Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi : Perfume Review


Mandarins smell unlike any other citrus fruit. Cradled inside their zesty, bright aroma is a sweet orange blossom, and this nuance gives mandarin essence complexity and richness. (For fragrance nerds: this orange blossom note is given by methyl anthranilate, an aromatic compound also present in Concord grapes and wild strawberries.) Because of its sweetness and juicy effect, minus the strident sharpness, mandarin is used in many fragrances as a top note. It’s inviting and refreshing, and it works in many different contexts.

tom ford mandarino

By contrast, mandarin based colognes are less common, with bergamot, orange, and lemon forming the trifecta of favorite cologne citrus. Mandarin can be used generously, but I have often craved more than most colognes offer. And here comes Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford.

Calice Becker, who developed it for the fashion designer, takes at first a herbal approach, enriching mandarin with plenty of basil and mint. Although it makes the mandarin less obvious, it offers an elegant solution for Mandarino di Amalfi; the bracing herbal intro places it squarely in the unisex category and even gives it a subtle Dior Eau Sauvage twist.

Becker’s creations are known for radiance and polish, and Mandarino di Amalfi is a perfect example of how seamlessly she can weave a composition. If I start teasing notes apart by doing the kind of bloodhound smelling that’s best reserved for moments in private (unless you’re around people who don’t find noisy sniffing of your own wrist or strips of paper odd), then I notice accents like lemon, basil, pepper and vetiver at different stages.

On the whole, however, Mandarino di Amalfi moves from an exhilarating melange of sweet mandarin and licorice tinged herbs to the satiny soft trail of orange blossom and musk. It smells less like a ripe mandarin, and more like an Italian summer fantasy. You smell the ripe fruit and sun-warmed stones embraced by wild rosemary plants, their silver needles littering the dusty road. You feel the sea breeze messing up your hair–and notice how it leaves a hint of salt on your skin. You’re in your own la dolce vita fantasy. It’s marvelous. And it lasts.

What’s bound to bring you back to earth is Tom Ford’s prices. Whenever I review his fragrances, I have the same dilemma. The compositions are elegant, the quality is among the best you can find on the fragrance counter, but the price is still a shock. Part of it pays for quality, but a large chunk is due to Ford’s name.

You can also consider some other choices if an Italian summertime fantasy in a perfume bottle is what you’re after: Atelier Cologne Orange SanguineDiptyque Oyedo, Annick Goutal Les Nuit d’HadrienChristian Dior Escale a Portofino, or Parfums de Nicolaï Eau d’Été. This is not to say that they smell like Mandarino di Amalfi, but they also evoke the same sun-dappled languor.

Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi includes notes of tarragon, mint, black currant, grapefruit, lemon, black pepper, coriander, orange blossom, clary sage, shiso, jasmine, vetiver, amber, labdanum, musk and civet. 50ml/$215, 250ml/$525.



  • Patricia: This sounds absolutely delicious, and the fact that it lasts is a huge plus. Though I already have many fragrances in this general category, I can’t wait to try this one! July 21, 2014 at 7:44am Reply

    • Victoria: I love sweet citrus too, so this hits the spot. Alas, my wallet can’t support this type of craving. 🙂 July 21, 2014 at 5:51pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: I have to try it, if only to see what a $215 citrus scent smells like. I love orange notes in perfume but unfortunately most of the orange-focused scents remind me of my orange peel all-purpose cleaner (which is based on natural oils and smells lovely, by the way, but it seems to bias my perception of citrus perfumes, maybe I should switch to lavender cleaner, he he). Orange Sanguine was a scrubber on me and I’m still not sure if I can wear the lovely Sienne d’Orange for a longer time.
    I’d like to try Entre Naranjos, though, maybe that’s the one… July 21, 2014 at 7:53am Reply

    • Victoria: In some countries, like Germany and the US, where the lemon based cleaners are used, the strong lemon notes put off people instantly. And I’ve noticed that once I tried a cardamom scented cleaner, it rubbed off some polish (no pun intended) some of my favorite cardamom perfumes. So, I chucked it!

