Weeklong Test Drives, Season 4: Tom Ford

I started weeklong test drives (WTD) half a year ago when I realized that I had a tendency to collect perfumes by brand trying to accumulate the complete line if I liked some perfumes from it. Luckily for my budget those are mostly samples but still, with the number of new releases even in the niche market I should try to resist an urge to have a full set before I can meaningfully test that line and I need to accept that some perfumes which I still do not have in the collection will be tested eventually (or never). That’s how I decided to do “seasons” for different brands breaking out “not-a-review”s for different perfumes into “episodes”.

Tom Ford Private BlendI planned to do Tom Ford week from the very beginning but I didn’t want to wear in summer most of those perfumes that I had from the brand (during my WTDs I actually wear perfumes for 5-6 days in a row). In the recent month Tom Ford was “in the air”: releases of three new perfumes and a new cosmetics line definitely helped. So I decided not to wait longer and chime in with my new season.

I managed not to know anything about Tom Ford perfumes up until a year ago. I might have mixed it with some other brand I didn’t like or being disappointed in most current mainstream perfumes I’ve just overlooked one more brand but I completely missed Black Orchid even though it was out there for years. And since I liked it the first time I tried it a year ago I know that I just hadn’t smelled it before then.

The only store close to where I live that carries Tom Ford Private Blend line is Neiman Marcus and since I wasn’t frequenting it (to say the least) for my clothes shopping trips, during those several visits I ventured to the cosmetics department there I ignored Tom Ford section altogether.

Everything has changed when I became a proverbial card-holding member of the Perfumistas Society: even though the rest of the store is still completely out of my comfortable price range I don’t feel unease when I walk in there to try some new perfume I know they’ve got or even to ask for a sample.

On one of the first “changed me” visits to the store I suddenly spotted a stand with Tom Ford’s Private Blend perfumes. I sniffed a couple of bottles but since by that time I’d already tried many other perfumes I decided to postpone the real testing until the next time. As I was leaving the department a strange thing happened: an SA caught up with me and handed me a bag with four samples of perfumes from Tom Ford Private Blend collection. Just like that.

Have you ever got any perfume samples without asking, not as GWP or a part of a store-wide promotion but just because?


Since I’m not doing real reviews I plan to combine my impressions into two or three episodes in the upcoming days. Stay tuned!

See all episodes:
WTD, Episode 4.1: Neroli Portofino and Jasmine Rouge by Tom Ford
WTD, Episode 4.2: In the Search for the Perfect Violet
WTD, Episode 4.3: Noir de Noir, Oud Wood and Arabian Wood by Tom Ford

See previous seasons:
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 1: Annick Goutal
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 2: Yves Rocher
Weeklong Test Drives, Season 3: Jo Malone

Image: talkingperfume.com


21 thoughts on “Weeklong Test Drives, Season 4: Tom Ford

  1. Wow, being handed a sample bag just because – I wish! I’m happy for you!
    There are a few Tom Ford perfumes I like a lot, my absolute favorite is (of course) Amber Absolute. I’m looking forward to TF week!


    • (writing down) Amber Absolute. I haven’t tried this one yet. I hope it’s not discontinued. So far all your amber recommendations worked for me so I want to try AA as well.


  2. I second the “wow”. That’s never happened to me, for sure!

    I am currently enamored by Violet Blonde, and own Black Orchid, Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, and Tom Ford for Men (kidnapped from my husband who didn’t appreciate it enough). ;) I haven’t experienced the Private Blends and my wallet is thankful.



    • *jen, glad to see you here.

      As I mentioned above, I like Black Orchid (I own a mini bottle but might pick up a FB at some point) and still testing Black Orchid Voile de Fleur.

      Private Blends are too expensive :( I mean, if I wanted to have just one perfume it would have been alright, I wouldn’t mind to pay for a perfume I love. But as one out of N perfumes in my collection… I don’t know.


