Tom Ford Soleil Blanc

Soleil Blanc via Bergdorf Goodman.

Soleil Blanc via Bergdorf Goodman.

Soleil Blanc, the latest fragrance from Tom Ford, looks ahead to the golden days of summer, seeking to capture the feel and scent of languid moments at the beach. It is an eau de parfum that was released last week as a part of the Private Blend Collection, and it is described by Tom Ford and Neiman Marcus  as follows:

Unexpected. Sultry. Addictive.

Remote private islands where summer lasts all year and one day seamlessly blends into the next inspire Soleil Blanc, an addictive solar floral amber alive with seductive refinement and refreshing decadence. TOM FORD’s latest private blend creation unapologetically exudes the endless pursuit of sun and luxury that defines TOM FORD Soleil.

Source: hdwallpapers.cat

Source: hdwallpapers.cat

Soleil Blanc opens on my skin with light, gauzy jasmine that is very clean, non-indolic, synthetic, and peppery. It’s the same sort of peppery jasmine as in Amouage‘s Opus IX, but the flower is significantly softer here, more shimmery, toned down, and diffuse. The pepperiness differs as well. Here, it feels like a side-effect of ISO E Super which has been used in the way that its creator, the fragrance and flavour company, IFF, originally intended the aromachemical to be used: as a super-floralizer and voluminizer. In short, it doesn’t feel like an actual pepper product or material, even if the effect is still the same. The ISO E-jasmine is also infused with other notes. Every inch of it drips with coconut cream which has been manipulated to intentionally replicate the precise scent of suntan lotion. (Not the oil, but the creamy milk variety.) White musk finishes things off, adding to the overall cleanness of the scent.

Hawaiian Tropic coconot Coco Lomi. Photo source: paradisemaui.com

Hawaiian Tropic coconot Coco Lomi. Photo source: paradisemaui.com

Soleil Blanc is an extremely linear scent that changes in tiny drips and dabs, moving so incrementally that one doesn’t almost realise the changes until the bouquet has suddenly veered into a different direction. For the first 2.5 hours, it blasts away without any subtlety as an amplified, loud, breezy, and immensely clean version of jasmine Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion.

Inch by inch, moment by moment, Soleil Blanc changes, first growing sweeter, then woodier before finally taking on a sense of vaguely golden warmth. Roughly 75-90 minutes in, vanilla rears its head, smelling like a sugary frothy confectionary thing that adds to the whole sense of “trashy fun” that I suspect Tom Ford was going for. (If he wasn’t and if he was truly seeking to create luxurious “refinement,” then he failed. Big time, in my opinion.) About 2.5 hours in, a streak of synthetic, clean woodiness awakens in the base and rapidly begins to climb upwards, smudging the jasmine’s petals first with a very fake, quasi-“sandalwood” aroma, then with something more akin to the cedar aspect of ISO E Super.

Source: laweekly.com

Source: laweekly.com

Perhaps it’s both because it’s become increasingly difficult to pull apart Soleil Blanc’s notes. They overlap completely, creating a blurry haze of peppery white floral coconut suntan lotion with soft, amorphous woods and sugary, vanillic musk. It’s almost as though the fragrance were a hybrid mash-up of the floral-oriental and floral woody musk genres. What I don’t like is a subtle nuance or whiff of something that I can’t describe properly: at times, it is a stale aroma that feels almost rancid, but not quite that. At other times, there is almost an oily sweat quality to the aroma, but it’s not really that either. It’s difficult to explain and the amorphous nature of the many synthetic notes makes it even more difficult to figure out the source, but I suspect it stems from the combination of the woody accord and the coconut cream going wrong on my skin.