      Tom Ford’s perfumes are worth trying, if only to compare the quality against some other similar launches, but for a cologne, you can find less expensive and equally good alternatives. July 21, 2014 at 6:12pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: It sounds really wonderful and I’m looking forward to trying it but my eyes almost popped out when I looked at the price! Thank God that I can test it for free. 🙂 July 21, 2014 at 8:16am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: Hey Victoria, I forgot to say thank you for all the traditional embroidery photos. They are really treat for the eyes! July 21, 2014 at 1:24pm Reply

      • Victoria: So happy that you like them! I couldn’t believe that the ladies did it all by hand! And you should see how simple their work space looks like. July 21, 2014 at 6:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean! I was swooning over it until I saw the price. July 21, 2014 at 6:18pm Reply

  • Sandra: I think I would rather use the $ towards a trip to Amalfi. I would love to sit and drink some limoncello and eat some mandarins
    I will try it the next time I am at the TF counter.
    Like said before- I would love to know what a expensive citrus perfume smells like. But since I do own Eau de Cologne (Chanel) – I guess I have a weakness for expensive citrus smells!
    I will leave my wallet at home
    Just wanted to let you know that my heart breaks your motherland Ukraine – watching the news this morning while sipping on some white tea July 21, 2014 at 8:31am Reply

    • Victoria: I think of it as a simple camisole or t-shirt, something that’s not fancy, but when made out of high-quality material can feel incredible on skin. But of course, 4711 also can satisfy the citrus craving for me, without breaking the bank. 🙂

      The news are leaving me traumatized every morning. It has been a rough few days as far as the state of the world goes. July 21, 2014 at 6:20pm Reply

  • george: My reaction to this review is 35 percent “that sounds lovely”, and 65 percent “Tom Ford can go **** himself.” I’d actually like to see if Tom Ford can be diagnosed with an NPD. July 21, 2014 at 8:38am Reply

    • silverdust: LOL. I’m still ticked off that he ruined the original Rive Gauche. July 21, 2014 at 2:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ha! Here in Brussels his fragrances go like hot cakes, based on what I was told. The last time I was at the local boutique that sells the line, there was a woman buying 10 250ml bottles. I can only assume that they were for some high-flying gifts. July 21, 2014 at 6:29pm Reply

    • neo: love your comment george..after reading it I erased tom ford from my list of ‘wanted’ perfumes.. 🙂
      he definitely might have npd.. October 7, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

  • Annikky: This sounds so good and I have a long history of falling for Ford’s fragrances. Fortunately/unfortunately, the only one I love without any reservations is Velvet Gardenia and since it’s discontinued, I’ve managed to resist buying anything else. I did get Tuscan Leather for my boyfriend, though, and have been seriously tempted by Fleur de Chine. July 21, 2014 at 8:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Fleur de Chine is on my own list of temptations, and I’ve discovered that even more than my beloved Shanghai Lily, it doesn’t smell like anything else I have. It’s exerting its potent draw. 🙂 July 21, 2014 at 6:30pm Reply

      • Annikky: Yes, I haven’t found anything that smells similar to Fleur de Chine either. My problem with FdC is that – uncharacteristically for a Ford fragrance – it’s very mellow on me and I want it to be more intense.

