Second Sunday Sample: Tom Ford Soleil Brulant

As I’ve said many times before, I’m a Tom Ford fan. So, whenever the brand releases new perfume, I jump. And this weekend I drove to the nearby shopping mall to try the newest release from the brand – Soleil Brûlant. I’m glad that a friendly SA was there, so I managed to get a handmade sample (normally these days you cannot get any, because, “you know, we’re in pandemic,” and it’s not like take-out or even eat-in food that you put in your mouth, it’s much more dangerous if an SA would make you a sample of perfume that contains more alcohol than required by CDC for hand sanitizers).

New Soleil Brûlant releases sun-kissed florals warmed by amber – evoking the opulent, golden sun beaming over private islands. Your own private summer.

That was a quote from the brand’s advertising video. And, in my opinion, it sets up this perfume to fail. I do not mean globally or related to sales, but rather from the fan-base prospective (and since it doesn’t look like Tom Ford’s PR works with “Influencers,” it might backfire). What you smell is not what you’d expect to smell based on that description.

You know the type of reviews where the reviewers describe minute-by-minute how perfume smells on their skin? I never really understood that approach… until I smelled Soleil Brulant. Even for my nose, which isn’t the most accurate or educated, a lot is happening in this perfume within minutes.

Notes deciphered from the brand’s site: mandarin, bergamot, pink pepper, orange blossom, black honey, amber, resins, wood, vetiver, leather and incense.

Tom Ford Soleil Brulant

From the nozzle I smell mandarin, which I like very much and anticipate smelling on my skin, so when upon spraying I cannot detect it at all, I feel slightly disappointed. What I smell instead is some roasted nutty or maybe coffee note followed by slightly mentholated sweetness. It is replaced by scorched woodsy smell (maybe burning incense?). And resin. Then about 30 minutes into the development I can finally smell some citrus! Very briefly. Then wood returns. A couple of hours later, I can smell something that my nose qualifies as “tobacco,” but I know that sometimes that is how what is called “leather” smells to me. Since honey rarely works on my skin, and I do not like orange blossom, those are notes that I usually recognize. But not in Soleil Brulant. I don’t question their existence in this perfume, and I believe that some sweetness that I’m experiencing comes from it. But both those notes are not as prominent to me as I smell them in other perfumes, both when they work for me or don’t.

I don’t know in which Universe this would be considered summer perfume. OK, it is summer perfume in terms that its name describes summer (everywhere I see it translated as “Burning Sun,” in my head I call it “Scorching Sun”), but what I smell I wouldn’t either associate with that season or wear during it. But I will try to do it at least one – just out of curiosity.

As a conclusion, I do not think Soleil Brulant is bad perfume. I find it original and not boring. But I’m not in love with it, and I don’t think I would have been buying it even at the lower Private Blend’s price level, but definitely not as their premium tier price of $350 for 50 ml. I still think it will sell well, not in the least thanks to that golden bottle (I don’t like it, but I read many praises for it). I also wanted to note that if we all keep buying these perfumes and cosmetics, someone at Estee Lauder will be able to afford not just a private summer on a private island, but with a little effort maybe even a private sun. I, for one, has recently “contributed to the cause” by getting their new Sunlust Lip lip gloss from the same collection as this perfume. I do not need it. But in my mind it somehow was a precursor to my Hawaiian vacation that I really want to happen. Well, I’ve got the lip gloss – so, I’m half-way there, right?

Tom Ford Sunlust Lip glossImages: my own

19 thoughts on “Second Sunday Sample: Tom Ford Soleil Brulant

  1. You picked out a lot more notes from that one than I could! I forgot about the “black honey”—I’d actually asked the SA what that was and she couldn’t tell me either. I remembered the suntan lotion facet mostly.

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    • The trick is to spray it lightly from a distance. It gets much more nuanced when you get just a fine mist on skin.
      As to the black honey… I thought it was a poetic description, I wasn’t sure it’s actually a thing. I would have checked had I smelled it more prominent. But since I didn’t, I decided not to investigate further.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like you experienced ‘your own private fall’ . How strange. I’d be expecting to smell something evoking a glowing sunset after a hot day on the beach. Money saved!

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    • By the time most people will start going to stores and will be able to try it, it’ll be fall, so it will be more fitting scent for that season. As to the name, 90% will have no idea what it means anyway ;)

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  3. Estee Lauder are a funny bunch. Though I do have a few Tom Fords and like to try them when passing the counter, their pricing has always seemed far in excess of their worth and longevity.
    US$350 for 50ml of a department store designer is a LOT of money, even for a prive line.
    You do have me intrigued on Soleil Brulant though, despite myself and my misgivings.
    Portia xx

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  4. What a shape-shifter of a scent. ;) Can’t fault it for variety, though it seems more original as you say than compelling. Hope your lip gloss purchase is a sign of hot but not burning holidays to come…!

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