  3. I’m over the moon if I get a sample when I ask for one, let alone being chased after and handed one without asking! Nice one. Did you mention you were a blogger? Not that it probably makes any difference. I had pretty much written off the Tom Ford line as not for me after trying a few, but guess I will have to re-visit after reading some good things about them. Have fun with the WTD and I look forward to reading the results!


    • Tara, I didn’t even talk to that SA! I smelled two or three perfumes, made my vSO smell one of them and we were leaving since he was patient enough in the preceding 20 minutes and I didn’t want to torture him any more. There wasn’t even her card in there! I had to ask for it. I hope she still works in that department if I decide to go back and buy one of the perfumes.


  4. I’m really looking forward to this test drive. I am not really familiar with TF as a whole, so it will be nice to use your posts to “tour” the line systematically.


  5. I have been handed samples without asking, on one occasion. I was sniffing perfumes in a small store named COW Perfymeri (the nicest perfume store in Stockholm, in all aspects) and I came across Andrea Maacks line. I noticed that they, surprisingly, were sold from Iceland and I mentioned to the SA that I am Icelandic as well, then he handed me samples of all 3 scents in the line, just because of that :)

    I’m looking forward to read about Tom Ford. They are not sold here as far as I’m being aware of and I’ve never tried any, but I see them mentioned a lot so I’m very curious.


      • No, at least I haven’t ever seen any Tom Fords. Unfortunately Sweden is a wasteland when it comes to perfume, most people prefer smelling of nothing, which I think is kind of sad. So I’m seeing that I have a big responsibility educating people here that there is a huge universe of scents out there, just a click away on the internet ;D


  6. Aha! I have been to COW but wasn’t offered samples though I agree that it is the nicest perfume store in Stockholm. : – )

    I did have that experience in an olde worlde independent perfumery in Germany once. Simply to “reward” me for taking ages looking round their store, the SA opened a drawer and presented me with a 10ml mini of Micallef Hiver (that I saw listed on The Perfumed Court for – I think – $30?), a Floris, a Penhaligon’s, some Acqua di Parmas and other things I have forgotten now, but the Micallef really stays in my mind.

    TF-wise, I love Voile de Fleur, Neroli Portofino and Violet Blonde, and own a bottle of White Suede. Those might be the main ones I like in fact.


    • You know, I think after today I’ll have to make an honest woman out of buy something from Tom Ford counter at my local Neiman Marcus: today the guy who works there offered to make me any samples I wanted – just because I talked to him for a couple of minutes. I went there to try Amber Absolute recommended by Birgit. I got the sample of this perfume as well as of two others – I decided not to be greedy and not to ask for more. But I was impressed.


      • I wonder if the SA was picking up vibes from your post on this very topic and responded accordingly…? It certainly sounds like a most satisfactory impromptu haul…: – )


  7. I enjoy sniffing Tom Ford fragrances…they are usually pretty distinctive, something that I appreciate. I’m not a fan of Black Orchid, but I adore his Gardenia…which is, most unfortunately, discontinued.


    • I haven’t tried Gardenia and, unless it just falls down from the sky, probably won’t get to try. Well, with it being discontinued, it’s probably for the best that I don’t know what I’m missing.


  8. Nowadays the chances of getting samples without asking is as easy as winning lotto :)

    Even when I ask in more upscale dept stores and Jo Malones, Dyptique, L’Occitane boutiques I have been told “no”….the only place that is good about making samples is Sephora which gives you three for free, no questions asked. IF you get a nice SA they fill it to the top (approximately 4ml) and then we are talking a mini decant x 3 which is even better!


    • I do not go to Sephora too often (they just do not carry too many perfumes I’m interested in) but I haven’t seen them ever making any samples so I’ve never even asked.
      I usually can get a sample or two at Neiman Marcus and Saks. It’s easier at Nordstrom. And almost impossible at Macy’s or Bloomingdales (not that they have anything I’d like to try).


      • that is good that you have found places that willingly give you samples :)
        How has your luck been at any of the Jo Malone boutiques? Next time I am in SAKS I am going to be a bit more bold and ask for samples! maybe your “luck” will rub off on me!


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