Source: pt.dreamstime.com

Source: pt.dreamstime.com

Soleil Blanc shifts gears roughly 4.5 hours into its development when the drydown phase begins. In essence, the fragrance moves away from its floral-coconut focus into something less overtly tropical and more nebulously golden in feel. I wouldn’t call the new bouquet “ambered” in the proper, technical sense of the term and it’s certainly nothing that is clearly delineated or dark, but there is a hazy sense of warmth that now wafts about. I think the scent is meant to parallel the end of a long day at the beach when the sun is setting, there are lingering traces of suntan oil on your skin, there is the vaguest sense of tropical flowers in the furthest distance, and everything feels softly golden.

Where Tom Ford’s interpretation differs from reality is that there is nothing aquatic or salty about Soleil Blanc but, rather, a strong sweetness instead. In fact, the sugary white musk increasingly becomes the main focal point of the fragrance. Sometimes, it bears nuances of something nebulously vanillic; sometimes, it’s laced with woodiness instead. Most of the time, though, it’s simply sweet, clean musk that is abstractly golden and warm in feel. In its final hours, all that’s left is a golden sweetness.

Soleil Blanc had good longevity, good projection, and massive sillage. Using several generous smears equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with 4-5 inches of projection but the scent trail extended half an arm’s length before it grew even further, expanding to about a foot and a half. You might want to keep in mind that my skin tends to amplify the sillage of fragrances with a lot of ISO E Super and white musk. (That is, in fact, one of their purposes.) After 2.5 hours, Soleil Blanc’s projection was 3 inches and the sillage at about a foot. At the start of the 4th hour, the numbers became an inch and 6 inches, respectively. Soleil Blanc only became a true skin scent on me after 6.75 hours. Given the fragrance’s loudness and sillage, I was surprised that it only lasted 10.5 hours in total. I had expected more, but it seemed to splutter out towards the end on my skin. People on Fragrantica, however, rank the scent as “very long-lasting” in the early ratings for that category.

Soleil Blanc was just released but there are a handful of reviews on Fragrantica already. In a nutshell, the 3 comments range from ambivalent to negative. One person didn’t find Soleil Blanc to be distinctive or original, merely a sweeter variation on a theme that Tom Ford has already explored in a number of his recent releases. They’d been told by a salesperson that Soleil Blanc had “pistachio” as a note, but they didn’t detect that and neither did I. All they smelt was a creamy floral blend with a nougat-like sweetness. A second Fragrantica commentator was flatly unenthused by how Soleil Blanc was “a smooth, coconuty, flowery, musky fragrance.” A third was “really disappointed” not to experience any real amber, merely “a floral powder puff.” They also thought the scent was the furthest thing from unisex and was purely feminine in nature.

I agree that Soleil Blanc is a feminine scent, but I think it will probably appeal quite a bit to women who like very sweet, summery, mainstream, commercial florals. It’s the sort of scent that is bound to be deemed as “trashy fun” by some, even if Tom Ford claims it is actually a high-browed, refined, and luxury take on the summery genre.

It’s not, and that is one of Soleil Blanc’s big problems in my opinion. I enjoy coconut-y, beachy fragrances as an occasional indulgence, but this one simply lacks the quality to to warrant the Private Blend pricing scheme. Tom Ford has increased the starting price for the smallest size to $220, and nothing about Soleil Blanc merits that amount in my eyes. Its maelstrom of synthetics and cloying sweetness doesn’t smell all that refined, elevated, or high in quality. Instead, it smells like a basic mainstream designer scent, the sort of thing that belongs on the Sephora or Macy’s shelf next to Marc Jacobs Honey or the beachy Estée Lauders of Tom Ford’s parent company. It would work well as part of Tom Ford’s regular line as a summery companion to his other immensely sweet, very feminine florals like Noir Pour Femme and Velvet Orchid, although I think that Soleil Blanc is much cheaper in feel than the latter. In short, I find it extremely over-priced for what it is.