        Shanghai Lily is lovely, but sometimes the clove irritates me and overpowers everything else. I prefer Lys Fume, although it’s objectively speaking probably a less successful perfume, but I love it. When I was in Paris at the Tom Ford counter recently, they sprayed me with it and the (male) SA said enthusiastically: “This is perfect for you! It’s classy, elegant and very, very feminine!” Now, I’m sure they are trained to say this to anyone who looks like a potential customer (I had made an effort that day), but I felt great anyway and left in a good mood. Sometimes the service at the high end counters can be quite aloof, so I really appreciated that experience. July 22, 2014 at 7:52am Reply

        • Victoria: That counter (was it at Galeries Lafayette?) does have good service. I bought a lipstick there not long ago, and it was a nice experience too. I only wanted a particular color, but they’ve suggested that I try several, and I ended up picking something that went better with my skintone, based on their recommendations. July 22, 2014 at 1:21pm Reply

  • yomi: Hello Victoria, lovely review as always! Yes tom fords perfumes are always well made, but the prices are something else! As a perfume manufacturer myself I secretly admire how the Estee lauder companies- the parent company of tom ford gets away with it! TF has a loyal following and that’s admirable given their very aspirational prices! And in less than a decade made his fragrance line very successful. July 21, 2014 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: Tom Ford brand has done a great job at marketing itself, and of course, the fashion background of Ford and his style have a lot to do with that. It’s too expensive, but at least, he doesn’t shirk on quality. July 21, 2014 at 6:32pm Reply

    • maurice williams: Does Tom Ford Mandarin last longer than 2 hours April 5, 2016 at 5:28pm Reply

  • jillie: Oh my giddy aunt ….. I was salivating at your review of this but then had a reality check when I saw its price! Think I had better not test it in case I fall in love with it. As you say, Eau d’Ete is absolutely gorgeous and I have been virtually living in it while we suffer this heat wave.

    How would you compare the Ford with Jo Malone’s Lime Basil and Mandarin, which sprang to my mind while reading your description? Also, what about Guerlain’s Mandarine Basilic? July 21, 2014 at 9:37am Reply

    • Elena: I am also curious to hear how it compares with Mandarine Basilic, which I’ve used for a couple of years now. (And can be had for a fraction of this cost…) I’m in no danger of affording this, though it is now at the top of my list to douse myself in next time I’m at the perfume counter. July 21, 2014 at 9:44am Reply

      • Victoria: I think that Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine is a good alternative, if you would like a freshening but sweet citrus. Mandarine Basilic is good too, and well, the price is reasonable. July 21, 2014 at 6:36pm Reply

    • Lucas: The price is too shocking, isn’t it? July 21, 2014 at 11:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I should have mentioned those two among other colognes, but since they’re not my top favorites, they flew under the radar. Lime Basil and Mandarin is much sharper, less soft and floral, and much less complex. The intro is zesty and citrusy, where in Mandarino di Amalfi, you already notice the spicy and floral nuances.

      Guerlain’s Mandarine Basilic is sweeter and muskier in the drydown, and more like a realistic mandarin right off top. Mandarino di Amalfi is more subtle and polished all along. This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on what you’re going for. July 21, 2014 at 6:35pm Reply

  • Alessandra: I L O V E Mandarine Basilic so much. Even though my fave summery Tom Ford remains the wonderful Neroli Portofino, I am really curious about this new entry in the Tom Ford family, although I have to say that the smell of mandarins on the skin does not make me enthusiastic. A propos of this, I don’t know whether I am an isolated case – quite possibly – but on my skin, Atelier Cologne’s Orange Sanguine smells of mandarins, rather than proper oranges… which is why I much prefer it on clothes. I wonder about my skin sometimes. July 21, 2014 at 9:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Hey, I would love Orange Sanguine to turn into a mandarin on me! Lucky you. 🙂 July 21, 2014 at 6:36pm Reply

      • Alessandra: Hahahha! We should exchange skins, dear Victoria, just for the occasion! I don’t mind mandarin too much but it’s not my fave note either, at least on my skin… except for Miller Harris’ tangerine vert, which really suits me 🙂 July 22, 2014 at 5:31am Reply

        • Victoria: Tangerine Vert is wonderful while it lasts, but on me, it’s too fleeting. July 22, 2014 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Alessandra: Also…. funny someone would mention lime basil and mandarin…. another perfect example of something that’s a complete disaster on my skin 🙁 July 21, 2014 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: It doesn’t work on me either, and it falls apart soon enough. July 21, 2014 at 6:37pm Reply

