When I was in college, I got it in my head somehow that I needed a signature scent. Up until that point, I’d been wearing Victoria’s Secret Noir Tease, unless I stole a spray of my mom’s perfume before a big event. But I wanted to find a smell that people would remember me by, that people would smell and instantly think of me.
I went to Sephora and took a fragrance quiz. I knew I didn’t want anything too floral or sweet. I’ve never been one for sugary or flowery scents. I wanted something dark, spicy, and different. My quiz came back with one perfume that was my top match: Tom Ford Black Orchid. I smelled it and was instantly sold.
I pooled together my babysitting money for my first bottle, and though I now have an impressively large fragrance collection, I always find myself going back to Black Orchid. I wore the scent exclusively for a few years, and I’m sure if you asked anyone who knew me between 2015 and 2019, they would instantly recognize the scent as my “signature,” as I originally intended.
Black Orchid was born from Tom Ford’s quest to find the “perfect flower.” It’s not a typical orchid scent—black orchids are rare and mesmerizing. (If you’ve read The Orchid Thief, you know how special orchids can be.) In nature, there’s no orchid that’s truly black, but some are dark enough to look almost black, and they’re hard to find.
Tom Ford’s Black Orchid perfume is the perfect dark perfume. It blends together florals and spices in a way that’s genuinely hypnotic—to me, no other fragrance comes close. The heart of the fragrance is black orchid, while black truffle, bergamot, black plum, noir gourmand accord, and patchouli round everything out.
While I’ll happily wear this fragrance every day, this is the perfect special-occasion fragrance. Wear it on a date, a night out, or whenever you want to feel confident. It’s luxurious, sophisticated, and modern while also feeling timeless. I’ve been wearing it for years, and I’ve honestly lost track of how many people ask me what scent I’m wearing when I have it on—it’s that good.
I’m a sucker for the original Black Orchid Eau de Parfum, but that makes the Parfum even more alluring. The gold bottle is described as the “most potent version of Black Orchid ever made.” It’s basically an amped-up version of the black bottle, with the addition of ylang-ylang and golden rum to make the scent even more intoxicating. The fragrances are very similar, but the Parfum is more intense and reads a bit more masculine than the Eau de Parfum.