Tom Ford: My Private Blend Collection

If I have an obsession, it’s with fragrance, but compared to other obsessions (crack, heroin, luxury cars, gambling, Louis Vuitton) my cologne fixation has yet to ruin any lives. If anything, it improves things – our bathroom smells sweetly at all times. Still, seeing the long list of fragrances which I have amassed over the years does give me pause, and for now I’m doing just that: taking a pause in the cologne collection, and a look at what currently resides on the Tom Ford shelf of my cologne cabinet.

  • Amber AbsoluteA favorite that was mysteriously discontinued before being brought back when someone realized the mistake. I’m told the second version is slightly weaker than the first, so I’m glad I got part of the first batch because it’s a whopping stomper of incense and warmth and all the best parts of fall.
  • Arabian Wood – An Oriental wood that smolders with old-world elegance.
  • Bois MarocainDry and decadent, with the faintest wisp of the woods.
  • Costa AzzurraOffspring of the Neroli collection, this slightly smoky citrus is ideal for summer nights.
  • Japon Noir – Sadly discontinued, this is a dark and slightly spicy oriental that burns with masculine elegance. Ideal for late fall nights.
  • Lavender PalmThe dryness of this lavender-based floral is what keeps things interesting, with just enough edge to lift it out of the musty verge.
  • Mandarino di AmalfiAnother off-shoot of the Neroli collection, Mandarino is a bright citrus that sparkles with memories of the sun and the sea. (I purchased it while en route to a Cape Cod summer vacation, and it remains heartwarmingly wed to that sunny beach memory.)
  • Neroli PortofinoThe original summer scent for the Private Blend collection, this remains a bright classic, spawning several cousins (as seen above). It’s all about the Neroli here, but that’s one single-note scent that I don’t mind.
  • Oud FleurAs he did with the Neroli line, Ford saw fit to take the seminal ‘Oud Wood’ (seen below) and craft a couple of variations, including this gorgeous rose-tinted floral, whose smokiness lends it the gravitas to put over an otherwise-traditional rose.
  • Oud WoodA classic oud fragrance – woody and intoxicating with more than a little wordly sophistication – it’s a rare cologne that works at all times of the year, perfect for the office but equally adept at strutting itself in fancy form for evening events at the turn of a shoe.
  • Plum JaponaisFord’s Orient line was hit or miss with me, with two of the four being big winners, and two not so much. My favorite, perhaps of all Private Blends thus far, is the Plum Japonais, which gives a sultry glow to the tempered sweetness of the plum.
  • Rive d’AmbreA golden orange orb of spicy, fruity lusciousness, it’s a deep summer bit of enchantment.
  • Santal BlushAnother fragrance bound to a happy memory – the holidays at home. It was a Christmas present from Andy, and I only wear it around the holidays, so it retains that special sheen. Ford’s glittering voyage of sandalwood is a soapy treat of smooth sweetness.
  • Soleil BlancAn impulse buy for a summer beach jaunt, Soleil Blanc turned out to be one of my least favorite Private Blends, perhaps because of such limited wearing options. It’s a floral coconut that basically turns into the (very expensive) remnants of a standard suntan lotion.
  • Venetian BergamotI love bergamot in any way, shape or form, but this gives it a subtle twist that makes for a perfect late summer/early fall bridge fragrance. The freshness is subdued here, even with a floral tweaking that almost sends it into perfume mode.
  • Vert D’EncensMy latest acquisition, I simply couldn’t resist this delicious green take on incense from his Vert line. It begins in bold fashion, but calms down like a pile of burning embers. A second pulse of grassy green breathes life into the trajectory, and then it all dries down to heliotrope and honey, which is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

That’s enough for now, and it really should be enough forever, but just when I think I’m done he comes out with something spectacular. Lately, my love is burning for the leathers – Tuscan Leather and Ombre Leather 16. I’m hoping the samples I have will give me the fix I need. If not, that’s what holiday wish lists are for.

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