Black Orchid: The Story Behind Tom Ford’s Iconic Fragrance

Tom Ford’s Black Orchid fragrance has been a cult classic in the perfume world since it was released back in 2006. Beloved by everyone from well-heeled businessmen to downtown cool-girls, Black Orchid sits somewhere at the intersection of retro glamour and raw sex appeal. Rich, exotic, and deeply seductive, the scent is downright intimidating at first sniff—but as its many devotees can attest, once it mingles with your body chemistry, it transforms into a velvety concoction of musk and sandalwood that doesn’t feel distinctly masculine or feminine; just purely luxurious.

With such a bold profile, it’s only fitting that Black Orchid has a remarkable backstory. Legend has it that the fragrance was inspired by a rare black orchid bred exclusively for Mr. Ford himself. Tom Ford’s obsession with orchids drove him to find the blackest orchid in the world. (“To me, it is the perfect flower… luxurious, elegant, pure, and sophisticated,” he says.) Unable to find an orchid with the perfect black hue, Tom Ford enlisted the help of an orchid grower in California to cultivate it. After multiple crosspollination experiments to achieve the deepest, darkest petals, the Tom Ford Black Orchid was born.

With his fantasy black orchid now a reality, Tom Ford worked with master perfumers to create the iconic Black Orchid Eau de Parfum, a seductive blend of black truffle, ylang-ylang, rum-soaked black plum, vanilla, sandalwood, and, of course, rare black orchid. It’s been 14 years since Black Orchid’s release, and Tom Ford is back at it again with a highly concentrated version of the original. Black Orchid Parfum is a potent reinvention, with intensified notes of ylang-ylang, rum absolute, and black plum that make it all the more intoxicating. Fans of the original Black Orchid Eau de Parfum will love the new Parfum—as will anyone seeking the perfect dark, dramatic fragrance that lingers long into the day (and night).

Shop the Black Orchid fragrance collection from TOM FORD.