky for me I’ve been gifted Black Orchid & Velvet Orchid and love them both. I’ve tried a few others but they don’t seem to last on me.


  7. I’m a complete whore for Tom Ford. Part of the reason is that my local Tom Ford counter really do look after me well; the other part is that quite a few of his scents trigger great scent memories for me. I am also lucky in that his scents seem to have amazing longevity on my skin. My favourites are Amber Absolute, Tobacco Oud, and Jasmine Rouge.


  8. Yet to delve into Tom Ford. I know, slackard am I not). What I am a big fan of is. your writing, Portia. Illuminating and hilarious by turns!


  9. I haven’t tried that many from the Tom Ford range and I don’t actively seek them out as the full bottles are out of my budget. Last year I went into the city and stopped at the Tom Ford counter in SAKS FIFTH AVENUE. The SA would only spray on a paper strip for me to test (would not give me access to the bottle) and refused to give me any samples. What I did sniff then was Plum Japonaise and Cafe Rose. Those were the only two I was “permitted” to test. Ah well, more money saved-LOL!


      • Indeed! I have to say that SFA in NYC is a bit of a snobbish store in general. when I walked up to the le Labo counter they completely ignored me Hee hee I guess it was the fact I was wearing leggings, sneakers and carrying a backpack and assumed I would not be making any purchases anyway. Although I was once in there and the Annick Goutal SA looked the other way while I made a sample from my own empty vial of one of the fragrances my best friend wanted to sample that they did not have in carded sample. She was kind enough to do that so I can’t say that all the SAs are that bad in that particular store. I have heard that some other dept stores in the States actually have empty vials which they fill for you with whatever fragrance you want from whatever brand you want….now how fabulous is that? Sephora has the same policy as well, and some SAs in Sephora generously fill your decant sprayer to the top which is about 4-5mls.


  10. Hello gorgeous.

    I must confess I am a fan of Tom Ford… in more ways than one which is not great for my bank account.

    With regards to his perfume I think I’ve tried them all that was/is available in OZ except the two new Intenses. Black Orchid, which I think has gotten weaker since it was first launched, Tobacco Vanille and Tuscan Leather are classics in my book. The recent launches pale to some of his past effort, IMO, but I do like London, Fleur de Chine and the recent Noir Anthracite.

    Unfortunately I can’t recall Cafe Rose. I remember liking it but I have better recollection of sniffing Lys Fume and Jonquile de Nuit from the Jardin Noir collection… although nothing jumped out to grab my credit card.

    Glad you are enjoying your decant.

    XXX… T


  11. I am struggling with this scent. When I had the sample I covered it and loved each of the 4ml as they diminished. I splurged and bought 100ml. As I tell my middle schoolers, “Don’t worry kids, Ms. Alanna doesn’t pay high for stuff!” 😂 But seriously I can’t remember what season it was when I found it so enjoyable. I find it irritatingly one dimensional and cloying now. What happened!? I cannot figure it out. It seems it should be a great winter scent. Maybe I’m getting too much on my clothes and not just skin. I’m so sad about it. I’m not one to casually release lost love, so I’ll keep working at it. ❤️ Alanna


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