Puckrik on Perfume

Katie Puckrik ON May 22, 2009 AT 12:39 pm

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

When not sniffing up a storm, Katie Puckrik is a broadcaster, performer and journalist. Her television hosting work in the US and UK  encompasses the entire pop culture pu-pu platter. Her writing has appeared in Elle, Marie Claire and The Guardian. She began her career as a singer and dancer, including a tour across the globe with the Pet Shop Boys. Her memoir, Shooting From the Lip, is published by Headline.  Her perfume review channel, KatiePuckrikSmells, can be seen on YouTube.

Read on below for the third instalment of her regular Friday column.

Tom Ford Black Orchid
By Katie Puckrik

Even before I took my first sniff of Tom Ford’s mainstream fragrance line, the retro-glam bottles captivated me. These opaque glass flasks are textured like needle-rib corduroy, with possible off-label use as a cellulite massager.

The alluring bottle is what drew me to Ford’s White Patchouli first. “Oooh…” I crooned as I fondled the bottle’s milky-white ridges. “Arghh!” I screamed as the eau de parfum seared my sinuses with synthetic-smelling florals the size and shape of a skyscraper. (And depleted a month’s supply of words beginning with “s”.) After sulking for a bit, I begrudgingly approached Black Orchid, which had already gotten the thumbs-up from men and women I knew who lived for loucheness and grand statements. You know, “theatre types”.

Well, the opening curtain of Black Orchid certainly turned my frown upside down. This eau de parfum announces itself with a syrupy, almost fermented mix of mushroomy chocolate and berries. It’s an oozy over-ripeness that peaks with a cheesy note before it softens to a drier leather accord. Way to make an entrance! Real black orchids naturally exude a sweet, cocoa-vanilla odor, and it’s no wonder that they inspired this debauched concoction. But ten minutes in, Black Orchid lightens up into something a little aquatic. I smell the shadow of pineapple, which vibrates between sweetness and piss.

This reminds me that Tom Ford’s input on Black Orchid was to request that it “smell like a man’s crotch”. All I can say is that Tom’s had his nose in some pretty high-class groins, because this thing is a million miles away from a “Tainted Love”/men’s subway toilet scenario. Black Orchid keeps getting more watery and floral as it lifts off the skin. After the congratulatory applause fades, the eau de parfum stops trying so hard to impress us, and falls back on a few well practiced poses. Its showy decadence thins out to low-key woodiness. It’s as if you’re left pondering the little wooden plinth that used to display a remarkable, challenging sculpture.

Overall, Black Orchid is bold and pleasingly weird – an oceanic oriental that makes an exotic evening scent for the ladies, and a great non-clichéd choice for men.

Info and stockists:

Katie discusses the skyscraper-sized florals of White Patchouli on her YouTube channel, KatiePuckrikSmells:

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