Tom Ford Sahara Noir : Perfume Review

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Just like Tom Ford Noir, Sahara Noir is a perfect cross-over perfume and a good case for disregarding arbitrary gender marketing. In the case of Sahara Noir, you only need to love incense and amber. And love them a lot, because this perfume is incense and amber to the power of 10. A part of Tom Ford’s Signature Collection, along with Violet BlondeWhite PatchouliBlack Orchid and Grey Vetiver, this is a dramatic and dark blend that delivers on its noir promise.

sahara-noir

With Sahara Noir Tom Ford is courting Middle Eastern perfume consumers, whose tastes gravitate towards opulent. “A perfume can’t be rich enough,” says a friend who works for a fragrance company in Dubai. Incense is used to perfume homes and public spaces, and a splash of rosewater and a cloud of oud smoke begins and ends any auspicious function.  Sahara Noir would fit right into this scented environment and even hold its own. Depending on your tastes for heavy perfumes, consider yourself warned.

When I first apply Sahara Noir, I feel like a walking incense burner.  It starts out peppery and warm, precisely recalling the spicy and biting scent of incense. The incense here is frankincense, a resinous material derived from trees native to Africa and the Middle East (hence, the reference  to Sahara in the title). It’s the incense of religious ceremonies, and it smells like crushed black pepper and grated lemon zest.

The interesting part of Sahara Noir is not the incense, but how it’s used to create a layered effect. Frankincense is available in several different grades and varieties, and the combination of cool, crisp essence with heavier, smokier oil gives an opulent effect. It also helps that the quality of incense and everything else in this perfume is excellent.

The second part of Sahara Noir is amber. Although cistus ladanifer sounds like an ancient Roman senator, it’s a small shrub that grows around the Mediterranean (and all over the California coast). A sticky resin covers its stems, and if you rub your fingers against them, they will smell of bitter caramel and amber for hours. The material derived from cistus gives the rich, dense sensation to Sahara Noir. But like frankincense, it appears in different guises to create a complex effect.

All of these interesting nuances of Sahara Noir may be lost when you apply it full strength. It starts out as incense and maintains the same tune all the way. After several hours of this, even incense fans might crave a flash of white petal or a glimmer of green leaf. I enjoyed the details, but I didn’t find the perfume exciting to wear until I tried applying it on my scarf, the way I would use Middle Eastern attars. Suddenly it sang, and I could even notice a sweet layer of jasmine and rose and a soft touch of vanilla in the drydown. Either way, the tenacity of Sahara Noir has few rivals.

For a more understated incense, I would recommend Serge Lutens Serge NoireArmani Privé Bois D’Encens, or L’Artisan Fragrances Passage d’Enfer. But if you’re a fan of Tauer L’Air du Desert Marocain, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant or Tom Ford’s own Amber Absolute, Sahara Noir is going to hit the spot. All in all, a well-crafted perfume for those whose perfumes can’t be dark and smoky enough.

Tom Ford Sahara Noir Eau de Parfum lists notes of frankincense, cistus essence, bitter orange, Jordanian calamus (an oasis sweet grass), cypress, cinnamon, papyrus extract, jasmine, beeswax absolute, amber, ambreinol, benzoin, vanilla, cedar, agarwood, and balsam.  Available at Tom Ford boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Nordstrom and other retailers. The Eau de Parfum–£100 (50ml).

Extra: Top Favorite Incense Fragrances

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83 Comments

  • Karen: I tried a spritz of this the other day at Nordstrom and thought that it would not work for summer at all (what I was looking for). Then I wondered why it was released now and not in the fall or closer to the winter holidays? Do companies consider the season when releasing a new fragrance? May 13, 2013 at 7:16am Reply

    • Annikky: They do. But I’m guessing that if the main target market for this is Middle East, the logic of the launch may not make as much sense in UK or Scandinavia, for example. May 13, 2013 at 7:30am Reply

      • Karen: That makes sense. Be interesting to see the break down of sales by region. May 13, 2013 at 8:33am Reply

      • Victoria: Agreed! But given how cold the summer was last year in Europe, it probably didn’t matter anyway. 🙂 I wore all of my heaviest orientals and smoky woods. May 13, 2013 at 8:34am Reply

        • Lydia: I wore patchouli and incense-heavy fragrances all through the appallingly hot NYC summer last year. Frankly, they blend well with heavy sweat (or they do if you like those types of perfumes to begin with).