  • Lucas: The description you have given is beautiful and it makes Mandarino di Amalfi a lovely perfume but just like you, I’m not ready to pay this level of a price for such a scent.
    I will stick to Eau d’Italie Acqua Decima for now and I have to try Eau d’Ete from Nicolai. July 21, 2014 at 11:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Eau d’Ete by Nicolai is a must-try if you would like a summer cologne that’s not anything standard. Very well-crafted too! July 21, 2014 at 6:37pm Reply

  • OperaFan: I still remember when Neroli Portofino was new. My friend and I were handed scented cards on the way down to the cosmetics dept at Bergdorf’s, and the first thought that came to mind was – fancy laundry detergent! Of course, I didn’t take the time to analyze its nuances, but the price quote we received was enough to discourage us from exploring the fragrance further.

    Since I’ve been without a job the last 6 months, I’ve become more conscious of prices. I’m looking more among my vast collection of neglected fragrances for inspiration rather than making new acquisitions. Apparently I have quite a treasure trove. Even 4711 works as a wonderful refresher or citrus layer topper for a fragrance pairing.

    My favorite mandarine perfume is the long discontinued Robert Isabell fragrance of the same name – a rich, jucy mix of mandarine fruit and blossoms on a sandalwood base. I still owne his Ceylon, an orange-tea floral. It’s drier, but not as intense as Mandarine. July 21, 2014 at 12:10pm Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt like that about Neroli Portofino. If I remember right, the beginning was fine but then it started smelling more and more like laundry detergent. July 21, 2014 at 1:21pm Reply

      • OperaFan: Well that makes 2 of us. 🙂
        I liked NP enough, but not at that price point. July 22, 2014 at 11:44am Reply

    • Victoria: 4711 is sold here at pharmacies and even supermarkets, so it’s a very affordable and popular cologne. I’ve been using it in my bath often this summer, and whenever it gets hot, out comes my bottle. Not too complicated, but just right on a hot day.

      I remember Robert Isabell’s perfume line really well, and it was fantastic all around. He didn’t just go for the standard florals, as one might have expected out of a florist. July 21, 2014 at 6:40pm Reply

      • Alessandra: same here, one can find it easily in supermarkets in italy, which is brilliant July 22, 2014 at 5:33am Reply

        • Victoria: And their soap is great too! July 22, 2014 at 1:15pm Reply

      • OperaFan: It’s unfortunate that the Isabell line was discontinued. They were like nothing I had tried before. July 22, 2014 at 11:47am Reply

        • Victoria: For me, it was one of the first non-major department stores lines I’ve tried, and it was such a discovery. July 22, 2014 at 1:32pm Reply

  • Austenfan: It sounds wonderful. But as it is pricey, and as I already own so many summery,citrusy florals, I will pass on this one. It’s good to know though, that TF makes good perfume, and I am glad you reviewed it.
    Whenever I see TF’s name mentioned I’m always thinking of the “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Unfair, undoubtedly but the association lingers. July 21, 2014 at 12:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Partially true, I think, because the price isn’t quite justified. On the other hand, if I remember correctly, you already have several Parfums de Nicolai colognes. Eau d’Ete and Cologne Sologne are two of my favorites from her. July 21, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I know I’m doing TF an injustice because he is obviously talented but somehow that association is set in stone in my brain. I’m very glad however that you have done such a balanced review of this. It’s good to realise that one’s prejudices are just that: Prejudices.
        I think I have all the Nicolaï colognes and apart from Eau Soleil all the summer eaux are covered as well. So I obviously do not need this. I will try it though, as I love some of Becker’s creations for By Kilian.