I disliked Soleil Blanc immensely. It was painfully synthetic, painfully sweet, and boring as hell. Even if it were a fraction of the price, I wouldn’t want it on my skin. I never once thought it rose to the level of “trashy fun.” Instead, I found it as interesting as watching paint dry. If Soleil Blanc had committed fully to the whole beach thing through a really rich, luxurious, and high-quality coconut note, then paired it with saltiness, good-quality Tahitian tiaré, expensive vanilla, and subtle aquatics, it actually might have been a “fun” beach scent. But that’s not what happened.

If you’re looking for a feminine, sweet, summery floral, you may want to try Soleil Blanc for yourself. For me, though, it’s a definite and absolute pass.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Soleil Blanc is an eau de parfum which comes in three sizes with prices starting at $220 for the 50 ml bottle and going up to $535 for the giant 250 ml/8.4 oz bottle. I don’t know its international pricing because the fragrance is not yet listed at its usual vendors at the time of this review. In the U.S.: you can buy Soleil Blanc directly from Tom Ford. In general, Tom Ford Private Blends are also sold at Luckyscent, but they haven’t listed Soleil Blanc yet. That should change in a few days, so I’ve provided a link to their Tom Ford section. The brand is sold at all high-end department stores, but I’ve only found Soleil Blanc at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman so far. You can check the Tom Ford sections at these other stores in the coming weeks for additional options: Saks and NordstromOutside the U.S.: In Canada, Tom Ford is carried at Holt Renfrew, but they don’t list most of the TF scents online. In the U.K., Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, and House of Fraser don’t have Soleil Blanc but should receive it soon. In France, Sephora sells the line, but does not show the Soleil Blanc at the time of this post. In general, Premiere Avenue sells all the Tom Fords and ships worldwide, but it’s the same story again, they don’t have Soleil Blanc yet. In Belgium, you can find the Tom Ford line at Parfuma, in Russia at Lenoma, and in Australia at David Jones. In the Middle East, the Private Line is carried at many stores, especially Harvey Nichols, but I also found TF fragrances at ParfumeUAE. For other all other countries, you can use the Tom Ford Store Locator GuideSamples: Surrender to Chance sells Soleil Blanc starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. They ship samples worldwide.

24 thoughts on “Tom Ford Soleil Blanc

  1. Wow. I guess you didn’t like it. Sometimes I just laugh at the end of your reviews.
    I actually like this one, but I totally agree that it isn’t distinctive or unisex. But I’m a sucker for that suntan oil, “trashy”, beach thing having grown up in California.
    Great review. I cringed a little at times, but if you can’t take a position why write a review?

    • I actually like beachy, coconut-y scents as something to wear occasionally, but I have issues with the quality/price balance of this one. You say you like it, but do you think it’s good enough to actually spend $220 on it? If so, and if you plan to buy a bottle for yourself, then I’m glad you found something that brings back those California summer days so well for you. 🙂

  2. I read Tom Ford and I thought. Ok. I know Kafka has range. and who knows? Read the first few lines and thought: Where is the “no thank you” commentary? Got all the way through your neutral descriptive tone to get to the ‘boring as hell’. At which point I breathed a sigh of relief: It’s still you writing the blog and not some doppleganger who has kidnapped you and Zola.

    • Hahaha, I almost snorted up my Diet Coke at that last bit. 😀 😀 😀 I actually do like some Tom Ford fragrances, but I think the brand has lost its way over the last few years from what it once was. Some of the old, original Tom Ford’s Private Blends were amazing, good-quality, interesting fragrances with enormous appeal and richness. In contrast, the newer ones over the last 2 years or so have been so generic, and I think their quality has dropped too in several instances, making the fragrances quite over-priced for what they are. It’s as though Estee Lauder has lobotomized what used to make the Private Blends special. I think a handful of the Signature line of fragrances are now actually more appealing or better quality/value than several of the supposedly “niche” luxury line.

      • 100% agree. The early line up of the private blends wasn’t bad, but I hated the three newest entries. And at that price point, it’s competing with lots of choices with quality ingredients and interesting concepts. A tough sell.

