Violet Blonde (Tom Ford)

Black Orchid's reputation precedes Violet Blonde, to the latter's detriment. Where Black Orchid is renowned as being a challenging fruity-floral, Violet Blonde is considered to be accessibly haughty, the olfactory equivalent of a Poliform sofa. The fragrance opens with a brilliant array of citrus fruits and violet - sorry - make that sueded violet. The detached coolness of violet leaf is rendered against a sheer leather note that is so brisk and confrontational that it's wonderful. So far, so good.

Gradually the violet and violet leaf begin to fade, and a sparse vetiver accord takes their place. Just as it begins to show promise, the woodsy note is drowned out by a sweepingly "clean" Sambac jasmine. The white flower rides in like one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, its indoles sped into a grandiloquent white rush, utterly devoid of character. The sweetness of the jasmine reminds me of the violet, and in the end I'm left with a very sheer, clean, and strong musk. That musk is like an echo chamber for all the other notes in the scent. They're memorable enough, and enlivened ever so briefly in the drydown, but are essentially neutered of their effectiveness. 

Like pieces of a puzzle, the violet top notes, vetiver-joked jasimine heart, and musky-blah drydown are all perfectly fitted into a dreamy landscape - the kind you see in a Thomas Kinkade painting. It's very pretty, very bright, and very dull, to say the least. I can see a classy, pearl-wearing Silicon Valley trophy wife wearing this to cocktail parties, but I also see her leaving the party early and alone, right after her Black Orchid-wearing friend, who snagged the only viable guy in the room.