          White florals, on the other hand, were impossible in July & August unless you truly wanted to faint. May 14, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

          • Karen: After reading all the comments yesterday, I went and picked up a sample at Nordstrom. It smelled soooo good. I am going to have to use my sample sparingly as I have been spending a bit over budget on perfumes since I started reading Bois de Jasmin! But, it is now on my to-buy list!

            Many thanks for expanding my world! I’ve always loved perfume and essential oils, but have not branched out too far with my choices (Arpege will always be “my” signature). Now, with finding out about Luckyscent and other sample sites, I have been able to try so many new fragrances! May 15, 2013 at 5:22am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s meant for the Middle Eastern market, so that’s probably why they scheduled the launch now. I also thought that it would be a suffocating perfume for the summer, since it’s so heavy. And certainly worn on skin, it’s too much for me (even on a cool day). But spritzed lightly on a scarf, it’s great. Incense can feel cooling. May 13, 2013 at 8:30am Reply

  • theperfumeddandy: Dear Victoria
    The Dandy always finds it interesting that Arabian-style perfumes strike me, along with some of your other readers it would seem, as fundamentally winter scents and yet they come from one of the hottest places on the planet.
    A function one supposes of the type of heat as much as cultural considerations.
    One to note then, but store away a trial for colder days, for me at least.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy May 13, 2013 at 7:22am Reply

    • solanace: I’ve given some thought to that question. Amouage Dia man wears beautifully on a hot day (35 C), though I still prefer it as a fall/winter scent. May 13, 2013 at 7:57am Reply

      • Victoria: And even Lyric Man (I think that I prefer it to the women’s version) works well on a warm day. Incense gives it a crisp, cool feeling. May 13, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

    • rosarita: I adore this genre of perfume and have found that some incense blends smell cold to me. An example is Etro Messe de Minuit; that musty stone church smell is cooling in the summer, as is YSL Nu. Just my experience 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 8:13am Reply

      • Victoria: I find the same thing, especially with Messe de Minuit, Nu (absolutely wonderful on a warm day when the creamy floral notes are more obvious), and Serge Noire (one of the most underrated perfumes from Lutens, I think). Sahara Noir is a tad too heavy for me, but as I mentioned to Karen, it works better on fabric. May 13, 2013 at 8:40am Reply

      • The Blue Squid: I agree with what you say about the crisp coolness of some incense perfumes, Rosarita.  Incense Extreme has that quality as well. May 13, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Definitely interesting! Same goes for India, where the traditional attars are very heavy and some are very animalic. The seasonal associations we have with scents are purely cultural, as are the gender associations. I really think that you can wear just about any perfume year round and still enjoy it. In the Middle East, for instance, many perfumes are worn on clothes. May 13, 2013 at 8:33am Reply

      • Lydia: What an interesting and intriguing review. I definitely want to try this one now.

        I’m so curious about Middle Eastern-type fragrances. I was very eager to try the Montale Aoud scents, and very disappointed when the oud note didn’t appeal to me. I’m still hoping I’ll find a version of it that does.

        I never thought to intentionally spray perfume on fabric instead of skin, although I do scent my scarves by storing them with scented candles (Diptyque Cannelle candles make a great drawer scenters). Interesting that fragrances develop so differently on cloth than on skin. May 14, 2013 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Annikky: I have been thinking lately about that, too. Here we have 10 days every year where temperature rises above 25C, if we are lucky. Still, people insist on smelling of water and lemon (with an occasional fruit or flower thrown in) the entire summer, because they believe everything else is suffocating. I sometimes feel like wearing my darkest, densest perfumes in childish protest. May 13, 2013 at 8:55am Reply

      • Karen: I love the idea of rebellion by perfume choice! May 13, 2013 at 10:29am Reply

    • Kellz: I’ve been in this camp, the more incense and balmy it is, the hotter it should be outside! For the exactly reason you brought up. There’s a reason those in the Middle East wear the heavy stuff. Scent burns off quickly and not to mention the sweat, good lord the sweat! That light and airy perfume wouldn’t last a minute in the Sahara! 🙂 There is also the idea of permeating a strong scent in the summer. It’s bold and confusing to those around you. I love to baffle and awe. May 13, 2013 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Martha: I’m still searching for the perfect incense perfume so this one interests me. Perhaps it could be worn in the summer if applied lightly. May 13, 2013 at 7:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I definitely recommend starting out lightly with Sahara Noir. My favorite part is the drydown, which feels soft and velvety.