  3. Haha… The way you started describing it made me think you were going to grudgingly give it some love… Then: “I disliked SOLEIL BLANC immensely” 😀

    You know, I haven’t been able to get up on the Tom Ford bandwagon for the reasons you describe here: Crazily expensive, for scents that are about three inches away from straight-up Sephora drek. I always get the feeling he starts out intending to make a niche scent… then chickens out along the way. BLACK ORCHID, for example starts out so promisingly, but then it is undercut in the drydown when cheap generic aromachemicals begin to bloom. For $220, his scents shouldn’t have a wisp of cheap chemical afoot… Then again, BOND’S is doing much the same thing: exorbitant prices, ho-hum synth-fests. Doesn’t it creep you out that there is surely a growing number of young people– Millennials— who just don’t know any better, and they’ll choose FLOWERBOMB over SHALIMAR..?

    • David, Tom Ford wasn’t always this way. I don’t know when you first began to try his fragrances, but many of his early ones carried through on their promise. A particular scent may not have worked here or there with one’s tastes, but it was hard to deny that they were stood out or were often interesting, smooth, well-rounded, and/or appealingly high-quality. The brand was always owned by Estee Lauder but, over the last two years or so, something seems to have changed quite dramatically, at least in my opinion. Tom Ford released more and more fragrances each year, some targeting the wispy tastes of Asian market, others seemingly skewing fully mainstream and commercial. The quality dropped, while the synthetics increased along with the prices. And, recently, there have suddenly been a slew of flankers. That was never the case originally. In fact, several of the best TF fragrances have been discontinued.

      In the case of Black Orchid, the change in quality accounts for what you’ve described because the drydown was quite nice once upon a time. Unfortunately, a recent version I smelt had the precise issues that you mentioned. I promise you, it was a better scent once. As I was discussing tonight on the blog’s FB page, I don’t know if Estée Lauder is behind the changes or has made demands about the cost of materials, or if something else is going on, but Tom Ford fragrances are smelling increasingly like *Estee Lauder* fragrances instead and with a quality to match. There’s nothing wrong with a department store or Estee Lauder fragrance if one likes that sort of thing, but not at these prices and not with these claims of heightened, refined luxury.

      As for Bond, I agree with your description of the brand’s aesthetic. I refuse to cover the brand for other reasons though: because of the company’s bullying or tactics vis à vis other brands and some bloggers, not to mention their general litigiousness and the many allegations of discriminatory conduct towards minority customers. (Allegations have also been made regarding discriminatory treatment of employees.) In short, it’s a problematic company for me even apart from the fact that their fragrances make me recoil with their cloud of aromachemicals. And for those prices, en plus! No, Bond is not my thing at all.

    • Heh, it’s very kind of you, David. I know a number of people think I’m too negative (and far too frequently at that), so it’s nice to read a different and appreciative perspective. Thank you!

  4. Paskale thought you were replaced by a doppelganger and I thought “PRWMW” (People’s Republic for a White Musk World) had kidnapped you, causing Stockholm Syndrome!
    But seriously I haven’t actively gone on a TF mission
    to smell his fragrances, though I see how popular the brand is on Fragrantica, particularly the Private Blends. I recently smelled Black Orchid from one of the strips out of a magazine; to me it smelled just ok. I don’t even bother ripping out those things from every magazine I see like I used to, mainly because I now know better. Like I pass by the perfume counters and kiosks
    too, at the mall.
    I’ve been wanting to try Rasasi’s La Yuqawam because supposedly it smells better than Tuscan Leather, besides being cheaper. I may have mentioned that to you quite awhile ago.

    No wonder you’ve never reviewed Bond’s line; I had no clue about their practices, not that I’ve had any interest in them. They appear to be rather tacky imo, and being loaded with aromachemicals certainly doesn’t make them more appealing.

