After my mixed experience with Lys Fume, I approached the rest of Tom Ford’s Jardin Noir collection reluctantly. As I wore the fragrances over these past few months, I grew to like them very much, especially Ombre de Hyacinth and Café Rose. While Tom Ford promised that Jardin Noir would be abloom with twisted, dark florals, the collection is neither twisted nor dark. Instead, it features elegant, polished fragrances on four different themes: lily, daffodil, hyacinth, and rose. The lack of drama is a minus, especially given the concept of this quartert, but these interpretations of classical florals are so smooth and refined that they are worth sampling.
Café Rose was created by perfumer Antoine Lie, who also worked on Azure Lime and Violet Blonde for Ford. It is the darkest perfume from Jardin Noir, but it has a distinctive Middle Eastern flair. The woods are so pronounced that they compete with rose for top billing, while the incense gives the perfume an exotic twist. The main reason I enjoy Café Rose is for its contrast–it feels sophisticated, but at the same time, it has a flamboyant air. Too much elegance can be boring, after all.