Tom Ford Orchid Soleil

Source: tomford.tumblr.com

Orchid Soleil. Source: tomford.tumblr.com

Tom Ford‘s Orchid Soleil is meant to be a new sibling to his popular Black Orchid and Velvet Orchid series of fragrances, but it doesn’t feel like it to me. The choice of the word “Soleil” in the new fragrance’s title is no mere coincidence, in my opinion, because Orchid Soleil has far more in common with Tom Ford’s recent Soleil Blanc for much of the first half of its life than anything redolent of Black Orchid. There is a token nod to the latter when a highly modified, toned-down version of its black truffle and chocolate accord appears via “chestnut cream” (or, to be precise, patchouli vanilla) late in Orchid Soleil’s development, but the connection between the two fragrances is attenuated. If that’s the reason why you’re interested in Orchid Soleil, you’d do better to lower your expectations, if not put it out of your mind entirely. Actually, I don’t think you should have high expectations for Orchid Soleil at all. 

Orchid Soleil. Sources: tenderlovingnose.com & parfumhouse.kz

Orchid Soleil. Sources: tenderlovingnose.com

Orchid Soleil is an eau de parfum that was released in July as part of Tom Ford’s more affordable Signature Collection. On his website, he describes the fragrance as: “the solar side of the elusive Tom Ford Orchid. A radiant and sensual force of nature, the new scent captures the seductive warmth and reflective bare skin of the Tom Ford woman.” The note list, according to the press release quoted in a Fragrantica article, is:

Top notes: pink pepper, bitter orange, cypress
Heart: tuberose, red spider lily
Base: vanilla, patchouli, chestnut cream, orchid.

Photo: Juergen Roth & Roth Galleries. Source: apogeephoto.com (Direct website link to Roth Galleries embedded within.)

Photo: Juergen Roth & Roth Galleries. Source: apogeephoto.com (Direct website link to Roth Galleries embedded within.)

Orchid Soleil opens on my skin with a clean, watery, green-tinged, synthetic white floralcy that is half lily and half tuberose in scent. Both are imbued with a vanillic sweetness, then enveloped in the exact same warm, beachy, abstractly ambered, quasi-coconut and salty clean musk that constituted the “solar accord” in Soleil Blanc. Moments later, a dry, very scratchy cedar is added to the mix. Once in a while, the fragrance bears a strange chemical undertone that reminds me of bug spray, but I can’t figure out if it’s coming from the highly synthetic flowers, the woods, or both.

Something is definitely off here, both in terms of the individual notes and the overall quality of the scent, which is a little surprising because Tom Ford’s Signature fragrances don’t typically smell quite as cheap as this one does. Some of them can be almost as nice as the Private Blends, and occasionally can be either better or more interesting. For instance, I personally preferred Sahara Noir to Amber Absolute, finding it better balanced and more refined, and I liked Black Orchid more than a number of the Private Blend Atelier d’Orient releases, not to mention Patchouli Absolu or Santal Blush.

Orchid Soleil is also bizarrely thin in body and weight in its opening hour for a Tom Ford fragrance. Perhaps it’s the inherent nature of lily with its floral wateriness, or perhaps the Givaudan perfumers sought to emphasize a post-beach, tropical, salt-and-sun-kissed skin feel with its typically lingering closeness, but whatever the actual reason(s), Orchid Soleil doesn’t feel like a typical Tom Ford scent.

On Fragrantica and a few other places, I’ve seen people compare Orchid Soleil to an Estee Lauder fragrance and I agree with them. Orchid Soleil feels very much like an Estee Lauder release in olfactory composition and in its general vibe. Yes, Tom Ford is owned by the giant conglomerate, but it always staked out its own path, identity, and aesthetic, even in the Signature Line. Or at least, it did, once upon a time. Over the last two or three years, that no longer seems to be the case as the brand has begun issuing a slew of flankers each year, the Private Blends have lost their niche-like character and distinctiveness, the quality of the materials has dropped across all lines, and everything — Private Blend or otherwise — now feels imbued with a mainstream, department store aesthetic. I’m hardly the only one to have noticed or remarked on the changes, but Orchid Soleil really made me blink.

Among the many reasons why is the truly terrible quality of the wood accord in the first two hours. Frequently chemical in scent, occasionally medicinal, and always rasping in its dry scratchiness, it grows louder a mere 20 minutes into Orchid Soleil’s development, and then louder still. I’ve smelt natural cypress essence oils and, believe me, they don’t smell anything like the aromas wafting here (or like the “burnt chemical” odor that some people report in their Sephora reviews of Orchid Soleil). But one doesn’t have to turn to naturals to get a decent and semi-authentic cypress note; there are smoother, more pleasant synthetic versions out there than whatever sub-par crap was used in Orchid Soleil.

