Tuberose Series Part 1: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur

First up, a Stealth Tuberose – betcha didn’t know it was one! Unless you’ve worn it, of course, upon which the tuberose is like the face of an old friend, at an event where you never expected to see her.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur eau de toilette
Date released: 2007                        
Perfumer: David Apel
Sample provenance: my 1-oz bottle, bought on ebay from individual seller, not perfume distributor

Subcategory: Gentle white floral with tuberose

If you smelled the original Black Orchid edp, and you’re thinking that Voile de Fleur is simply the edt version, you’re mistaken. The listed notes for each only overlap a little, and the proportions are different, so that each fragrance has a different focus. BO is, well, weird – a plum-cucumber-dirt-cocoa thing, with a touch of Dior Poison and another of Youth Dew. It’s intriguing but not wearable, in my opinion. A check of the reviews on basenotes.net and fragrantica.com reveals that there are very few people that liked both BO and VdF; most commenters loved one and not the other. (Some people hated both.)

Voile de Fleur shares the plum and the white flowers, and the woody base, of BO, but it has a whole different take on the matter: it’s pretty.

Here’s Tania Sanchez’ review from PTG:
           **** Fracas gardenia. A smiling, bonny tuberose halfway between Fracas and Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, fresh and lovely with a sleepy languor, simply beautiful in all its parts.

I think she’s right on the number of stars – and right on its being primarily tuberose, a lovely natural one blended with ylang and lily – but a little optimistic on the description of the feel. I never get “sleepy languor.” I get “edgy white florals.” In fact, at times I feel a little worried that VdF is going to whip off her stiletto pump and nail me in the eye. For what? Just because.

(Digression: Ever see “Single White Female”, with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh as the crazy copycat roomie? Scared me for weeks. Admittedly I have low tolerance for Scary Movies, but I like to think that’s because I have sufficient imagination to feel the effects keenly. Or I could just be a chicken, there’s that possibility.)

Here are the notes for VdF:
Black truffle, ylang-ylang, bergamot, blackcurrant, honeysuckle, gardenia, lily, plum, black pepper, lotuswood, succulent fruit, hot milk, cinnamon, vanilla tears, patchouli, sandalwood, balsam.

No mention of tuberose, did you notice? And how kind of Mr. Ford to specify that the fruit note is “succulent.” The milk’s hot, by the way… Oh, well, I suppose that the tuberose + truffle could be close to gardenia, so I’ll buy that one. And the blackcurrant and plum warranted mentioning on their own, so I’ll stop whining about Tom Ford’s I’m Way Cooler Than Thou-ness now. (Bonus: this one’s in wide distribution, and therefore very affordable. I’m regularly seeing 1oz bottles on eBay for about $20, and 1.7oz bottles at online discounters for $50.)

On my skin, though, VdF is mainly this: plum, white florals, cream, wood, and a mysterious dark thread (leather? balsam?) that winds its way through the scent like vaguely threatening kudzu tendrils. Some days I get more Dark Thread; some days I get more creamy floral pudding; other days it’s all plum followed by white flowers and no wood at all. I never know which face will present itself. I’m not the only one to get darkness out of it, either – see the reviews at PST and Aromascope in the Review Report.

Voile de Fleur has turned out to be a sleeper hit for me. It doesn’t make me swoon or eat my head; I can wear it to work, feel beautiful, and still get my tasks done. There’s enough interesting stuff going on in it besides the tuberose (plum and wood), that I don’t wind up feeling like a 50’s pinup girl with a tropical flower in my hair while trying to calculate the early-pay discount for the truck-repair shop down the street. Perfectly suitable for work. If I apply a little more heavily after dinner, The CEO enjoys snurfling my neck, and that’s pleasurable too.

The Bottom Line (see below for explanations of my eclectic judging criteria):

Quality A-
Grab-scale score 8
Short description Plum tuberose; interesting but doesn’t distract.
Cost $           * Note: this one is out of production, apparently, and unavailable at retail, although you can buy it on ebay and online discounters)
Earns Compliments? Yes
Scent presence Persistent (2 spritzes last 10-12 hours), mild to moderate sillage.
Review Report: Perfume-Smellin’ Things, Now Smell This, Aromascope, Blogdorf Goodman (brief)

(The Bottom Line criteria:
“Quality” refers to how well-made I think the fragrance is. Does it smell natural? (I freely admit that I don’t have any background in chemistry, and at times I may be totally and completely wrong.) Does it flow from one stage to another seamlessly? Are all the stages pleasant, or just the top? Do the notes have synergy and smell good together? Scored on an A-F scale.
“Grab-scale score” simply means, Does the fragrance “grab” me – please me? I’m the only person reviewing, so mine’s the only opinion that matters with this score. I don’t care if Luca Turin or Patty at Perfume Posse loves it, this one’s all about me, me, me. Also, frequently I’ll notice that some really well-made perfume just does nothing for me emotionally, and I don’t want to waste my time with stuff I don’t like.
“Short description” – self-explanatory. Lifted from PTG.
“Cost” is also lifted from PTG, and in fact, I’m using the Turin-Sanchez model for the “standard US retail price for the smallest full-size bottle of the lowest concentration in standard distribution.”  If it’s NOT available at retail price, I’ll let you know where it can be found, and for how much.  I’ll be honest, sometimes it’ll be ebay, because I like vintage. 
$ 1 – 50
$$ 51-100
$$$ 101-200
$$$$ over 201 (yeah, right, like I’m gonna review one that expensive!)
“Earns compliments?” – another self-explanatory criterion. Am I the only one who likes it?
“Scent presence” – how long does it last with my standard two spritzes (one wrist, one base of neck)? How far does it radiate? Do I smell it a lot, or do I have to snort my skin? Can other people smell me beyond my standard 3-foot radius?
“Review Report” – links to other blog reviews I found worth reading.)

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6 thoughts on “Tuberose Series Part 1: Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur”

  1. I do quite like this one and I absolutely see a similarity with EL PC Tuberose Gardenia in terms of its upbeat prettiness! And I agree that Black Orchid is just too odd to be wearable.

  2. Why does this one make me happy, and PCTG make me feel silly? I don't know, but that's the case. Black Orchid is bizarre. Carlos was commenting the other day on NST that he loves it – I'll bet it's better on a man.

  3. I saw this at Marshall's once for $25 and didn't get it – a decision that still haunts me. I went back and forth about it for a week, but the package was torn up and with the dark glass, I couldn't tell how much was in there. I didn't want to pay $25 if the bottle was mostly empty and I really couldn't tell how much was in there. *sigh*

  4. So I bought a sample on your recommendation, and may I just say right now, as a HUGE fan of BO, I love this even better…. in the opening. I love the floral curlicues and the pumped up plummy/pineapple (I *cannot* believe I am writing this!)But– BO has what is one of my, say, top 3 drydowns of all time: powdery cedar/sandalwood. Cannot get enough– if it went straight to that after 15 minutes, I would wear that and nothing else all of the time. VdF– I have to say, on the first wearing, kinda died on me. I'll definitely try it again and live with it some more. I wrote that BO is the smell of derangement– I think your SWF analogy may be quite apt: the killer femme scent.Anyway– your rec made me really happy!! Cheers!!

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