A Rose By Any Other Name?..

Historically, I like Tom Ford. The brand, not Tom Ford as a person. I mean, I don’t know much about the man to have any feelings about him, and I prefer it this way. Though over the years seeing some of the provocative ads for his perfumes here and there, I thought that those were rather disparaging and misogynistic. But since usually I do not see them (I’m not even sure where exactly those were published in the US other than somewhere on the Internet), I was telling myself that those weren’t the worst images anyone (who would want to) might find on the Internet and didn’t allow it to affect my attitude towards Tom Ford’s perfumes.

And then he (a person, since all that rotated about his personality, not just the brand) came out with that juvenile stunt of a perfume name…

In my native culture, the use of explicit language had been reserved for “uncultured” and “uneducated” social strata. So, it was unacceptable and not expected from people of “our circle.” And seeing it in writing or hearing on TV was completely out of the reality realm.

Times changed, and these days it’s much less strict even in the country that I left decades ago. And it has been different from the beginning of my life in the U.S. with the “TV-MA” rating being an Indulgence to use all those taboo words on cable TV shows. But somehow there still was some resemblance of propriety: words frowned upon by the FCC, clothes (or the absence thereof) not expected during the Super Bowl, etc.

I know that the language is fluid, and norms change over time. But I didn’t see a good reason for this particular change. My main objection to that name was trivializing misbehavior. And I was right: if three years ago, when perfume in question just was released, department stores would “modestly” cover the first word by rubber bands over the bottle and shorten the name online to just “Fabulous,” now, three years later, nobody gives a second thought to flaunting said bottle in all its unadulterated glory in front of family shoppers and other unsuspecting audiences.

I tried that perfume once, thought it was quite nice but decided that I didn’t want to support that type of behavior. And I voted against writing anything, even negative, about it – not to propagate even bad publicity for that perfume (yeah, I know, my blog is such a significant blip on the scale of Tom Ford/Estee Lauder’s PR machine…).

The next one had a still juvenile and cringe-worthy but less offensive, in my opinion, name. I also liked it but decided still not to buy any, even a decant.

And then came THE ONE. Not being a native English speaker, in the case of Rose Prick, which had absolutely no connotations for me, good or bad, until I read some explanations. I don’t even know how common that slang is compared to the literal meaning of the phrase or what is its degree of vulgarity. And while this name didn’t offend or bother me, I just habitually expected to dismiss it after sniffing at a store. But it smelled nice… so, I asked for a sample.

What I especially like about Rose Prick is that for me, while being nice in the opening, it smells wonderful in drydown. And probably from the first time I realized how much I liked the drydown, I wanted to get this perfume. But I disliked the 50 ml pink bottle, didn’t need 50 ml of either this or any other perfume, and wanted to get a travel bottle… that wasn’t available anywhere at the time.

In the Saturday Question for Black Friday, I shared with my readers my conundrum, and several people advised me to wait. Which I did. So, a travel spray of Rose Prick that appeared at the end of January on the Sephora site became my first fragrance purchase of the year.

Tom Ford Rose Prick

It is a very likable perfume, and I’m sure it is doing well in sales. Should you try it if you haven’t yet? If you can do it without paying – definitely: as far as sampling goes, 9 out of 10 perfumes we regularly try are worse than this one. Will you want to buy it? Most likely, no: it’s too expensive for what if offers, and there are other great rose perfumes that cost less while not making you pause before answering a co-worker’s question: “What are you wearing today?” (though, with the current state of getting back to any kind of normal, that aspect might not be an issue for many of us for a while).


Image: my own


20 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Name?..

  1. I’m pleased you waited for the travel bottle and it worked out.

    I dont like the whole ethos of Tom Ford so I’ve never had this quandary but it must be difficult if you’ve had a fair bit of success with the brand.

    Lord knows what he’ll come out with in the future. It’s pretty tiresome.


    • I’m glad I don’t like peach in perfume, so I don’t care for any second, third, etc. meaning of the name for the newest offering in the series. But I do have several favorites from the earlier releases, so with each new one I have an expectation that I will like it… and I’m not sure if I’m glad or disappointed when I don’t :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, I really dislike the puerile fragrance names and I avoid those fragrances. I’ve liked several other TFs, like the Vert series, White Suede, and a couple that are discontinued. There are so many other fragrances to enjoy without the offensive names.


      • I wonder if the brand has ever analyzed whether they lose more sales than they attract with those names? The names seem intended to generate “buzz”, but does that translate into actual sales? So committed perfumistas (good customers) gravitate to those scents because of the names? Hmm.


  3. The price point of Tom Ford keeps me from needing to resign myself to the juvenile names. I will enjoy free samples but I have yet to actually purchase anything from the brand. My teenage son was amused by the FF bottle when we encountered it, at least. (I’m glad the travel spray appeared so you can enjoy this one.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t say that you’re missing out on any great perfume. In my opinion, TF had/has better perfumes in both regular and private lines – and, if anything, the names of those are pleasantly boring :)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I tried Rose Prick, but it was unexciting to me so I passed without regret. The only one of his recent cringey-named scents I liked was Lost Cherry, which I got during the Sephora 20% off sale last November. At least the bottle is prettier than that Pepto Bismol pink rose one.


    • I completely agree about the bottle! I like that red one – even without the comparison to the pink abomination. But the 10 ml tube looks much nicer than a standard pink bottle.


  5. I agree, why does the brand feel it needs to be vulgar to get attention. I do quite like Lost Cherry and would consider a purchase if on sale. Tried Bitter Peach yesterday and although it is lovely, the longevity is a disgrace at that price point. The Fabulous one was instantly forgettable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t been able to “unread” the name since I first came across it. I also have a bugbear about opaque perfume bottles, even featuring them in my “Scent Crimes” series, but I must confess to liking the sound of Rose Prick! Cafe Rose left me underwhelmed but this seems like it has more going for it – I know you love your roses…


    • Every time I see an opaque perfume bottle I think of you :)

      I think they should either make a “level window” – similar to how it’s done for electrical tea kettles or at least to publish an empty bottle weight :)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, Undina. From his Gucci days, Mr Ford knows how to work the publicity machine so well. I’m not easily offended, but it in the end, sometimes these names overshadow the actual perfume.


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