Source: shutterstock.com

Source: shutterstock.com

Around the same time, the floral bouquet starts to turn abstract and blurry, smelling primarily lily-ish with some amorphous, shapeless tuberose, rather than a purely tuberose-oriented bouquet as other people have recounted. It feels like a 70:30 split between lily and tuberose on my skin. Tuberose is my absolute favourite flower, both in real life and in perfumery, so I’d expected far more than this heavily diluted, synthetic aroma. Natural tuberose essential oils or absolutes may be amongst the most expensive raw materials out there, but I’ve smelt far more authentic, richer, and more clearly delineated tuberose synthetics than whatever cheap, low-rent version was used in Orchid Soleil.

Snuggle vanilla and flower scented dryer sheets. Source: amazon.com

Snuggle vanilla and flower scented dryer sheets. Source: amazon.com

The third and final leg consists of overly clean white musk, smelling laundry fresh and occasionally like floral-scented hairspray that’s been combined with laundry dryer sheets. As it grows stronger, it cuts through some of the “solar” accord which ends up eventually receding to the background 40 minutes in, wafting mere passing wisps of coconut-tinged tropics. They float by from a distance, creating an impressionistic aura of “beachiness” rather than a concrete, solid layer of either saltiness, coconut, or “solar”-like, sun-kissed, musky warmth. (I’d bet the perfumers used cheap Cetalox, Ambrox’s more laundry-like and cleaner musk/amber sibling.)

"Cottonwoods" by Georgia O'Keeffe. Source: wetcanvas.com/forums

“Cottonwoods” by Georgia O’Keeffe. Source: wetcanvas.com/forums

Roughly 90 minutes into its development, Orchid Soleil settles into its long heart or main stage. The vanilla seeps up from the base to become the flowers’ main companion, pushing aside the woods. They, in turn, grow fractionally softer, lose some (but not all) of their screechy chemical quality, and become less dominant. The floral bouquet is now composed mostly of fresh, clean, watery, sweet, and vanilla-laced lilies drizzled with only a drop or two of tuberose. The musk smells less beachy and tropical, but also less abrasively laundry-clean. As compared to the terribly unpleasant opening, and purely on a relative basis, everything feels better balanced now, and each main component is blended together in equal parts.

So long as one doesn’t smell it up close and sticks to sniffing it on the scent trail from afar, Orchid Soleil is quite pretty at times, a hyper-feminized haze of sweet, somewhat dewy, white flowers lightly coated with sugared vanilla atop a woody and clean musk base. It’s pretty in the most inoffensive, generic, and unremarkable way possible, the sort of thing that would be hard to pull out of a line-up of department store fragrances. I’m reminded in particular of the highly overpriced Robert Piguet Gardenia (which is actually not a gardenia scent at all but a lily-white-flowers-vanillic-woody musk, albeit without any “beachy” influences). Still, at least I no longer yearn to scrub Orchid Soleil and the wood note has stopped being so painful for my throat. There’s that, at least. Having said that, when smelt up close, each of Orchid Soleil’s individual parts still feel screechy and of poor quality, and I continue to think it’s a shoddy scent when taken as a whole.

Source: pt.dreamstime.com

Source: pt.dreamstime.com

Orchid Soleil doesn’t change dramatically in scent for the next few hours, but it does alter its weight and body. As the vanilla becomes more powerful, it cuts through the watery dewiness of the lily, deepening the fragrance as a whole with a creamy quality, and also expanding its sillage. Its increased sweetness dilutes the floralcy up close. There, Orchid Soleil is a blur of synthetic sweet and sugary musk, laundry freshness, sugary vanilla, and wholly indeterminate, faceless white flowers. Things dissolve in such a way that, at the end of the 5th hour and start of the 6th, Orchid Soleil is merely super clean, heavily sugared vanilla musk with a light, abstract white floral finish, a headache-inducing synthetic sharpness, and, once in a blue moon, a ghostly whisper of something nebulously “beachy” about it.

Source: taraflyart.com

Source: taraflyart.com

The composition was so simplistic that it seemed unlikely to develop any further nuances but, to my surprise, it did when Orchid Soleil’s drydown begins around the middle of the 7th hour. It’s marked by the patchouli’s arrival, followed by a quiet nuttiness that occasionally resembles a praline-vanilla cream. The former is a sort of idealized, hyper-clean, amorphous patchouli that wafts a demure spiciness; the latter is a vaguely Guerlainesque sort of sugared nuttiness that is cut through with tonka and caramelized nuances.

