Wednesday, September 12th, 2012


The gist of Tom Ford’s newest Private Blend launch (which contains four scents) is about revealing the “forbidden sides” of four flowers: rose, narcissus, lily, and hyacinth. None of the scents struck a forbidden chord with me; I didn’t envision clandestine meetings near the ivy at midnight. Each seemed to be a different take on some of the usual ways these flowers are presented, so they may be darker, but they just didn’t resonate as truly rich and dark and forbidden.

Cafe Rose ($205.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) contains notes of saffron, black pepper, Rose de Mai, Turkish rose, Bulgarian rose, coffee, incense, amber, sandalwood, and patchouli. It begins with a strong dose of rose with a peppery edge that transitions into more and more rose over a backdrop of amber and coffee–almost reminded me of something chocolaty.  If you are looking for a real coffee or cafe presence, it’s not quite there. It’s rather subtle.  It evokes an image of sitting in an elegant rose garden after you’ve sipped your morning coffee and are just now getting up and preparing to go to work.  There’s a natural sweetness from the rose that prevails throughout the wear of the scent, a hint of spiciness that begins and ends after a few hours, while amber, patchouli, and rose remain most potent until the very end. On me, Cafe Rose lasts for eight to ten hours. It wears close to the skin for the first hour, then seems to become more present, but finally returns to a closer wear for the last couple hours.

Jonquille de Nuit ($205.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) contains notes of Wild Alpine cyclamen, acacia and angelica seeds, Egyptian violet leaf, bitter orange leaf, narcissus, orris, and amber. You may know narcissus by its more common name, daffodil. The former sounding far more in sync with the concept behind the range/scent! Of the four scents, this was the most dominated by its floral; this is narcissus over and over again. There’s a crispness with a subtle citrus–like the rind of an orange–in the beginning; it reminds me of spring gardens after a fresh rain. Within a half hour, though, it sweetens and smells like a mix of narcissus and jasmine, even if it’s not listed, that’s what I’m detecting. It loses a lot of its intriguing character once it dries down on the skin. This fragrance was particularly strong, both in its sillage and wear. The wear was still going strong after twelve hours, and even by morning (so almost twenty-four hours), I could still detect it. At that point, it was an nondescript, sweet floral.

Lys Fume ($205.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) contains notes of Italian mandarin, pink peppercorn, nutmeg, turmeric, white lilies, ylang ylang, davana, rum, vanilla, labdanum, amber, styrax, and oakwood. It’s warm, lightly sweetened and somewhat musky; it’s lily and nutmeg with a touch of pepper–it reads oriental to me. All that spice and warmth just envelop me like a soft blanket on a cool autumn evening.  Slowly, it becomes a patch of soft lilies over a background of rum, pepper, and amber. In its final stage, there’s the ylang ylang and lily playing together to create a pleasing but soft floral with the warmth of amber and the sweetness of vanilla rounding it out. Of the four, this was the “darkest” scent to me. I don’t think I’d really describe it as a dark scent overall, though. This was my personal favorite, but I tend to gravitate towards scents with amber and vanilla. The wear was around eight hours, and it wore closely to the skin.

Ombre de Hyacinth ($205.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) contains notes of galbanum, violet leaf, magnolia leaf orpur, olibanum, hyacinth, pink peppercorn, jasmine, benzoin, and musk. The opening is intriguing–it’s sharp, crisp, and green–all hyacinth and gardening with dirt on your elbows and knees. It’s grassy and earthy and a little bitter. Then I catch jasmine and more jasmine, but it softens, and the whole scent becomes less sharp, less bitter. Finally, it’s floral and musk in a way that’s not spectacular but not displeasing. There’s a lingering greenness to the fragrance that persists throughout the development and wear that makes it appeal to me. This scent was a bit stronger, so it wore longer (twelve hours) and was more noticeable when worn.

I’m not actually drawn to most floral fragrances. I’m picky about them, as too often it’s dominated by the flower of choice and translates as”springtime allergies” in my brain. By that measure, the scents I enjoyed the most were Cafe Rose and Lys Fume.  All four scents seemed a little… tame, or perhaps, restrained, is a better way to describe these.  Ombre de Hyacinth was more interesting than Jonquille de Nuit, which tended to get more generic as it wore on, while Ombre de Hyancinth managed to keep some interest with the ever-present green note–it’s a scent that, while floral, may be more polarizing. All four scents are also available in 8.4 fl. oz. bottles ($495 each).

