Mainstream Monday – Sniffing a Popular Perfume
Tom Ford White Patchouli is one of those prime examples of why I love talking about perfume within a community of perfume lovers. It’s one of those that I love for all the reasons that everyone else hates it for.
When White Patchouli was launched in 2008 (the same year that I started EauMG), I immediately fell for it. And when it comes to Tom Ford and me, this is a rarity. I sniffed it and it brought to mind 1970’s sci-fi – sterile white rooms, vastness, androgynous uniforms, existentialist tension…all with an updated “70’s” note, patchouli. It was a sterilized patchouli with metallic and floral notes. My imagination took over with this one. I imagined a white laboratory floating through infinite space, a group of scientists with a THX 1138/Logan’s Run aesthetic. It was like 70’s science fiction glam, an aesthetic that I love.
When I got home and looked up reviews, I didn’t find many that were in favor of White Patchouli. YET, all of the descriptions were exactly what I was smelling. What others didn’t like was exactly what I love about this fragrance. It’s an antiseptic patchouli, almost like a “paradise engineered” 70’s amber fragrance that is an experiment with perfection not done by humans but artificial intelligence. I love how synthetic White Patchouli smells even though I’m rather certain there’s a fair amount of naturally sourced materials in it.
White Patchouli opens as a metallic patchouli. It’s like a doughy patchouli and cold, steel-like coriander with canned mandarin orange slices in syrup. It’s a Tom Ford, so you expect for the opening to have a lot going on. And it does. It’s a clean patchouli, metallic spices, sweet syrup and citrus. The heart is more of that “freshly scrubbed” patchouli but with warm, honeyed, hay-like florals and fennel blossoms. These florals add a human-like effect which contrasts the lab-like opening. Patchouli continues to be the main theme adding earth without ever being “earthy”. The heart has a hay-like rose and sweet white flowers. All of this reminds me of a replication of an English cottage garden to be paired with some sort of futurist, psychedelia, virtual reality experience. But, it’s an English cottage garden created by someone (or thing) that had never experienced a real English cottage before. They’re going by texts. White Patchouli dries down to a “bleached” patchouli with a metallic, vegetal musk and acrid amber. It’s creepily sterile, almost like a vacuum packed meditative state.
I totally get how someone wouldn’t like this fragrance. But, I love it. It’s a modern patchouli using “new technology” in patchouli that results in a squeaky clean patchouli. It’s one of those fragrances that has everything but manages to smell modern. And for a Tom Ford, it’s oddly minimalist. But, most importantly it reminds me of science fiction and revs up my imagination. I can’t say that about many other perfumes…
Notes listed include: peony, mandarin, bergamot, jasmine, rose absolute, coriander, ambrette seed, sandalwood, incense and golden amber. Launched 2008.
Give White Patchouli a try if you like patchouli flroals. Or if you like perfumes like Tom Ford Private Blend Purple Patchouli, L’Artisan Voleur de Roses, Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud, Mugler Angel and/or April Aromatics Bohemian Spice. Retailers may lump it with the feminines, but it’s unisex.
Projection and longevity are above average. However, for a Tom Ford it’s more subdue. It’s not as loud as Black Orchid.
And of course, there was this ad which is my favorite modern perfume ad. How could I not love a perfume ad with Erykah Badu?
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Antiseptic patchouli/futurist floral amber. Because it’s patchouli and because it makes me think of 70’s sci-fi, it’s one of my favorite designer launches since starting EauMG. And it’s my favorite Tom Ford. I know this isn’t the popular consensus in Perfumeworld, but that’s OK. I love Perfumeworld for putting up with my love of patchouli and geeking out. Thanks for putting up with EauMG 🙂
Want more reviews? Try…
Katie Puckrik Smells – Video review
Basenotes – Member reviews