    I think I’ve rambled on enough for now so maybe I’ll get a few hours sleep- I’ve been up for about 40 hours. Hopefully you have warmer weather than I. 🙂
    P.S. Who would buy a 250ml bottle of Soleil Blanc?!

  5. I was hoping it would be great at that price. Too bad. I’ll stick with other beachy scents that I use for fun. Thank you so much for the review.

    • You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could help a little because the price is very high for this sort of thing. At $60 ($75 max), it would be a fragrance worth buying for people who enjoyed its bouquet. But $220? For only 50 ml? Er… no.

  6. I think that recently Tom Ford has become a cash cow for Estee Lauder. They have increased distribution & most department stores here in London now have specific Tom Ford stand alone counters in the TF macassar wood/brass look where one upon a time he’d have a couple of shelves. I guess they’re pumping the brand for what it’s worth & in pushing it into more stores they’ve reduced the quality. Tom Ford himself Is very actively growing his clothing business & im guessing the easy Estee Lauder cash helps to fund this expansion a his mind seems to have moved away from his original stated objective for the Private Blend line which he said was as a ‘scent laboratory’ to try out new fragrances that weren’t mainstream enough for large scale distribution like the signature line.

    Tom Ford lives not far from me in London and I walk past his house every day on my way home from work. He has spent the past 5 YEARS refurbishing his house – believe me Palladian mansions with Greek columns and mega-basements with underground swimming pools & cinema rooms don’t pay for themselves. Maybe the profusion of new frags and flankers are funding his new house.

    I occasionally see him walking in the park nearby and am always tempted to ask him what the hell happened – I still own bottles of the original line up & Moss Breches, Japon Noir, Bois Rouge, Velvet Gardenia etc are all far superior to anything he has produced in the past couple of years !

    • This was fascinating to read, and I greatly appreciate the time that you took to share it. Underground basement swimming pools in the heart of London must cost more than I can imagine. Good god. And he’s been doing all these renovations for 5 years now?!

      With regard to his original intention for the PB line, I’d forgotten how he’d phrased and framed things so they’re sad to read in light of just how mainstream and generic his fragrances have become. His disinterest in the line really shows. We both know he’s capable of so much more if he set his mind to it. Sad.

      • I’m told he bought another house nearby just to live in during the 5 years while the work on the main house was going on ! If you google ‘The Doric Villa Regent’s Park’ you can see where the cash went – I love that the original real estate ad is still on google & says that permission for him to extend the property was granted in 2010 & the reconfiguration includes :

        “Basement: Two staff bedrooms and bathroom, service kitchen, laundry, utility room,
        cinema room, wine store, magnificent swimming pool complex including spa,
        gymnasium and ancillary accommodation.

        Its a pity that the 2 live-in staff (butler/maid/nanny/chef ?!) have to live in the basement with no windows & share a bathroom !

        Aaaaanyway, Back to frags – His original quote was that the Private blend range was:

        ‘my own personal scent laboratory; it’s where I have the ability to create very special, original fragrances that are unconstrained by the conventions of mainstream scent-making. Private Blend is designed with the true fragrance connoisseur in mind’

        I was thinking about this last night when I passed Estee Lauders brand new flashy offices & there was a 15 foot high screen set into the wall in their reception that was rotating ads for TF Noir & TF Black Orchid.

        I think that with Mr Ford moving back into films again this year that’s another pull on his attention, time and cash on top of everything else so frags are on auto-pilot.

  7. We found this in a Neiman Marcus last week about 30 minutes outside Boston, as none of the stores in Boston wanted to get it for a month or two after it was released. We thought it was painfully generic, and seemed like lotion from Bath and Body Works. Definitely not worth the price, and the white bottle looks trashy.

    • Ha, I’m glad to know someone else feels the same way I do about the scent. And I grinned at the Bath & Body Works comparison!