      My other top favorite incense for the summer is Bois Blonds by Atelier Cologne. It’s sheer and feels like a cool breeze on skin. May 13, 2013 at 8:36am Reply

      • Martha: That sounds nice, Victoria. I just sampled Incense Pure by SSS, but it is a little too smoky for me. May 13, 2013 at 5:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s another fantastic incense, which smells very outdoorsy to me. Have you tried Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant? It’s another very nice, well-done incense. May 14, 2013 at 3:49am Reply

    • Lora: I just tried Marni at Norstorm’s today and was given a sample. It is a light incense that is beautiful and perfect for the summer. I am living in Arizona now and it seems to hold up to the heat very well. It is also available in a body lotion, cream and shower gel, so I believe I know
      what my next purchase will be! August 18, 2013 at 8:10pm Reply

  • solanace: I’ll have to try it. I’ve been having so much fun with the CdGs, and Middle Eastern heavy hitters hold a place in my heart! May 13, 2013 at 7:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Which CdG are you liking so far? May 13, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

      • solanace: All of them, but the warmer one, Jalsamer, is going faster. May 14, 2013 at 4:42am Reply

        • Victoria: I’ve noticed that my decant of Jalsamer is half finished already. May 14, 2013 at 4:43am Reply

  • rosarita: I really like Noir for men and I can’t wait to try Sahara Noir! Thanks for the review. May 13, 2013 at 8:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a nicely done perfume, so I look forward to hearing how others find it. And since it’s launched in the more widely distributed Signature Line, I get a kick out of seeing Sahara Noir bottle next to La Petite Robe Noire at the local perfumery. 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 8:38am Reply

  • Sulin: I tried this the other week at our local Brown Thomas in Ireland, and I have to say I got so much black pepper and beeswax. I was curious after the initial spray, frowning after half an hour, and then was nose in wrist for the rest of the day. I felt that I did not like the fragrance, but I couldn’t help myself sniffing it over and over again. I even received some weird glances on the bus after constantly burying my nose in skin. It looks like I’ll need to take another sniff, and maybe try and score a sample at Sephora when I’m back in Canada! May 13, 2013 at 8:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Frankincense naturally has a peppery top note, and if it’s accented with black pepper, the result can be effervescent. I also wasn’t sure what to think when I first tried it, but Sahara Noir definitely grew on me. May 13, 2013 at 9:52am Reply

  • Nicola: Thanks for this review (and the list of notes most of which are virtually undetectable to my nose!) of one of my latest scent crushes. I LOVE Sahara Noir! I keep sneaking spritzes from the bottle in my local Space NK. On paper it helps me through the afternoon. I admire Avignon hugely but this seems more wearable to me, must be the style. Guess I like them heavy and smoky. I am also fascinated by the cultural differences which render this one difficult to countenance wearing in the summer by those from a Northern European type country despite the fact that it is aimed at those living in a much hotter climate (drier too). The Perfumed Dandy’s comments (and those following) are food for further thought. I know I love smelling the scents worn by men in certain parts of London and my part Persian friend has educated me a little on how important scent is in Middle Eastern culture. May 13, 2013 at 9:00am Reply

    • Nicola: Actually I’m doing myself a disservice. Thanks to Sulin’s comment I do detect the black pepper and beeswax and the vanilla and agarwood. It reminds me of by Kilian’s Amber Oud, though heavier. I don’t need both but which one…..plenty of time to decide! May 13, 2013 at 9:06am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a fascinating topic in itself! For instance, Maroussia by Slava Zaitsev was created for the Russian market using all of the usual tropes–“it’s a cold place, so they must love warm scents,” and in Russia, it was a failure. Russian women usually gravitate more to cool, crisp scents (aldehydes, lily of the valley, etc.) and not that much to heavy, thick ambers and animalic notes that Maroussia’s creator, a talented French perfumer Martin Gras, used.

      I know what you mean about Avignon! I love it, but I don’t wear it as often as Kyoto or Serge Noire. Sahara Noir is a big perfume, but I find it easier to pull off. Avignon is another fragrance I prefer on fabric. May 13, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

      • Natalia: Yes, it’s true, the Russians vastly prefer the so called “fresh” scents to the “heavier” ones. I think if Maroussia smelled more like Pure White Linen or Light Blue, it would be a success here.