None of it resembles the dark, earthy, slightly smoky, slightly chocolate-y, strongly resinous, and occasionally leathery, black truffle “funk” that rendered Black Orchid so distinctive. The elements here nod to Black Orchid but it’s only the slightest nod, an attenuated thread that’s been cleaned up of Black Orchid’s grit and, thereby, of its compelling character as well. Then again, since Tom Ford’s fragrances tred the safest path possible these days, this approach feels fully in line with his aesthetic, since the very thing that made Black Orchid stand out also made it a polarizing scent for many. And Orchid Soleil wouldn’t offend anyone — except perhaps those who actually expect something interesting and good quality from Tom Ford. If that sounds snide, you have no idea how much I’m controlling myself from saying something much sharper.

Source: 123rf.com

Source: 123rf.com

Orchid Soleil doesn’t change much as the drydown progresses. The patchouli and the quasi-praline-vanilla accords basically engulf what little is left of the abstract floralcy, resulting in a scent that is predominantly warm, spicy, sugary vanilla layered with faintly nutty caramel and laundry clean musk. Around the 11th hour, the patchouli-chestnut begins to weaken, gradually fading away and leaving a scent that is merely hyper-clean, fresh and sugary musk with faint vestiges of something nebulously floral at its edges. In its dying moments, all that’s left is a sugary sweetness.

Orchid Soleil had enormous longevity, slightly low projection, and initially moderate sillage that slowly extended in reach. Using several generous smears equal to 2 sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opened with 3-4 inches of projection and about 3-4 inches of sillage that expanded to about 5-6 inches after 40 minutes, then eventually to about 7-8 inches after 90 minutes when the vanilla kicked in. The projection dropped a hair after 2 hours to roughly 2-3 inches. At the end of the 4th hour, the sillage lessened to about 4 inches. About 5.25 hours, the projection hovered just above the skin, but it took 7.5 hours in total for Orchid Soleil to turn into a skin scent. All in all, the fragrance  lasted just over 14 hours. The numbers were lower when I applied a smaller quantity, roughly equal to 1 spray from a bottle. However, that reduced dosage brought out the wood’s raspy, chemical sides to such a degree, turned the sugariness so acrid, and made the laundry musk so sharp that I scrubbed the scent after 3 hours.

Reviews for Orchid Soleil are highly mixed. On Sephora, reviews are split between 12 one-star negative reviews (some of which are pretty brutal), and 13 five-star reviews, along with a few votes for the other categories in-between. One person calls it “vile,” compared it to the scent of a “public beach bathroom,” and said it was the first time she “actually felt nauseated from a smell.” For “Salmakeupsalon,” a hardcore Tom Ford fan who collects all his fragrances, Orchid Soleil was a “fail” because it smelt like “burnt rubber.” Another commentator loved Orchid Soleil in the store but, as the fragrance developed, she found it smelt like vanilla with “burned synthetic chemicals.” Someone else felt that the “indoles have been ramped up to 10 in this fragrance, recalling dusty mothballs and harsh medicinal flowers.” Those indoles may be why a number of more youthful commentators used the words “old lady” or “grandma” to describe the scent.

A separate but large group of Sephora commentators actually like Orchid Soleil’s aroma, but think that it has terrible longevity and body. To give merely a few examples out of many: three women wrote that the fragrance died despite generous applications after 2 hours, 1.5 hours, or 30 minutes, respectively; a fourth said it acted like a body spray, and that friends couldn’t detect it an hour after application. There are many other similar accounts. If you want my opinion, it’s the large size of the synthetic molecules (especially if something like Cetalox has been used in the “solar” accord as I suspect) which is blocking out the nose’s receptors and thereby creating a temporary anosymia (or hyposmia) to the scent.