        I did try Shanghai Lily about a month ago. It is indeed very pretty.But if I buy another lily it will probably be Lys Méditerrannée. July 22, 2014 at 5:51am Reply

        • Austenfan: I put in one “n” too much in LM. July 22, 2014 at 6:00am Reply

        • Victoria: Admittedly, Lys Méditerranée is more unusual in its salty twist. July 22, 2014 at 1:16pm Reply

          • Austenfan: But less obviously pretty?

            I just remembered that if I do buy another lily it will probably end up being Baiser Volé edt and not Lys Méditerranée. Saves a lot of money as well. July 22, 2014 at 1:24pm Reply

            • Victoria: I think so, since Shanghai Lily has more sweetness and spice, and it feels more decadent and lush. I like the idea of a sheer and salty lily. July 22, 2014 at 1:35pm Reply

              • Austenfan: I was very pleasantly surprised by both lilies when I tried them at Senteurs d’Ailleurs. It is still not my favourite note. The Malle that blew my socks off though was Cassie. July 22, 2014 at 2:17pm Reply

                • Victoria: Between the two, I’d also go for Cassie. It’s a true gem! July 22, 2014 at 6:01pm Reply

                  • Austenfan: I sprayed one of those Malle tester cards with it. It lasted for days. It has this wonderful radiant drydown. I’m saving my euros for it. July 23, 2014 at 7:44am Reply

              • Austenfan: It “felt” quite close to DK Gold, whereas LM felt totally different. July 23, 2014 at 7:43am Reply

  • melissa: Perhaps if it performs well it will come out in the more reasonably priced body oil, like Neroli Portofino. July 21, 2014 at 12:39pm Reply

    • melissa: Normally typos don’t bother me much but the hyphen I just added after that adverb is burning my eyes. Apologies! July 21, 2014 at 12:41pm Reply

      • Victoria: No worries, I’ll fix it, if you like. July 21, 2014 at 6:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that would be wonderful! I like Neroli Portofino oil very much, and the price is better. July 21, 2014 at 6:42pm Reply

      • Alessandra: there is also a rather persistent body spray for neroli portofino, which is pretty cheap (about 50 euros for a large spray can). I think I’ll get that one, in fact 🙂 July 22, 2014 at 5:34am Reply

        • Victoria: Interesting! I haven’t seen it yet, but I will check it out. July 22, 2014 at 1:16pm Reply

  • solanace: It lasts! Now, that´s a nice feature, and makes me want to reach a TF counter. I really enjoyed Hermes Eau de Mandarine Ambrée, which was not uber fleeeting on me as well. I would love to try the two side by side. As for the price… aspirational is a good word. July 21, 2014 at 2:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just put them on side by side, and Eau de Mandarine Ambrée smells more baroque in comparison with all of warm and spicy notes. But Mandarino di Amalfi is cleaner, crisper, brighter. July 21, 2014 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Cybele: now I am curious how it compares to Lime Basil Mandarin by Jo Malone? July 21, 2014 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just replied to Jillie above. It’s in the same ballpark at first, a citrus with a herbal twist, but once it dries down, you see big differences. Mandarino is more complex, more layered, and it lasts better (on me, at least). July 21, 2014 at 6:45pm Reply

      • Cybele: thanks-sorry, I had missed your comment earlier. I do love my Lime Basil Mandarin and have not found anything cologne like that is as nice on me (and no fan of Jo Malone…). I will give Tom Ford a try. July 21, 2014 at 7:12pm Reply

        • Victoria: No worries! I was musing on the differences later and wished I added more to Jillie’s comment, so I did to yours. July 22, 2014 at 1:12pm Reply

  • Andy: I should probably avoid reading anything before I’ve had something to eat, because the mention of oranges and herbs had me thinking of a marinade for chicken as I read this morning. Now that the chicken’s soaking away though, I too must add that the prices shock me anymore. When I buy perfume, I pay a price for fantasy, and for the unparalled experience I have each time I spray, I’m willing to make an investment. But at Tom Ford prices, I think the perfume would have to give me magic powers or something otherworldly for me to actually consider buying. July 21, 2014 at 3:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I completely agree with your comment on prices and the cost/benefit analysis one undertakes before buying. Everyone has their own personal threshold, but for me, since I can shop around, I usually find that I can get away with not paying Tom Ford’s prices. On the other hand, many of his fragrances are beautiful, and it’s a pleasure to smell them.

