When the 12 Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances were released simultaneously in 2007, I threw up my hands. I was already drowning in untried samples of new fragrances, and obtaining samples of the Private Blends would have required either begging friends in New York to trudge to the Tom Ford store or ordering the samples online myself (clicking “BUY NOW” 12 times didn’t sound like fun). I ‘forgot’ about the Private Blends until recently when a reader of Now Smell This (a fragrance lover from Brooklyn, NY) decided my ignorance of the Tom Ford Private Blends was inexcusable; he sent me samples of 10 of the fragrances immediately and I obtained the two other fragrance samples from a friend in Los Angeles who got them from Neiman Marcus. (Thank you both!)
I don’t dislike any of the Private Blends; they are made from high-quality ingredients and many of them provide a level of complexity and development that is lacking in most fragrances I sample. After wearing all the Private Blends, my favorites are The Classic (Neroli Portofino) and The Weirdo (Purple Patchouli).
Purple Patchouli was created by perfumer David Apel (who also developed Bois Rouge in this series) and contains orchid accord, citrus, purple patchouli accord, leather, amber, vetiver, Peru balsam and “spices.” Purple Patchouli starts off with citrus (lime?), spices (these are indistinct and I notice a note I’ll describe as “cinnamonwood” — not food-y cinnamon) and a buoyant, tropical/sultry flower note (must be the mysterious orchid accord). I’ve smelled plenty fragrant orchids and the orchid accord in Purple Patchouli must be “engineered” but it still smells like Mother Nature, and not just Father Givaudan, had some involvement in its creation. Of course I don’t have access to the orchid and purple patchouli accords that were created for this fragrance — but the moment I smelled Purple Patchouli, my nose did a double sniff — the perfume smelled new (strange) and vibrant.
Purple Patchouli possesses a scintillating spiciness, a delicious, focused floral note with hints of fruitiness (the type of fruitiness one smells in jasmine blossoms) and a smooth, rich leather note that blends well with the spice and floral notes. My nose does not “register” patchouli and most people who smelled this on me did not detect patchouli at all; only one friend, who met me on a day I had been wearing Purple Patchouli for over 10 hours, said: “PATCHOULI!” upon hugging me. Purple Patchouli lasts for ages on my skin and as the hours pass, it smells at times like an exotic “cola syrup” and at other times like a “liquid” leather-scented talcum powder. I find all Purple Patchouli’s stages interesting; it’s sharp, forceful and unusual.
I chose the purple smoke photo to illustrate this review not just because it’s purple, but because when I wear Purple Patchouli I don’t feel the perfume is ON me or being warmed by my body, I feel it is swirling around me, independent, and separate from my skin. This weird sensation, coupled with Purple Patchouli’s original accords, puts me into a good mood.
Tom Ford Purple Patchouli is unisex and it has great lasting power and sillage — so apply accordingly. Purple Patchouli is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum for $180 and 250 ml Eau de Parfum for $450. For buying information, see the listing for Tom Ford under Perfume Houses.