Tuberose: Source: mostbeautifulflower.com

Tuberose: Source: mostbeautifulflower.com

On Fragrantica, reviews are more positive and a large number of people call Orchid Soleil “classy.” It appears to be a great hit with tuberose lovers in particular. Posters find similarities to a number of mainstream scents, whether Soleil Blanc, Madonna’s Truth or Dare, Dior’s Pure Poison mixed with Hypnotic Poison, Chantecaille‘s Frangipani, Estee Lauder‘s Tuberose Gardenia, and Guerlain‘s Terracotta. One Orchid Soleil fan, “Nat001” wrote:

This is definitely my next perfume purchase. It is in line with the creme brûlée perfumes. Before I read the notes in it I immediately thought this is what Guerlain Terracota wanted to be. A cheap version of this category would be Aquolina Gold Sugar. You can definitely smell white flowers and to me it has that suntan lotion vibe. It is creamy and sweet but not too sweet. It is perfectly balanced. The gold bottle matches the fragrance 100%. It is definitely a gold perfume. Longevity 8+ hours and sillage is strong. My first Tom Ford love!  [Emphasis to perfume names added by me.]

What you think of Orchid Soleil will undoubtedly depend on the sorts of fragrances you enjoy and what your expectations are for Tom Ford. The fragrance certainly seems to be netting fans who never liked his earlier releases, and I’ve seen a number of people write on various sites that this is their “first” Tom Ford “love.” I find that telling and a sign of how the fragrances have changed, but take it as you will.

Still, if you’re accustomed to something like the aforementioned Aquolina Gold Sugar or if you’ve struggled with the original Tom Ford aesthetic, then chances are that you may enjoy this new, easy, wholly mainstream direction. So, if you like tuberose, Soleil Blanc, quasi-beachy scents, the heavily sugared “creme brulée” approach to feminine florals, or immensely fresh, clean, and sweet vanillic florals, then you should try Orchid Soleil for yourself. In all cases, though, keep in mind that your individual skin profile will impact which notes are emphasized and whether they bear the acrid, “burnt rubber,” “burned synthetic chemicals,” “medicinal” cypress, or laundry-fresh aromas that some people have mentioned.

If you’re a man who is a fan of the original Tom Ford aesthetic, the earlier niche-like Private Blends, their more distinctive or challenging vibe, or even Black Orchid itself, I can’t see you being enthused about Orchid Soleil, not unless you’re absolutely crazy about tuberose, beachy fragrances, and/or hyper-feminized, gourmand white florals.

If you’re accustomed to niche fragrances, then, regardless of gender, I would advise you to lower your expectations and not to expect either niche quality or distinctiveness. Give Orchid Sniff a passing test sniff if you have to and for curiosity’s sake, but I do not advise blindly buying Orchid Soleil. Really, don’t. I think it makes Black Orchid look like a luxury masterpiece from Serge Lutens or Roja Dove, and I say that as someone who actually owns and likes Black Orchid. Orchid Soleil is simply not a good perfume, in my opinion; moderately bearable in scent, wholly mediocre to shoddy in quality, I think it’s a huge disappointment. A while back, someone told me that Tom Ford appears to be far more engaged with or interested in the complicated and extensive renovations on his London mansion than he is with his perfume line, and I’m now starting to think that may be true, that he’s lost all interest in his fragrances, and that he’s abdicated control over their composition or quality because each new release is more disappointing than the last. Orchid Soleil continues the downward trend for me.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Orchid Soleil is an eau de parfum which generally comes in 3 sizes: 1 oz/30 ml, 1.7 oz/50 ml, and 3.4 oz/100 ml. The 30 ml size costs: $82, €69, and £54, but it isn’t sold everywhere, and that includes the Tom Ford website. The 50 ml size costs: $120, €100, or £76. The 100 ml size is $168 or €140, but it has not yet been released in most places, including the Tom Ford website. In the U.S.: Tom Ford has Orchid Soleil in the 50 ml size with the 100 ml bottle to follow eventually. He doesn’t offer the small 30 ml size which costs $82, but Sephora sells it along with the 50 ml bottle. At the time of this review, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s only have the 50 ml size. Several department stores that carry TF don’t show Orchid Soleil at this time on their websites, although I know many have it in-store. You can use the following links to check their TF pages later: Saks, NordstromNeiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman. Outside the U.S.: In Canada, Sephora has Orchid Soleil, with a price range of C$100-C$195. It’s also at The Bay and Holt Renfrew. In the U.K., Orchid Soleil is available at House of Fraser (30 ml, 50 ml) and Selfridges (50 ml). Harrods does not list the fragrance at the current time. Italy’s Vittoria Profumi not only has Orchid Soleil in all 3 sizes, but also has a sale at this time and shipping is available throughout the EU. The sale price of the 100 ml bottle, for example, is €123 down from €140. Elsewhere, for full price, Orchid Soleil is available at: France’s Galeries Lafayette and Sephora; the NL’s Parfumerie; and Germany’s Douglas. First in Fragrance, Premiere Avenue, and the NL’s Parfumania  don’t show it, but should get it eventually. In Australia, David Jones doesn’t have it yet, but should get it eventually. For all other countries or locations, you can use the Tom Ford Store Locator listing on his website. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Orchid Soleil starting at $4.99 for a 1 ml vial. You can also go to any of the department stores listed above to give it a test sniff.