Because Tom Ford is by no means an affordable fragrance range, one might consider decants or samples. The way they open seems to be more complex and enchanting than some of the dry downs, so I recommend at least wearing and seeing how they read on you first.  As always, fragrance is quite personal, not only because different scents trigger our own personal memories but with the way the scent interacts with one’s body chemistry.

What’s your favorite floral scent?

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36 thoughts on “Tom Ford Jardin Noir – Cafe Rose, Jonquil de Nuit, Lys Fume, Ombre de Hyacinth Reviews & Photos

  1. Mirian

    One day…I will be able to afford Tom Ford. The packaging on these is quite lovely, especially the one you received. When these become available on the perfumedcourt I might indulge.

    • Mirian

      also i don’t have a particular favorite floral perfume, but I have been aching to try L’Artisan Seville a L’Aube! It’s supposed to be the ultimate orange blossom. I also enjoy scents like honeysuckle in Annick Goutal Le Chevrefeuille. I do love musky, vanilla, oud scents. You would LOVE Bond No. 9 signature fragrance. It classifies as a parfum (bit costly) but it wears forever and it’s just divine! “Oud Extract, Rose, Tonka Beans and Musk”.

  2. Anna

    Lys Fume and Cafe Rose sound heavenly…too bad they’re so expensive! If only it was as easy to find fragrance dupes as it is to find lipstick dupes

  3. blueraccoon

    I stopped by the Tom Ford counter at my local Nordstrom’s – it’s weird, they have the scents and the lipsticks but nothing else – and the SA spritzed me with one of these, but for the life of me I cannot remember which. I do remember that it opened really well and then gave me a horrible headache and I had to run to the bathroom to wash it off my arm. Once again, perfume is not for me :(

    • Oh no! :(

      I had a friend once who said every perfumed smelled like baby vomit on her after an hour!

      • blueraccoon

        Yeah, I just really don’t do well with it, apparently. I can manage scented lotions sometimes because that tends to fade, but I think I just need to give up on using actual perfume or scented body sprays or things like that.

  4. Yellowlantern

    I was semi-hopeful about this release since I like rich florals, but I guess it’s good for my wallet that he’s sticking to his line’s signature (dense oriental scents). Nothing by Tom Ford has really struck me as being worth the extravagant price since his first scent Black Orchid, which is so cheap it’s practically free compared to the private blends. It always bugs me that his scents only come in such large bottles too. His smallest size is the majority of brands’ largest size (…wow that sounded kind of dirty).

    Other bloggers with similar scent tastes to you (I think their tastes might be similar to yours? It usually takes at least 30-40 reviews before I can get a good sense of a reviewer’s tastes down) usually think that this scent is over the top with its floralcy, but my absolute favorite floral scent is Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. It is over the top, but in the very best way. :D

    • Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Amber Absolute are pretty much the kind of scents I gravitate towards. Jonquille and Ombre aren’t oriental I’d say, so maybe worth a sniff. I also love lavender scents, but it’s the kind of fragrance I prefer in creams and oils, as it’s something I’d wear to bed.

      After fleshing the review for these out this morning, and upon learning Amber Absolute was discontinued, I had to wear it today. Still so in love with it!

  5. I love Tom Ford’s scents, but I think these might be a little soft for me. I usually need a little spice for scents to work on my skin, otherwise they just disappear. The two you preferred sound like they would probably be the ones that I would gravitate towards as well.

    • Yeah, I think if you were expecting something more OTT, these feel restrained. Well-blended scents, but they’re not necessarily ground-breaking. I think based on the ideology of the brand AND the price point, it’s hard not to want more.

