Jardin Noir Collection (Summer 2012 - I purchased all except Café Rose). Recently in 2013, he released Sahara Noir. It's safe to say that Tom Ford's fragrance offers have been growing by leaps and bounds. I wish he'd put as much energy into his makeup, giving us more frequent launches.
The 1.7 ounce bottles are $210, and the large, 8.4 flacons are $520. For a month or so, they are supposed to be Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman exclusives, but I've read they've been sighted at Nordstrom.
Each new Private Blend fragrance aims to capture a different, distinctive mood: romance, colonial elegance, exoticism, and sensuality. For Fleur de Chine, Ford said, "I imagined the romantic and mysterious women from Asia’s cinematic past - from the 1930's femme fatale in a cheongsam and dark lipstick, to the 1960's Hong Kong heroine of In the Mood for Love. I wanted to capture that fascinating, exquisite, and slightly scandalous femininity.” With Tom Ford, it's often about scandalous and sensuous. His advertisements telegraph his vision.
“Rive d’Ambre was inspired by the tradition of presenting precious citrus fruits as gifts,” revealed Ford. “True to my nature, the sparkling fruits are wrapped in rich and warm sensuality.” The fragrance is described as a golden-toned eau de cologne, an interesting portrait that attributes color to the scent of the fragrance. It features citrus fruits (a talisman of good fortune in Asia), offset with amber, tarragon, cardamom, spearmint, Cognac oil, and tolu balsam.
I was entirely prepared to love Plum Japonais, but I don't. It is a heady fragrance, and there is one note that's off-putting to my nose. The fragrance has been unofficially attributed to perfumer Christopher Sheldrake. You know Tom Ford himself isn't creating all these fragrances, right? The perfumer for his fragrances is always closely guarded information, but somehow it eventually leaks out.
Shanghai Lily completes the quartet. “This fragrance began with a dream of the Silk and Spice Roads - the ancient, Asian trading routes for luxurious and precious goods,” Ford explained. “I imagined caravans piled high with treasures and being surrounded by a multi-sensorial abundance of opulence.” Shanghai Lily is an exotic floral scent that transports the senses into a world of rare and opulent ingredients from the historic Silk Road. Warm spices, elegant florals, and addictive notes of vanilla and frankincense create a hazy reverie of glamour and temptation.
Shanghai Lily opens on notes of bitter orange, pink peppercorn, and black pepper, combined with vetiver and cashmeran. The base blends benzoin, castoreum, cistus labdanum, and guaiac wood, alongside vanilla and frankincense. If you envision the scent of lilies or a floral fragrance, based on the name, you'll be as disappointed as I was. I'm not a spice girl, and Shanghai Lily is a very spicy, woody oriental fragrance.
Tom Ford's Private Blend Atelier D’Orient fragrances are presented in the signature Private Blend bottles of Cognac-brown glass. The flacons are finished with a gold-colored name plaque and are packaged in brown boxes.
Tom Ford's vision for and execution of his Asian collection is very different from By Kilian's Asian Tales Collection. Kilian's perfumers created fragrances that stay close to the skin, offering subtly sophisticated fruits and florals - my kind of fragrances, and scents appreciated by Asian people, I'm told. On the other hand, Ford's Asian vision came to life with use of aromatic Asian ingredients - the more exotic, the better. His fragrances are bold where Kilian's spoke softly. See which collection you like best.
My recommendation for Atelier d'Orient? Try before you buy. Tom Ford counters will make samples for you, so make sure to ask. If you can't get to a counter and would like help, give Tom Ford representative Jason Layden a call at (202) 966-9700, extension 2385, at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie. He will take good care of you.
Photos courtesy of Neiman Marcus, Moodie Report, and wakayama-kanko.or.jp