Tom Ford Private Blend Venetian Bergamot1 was just released. (Does anyone know the connection between Venice and bergamot? Me neither.) A nice, but distracted — there was a Seattle Seahawks' player standing next to me — sales assistant at my local Nordstrom made me a huge sample of Venetian Bergamot, and he let me know it was selling, selling, selling (sotto voce) "...as all Tom's things do."
Venetian Bergamot starts with dark bergamot seasoned with pepper, ginger and indistinct, cheap-smelling, "flowers"; the ginger is of the preserved, not fresh, variety. Venetian Bergamot then presents a so-so bergamot-ginger-light floral combo for about an hour on my skin. Then: things turn unexpectedly nasty. On the first day I wore Venetian Bergamot, about 70 minutes after application, I detected a wild-animal/fecal aroma in my office. I immediately looked at the bottoms of my shoes (all clear) then "gingerly" sniffed the trash cans, before realizing I was the one stinking up my office — courtesy of Venetian Bergamot.
Venetian Bergamot's peppered, gingered, musk-ed-up mid-section (civet-y) is unpleasant on me: is it musk (I usually like civet) or a fragrance accord gone waaaaaaay wrong? Unfortunately, this distasteful part of Venetian Bergamot lasts a long time before fading into a vague, hard-to-smell tonka bean-and-Cashmeran finish. On one day of wear, I described Venetian Bergamot to a friend as dumbed-down Guerlain Jicky. Venetian Bergamot is my least favorite Tom Ford fragrance...by a wide margin: overall, it smells "stingy," dull and unpleasant. And you get all that for a minimum of $220.
I wondered why the Nordstrom sales assistant gave me almost 10 ml of Venetian Bergamot. I discovered the reason over several days of wear: if you apply a "normal" amount (three or four sprays) of Venetian Bergamot, it fades fast and you (mostly) avoid the feral accord. I used over 3 ml with each wearing to get a feel for the fragrance, and the more I applied, the harsher and more apparent the "musk" was.
Tom Ford Venetian Bergamot is available in 50 ml ($220), 100 ml ($300) and 250 ml ($535) Eau de Parfum.
1. The fragrance notes feature bergamot, black and pink pepper, ginger, ylang ylang, magnolia, gardenia accord, cedar, pepperwood, sandalwood, tonka bean, amber and cashmere accord.