  6. Marta

    I can’t stand jasmine, so of this 4 only Cafe Rose and Lys Fume call to me. I’m on the look for a new perfume, and I don’t feel bad about its prize tag (if it’s as high as its quality), but I don’t know where would I get to sample Tom Ford in my country, and there’s no way I’d spend 200+$ online for some scent I haven’t smelled. Agh >.< once more I'm considering just quit reading your blog and stop my suffering, because both scents sound awesome xD

  7. I’ve been dying to test these, especially the cafe rose!

  8. I would really love to try the Cafe Rose. I’ve purchased many Tom Ford fragrance testers from eBay since I am extremely sensitive to perfumes and so is my partner. I test multiple times–that is if it passes the initial test for both of us–More often then not, I end up washing the tester off as some actually make me feel physically ill. Tom Ford is no exception so testing is an absolutely must. I will happily wait for these babies to filter down to eBay and grab testers as a few sound intriguing and quite lovely. I used to say I could not wear florals whatsoever, but that is simply not the case and really just a matter of finding the right blend.

    • What florals have worked for you?

      • Gucci Flora and I adored Gucci Rush, Givenchy Ysatis. All have worked for me in the past. Right now I am wearing TF Jasmine Rouge. This one was not very well received by the critics since it seems there are plenty of Jasmine scents out there, but out of the TF range, it works particularly well on me.

        Hmm.. I do not think it is classified as a floral, but the perfume I wore for years to many compliments was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. It seriously clicks with me. I had a bank manager ask me what scent I was wearing when I was transferring some accounts to a new location. He turned beet red and actually asked me during our meeting. LoL! Yeah, it kinda creeped me out too!

        That being said, I am trying to go for more ‘natural’ perfumes with natural perfume oils these days and there are so many to try. I just do not seem to stay on top of what is out there. :)

      • Forgot to mention TF Violet Blonde. I was really surprised this worked on me as well.

  9. xamyx

    When it comes to floral scents, I prefer only one scent, usually rose. I like to keep it simple, and since I really enjoy the smell of rose and jasmine, among others, I don’t want anything else to compete.

  10. Bronze

    I’m a spice person and this Rose Cafe is soooo perfect. Reminds me of hiking in the woods. Just natural, light and perfect.

  11. tricia c

    christine, i cant find the click to smell button in this post!!!!

  12. It totally bugs me that they’re all the same color.

  13. Kris (kmk05)

    I love perfume, but it is something I use every day and spritz at least four times. I tend to gravitate towards fresh scents and avoid heavy, floral and fruity scents. I’m quite picky, mostly because I am not sure how well-received a more complex or heavy scent might be.

    Here in the UK it’s the price that puts me off. For something I’m going to use liberally, there’s no way I won’t feel guilty spritzing TF away! I loved Neroli but it was insanely expensive. Give me shoes instead :D

    • I can’t imagine four sprays of any TF, LOL! I usually just do one spray, maybe two, and that lasts all day for me.

      Though Neroli is one of the weaker/softer scents, so I could see that being used more liberally!

      • Kris (kmk05)

        It’s definitely because I wear fresh/soft scents. It’s more difficult to overdo them, so spritzing away is totally acceptable :P

        You definitely made me want to try more heavy scents!

        • :) I have a few bottles I use regularly of TF, and you can’t even SEE a dent. But anyway, you can always grab a decant from a retailer like The Perfumed Court – much easier on the wallet!! I find with perfumes that it’s like makeup, you’ll never get through ‘em if you have many — although worse in a way – the investment is higher typically AND one bottle will last longer than a lipstick or eyeshadow, lol!

  14. I’m sorry but what kind of word do we live in paying 205 for perfume, thats crazy talk. I don’t know about you ladies but I think I’ll stick to the cheap jlo perfume from shoppers.

  15. Jessi

    My favorite floral is also my favorite perfume of all time: Donna by Lorenzo Villarosi. It’s predominately rose, but it’s the sexiest rose you will ever smell – like rose mixed with the ocean mixed with the essence of woman. I’ve never met a man that it didn’t drive crazy.

    ‘Look him up – Villarosi is the secret poet alchemist of perfumerie. His corresponding scent for men, Uomo, is equally a huge turn-on.

  16. LH

    You have definitely made me add to my decant wishlist hopefully I have luck with some like I did with Violet blonde. Will definitely be trying some other TF fragrances thank you Christine

  17. I’ve been looking for a new perfume!! I was about to just get a basic scent like lavender, earl grey, or sandalwood (I like earthy smells) but…I may have to try this out. Tom Ford seems to never let me down.