39 thoughts on “Tom Ford Orchid Soleil

  1. I like this scent but don’t necessarily disagree with anything you say above. I’m a sucker for anything with a beachy, salty vibe even if it’s just coppertone from the bottle so my taste in this genre is consistent if perhaps not so discerning. On me, I thought it was very pretty, not too sweet and had a real summer vibe.
    But that’s not why I wanted to comment. I am also so very disappointed in the Tom Ford brand recently for exactly the reason you articulate in your review. Sure, I love basically every beach scent so this one will pass muster with me. But over the past year the TF brand has put out some truly mediocre products. The general quality has been spotty (some products I did really like; others were shamefully bad). And prices have been rising not so slowly.
    I also agree this scent is not an iteration of Black Orchid but something entirely different.
    Thanks for your honest review.

    • You’re very welcome, Megan. I had to laugh at the “coppertone” and “my taste… is consistent if perhaps not so discerning.” Hey, if you love it, that’s all that counts! Seriously, wear what you love, and everyone else be damned. 😀 Having said that, I’m curious what TF products you found to be “shamefully bad” over the last year? Were they part of his beauty/makeup line? I’ve heard some grumblings or rumblings from a few quarters about declining quality (but rising prices) there as well.

    • I also love beachy, sunny fragrances. I just bought Orchid Soleil that I find just ok. Could you both advise about other fragrances in the type ? Thanks a lot

      • Guerlain’s Terracotta is very popular with people who love this genre, followed by Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc. I haven’t tried Terracotta myself, but that seems to be the one that many women go for. The problem is, Terracotta was a limited-edition release, launched in limited-edition fashion and quickly sold out thereafter. I don’t think you’ll find it easily, let alone samples of it. So your best bet may be to try TF’s Soleil Blanc. I personally wasn’t enthused, but then I have an issue with white musk and this is also not the genre of perfumery that I gravitate to. But it’s far better than Orchid Soleil, in my opinion.

        Another option might be Parfums de Nicolai’s Musc Monoi. It’s another beachy, coconut-y fragrance, but less intensely gourmand and sweet than Orchid Soleil. Not quite so intensely floral either. I’ll be honest, I’m not personally crazy about that one either. When I want something lush, floral, heated, boozy, rich, and vanillic, what I turn to is LM Parfums Sensual Orchid. No, it’s not beachy, no, it doesn’t have coconut or suntan oil aromas, and yes, it is expensive. But it’s a head-turner, incredibly opulent, and just… well, seductive, flirty, sensual, and sexy as hell, in my opinion. If you want to read my detailed review: http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2013/09/08/lm-parfums-sensual-orchid-dressed-to-seduce/

        • Thank you so much, your review is really one of the best I have read. You convinced me to try Laurent Mazzone brand. I will let you know…

          • Wonderful. I’m so glad I could help. And, yes, please do let me know how it turns out on your skin and what you think. I’m really interested, mostly because I want you to find something you love but also, I can’t help it, a tiny part of me is biased because Sensual Orchid is such a personal favourite of mine. 😀

  2. I also agree that TF is going all the way mainstream and that happened a while ago, and that ‘s bad or at least disappointing especially when you like a fragrance like Black Orchid and you expect something “similar” and then…..
    Again: declining quality of raw materials, blending etc and on the other hand rising prices..well that is the logic behind the New Global Conglomerates Capitalism…let ‘s must say TF is not walking down that road alone!

  3. ”Vanillic sweetness” contra ”very scratchy cedar”…. sweetness wins the battle!
    ”amorphous, shapeless tuberose”…must be painful for a tuberose lover.
    Cheap raw materials and rising prices, that’s the way of getting rich and renovate your mansion.
    You are a hero wearing this for 14 hours.

    • I missed responding to this earlier, Cornelia, but had meant to ask you if you had a favourite tuberose fragrance?

      • I am a tuberose lover, absolutely! Of course I love Fracas. The Tuberose I wear often: Tubéreuse Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. In my perception, there is a perfect balance between sweetness and a green note. I love as well Carnal Flower, but it gives me a headache. Today I am wearing Mahora (vintage)..lovely creamy tuberose on this rainy day!
        I still have to discover Beyond Love. Seems to be beautiful.