      Actually, wouldn’t mandarin and tarragon (or basil) be a great marinade for fish or chicken? 🙂 I must try it! July 21, 2014 at 6:48pm Reply

      • Andy: Yes, by and large the quality of the Tom Fords is impressive. It’s true, I could probably try shopping around a bit, but when I see prices over $200 for 50ml, I feel a little defeated, and end up avoiding the line rather unnecessarily. Of course, sampling for sheer pleasure has little (probably, almost nothing) to do with actually buying perfume, but that’s another matter.

        Mandarin and tarragon sounds perfect! I ended up doing more of a moist rub in the end (less messy, and I figure lets me concentrate flavors using smaller quantities of each ingredient), with thyme and orange zest and juice along with smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. July 21, 2014 at 9:29pm Reply

        • jillie: Andy, just had to say thank you for the recipe inspiration. I will try this out. At the moment I am completely obsessed with thyme and smoked paprika and this combines both! July 22, 2014 at 3:28am Reply

          • Andy: Oh, my pleasure. The chicken was grilled, which I think suits those flavors especially well too. July 22, 2014 at 11:17am Reply

        • Victoria: This marinades sounds perfect! Like Jillie, I love thyme and smoked paprika, and the combination of the two is even better. July 22, 2014 at 1:13pm Reply

  • maja: Don’t know why but this summer I am trying to explore how well are not citrusy scents handling the heat (although I couldn’t resist Pamplelune a couple of times) so I am not going to rush to try this also because no store carries Tom Ford where I live. Maybe sometime in autumn…
    I love the scent of tiny, plump mandarines though and I happen to have two small mandarine trees in the garden. Their leaves emanate almost the same scent of the fruit itself. 🙂 July 21, 2014 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also love the scent of not yet ripe mandarins. In the winter, I buy the ones with green skin just to smell, and the brightly colored ones to eat. During our winter trip to India, we tried the local oranges, which were dry and fibery, but the aroma of the peel was incredible. It made me think of green mandarins. July 21, 2014 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Etomidac: This sounds like a beautiful Italian daydream.
    The imagery you described here is marvellous!
    Also, who wouldn’t want a citrus summer fantasy fragrance that TRULY LASTS? They almost never do and this alone makes me wasn’t to try it!

    Have you sampled Costa Azzurra by any chance? July 21, 2014 at 5:55pm Reply

    • Etomidac: Ugh. Auto-correct.
      Meant to type: Want to try it! July 21, 2014 at 5:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried Costa Azzurra yet, since the store didn’t have their testers out. But I’m looking forward to trying it too. Apart from Lime Azure (which was too conventional), the rest of Tom Ford’s colognes have been great. July 21, 2014 at 6:21pm Reply

  • Julie: Tried this last week while at Neiman’s in Chicago and really liked it. There’s another one that’s new along the same lines with blue bottle, but I thought this one was the best.
    Price is crazy, but there are always decants! July 21, 2014 at 8:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Costa Azzurra, I think? I haven’t yet tried it, but I’m curious about it. July 22, 2014 at 1:12pm Reply

  • enEspanola: After 20 years of reactions to scent so bad my tongue would swell (and still does with synthetic fragrances), if I ran into TF – possible in nearby Santa Fe – I would drop to my knees and hail him. His fragrances are singularly and uniformly unoffensive to my olfactory system, and locally available where many other brands aren’t. Niche offerings are often pleasant but not terribly complex nor long lasting. While not low, TF’s prices look different from my perspective. July 22, 2014 at 4:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that they work so well for you! Certainly, the price and whether the perfume is worth it depends on some subjective factors, but there is no doubt that these fragrances are well-crafted. July 22, 2014 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Kat: I haven’t explored the Tom Ford line of scents as much as I would like (big exception being my precious tiny decant of Velvet Gardenia) and I will probably skip this one.

