Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
As a designer, Tom Ford is known for “sex appeal”. Apparently, this means exposing a lot of skin, wearing a lot of shiny things at once and never underestimating the power of a glossy lip. When you see the “sex appeal” that Tom Ford constructs, you can tell this is a guy who grew up in Texas and has enjoyed many nights in disco-glamour-era NYC. He’s all about a mix of leopard prints, bronzed skin, fur, stilettos, daring necklines and high hemlines. It’s a lot of everything and I think the brands perfumes also resemble Tom Ford’s runway aesthetic. So much is going on in a Tom Ford perfume at any given moment. This abundance can come across as sexy/glamorous or even tacky/vulgar (just like pop-cult sex symbols). This Tom Ford aesthetic is something that you love or something that you hate (just like pop-cult sex symbols). As someone that is fascinated by how our society defines, shapes and reacts to sex symbols, I’m fascinated by the Tom Ford brand.
Orchid Soleil is one of those perfumes that manages to be pleasant while also being repulsive. Like the rest of the Tom Ford designer/non-exclusive¹ perfumes, it’s weird but I don’t know if that was its intent. I want to say its genius but then I realize maybe this is just what happens when you make a perfume that has everything going on at once. Regardless, it’s an intriguing perfume. It really keeps me engaged with its olfactory associations. Was that its intent? Probably not. The intent was probably “Buy this; it’s a new Tom Ford” but hey, I’m a Perfume Person, I’m going to add more to than what was intended.
Orchid Soleil opens as this sci-fi, metallic white floral. It’s like an android wearing jasmine and tuberose perfume. And like Black Orchid, there’s a weird cucumber-y thing going on in the opening that can either come across as fresh or swampy. I imagine the metallic, mothball (slightly green) but most definitely a white floral opening has most people running away in the first 30 seconds. Like all of the other regular ‘ole lineup of Tom Ford perfumes, this one is polarizing. As the fragrance dries down, it’s still like vintage Fracas sprayed all over a thrift store coat (mothballs) but it gets a little sweeter with steamed basmati rice and funeral lilies. The heart is an “IN ‘YO FACE!” tuberose with pollen-y lilies. The lilies sometimes come across as fruity like stewed plums or other times spicy and a little meaty, like chorizo. But, really if you aren’t really paying attention, it smells like a huge white floral that wears you like you’re the vintage fur thrift store coat (that really needs to go to the cleaners first). However, those around me said I smelled like “pretty tuberoses” so it’s possible that I’m noticing more than I should. The dry-down is sweeter and reminds me of Jamaican cornmeal pudding/pone. It’s starchy, sweet vanilla with dry spices. It eventually gets this powdery incense and sharp, dry woods thing going on that reminds me of the dry-down of Black Orchid but with more spices and more bittersweet vanilla.
Orchid Soleil is the most obnoxious perfume that I’ve smelled since first trying Black Orchid. You can read my review of Black Orchid, but I didn’t get along with it for YEARS and then it clicked with me one day. Orchid Soleil is just as obnoxious but in a different way (hello, white florals!) but for me, I find it much more enjoyable to wear than Black Orchid (white florals like me). Saying this, there’s a lot of flaws with Orchid Soleil and most of it is in the marketing. If you are expecting a different version of Black Orchid (as the copy suggested), you will be disappointed. Orchid Soleil is a very Tom Ford perfume (like it’s loud and has everything in it), but it’s not some “tropical Black Orchid”. It’s not even beachy and nobody’s “bare skin” smells like this. It’s an obnoxious white floral that I doubt is going to become some epic “unisex” fragrance in the Youtube FragComm realm. I think many devout Black Orchid or Violet Blonde wearers will not just dislike this, but they’ll hate it (a few will love to hate it). This is the sort of perfume for people that like loud white florals in the vain of Gucci Rush, Dior Hypnotic Poison or maybe even Coty Sand & Sable. Honestly, I think of it like the perfume equivalent of leopard print. And you already know if you are the type of person that is going to wear leopard print or not.
Notes listed include pink pepper, bitter orange, cypress, red spider lily, tuberose, chestnut cream, vanilla, patchouli and orchid. Launched in 2016.
Give Orchid Soleil a try if you like HUGE WHITE FLORALS. Or perfumes like Gucci Rush, Dior Hypnotic Poison, Coty Sand & Sable, Madonna Truth or Dare, Piguet Fracas, Serge Lutens Cédre and/or any of those loud florals from Montale.
Projection is above average. Longevity is average to above average. On a side note, I love the rose gold bottle.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Mothball white florals and funeral flowers over a sweet, spicy Jamaican cornmeal pudding. How can I not like something that’s mainstream but this weird? I’m sure mileage will vary with this one and everyone will experience something different, but I think we can all agree that it’s a really big white floral that you’ll love to hate or hate to love. I actually see myself buying a bottle of Orchid Soleil because I feel like I should support mainstream perfumes that don’t “play it safe”. Plus, I genuinely like it…because I’m the type of person that can’t quit wearing leopard print even though I’m completely aware of its tackiness. I mean I mostly wear head-to-toe black but it takes everything I have not to wear head-to-toe animal prints daily.
On a side note, I realize I like the Tom Ford perfumes that nobody online appears to like – this one and White Patchouli.
¹The non-Private Blend perfumes. I actually like this one better than Soleil Blanc!
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