This Heady Floral Fragrance Has Been My Signature Scent Since 2014


Welcome to Deep Reviewsyour one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.

The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors quite literally can't shut up about. This time around, I'm highlighting Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum ($150). 


Right before I started college, I got it in my head that I needed a signature scent. Throughout my high school experience, I'd been exclusively wearing Victoria's Secret Noir Tease, which I considered the height of allure—it was equal parts fruity, vanilla-centric, and floral. I decided, however, that I needed a grown-up perfume—one that felt like an investment in myself. 

To find my bespoke scent, I went to Sephora and took their fragrance quiz. Like many 18-year-olds, I was obsessed with the idea of being "different"—I wanted a perfume that felt like a real departure from the fruity, vanilla-forward, pink-bottled scent I'd been wearing throughout high school. I was looking for a scent that was heady, spicy, and different. 

My top match? Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum. It only took one whiff to sell me. I pooled together my babysitting money and waitressing tips and bought my first bottle of Black Orchid, which I wore every single day between 2014 and 2019. I’m sure if you asked anyone who knew me they would instantly recognize the scent as my "signature,” as I originally intended. 


Though I now have an impressively large fragrance collection, I always find myself going back to Black Orchid. There's something about it that will always keep me coming back. Maybe it's because it captures a flower that doesn't really exist in nature—Black Orchid was born from Tom Ford’s quest to find the "perfect flower.” It’s not a typical orchid scent—black orchids are rare and mesmerizing. (If you’ve read The Orchid Thief, you know how special orchids can be.) In nature, there’s no orchid that’s truly black, but some are dark enough to look almost black, and they’re hard to find. "To me, it is the perfect flower: luxurious, elegant, pure, and sophisticated," Tom Ford said of the elusive black orchid when the fragrance was released. 

The way Ford feels about the black orchid flower is the way that I feel about Black Orchid. To me, it is the perfect perfume. It blends together florals and spices in a way that’s genuinely hypnotic—I don't think any other fragrance comes close. The scent opens withblack truffle, ylang ylang, bergamot, black currant, the heart is dark florals, rich fruit accords, lotus wood, and a noir gourmand accord, patchouli, incense, vetiver, balsam, vanilla, and sandalwood are at the base to ground the scent. 

Black Orchid reliably wears for six to eight hours, and there's typically a faint smell that lingers on my wrist long after that time period. It's the fragrance equivalent of a smoky eye, a little black dress, and a stiff drink. I put it on whenever I need an extra boost of confidence. 

While I personally think Black Orchid can be worn for any and all occasions (I have personally even worn it sparingly to job interviews), if you're more discerning with your fragrances than I am, I'd recommend it for special occasions. Wear it on a date, a night out, or whenever you want to feel confident. It's luxurious, sophisticated, and modern while also feeling timeless. I’ve been wearing it for years, and I’ve honestly lost track of how many people ask me what scent I’m wearing when I have it on—it’s the kind of scent that stops people in their tracks. 

Tom Ford Black Orchid Gold vs. Black

I’m a sucker for the original Black Orchid Eau de Parfum, but that makes the Parfum even more alluring. The gold bottle is described as the "most potent version of Black Orchid ever made.” It’s basically an amped-up version of the black bottle, with the addition of ylang-ylang and golden rum to make the scent even more intoxicating. The fragrances are very similar, but the Parfum is more intense and reads a bit more masculine than the Eau de Parfum.

Similar Perfumes Fit for a Signature Scent

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Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.