    (But your recent reviews of Shanghai Lily and Sahara Noir have made made me determined to get some samples;)

    But I also can’t really decide if I really want to commit to that kind of price range (when there’s a bunch Chanel Exclusifs that I still long for)

    PS I love the shout out to my beloved Les Nuits d’Hadrien…I like it much better than the classic Eau d’Hadrien (sacrilege I now) July 22, 2014 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not at all! I also prefer it now to the original. Les Nuits d’Hadrien has such a beautiful drydown, and I love how it changes as I wear it, from sparkling and spicy to dark and mellow. July 22, 2014 at 6:02pm Reply

  • Sofie: The price made me smile… Last week I was spending a few hours in transit in Singapore airport, the most enjoyable way possible, sniffing away at the perfume shop. At one point, an immaculately dressed man (business?) came in, let himself be guided to the Tom Ford line, sprayed cards and sniffed everything, decided on one he liked and bought a big bottle. The whole experience probably took him five minutes. My newbie self, watching him, almost got a heart attack… But it made me realise that, more than quality perfumes, Tom Ford is selling the idea of exclusivity. Like haute couture fashion. And like haute couture fashion, you know you buy quality, but you pay more for the name. That whole experience just put it all in perspective for me, and I’m smiling thinking about that man casually mentioning ‘oh yes, this smell? Just something from Tom Ford.’ Btw, on the note of haute couture, if you were to buy something fashion, it would probably last you a lifetime but how often would you wear it? Where as for perfume, if you make a conscious buy, it would last you a very long time and give immense pleasure. So, in that effect I think the perfume is probably more affordable. Still out of my reach though :-). July 22, 2014 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: You can definitely justify it that way. I know, I sometimes do! 🙂

      But your explanation makes a lot of sense to me. It’s similar to any brand that carefully cultivates a certain image and is willing to invest into building it through quality. The customers are expected to pay premium, but what they get is a well-made product. Not all Tom Ford’s perfumes are successful or interesting enough, of course, but there are many good options. As long as one can afford them… July 22, 2014 at 6:07pm Reply

  • Amer: Nice. Will definitely give it a try the next time I find the TF counter unattended by the snobbish SA. Wouldn’t ever consider a purchase though, for the reasons you mention. Would you consider Azemour as a fitting inclusion in your sun kissed summer fantasy list? July 23, 2014 at 6:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Azemour definitely should be there too. I often think of it as a chypre masquerading as cologne, which makes it even more interesting. July 23, 2014 at 7:47am Reply

  • Olivia: This sound like a lovely TF perfume and I agree his line is beautifully-made and seems to last well which may go some small way to compensating for the eye-watering prices! It’s certainly on my bucket list but I’ve struggled to commit to parting with the cash. I’m a huge TF fan and agree – he is selling luxury in a bottle and is fairly unapologetic about it. November 25, 2014 at 1:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with you, Olivia! That’s a good way of describing his line in general. I like Mandarino di Amalfi (although not its grammatically incorrect and awkward-sounding name), but I can’t bring myself to part with that kind of money. November 25, 2014 at 3:09am Reply

  • Oona: Since mandarin is the main topic here, and you also mentioned Orange Sanguine from Atelier (which i just picked up in a purse spray duo with Vanille Insensee at sephora for 35$) Have you tried Atelier’s Mandarine Glaciale? I tried it today and the ginger kick was glorious, but the price for the sanguine/vanille duo was too good to pass up. January 15, 2016 at 4:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I smelled it briefly and I really liked it. Only the drydown is slightly too metallic and sharp, but the top notes are delicious. January 15, 2016 at 4:52am Reply

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