The old saying has it that “everything old is new again.” Tom Ford Velvet Orchid, a salute khổng lồ the grand oriental perfumes of the 1980s, seems to lớn have taken that saying to lớn heart. Lovers of Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Estée Lauder Cinnabar, Boucheron de Boucheron, và other room-permeating, spicy-woody-ambery fragrances will want to give it a try. Fans of Velvet Orchid’s older sibling, đen Orchid, will probably see no reason to lớn switch.

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Velvet Orchid’s notes include bergamot, mandarin, honey, vanilla, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, narcissus, magnolia, Cattleya leopoldii orchid, heliotrope, rum, suede, labdanum, sandalwood, and myrrh — not that any of these notes stand out distinctly. Even without the gorgeous deco bottle và “orchid” in its name, a single whiff ties Velvet Orchid to đen Orchid.

Although Velvet Orchid has the guts lớn take the ring with any of the big orientals, it’s billed as a floriental fragrance. And maybe compared to đen Orchid, it is. I imagine the Velvet Orchid’s team of perfumers, including big names Antoine Maisondieu, Shyamala Maisondieu, Calice Becker and Yann Vasnier, plus a crowd of interns và not-yet famous noses, pondering how lớn transform black Orchid.

“We’ve got lớn make it more feminine,” Yann Vasnier might have said. “Soften it, punch up the floral notes.”

“Ix-nay on the rotten uit-fray accord,” Calice Becker could have added, but in French, of course. (Do the French speak Pig Latin?)

“But we must keep it in the spirit of đen Orchid,” I imagine Antoine Maisondieu adding from the head of the conference room’s table.

So they stripped out black Orchid’s cassis và 20% of its indoles, poured in a few beakers of jasmine, & amped the brief citrus opening. They kept đen Orchid’s hazelnut-truffle signature & its mass of warm, exotic base notes. The result is a fragrance with a sharper, more tingly floral đứng top than đen Orchid that is nearly obscured by the rest of the perfume’s muscle.

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Yes, Velvet Orchid smells more traditionally feminine than đen Orchid, but it isn’t by any means lighter or more sheer. It shares all of đen Orchid’s density, impenetrable oriental feel, toasty vanilla-amber dry down, and whopper sillage.1 khổng lồ me, Velvet Orchid hints more at silk stockings and hairspray than does black Orchid, but the average gal on the street won’t see them as very different perfumes.

In short, if you already have và love đen Orchid, you won’t get a lot that’s different with Velvet Orchid. If you almost liked đen Orchid but found it too much of a morass, you probably won’t like Velvet Orchid either. But, if you love a fragrance with a definite presence and distinct signature, you lean toward orientals, and you don’t already own black Orchid, I would give Velvet Orchid a try.

I can"t help thinking that Velvet Orchid was made for women like the glamorous stars of Dynasty & Falcon Crest — people who say "Darling" và wear gold lamé and velvet during the day. Can shoulder pads & glossy lipstick be far behind?


Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Eau de Parfum comes in two sizes, 50 ml ($112) và 100 ml ($159) và is available at higher-end department stores.

1. I once had a trùm cuối who told me he sprayed đen Orchid in the kitchen lớn mask the stink of fried fish.