Tom Ford – Noir

Posted on November 19th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Oriental, S - Z. 6 comments

Tom Ford - Noir

Tom Ford Noir is the fourth signature fragrance launched by the American designer for his male clientele. If his first men’s fragrance Tom Ford for Men reintroduced the fashion codes of the late 1970s male through a balanced layering of sporty citrus and masculine woody lichens, Tom Ford Noir skips a generation and reminds me of the masculine fragrances of the early 1990s. This era of masculine scent was signed with oriental notes of spices, woods and exotic resins. Sadly by the end of the decade the style was put to rest by a tidal wave of fresh watery colognes such as L’Eau D’Issey in 1994 and Acqua di Gio in 1996. As a child of the 90’s the first time I smelt Tom Ford Noir my teenage life literally flashed before me. Noir brought back memories of Chanel’s Egoiste, Guerlain’s Habit Rouge, Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium and all those fashion magazines my older sister used to buy with their peel and sniff perfume advertisements. Tom Ford describes Noir as his most personal fragrance yet. He describes a man that is an “urbane sophisticate who the world gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous, private man they don’t”. I can’t help but think of Noir as having a deeper personal meaning for Tom Ford, a man who began his career as a designer and then became a public figure when he reinvigorated the houses of Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci over a decade ago. For me there are many stories you could read from Noir, the violet rose accord has an antique soft-feminine quality and the spicy notes give the fragrance both a masculine and a sensual aspect. Tom Ford Noir is certainly a men’s fragrance that is multidimensional. And like all things Ford, the packaging is super-sexy in its presentation. The dark brown and gold colours; signatures of the house, have been modernized with smoky black glass and silver lettering. Classic yet modern, above all sophisticated, the packaging reflects the scent inside.

Olfactory impressions:

Tom Ford Noir is offered as an eau de parfum although I find there is still a lot of space between the notes. It is much less compact in comparison to other Tom Ford eau de parfums such as Tobacco Vanille. A rush of spices and flowers quickly overcome Noir’s top notes of verbena and bergamot. The spices include premium Madagascan black pepper oil from Givaudan (Orpur®) and a generous amount of nutmeg; Cacharel Pour Homme was the first men’s fragrance to use an overdose of nutmeg in the early 1980s. Noir’s floral notes are unexpected and add a twist to this oriental composition. A violet-laced Bulgarian rose accord brings femininity to the fragrance whilst clary sage, caraway and Egyptian geranium return the mid notes to a more masculine stance. Ford’s violet accord cleverly connects Noir to other Tom Ford fragrances, which often have a violet theme. The base is made from a beautifully constructed amber accord. It begins to show quite soon after applying the fragrance and grows stronger as the floral notes subside. Noir’s amber is made sweeter with sugary benzoin resin and oppoponax, Indonesian patchouli and vetiver bring masculinity to the heart and base of the perfume. In terms of longevity, Tom Ford Noir stays in tact on skin for around 3 to 4 hours, after which, skin is left with a powdery vanilla veil.

Suggested wearing:

Whether he is reinvigorating the chypre accord, making leather perfumes wearable or presenting classic vetiver cologne to men as though no one had thought of it before, Tom Ford has a way of making old things cool again. He knows how to make niche ideas accessible to a wider audience. For me, Tom Ford Noir is the easiest gift idea for this coming Christmas. I doubt you will find too many men complaining if a bottle was to turn up in their Christmas stocking. I might even need another bottle before Christmas at the rate I have been using mine.


Guerlain Habit Rouge, Guerlain Shamilar, Chanel Egoiste, Chanel Bois des Iles, Yves Saint Laurent Opium Pour Homme, Lagerfeld Classic by Karl Lagerfeld, Diptyque Eau Lente, Comme des Garçons 2

Perfumer: Oliver Gillotin (Givaudan)

Bottle designer: Tom Ford

Release date: 2012

Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Crisp oriental 

6 responses to “Tom Ford – Noir”

  1. ryannai says:

    Just got the TF Noir sample from a friend who had a day trip to Melbourne. It’s impossible to sample this scent in Hobart :(

    As I only recently ventured into the fragrance world, so it is hard for me draw any association with those 90’s classic that you mentioned in your blog post. The iris note at the beginning really caught my attention, it cuts through the top notes and lingers around. The image of Dior Homme Intense kept on popping up in my head whenever i take a sniff at it. Not to say that they are the same but I think TF Noir has both the softness of DHI and it’s unique twist of complexity that takes the perfume toward another level.

    This scent is quite dense, powdery and heavy for warm weather. I do wonder how you’d wear it in Sydney spring/summer heat? :)

    • Hi Ryan,

      I think the smells we grow up with have a lasting effect on our psyche throughout life. I often find myself searching my olfactory memory bank for smells I can associate a new perfume with and this can often impact whether I connect with a perfume or not. I hope you find an occasion to wear Noir in Hobart. I know most people go lighter in summer and more woodsy, oriental in winter. For some strange reason I love wearing heavier fragrances in summer. The heat brings something else out of them that you don’t get in cooler climates…. I just have to be mindful that those around me share my passion for a warm gust of vanilla summer air!

  2. laniersmith says:

    Tom Ford is a genius with a modern take on the classics, from fashion to scent to motion pictures. If I had the money I would have a closet the size of my apartment filled with Tom Ford Everything. As it is I only have one item…my beloved Tom Ford Extreme. But there is always Christmas…Santa Baby hurry down the chimney for me.

  3. Sorcery of Scent says:

    This is Comme des Garcons 2 EDP, but with more interesting top notes.
    With everything Ford and co. have access to in their perfume arsenal, I was a little disappointed by this release, in light of the fact it feels quite derivative.

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts, it is always great to see a perfume from different perspectives. I really like Noir as something that is very easy to wear. I can see a lot of men shying away from CdG2 because it has a strong personality. Noir is less overt so I think it will have a wider audience appeal. It is derivative, but I like to think it is derivative of all the right sources. Oh, nice connection to CdG2 by the way. I am going to take your lead and add it to my “if you like this” paragraph!

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