Noir Anthracite by TOM FORD
Noir Anthracite by TOM FORD

The TOM FORD fragrance collection is massive and it touches every aspect of olfaction, boasting colognes-a-plenty, a feast of florals and more ouds than one can shake a stick at. Not to mention many other styles of fragrance! What makes the brand so good, and ultimately so successful, is the fact that the fragrances aren’t afraid to be bold. In the mainstream, fragrances are made to appeal to everyone and their cat, but at TOM FORD fragrances are created to appeal and to resonate with only some, meaning that the scents themselves are often very interesting, and with so many TOM FORD scents to chose from, one is bound to find something they like.

Speaking of TOM FORD fragrances that aren’t afraid to be bold, let’s take a look at Noir Anthracite, the latest addition to the brand’s Signature Collection. Now, if you’ve tried the original Noir, you will remember it as a plush and powdery scent that felt very much like a modern, masculine interpretation of Shalimar. Well scrap whatever thoughts you had about Noir because Noir Anthracite could not be further from the original if it tried. What Noir Anthracite does share with its namesake however, is a sense of shadow and rather than possessing a blissful purr like Noir, Noir Anthracite is a fragrance that will blow your socks clean off with its mighty roar.

Café Glamour
Café Glamour

Tom Ford is a man that knows a thing or two about glamour.  I refer you to this image of Gwyneth Paltrow dressed in TF at the Oscars, should you require any evidence.  Mr. Ford creates exceptionally tailored suits for some of the world’s most attractive gents in addition to beautiful womenswear pieces that often channel old Hollywood glamour.  He pushes the boundaries too and it’s safe to say that Ford is not averse to ‘sexing things up’ more than a little bit, as many of his advertisements will prove!

It’s safe to say that Tom Ford also knows quite a bit about fragrance too, and since he launched his first fragrance way back in 2006, he has created a veritable empire of scent that dominates department stores across the globe. Of course, when fragrance and glamour meet, the results can be very interesting indeed, and within his brand, Ford has many a fabulous fragrance, ranging from the casual chic of Violet Blonde, to the mysterious opulence of Fleur de Chine, with all of the glamour in the world in between.

I speak of the subject of glamour because Ford’s latest feminine fragrance, ‘Noir Pour Femme’, strikes me as a scent that practically pulsates with fierce feminine beauty. Created as the feminine counterpart to Noir, Tom Ford’s popular masculine from 2012, this interpretation for women has been designed to be as “suggestive as a slashed jet-black dress revealing the curve of woman’s shoulder, or the kissable dip of her back”. As you can probably imagine with a description like that, Noir Pour Femme is all sexed up glamour and no shame.

The Ever-Dapper Mr. Ford
The Ever-Dapper Mr. Ford

When it comes to perfume, Tom Ford knows what he’s doing. Not that he doesn’t know what he’s doing in the worlds of fashion and film, mind – he definitely seems pretty good in those fields too, but with perfume it is undeniable that he is a man of extraordinary style and taste. Since the launch of his flagship fragrance, Black Orchid, in 2006, Ford has crafted himself a fragrant empire that has seen the creation of over 50 fragrances. His output is prolific, varied, grand, opulent and fascinating, courting with true luxury through his unique aesthetic. Everything he does is unmistakably ‘Tom Ford’ and therefore, also pretty darn good.

Tom Ford’s fragrance line consists of two collections; the Private Blends and the Signature Collection, the latter of which showcases a more accessible range of masculine and feminine fragrances in that inimitable Tom Ford style. What strikes me as particularly intriguing about the Signature Collection is the excellent quality of the masculine offerings. When fragrances for men are so often dull, tired and unpleasant, Tom Ford’s act as a refreshing surprise that can restore one’s faith in fragrant humanity. They are handsome, stylish, classic and modern, as all masculine fragrances should be.

My favourite of Ford’s masculine fragrances is Noir – a plush, resinous and powdery scent that bears a striking resemblance to the style of the Guerlain classics, but with a modern twist. In a world of ‘fresh this’ and ‘sport that’, Noir is a bastion of hope for those that demand more from their masculine fragrance. Because it is such a breath of fresh air (not literally), Noir has deservedly been very popular, and for 2015 Tom Ford is launching a brand new interpretation of the fragrance (joining the original Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette), entitled ‘Noir Extreme’ – a new chapter in the Noir story that “reveals a new dimension of the “Noir Man”.

This is Casual for Tom Ford...
This is Casual for Tom Ford…

Last year Tom Ford released his third signature masculine fragrance under the very Tom Ford-esque moniker ‘Noir‘. This Eau de Parfum was one of 2012’s more impressive launches, so splendid it was in fact that it won a Candy (my annual awards) for Best Mainstream Masculine, beating out the likes of Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb and Guerlain’s Homme L’Eau Boisée.

New for 2013 is the Noir Eau de Toilette, a lighter and fresher version of the Noir signature. Tom Ford describes it as being “inspired by a mysterious duality of elegance and sensuality” and as far as masculine fragrances go it definitely feels elegant enough to fulfill the smart, suit-clad aesthetic of the brand, albeit in a much more ‘dressed-down’ manner.

“An oriental, sensual fragrance that captures the twin facets of the Tom Ford man; the refined, urbane sophisticate who the world gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous, private man they don’t.”

Where Noir Eau de Parfum is a contemporary and masculine take on Guerlain’s flagship fragrance Shalimar, the Eau de Toilette is more akin to a ‘légère’ or ‘light’ version. To put it another way, the EDP is best worn with a super-smart suit (or trench coat and massive scarf) and the EDT is more suited for a clean white shirt and chinos – its the difference between day and night.

Candies 2012
The Candies 2012

I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?

Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!

Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.

So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…

Tom Ford Noir
SWOON

Traipse through your local department store and you will find a barren landscape virtually void of decent masculine fragrances. Alright I’m being dramatic, of course there are a few noteworthy ones (mainly older releases), but on the whole the majority; your Calvins, Hugos and your Pacos, are definitely essays in quantity over quality. A good masculine is hard to find, it’s true, but it’s not entirely impossible.

Tom Ford is a man that cares about quality. His fragrance line, especially his signature collection, is a cut above most designer offerings (and is priced accordingly) and he has most definitely crafted out his own style, that off opulent, classy and smart fragrances with a tiny touch of the shock factor for which he is infamous.

Noir (pronounced “Noo-ahr” if you are Tom Ford) is the latest masculine addition to Tom Ford’s signature stable and it is in good company, joining such esteemed fragrances as Tom Ford for Men, Tom Ford Extreme and Grey Vetiver. But where the other TF masculines are elegant examples of citrus, woods and/or vetiver, Noir is a essay on resins and powders that, dare I say it, almost feels like a masculine rendition of the Oriental Queen that is Guerlain’s Shalimar.