        • Carnal Flower gives me a headache, too. It’s the white musk. There’s a lot of it, imo. Have you tried Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom? It’s my favourite modern tuberose fragrance, and surprisingly strong and rich for an all-natural. Really nice scent cloud and longevity. Speaking of MPG/Maitre Parfumeur, its white floral blend, Jardin Blanc, is lovely and has a definite green side as well. Not purely tuberose, though, but a mix of jasmine, tuberose, orange blossom, and a rather honeysuckle-like note, all mixed in with green leaves and oakmoss. Transparent but rich, and rather head-turning, in my opinion. But for top-notch, utterly gorgeous tuberose (with a hint of jasmine, I think), I really recommend trying Moon Bloom if you haven’t already.

          • I don’t know Moon Bloom, but will try it for sure! thank you.
            I considered a bottle of Jardin Blanc, but I thought it came too near to Jardins de Bagatelle which I own already.
            I also love the tuberose note in J’Adore L’Absolu.

          • I googled Hiram Green:”I do not use any ingredients from animal origin”.
            He has my sympathy. Maybe he will have one day a tobacco without cruelty.

  4. I still have mine in the box and the sephora box it was shipped in. I’m torn. I absolutely hate the opening, just as you did. It definitely smells like bug spray or Lysol. Just awful. But then the dry down is so pretty and everything I wanted it to be. Do you have a recommendation for something similar to the dry down notes that is good for summer? That would make my decision to return it much easier!

    • I’d be happy to help any way that I can. First, tell me what the drydown smells like on you and the parts you would want in another fragrance. The sticking point for comparable scents would be the beach accord. If the scent is still beachy on your skin in the drydown, in addition to have the vanilla, nuttiness, and patchouli spice, then I can’t think of anything that replicates all that together. However, if you take the beach element out of the equation, we have a lot more options. It’s going to depend on what the drydown is like on you and what we’re seeking.

      One thing that came to mind, minus the beach accord, is a fragrance by L’Artisan called Noir Exquis that has a sweet, cozy, nutty, golden, caramel and vanillic vibe, even if the actual fragrances are nothing alike in terms of specifics. But if you want a similar *feel* as the drydown in Orchid Soleil, it might be worth just looking up my review to see if it piques your interest. Noir Exquis’ notes include a different white floral (orange blossom), coffee, whipped cream, nutty notes, caramelized vanilla, and more. http://www.kafkaesqueblog.com/2015/10/06/lartisan-parfumeur-noir-exquis/

      It’s a substantially better fragrance than Orchid Soleil, imo, even if they’re nothing alike due to the beach differential or the lack of a clean, abstract, floral woody musk accord. But your focus is Orchid Soleil’s drydown, so that’s one fragrance that came to mind purely in terms of cozy comfort, sweet, semi-gourmand goldenness. Once you tell me more about what you’re looking for, I can try to come up with more targeted suggestions. That is, unless you want a beachy scent above all else and from start to finish. If so, then your best bet may be to try Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc and see if that works for you. The drydown is not the same as the one in Orchid Soleil, though, and there is no patchouli, caramel, or nutty praline cream.

      • I finally had the chance to try this again, and it for sure is going back! This time, the bug spray lasted longer than I remembered. I was hoping for something a bit beachy in the opening then a drydown with more vanilla, coconutty, patchouli (this is what I experience in the drydown). I did try Noir Equis, and it was quite smoky like a campfire if I am remembering right, so not exactly beachy or sweet.

        • Thank you for explaining what you’re looking for. I wasn’t aware you wanted a beachy start in addition to a beachy finish and the base notes. From your original comment, I’d thought you only wanted the sweet base. Given what you want, your best bet is probably to try Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc or to look for Guerlain’s Terracotta. I haven’t tried the latter, but it seems to be popular with those who like beachy and sweet fragrances.

          By the way, Noir Exquis is an extremely sweet fragrance that is meant to replicate a pastry shop and café, so it’s a gourmand, not a camp fire scent. Perhaps you are thinking of something else?

          • Thanks so much for your suggestions! I will give those two a try. As for Noir Exquis, I could be remembering a different scent or it could be the sample I purchased. I have had issues in the past with scents being completely different than what everyone else smells (my sample of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea for Two smelled like moldy, rotten fruit!).