        Unfortunately, however, you can hardly ever smell the aldehydes on the streets of Moscow nowadays. The general market percieves them as “a grandma scent” (sigh). But the number of times you would encounter La Petit Robe Noir, Chloe, Miss Dior (the one that’s “Cherie”), Coco Mademoiselle (although it’s popularity seems to be fading), Chance Eau Tendre on a single day is quite terrifying 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s not too different from Paris or New York or Brussels! These big, heavily advertised launches get a lot of exposure, but then again, they are well-made, and they stand out. I love noticing what people are wearing, whatever they choose. The other day I passed a Russian couple at a museum, and the woman was wearing Insolence by Guerlain. It smelled so good on her! May 13, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

  • Natalia: Although not a big fan of insence and amber, I am very curious about the new TF fragrance. Certainly give it a try when I come across it.

    And I am with those who percieve the Oriental fragrance family as the ultimate winter scents. This has always puzzled me actually, the fact that the perfect for the coldest weather perfumes historically come from the hottest places in the world. I suppose, on my part, it’s a culturally/environmentally imprined stereotype: in the winter, one puts on warmer clothes/warmer scents/take hot baths and in the summer, you bare more skin/take cold showers/wear cool scents. I have often tried to reexamine this stereotype and can do it quite successfully in the winter wearing all kinds of scents during this time of year. But I can’t bring myself to wearing anything Oriental in the summertime. I feel like I’ll suffocate just as all those around me will, too. It’s quite ridiculous I suppose that I limit my summer fragrance choice to the Un Jardin/Aqua Allegoria collections, but there it is. May 13, 2013 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: His Signature Collection is worth trying, if only because the perfumes are so different from other big fragrance launches, and that’s a good thing already.

      I completely understand what you mean, because I don’t tolerate heat well, and if I have to be out and about on a hot day, I don’t wear anything at all apart from a splash of orange blossom cologne. On the other hand, what about light, modern orientals like L’eau Candy by Prada or Shalimar Light or Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu? Diptyque Volutes comes to mind too. They are sheer and have a lot of citrus to offset the warm notes. Of course, you can always apply very little of your favorite oriental or mix it with lotion to tone it down. Something like that on a summer evening can be perfect. May 13, 2013 at 10:04am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I always wear strong perfumes in the summer; I like ”heavy” florals when these flowers are actually blooming. Only on a very hot day I wear lighter perfumes, a nice, earthy vetiver for example. Wearing strong jasmine, rose or tuberose in the winter gives me the idea of something unnatural, like walking in a hot-house.
        My only winter tuberose is MPG,as it has a agreable green note. In the winter my favorites are fresh, in tune with the bright Dutch winterlight and the crisp air (Sous le Vent, Eau de Rochas..).
        As for the orientals, I wear them all the year round. I love incense very much (Bois d’Encens), so I certainly will sniff Sahara Noir (although I don’t like the ”griffe” Tom Ford somehow).
        Fascinating, those different perceptions! May 13, 2013 at 10:30am Reply

        • Victoria: I love your idea of a winter tuberose and that you’ve picked MPG, one of the most underrated tuberose perfumes. And yet, it’s so good! May 13, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

      • Natalia: A light Oriental on a summer evening sounds so tempting!

        I will definitely give it a try one of these coming summer days. May 13, 2013 at 11:05am Reply

        • Victoria: It works really well and is so unusual. I avoid anything overly sweet, but smoky and even incense-y works well. May 13, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

  • Daisy: Incense and amber are two of my favorite notes. I haven’t had much luck with Tom Ford’s fragrances in general, but from what I read, this might change things. Warm weather fragrances? Cold weather fragrances? Last summer I doused myself in heavy orientals in the middle of August — funnily enough, instead of overwhelming, they felt sultry and divine 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

    • Victoria: If you like incense, you will find it interesting. I don’t find Sahara Noir as suffocating as I find some sweet orientals (like Angel or even Coco), but it’s definitely heavy. On the other hand, a light touch goes a long long way. May 13, 2013 at 12:59pm Reply

      • Geneviève: I can’t stand Angel! It’s too bold for me but the sillage of Coco is okay for me. If we don’t put a lot of Sahara Noir (like a spray but far away from us) is that still «suffocating» ? May 13, 2013 at 1:08pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s not suffocating either way, because incense is crisp and peppery, very effervescent. But a light touch works better for me. I get more nuances. It also works well with lotion (as a spray-and-rub method, when you take some lotion in your hand, spray a bit of perfume, mix with your fingers and apply). May 13, 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

          • Geneviève: Okay! it’s great! It’s definitely what I’m looking for, then! Thank you Victoria! May 13, 2013 at 1:14pm Reply

