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Tom Ford Violet Blonde Eau de Parfum — When Violets Are Far From Blue


As we tiptoe into 2012, many of us are searching for a new signature fragrance, one that makes us feel like we’re ready to conquer the world this year. Given the ubiquity of the magazine print ads touting its wonders and the fascination with all things Tom Ford-related, you might consider embracing Tom Ford Violet Blonde Eau de Parfum ($100 for 1.7 fl. oz. and $145 for 3.4 fl. oz. at Nordstrom.com) as your go-to scent. Described as an ode to opulent, Old World perfumery, Tom Ford Violet Blonde presents the violet as a sensual, enigmatic, alluring floral, then juxtaposes it with orris (the root of the iris flower) for an earthy mysteriousness and incorporates the feminine finesse of the jasmine sambac flower.

The fragrance features top notes of violet leaf absolute, Italian mandarin, and baie rose which should, ultimately, create a lush green impression with hints of citrus but, in actuality, the effect is floral from the very beginning. At the heart, the scent incorporates two forms of Tuscan orris, Tuscan orris butter and Tuscan orris absolute, both aged and distilled in the hills of Florence and Siena during a process spanning more than a year. These earthy orris notes serve as the fragrance’s backbone, connecting the fragrance to the soil and countering the delicate mystique of the jasmine sambac note also at the heart. Last, the fragrance incorporates base note of benzoin, cedarwood, Haitian vetiver absolute, silkolide and soft suede to create the sensation of warmth and carnal sensuality.

Regardless of the notes in Tom Ford Violet Blonde’s composition and the intent with which they were incorporated into the scent, the fragrance actually fell a bit short of my expectations. When I first spritzed the fragrance on, I didn’t detect any citrus elements nor did I notice any dewy leafy or mossy notes — just the violet leaf note which is initially overpowering but quickly softens, moving from a shout to a whisper.

In reality, the orris notes seem to overshadow even the violet flower’s wild and feminine allure, making this more of an earthy scent than a floral one. It’s still a lovely fragrance, but I’d say it’s more of an intriguing, mysterious aroma than a traditionally feminine floral offering.

It’s a lovely scent, but it hardly compares to Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, a triumph in perfumery, or Tom Ford White Patchouli, which completely redefined how consumers perceive patchouli. Worst of all, the fragrance seems to have the lifespan of a firecracker, shooting up then exploding in a flash and trickling away in the blink of an eye. This short lifespan may be its biggest shortcoming — even if you prefer a softer scent that can only be detected as people inch closer, Tom Ford Violet Blonde might prove a bit too timid for your sensibilities.


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