  5. Tubereuse is the most incredible smell I have ever smelled; and has been for decades. I was inspired to know it is yours as well, Beloved Kafka. Now I don’t feel so like the fragrance buffoon I normally feel like when reading your reviews. I’m always afraid to comment for honest fear of self-embarrassment…
    I honestly believe that Heaven smells of Tubereuse, and we are allowed to experience it on earth, as a glimmer. I can’t believe that I actually found anything about Tom Ford intriguing, but now he’s in my “Madonna” category. Tom, it’s time to retire. Take the money and run while you still have some dignity left. Trust me, when you live in Florida, you do not ALWAYS strive to smell like a day at the beach. (Sometimes we go for YEARS without going to the beach!!!) I mean do people in Colorado ALWAYS want to smell like and Apres Ski Cordial???? 🙂
    Have a Fantastic Evening!

    • You shouldn’t feel like a “fragrance buffoon,” dear Anastasia. We all view fragrances differently and through the lens of our experiences, knowledge, skin type, and tastes, and we all have something to contribute. There is no absolute “truth” in perfumery, no single set path or absolute. 🙂 As for tuberose, I find its scent to be as narcotic as a drug but, when I was just starting to read sites like Fragrantica, I was amazed at how hated the flower was, and how intense or polarized the reactions to it. I’ve actually felt like a bit of a freak for my tuberose love and for all the other florals that are high on my list of favourites (hyacinth, lily, lilac, etc.) when everyone else is raving about roses or irises — two flowers that do absolutely nothing for me at all — but that just goes to show how we’re all different and that there is something for everything out there. 🙂 Don’t question yourself, sweetie. And don’t feel like a “buffoon” because you’re not!

      • Iris smells like my Grandfather’s “Scotch Breath” when he used to bounce us in his lap when we were tiny kiddos!!!! I SWEAR!!! That’s why I NEVER wear it…it’s just …YUCK!!!! Thank You Kafka!!! I feel empowered now!!! 🙂

  6. I am a huge fan of Black Orchid, absolutely love the fragrance? This, though, was not a good experience. We got it recently at my job and I thought I would like it more, but first, I am not a tuberose fan at all– I tend to hate it, unless it is blended to smell like root beer..

    But boy, this tuberose (on paper, didn’t try it on skin) turns out to smell like moth balls and cheetos, lol! I can’t even fathom how my nose picks it up like that, but it’s a similat smell I get from an bag-type vacuum, when it is turned on and airs off that smell.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the wood note that is responsible for the somewhat burnt, dusty smell that is reminding you of a bag-type vacuum cleaner when it is turned on. The “moth balls” is undoubtedly due to the tuberose, but dry dustiness is not a typical aroma and seems far more likely to be the synthetic wood, in my opinion, especially as it was a major element of the opening for quite a number of people, not just me.

      By the way, just out of curiosity, what fragrance(s) blended tuberose to smell like “root beer”? People often describe labdanum as having a “root beer” or “cola” scent, but I’ve never heard that for tuberose before. Did the blend that you’re thinking of have a lot of labdanum amber in it?

  7. I am squarely in the minority’s opinion on this one, because I love it! Is it going to win awards for paradigm shifting or innovation? No. But to me it is pretty and flirty and fun. Nothing too cerebral or strenuous, just buttery florals. And I actually prefer it over Soleil Blanc, which I also find it very similar to, and Black Orchid, which I am not a fan of on me.

    • Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m glad you’ve found a fragrance you love so much.

  8. Thank you for this post on Orchid Soleil, in my experience I loved it at first but as time went on the “chemical smell” just drove me crazy. I thought that I was mistaken at first.Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    My body reacts differently to scents over the course of the day, I end up purchasing something that I love and then end up hating the fragrance a few days later.

    Trying to figure out a new method to help people find the fragrance thats right for them.

    The landing page is here [url snipped]

    Could i get your thoughts on this?

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences with Orchid Soleil.

      In terms of your site, let me start by saying that I edited out the link from your comment. As a standard practice, I don’t permit outside links of that nature on the site, even if it’s only indirect promotional advertising. That aside, I’m sure you’ll do well with your business. It’s basically a sampling or decant service like Surrender to Chance and the others, except you’re limiting the scope only to designer brands, offering a decant-size quantity, and then giving a $15 discount option for anyone who wishes to subsequently purchase a full bottle. It’s the last part that will probably be the real draw for customers, at least if the designer fragrance is priced high enough to make sampling worth it for them rather than just buying the scent blindly for $30 or so on eBay.

      I wish you the best on your venture.

      • Thank you for the honest feedback ,I apologize for the link.

        Currently work on the business supply side for a large perfume supplier, I don’t work with actual customers just buyers. I personally have a rough time discovering new scents/perfumes but I have the advantage of getting designer perfumes @ cost. I felt that it’s so unfair/frustrating to discover something that’s so personal to be that costly.