            • Victoria: Please let me know how it works out. May 13, 2013 at 3:49pm Reply

  • shaney: Must. Have. Immediately. May 13, 2013 at 11:57am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s definitely a “try before buying” perfume. It’s so incense rich that it’s for the hardcore incense lovers. May 13, 2013 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Brie B.: I wonder if this is TF’s alternative to Amber Absolute? Despite its popularity, it was discontinued and rumors were that TF was “reworking” the fragrance… Victoria, do you think this might be the end result of that tweaking? Any fleeting resemblance to AA? May 13, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t find them all that similar, because Amber Absolute was amber all the way, with various animalic notes. But Sahara Noir is more about incense. In terms of their character–rich, opulent–they are similar, but they don’t smell alike and don’t behave the same way on skin. I just put them on to compare. May 13, 2013 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Ari: Not only can I not wait to try this, but how exciting to see that the original pricing scheme reported was off! I first saw $150 for 50 ml, which I thought was insane since this is the main line, not a Private Blend. Thank you for the info and review, Victoria! May 13, 2013 at 12:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sorry to say, but it might be true, because that’s 100 British Pounds. I was very excited too at first that it was offered in the Signature Collection, but it might as well have been a Private Blend in terms of pricing. On the other hand, it’s so rich that a 50ml bottle will last for ages. May 13, 2013 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Geneviève: It’s been a month that I want to try it but I can’t find it around here! I’m sure there’s good chances that I might like it because I LOVE incense and amber! 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 12:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure that it will be available near you soon. These launches often tend to be gradual, but it’s coming. 🙂 May 13, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Both Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf have launched TF’s new scent however I’ve yet to sniff. Only today I had a discussion with one of the Sephora employees about TF and his high level confidence and let’s face it — his sensuality. His Noir de Noir is for me one of the best in his Private Collection (as I continue to familiarize myself to hs many aspects of TF’s world of scent.) Since everyone has jumped on the Middle Eastern scent bandwagon Ford is no exception and maybe just maybe if the fragrance when worn is appealing it may be worthwhile, so your warning is well received. Years prior Vicky Tiel had launched a highly incense inspired fragrance, which I wore frequently until some of my (male) co-workers requested that let’s put it this way informed me that my feminity was compromised! In other words — pleased don’t wear it anymore. I for one enjoy all of Tom Ford’s pret a porter fragrances and appreciate your forewarning. May 13, 2013 at 1:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: But at least, it doesn’t smell like a typical oud that just about every single collection has these days.

      Do you recall what that Vicky Tiel fragrance was called? I’m curious about it now. May 13, 2013 at 3:52pm Reply

    • Lydia: Your co-worker actually told you your “feminity was compromised?” What an obnoxious thing to say – I hope he was just joking/teasing.

      I can’t imagine telling a man his “masculinity is compromised” by a cologne I don’t like (although I do sometimes think it, what with all the nasty “sports fragrances” that never seem to die an honorable death). May 14, 2013 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Connie: I tried this at Saks a few weeks ago. I found it a bit flat and one dimensional. Like Copper Skies or Mitzah without the luster. May 13, 2013 at 5:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can understand that, Connie, since it’s a pretty much an incense story with few diversions. May 14, 2013 at 3:45am Reply

  • Amer: So this is an untamed version of Bois d’Encens? This is a strong claim Victoria. I can’t wait to try it. I must say though that I am a bit reserved. I wasn’t as taken with TF Noir as you were. May 13, 2013 at 5:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wouldn’t say that, since they are different enough (at least, to my incense loving nose; it’s like differentiating between shades of grey). But if you love incense, you would be hard pressed to find a fragrance that delivers more of it. Avignon might be another contender or Encens Flamboyant by Goutal, and even those feel less potent somehow. May 14, 2013 at 3:48am Reply

      • Amer: wow! May 14, 2013 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Merlin: I’m really curious because frankincense frags are often too cold on me. Incense Rose is much too crisp and cold (though my b.f find it sexy???) and Avignon is too somber for regular wear (as discussed above). May 13, 2013 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Then Sahara Noir might be a good option (except that its price is not that appealing). The amber and balsamic notes warm up incense in the drydown. May 14, 2013 at 3:53am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: This sounds divine- I love resinous, dark scents and I adore incense- but as I write and sweat (with th AC on!) it is 95 degrees here and I can’t imagine wearing that scent in this weather any more than I would slip into a down jacket!!! It will have to wait until autumn. In the meantime, I think my spring scent will be Liliana by Tocca. May 13, 2013 at 6:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 The idea wouldn’t be appealing to me either here in our relatively scentless environment, but I noticed when I spent time in India that rich perfumes on a hot day didn’t seem as jarring as they normally would to me. Nothing too sweet, of course, but woods and sandalwood especially worked like a charm and even felt cooling. May 14, 2013 at 3:55am Reply