  8. I wasn’t expecting much from Soleil Blanc but it knocked my socks off. Upfront, a suntan lotion smell. In addition, a creaminess done so well, I could eat my arm. Smells like sweet, condensed, milk with jasmine flowers.

  9. Thx for the review. Almost a year ago TOM FORD had introduced Body Shimmering Oil “Soleil Blank”, it didn’t have a name but it implied so. The scent was almost same as “Soleil Blank” Eau de Parfum. The first moment I tried the fragrance, the scent of Shimmering Oil has arisen in from of me. Have to admit that beginning of the fragrance is quite interesting and intriguing, like preparing to swim in a new exotic sea with private beach, but once you dipped into a water you understand that it is “polluted” and smells as if bunch of thrown few days ago garbage. Anyway the fragrance can still be used and may be even enjoyed especially by TOM FORD ardent lovers but for me r=the fragrance didn’t go above Body Oil scent level.

  10. Bonjour! It’s an impressive interpretation of this fragrance, I wasn’t expecting so much information thank you a lot! If I can buy this Soleil Blanc in France I’ll tell you if you were right. Your blog it’s a good find for a frangrancaholic like me !

    • Thank you for your kind words. With regard to being “right,” I see perfumery very differently. There is no right or wrong. There is no absolute truth. There are merely different experiences based on different personal skin chemistry, one’s past experiences, the things one likes or dislikes, and other subjective factors.

  11. Pingback: Tom Ford Orchid Soleil - Kafkaesque

  12. Thanks for the honest review. I’m wondering if you can recommend a high quality fragrance for men that captures that beachy, coconuty scent? I was interested in this one because of the unisex status, but it clearly leans to the feminine side of the equation. Thanks

    • I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m not sure I can come up with suggestions that are purely and unquestionably unisex. I don’t know your particular tastes, and the problem is that quite a few fragrances in this genre have a floral component. Plus, it also depends a lot on your personal tastes for individual notes, for how strong they are, and the lens through which you interpret the overall composition. Some men don’t mind a stronger floral component, while others do. Some men view certain types of floral notes as being “too feminine,” others don’t.

      Then, there is the very important issue of what your skin does to fragrances: e.g., if it brings out or accentuates base notes vs floral notes, if it turns a floral note one way versus another, etc.

      What I would suggest is to read the following two reviews and see if either of the fragrances sounds appealing to you based on your particular, individual tastes. Each one has some sort of beachy component, even if it’s not right off the bat or even if it’s purely coconut-like or suntan oil-like in feel. The one I would highlight in particular is Sensual Orchid since I know a few men who like that one, perhaps because of its boozy rum opening, but, again, it comes down to a person’s individual tastes and the notes that come out on their skin. It may well be too floral for you, I don’t know:

      http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2013/09/08/lm-parfums-sensual-orchid-dressed-to-seduce/
      http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2014/08/14/parfums-de-nicolai-musc-monoi/

      I wish I could provide you with more names than those two, but there aren’t a ton of fragrances in this genre and I certainly haven’t tried the spectrum. Guerlain’s Terracotta was one I never tried, for example, but that was a limited-edition release that sold out almost instantly and there didn’t seem much point. I can’t think of really, properly, hardcore beachy fragrances beyond that one.

      One thing that I thought of is that there’s a dark, boozy vanilla fragrance that has a rum scent and tropical feel at its start — Providence Perfume Company’s Provanilla — but it doesn’t have coconut or a sun-tan oil vibe, and I don’t know how necessary those two elements are for you in creating the “beachy” feel as a whole. Plus, it’s a vanilla fragrance above all else. But I’ll list it anyway for you in case you want to give it a quick look:
      http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2015/06/15/providence-perfume-co-provanilla-jack-sparrows-caribbean-vanilla/

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more assistance. For what it’s worth, I haven’t found a perfect, ideal, and unisex beachy fragrance for myself, either, and I wish I could.

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