        Do you have any ideas on how I can further validate this idea from experts like yourself?

        much appreciated,
        jen

        • In all honesty, I’m not sure what ideas I could suggest. There’s nothing to be done about pefume being costly, and there are already a number of sample services designed to offer protection against expensive blind buys by permitting people to give perfumes a test run first. The very reason people read blogs like this one and the big sites like Fragrantica is to get an idea of what fragrances are worth trying. Then, they turn to places like Surrender to Chance and its kin, as well as sample subscription services, in order to discover what may or may not work for them.

          The one thing you’re offering that’s different is the $15 discount/rebate. But I don’t know if that will be enough given that the type of perfumes you’re focusing on — mainstream designers and commercial scents — are easily available from discount sites or eBay for a reduced price. The type of person you seem to be targeting is precisely the sort of person who would *already* use a sample service or buy at a reduced rate.

          However, the ones who could really benefit are the ones who may not even be aware such options exist because they’re not real or hardcore perfumistas. They’re the sort who will have a signature scent, or who would buy a fragrance on impulse while browsing through Sephora or Macy’s. They’re the precise sort of customer who is likely to regret an impulse purchase that turned bad. But they’re not real or hardcore perfumistas, if you know what I mean, because they’re not really plugged into the perfume world, not the sort to know or care about new releases, or to frequently buy a slew of fragrances. They’re the infrequent perfume shopper because, as I said, the frequent ones *already* use services like Surrender to Chance to sample and would therefore be unlikely to turn to yours. For the frequent, hardcore perfumista, it’s cheaper to sample a fragrance at a starting cost of $3.99 (or way, way less in the case of the designer fragrance you’d be carrying, like $2) than to use your $15 option.

          So you’d somehow have to reach the infrequent perfume users to let them know about your service and why it would make a difference to their shopping choices. Doing that may entail high advertising and marketing costs, thereby raising the amount of start-up capital needed.

          Those are the issues or problems that I see. I’m sure someone well-versed in the marketing or corporate world could figure out some solutions around it, perhaps additional angles or hooks to make your business stand out and thereby have much wider appeal. But I’m afraid this is not my area of expertise. If you wish to talk further, perhaps you can email me since we’ve gone far afield of the Orchid Soleil review, but I don’t think I can offer much else in terms of ideas or insight.

          I’m sorry I can’t be of more assistance. I wish I could, though. I know you want to help people, and that’s always a good thing. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Tom Ford Orchid Soleil EDP Perfume Review | EauMG

  10. I’m late to this party but I was catching up on your reviews and came across this one a couple of days now after having tried a sample of this “fragrance.” I just have to share that I’ve never had as strong a negative reaction to a fragrance as I did to Orchid Soleil. It’s one of the most horrible things I’ve ever smelled in my life. It smells like creamed corn combined with the something chemical and nauseating. I deem it the official fragrance of existential angst, or maybe “The Scream” in fragrance form.

    To be fair though, I never have liked any of the “Orchid” fragrances, whereas the Private Blend Noir de Noir is one of my all-time favorites.

    In better news I scored a bottle of Comme des Garçons Daphne on ebay. Now *that’s* a beauty.

    It’s been fun reading your reviews; I now know to skip the LV fragrances. 🙂

    • My apologies for the small delay in replying, Malapert, and welcome to the blog. 🙂 I laughed out loud at your description of Orchid Soleil as “the official fragrance of existential angst,” complete with a reference to The Scream. It’s making me grin even as I type right now. 😀

      I’ve heard lovely things about CDG’s Daphne, by the way. Congratulations on your bottle. I look forward to finding out more about your tastes in the weeks or months to come. 🙂

  11. Hi there Kafkesque!!

    I have always enjoyed reading your reviews, and this one is no exception!
    In fact this fragrance is on my ‘to buy/to sniff’ list for 2016, and maybe this christmas would bring me lots of ‘fragrant’ goodies 😉 I shall be keeping in mind all the notes from your breakdown of Orchid Soleil before I decide to commit to it!!
    Thank you so much for the mention in your review, its an honour actually.
    Please keep bringing your wonderful perspective! Have a great Christmas!!

  12. I purchased Orchid Soleil a week ago and love it. First it is only fair to tell you I am 66 years young. I am a fragrance whore, meaning I will do anything (almost) to obtain my latest obsession. My entire life I have been searching for a signature fragrance. I have been thinking Orchid Soleil could be the one. Time will tell.

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