Tom Ford Private Blend London: Impressions

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The Tom Ford London flagship store on Sloane St.

I’ve had the opportunity to try a few new scents lately and Tom Ford Private Blend London was at the top of my lust list based on the notes. And, okay, lets face it, the exclusivity. Can’t get it anywhere but the new flagship store on Sloane St.? Sign me up!

imagesThe scuttlebutt on the fragrance was that it was Tom Ford’s first coffee scent. The note list also promised cardamom, saffron, incense, jasmine, oud and woods. While all the notes are up my alley, they pretty much had me at coffee. I simply had to know what a Tom Ford Private Blend based on the note of coffee would smell like.

So without further adieu, here’s what it smells like: not coffee.

All the other notes seem to be present and accounted for but coffee, sadly isn’t one of them.┬áIt starts very peppery, spicy and complex. The oud and cedar are in the fore from the start. When sprayed lightly, it’s a peppery, spicy (cardamom, cumin) incense and wood scent. Sprayed heavily, it’s very dense like many TF Private Blends can be – dark oud cloaked in spices and smokey incense, and with a sweet almost candied floral heart. It’s unisex, but leans masculine with its dense, woody, smokey darkness. The sweetness at the core allows women in the club, but only the strong, self-assured ones who don’t mind playing with the boys.

Am I disappointed Tom Ford London doesn’t have a prominent coffee note? You bet! But it’s a complex, interesting, sophisticated scent nonetheless that I’m glad to have a decant of. It also has massive longevity and sillage that rivals other powerful Tom Fords like Tobacco Vanille and Amber Absolute.

Will I buy a full bottle? Don’t think so. While it’s a very good scent, the blend seems a bit ‘jagged’ and lacks a certain refinement to my nose. But if you’re in the Sloane Street neighbourhood, it would absolutely be worth having a sniff and checking out the new store (opened at the end of July 2013) while you’re at it. Tom Ford London will be available internationally at the end of January 2014.

Inside Tom Ford's London store.

Inside Tom Ford’s London store.

Sniff spree: Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Tom Ford, Hermes, Comme des Garcons

A day killed in Vancouver.

A day killed in Vancouver.

Dear Scent Diary,

I started my smellathon at Holt Renfrew where my mission was to sniff and potentially buy the new Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle. It wasn’t meant to be, however as the damn thing hasn’t arrived in Canada yet. My credit card was forced to wait impatiently in my wallet. I didn’t spend much time at the Malle counter after the bad news, though both Portrait of a Lady (mmm, dark, spicy, complex) and Bigarade Concentree (wow, citrus zest!) were calling my name.

I shuffled a few steps to the Tom Ford counter for a few huffs there. I managed to resist buying Santal Blush on the spot (love at first sniff, but let’s date first) – and I was surprised to like Oud wood as much as I did. There was no inky, medicinal oud note blasting my head off the way I’d become accustomed by the Montales I’ve tried. This is a smooth, friendly oud that I’d like to get to know.

A few more steps and I was at the Promised Land.

holt renfrew chanel perfume counter

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I let the SA ‘sell me’ on giving the Les Exclusifs line a try. OH, ALL right. Bois des Illes (hmmm, I love sandalwood but I’m strangely not in love), then 31 Rue Cambon (oooh, sophisticated chypre) then No. 18 (unsettling at first, drying down to gorgeousness), Bel Respiro (ahhh, plush aromatic), and Sycamore (mmm, luxe vetiver and cedar). I was confused by my lukewarm reaction to Bois des Illes (the other scent I thought was my destiny) again leaving my credit card in my wallet unexpectedly.

Chanel samples in tow, I sauntered over to the Hermes counter where I was lured for a sniff of Jour d’Hermes (see my reaction here), Elixir des Merveilles and Ambre des Merveilles. As an Eau des Merveilles fan, a comparison diary entry is, as Brad Pitt says, inevitable.

Roden Grey

Roden Grey

After a little window shopping in Gastown (a cobblestoned historic district with many shops), I wandered into Roden Grey – a men’s boutique that happens to carry the entire line of Comme des Garcons fragrances. By now, my wallet was practically jumping out of my purse and when I spied the CdG Incense series, a purchase, I feared, was imminent. I’ve always admired the CdG Incenses and was excited to take a comparison sniff. Avignon, as everyone will tell you, is pure catholic mass. Jaisalmer is sweet and spicy with lots of cardamom and fresh wood – a contender. Kyoto is dry, cedar-y, meditative, spiritual and something I’d fallen for on a previous trip. It was the winner – and is my newest baby.

It’s been a good day in my books when my feet are killing me and my nose is tired.