  • Hannah: I have a twitter friend from Dubai and I vaguely mentioned looking for a new perfume and she told me to try a few Tom Ford private blends. This really surprised me because the only people that I know that know that they exist are people who are really into perfume. I had actually already tried them, though.
    Anyway, I would like to try this and I really love the ad. May 13, 2013 at 9:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love the ad! Lais Ribeiro looks so gorgeous, and I want to know what lipstick she’s wearing.

      When I asked at a perfume boutique in Brussels what their top sellers were, the manager mentioned Tom Ford Private Blends. He said that the Middle Eastern customers buy several bottles at once and that apparently, the brand is very popular. It has that opulent but elegant aesthetic. May 14, 2013 at 3:58am Reply

  • Dubaiscents: I am glad you mentioned SL Amber Sultan as a similar scent because to my nose these smell almost identical but, I thought I was the only one. Today I actually did a side by side comparison and for the first hour I really couldn’t tell them apart. The TF ened up staying more incense-y and SL got a little more vanilla/ambery but, to my nose they are really very much the same. Since I have a bottle of the SL I don’t really need the TF which makes me sad because I do love these kind of scents (they do fit in well here in the Middle East). But, I am not worried for TF they definitely have a hit on their hands – especially in this part of the world! May 14, 2013 at 5:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you also find it very rich? And do experiment on fabric, if you have a chance. It really seems different, but perhaps my skin simply makes it rush headlong into amber and skip other nuances.

      Amber Sultan would be a more economical buy in comparison! May 14, 2013 at 6:52am Reply

  • Aleya Bamdad: I love this perfume and find that a little goes a long way. Definitely one of my all time favorites. May 16, 2013 at 3:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree! You need very little of it. 🙂 May 19, 2013 at 12:48am Reply

  • Emma M: Curious to try this one now, I do like both amber and incense, but usually prefer a sheer interpretation of both notes. May 17, 2013 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I usually do too, but it is very well-done. If you like subtle incense, another great option is L’Eau Froide by Serge Lutens. It is my perfect summer incense. May 19, 2013 at 12:46am Reply

  • Maureen: I can’t get enough of your blog. I am mesmerized.

    I am a perfume snob. A French perfume snob. My first scent being Replique when I was 16, then Joy and now many different fragrances on my dressing table.

    I love Tom Fords Black Orchid. I love strong scents that follow me into a room but let everyone know I am there .

    I will keep reading your notes and the comments.

    I will not shop for perfume without consulting this website.

    Thank you. May 28, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Maureen. Black Orchid is definitely a dramatic perfume, and nobody does drama better than Tom Ford! May 28, 2013 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Inna: Hello,
    You have a very interesting website with a lot of helpful info. However I’ve noticed that in your list of notes you do not have peony. I am looking for a replacement for Stella in two peony that was discontinued – love that scent despite what critics say. Here is the olfactory pyramid:
    Top Notes : Pepper, Floral Breeze
    Heart Notes : Rose, Pink Peony
    Base Notes : Cedar, Patchouli, Amber
    Could you please help me find a similar perfume. I really love peony smell.
    Thank you very much in advance
    Inna October 19, 2014 at 12:50pm Reply

  • Liv: I’ve tried this TF one and although I was initially overwhelmed by the powerful incense, after about 20 mins it was wonderful – I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrists! I think in small doses it’s a real beauty for those who enjoy lush spicy orientals. October 11, 2015 at 2:05am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s best worn in small doses, since it’s so rich. The drydown just lingers and lingers. October 11, 2015 at 1:26pm Reply

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  • Victoria in The Secret of Scent or Adventures in Provence: No, I didn’t know it, but I approve (on principle; from an economic perspective, I don’t know if it makes sense.) There are small bookstores around Brussels, but they’re very… December 9, 2016 at 4:43pm

  • Victoria in Asya’s Idea of Paradise: Very glad to hear it. 🙂 December 9, 2016 at 4:41pm

  • Victoria in Asya’s Idea of Paradise: Is it the one that looks like a bell? If so, I remember tasting it a couple of times, and what I loved even more than the taste was texture.… December 9, 2016 at 4:40pm

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