Tom Ford Sahara Noir


Tom Ford has always been sort of loveably delusional, but Sahara Noir convinces me that he’s just lost any tenuous connection he might have had to reality. No one, in the history of anyone, is going to pay $150 for 50 ml of a mainstream perfume. You know, Tom, if you ever managed to look beyond your grody stubble, you might have noticed that WE’RE IN A RECESSION. GOD.

The reason I’m so disappointed in Tom is that Sahara Noir is a great perfume! It could be extremely popular if the pricing were anything resembling reasonable. Sahara Noir is a perfume for those of us who hate waiting through bergamot or lavender top notes to get to the good stuff. Sahara Noir gets right down to business, and that business is a dry, savory, practically edible amber. This is a firmly unisex perfume, although women might find its total lack of sweetness or creaminess somewhat alienating. I hate to say it, but you probably get your money’s worth with Sahara Noir. Nothing about this heady fragrance smells cheap. That tacky “gold”-plated bottle, on the other hand…

To my wallet’s relief, Sahara Noir is not sweet enough for my personal tastes. So I’d like to give my sample to one of you in the hopes that it will suit you better! If you’d like to win the sample, just leave a comment telling me your favorite Tom Ford fragrance, or maybe the maximum amount you’d be willing to spend on a mainstream fragrance. Or we could reminisce about that time when Tom Ford ate Keira Knightley’s ear! Those were the days.


44 thoughts on “Tom Ford Sahara Noir

  1. I would love your sample, Ari as I’m less sweet in taste than you are- I think I could like it, a lot
    on the other hand I had no love for any TF sample I had ( not many) and I don’t think I can afford the price ( I can find TF at about 700 NIS/50 ml, about a year after they hit the market..)
    thanks for the draw

    1. My pleasure, Irina! So you pay much higher prices for these scents anyway… I don’t even want to think about how much Sahara Noir would cost in shekels!

  2. I ordered a decant recently, after trying a spritz at Saks. It is a powerhouse of labdanum and amber and spice. Kind of reminiscent of Amber Absolute. I agree that the fake gold bottle is crap. I will wait til Winter and use my decant for an evening out. I don’t need to be in on the draw. Thanks though.

    1. You’re welcome, Tora! I can definitely understand why you would save SN for winter- “powerhouse” is a very accurate description!

  3. I tried it this weekend on paper and would love to win a sample! It reminded me of LADDM, which I also think of as a dry amber. I liked it a lot! I don’t think the price tag is over the top crazy compared to the super fancy Tom Fords and so many other niche lines … speaking of which, my favorite Tom Ford is Noir de Noir, and no I will not pay that much for it.

    1. Oh, I was so hoping that you would find your cheaper LADDM after we talked about it on Twitter! Yaaaay! I also think Noir de Noir is really beautiful. Luca Turin compared it to the much cheaper 100% Love, but I don’t find them remotely similar. 100% Love has an obnoxious raspberry note to me.

  4. I love his new Cafe Rose, but am not paying major-major money for it. Sahara Noir could have been a huge hit and sea change for mainstream lines, but the price pushes the envelope too far.

  5. Didn’t he do Youth Dew Amber Nude? If my memory is correct then that’s the only Tom Ford I’ve liked so far. The rest just haven’t thrilled me enough to buy.

    1. Yes! Tom Ford Youth Dew Amber Nude (phew!) Sadly, I hadn’t gotten into perfume yet when it was released, and never got to try it.

  6. Yeah, pretty much my biggest gripe with Tom Ford fragrances is they’re ridiculously overpriced for what they are. I will spend a lot on a perfume if it’s worth it. My baseline for most perfume is $150, but I really struggle to spend that on something mainstream.

    My favourite Tom Ford fragrance is Violet Blonde which I have a mini of, but seeing as I’m no longer a violet blonde myself, it’s never held any real lasting appeal for me to actually buy a full bottle.

    1. Surely it’s time for a brunette flanker! šŸ˜‰ I truly don’t understand the Tom Ford pricing. I guess they just do it because they think they can get away with it. I’d love to see the sales figures and find out if they actually do.

  7. I just tried Sahara Noir this weekend too. I thought it was fine, not amazing, but well done. It smelled pretty niche to me, and I didn’t think the price was exorbitant. Some of the other fragrances in his line though . . .

    Did you ever see the Hunger Games movie? Is it me or is Seneca Crane’s immaculate facial stubble reminiscent of Tom Ford’s?

    1. No, I haven’t seen or read Hunger Games! But I just googled Seneca Crane and was very impressed by his facial grooming. Tom Ford WISHES he was on that level!

  8. I have been waiting to try this, although I agree that the price point is extremely high. In terms of mainstream, I have been itching for a bottle of V&R Spicebomb (although I’m a girl), but the $95 price tag seems too much to me for a designer fragrance, especially since I have two samples of it already.

    1. TF, if you like Spicebomb (I do, a lot!) then I bet you will enjoy Sahara Noir, too. I think that Sephora has a smaller bottle of Spicebomb for $75, which still seems sort of high for a masculine.

  9. I’ve liked both Japon Noir and Amber Absolute, but they’re just too expensive for me. This one sounds good, too, but that bottle looks tacky. Thanks for the draw.

    1. My pleasure, Julie! I don’t think I’ve ever tried Japon Noir, and I can’t have tried Amber Absolute more than once. And now it’s too late, I suppose! šŸ˜¦

  10. I’m with you on the pricing. I have no idea why are perfumes becoming more and more expensive…

    My favourite TF? I don’t think I have it really. I enjoy several of his perfumes but none stand out as something I need to have.

  11. I enjoyed the Jardin Noir series: Lys Fume, Ombre de Hyacinthe, and Jonquille de Nuit. However, like many of the commenters, I’m just not willing to pay his prices – the fragrances are nice, but not that special. $125 would be my spending limit, but it would have to be something REALLY special that I really loved.

  12. I love that you bring up the price issue here. It really could have brought about some major changes for mainstream perfumes but, at this price it will probably put a lot of people off. Also, for me, this smells almost identical to SL Ambre Sultan for the first couple of hours (with the SL getting more vanilla in the dry down). I do own Violet Blonde and Santal Blush but, as a collector, I don’t think I am a good representative of what most people would be willing to pay.

  13. ” Sahara Noir is a perfume for those of us who hate waiting through bergamot or lavender top notes to get to the good stuff.” Ari, you crack me up! I would like to try this fragrance based on that line of your review alone.
    The only Tom Ford I have tried is Violet Blonde, which I did not care for.

    1. Thank you, Barbara! In general, I like Tom Ford’s fragrances, so I definitely recommend trying others if you have a chance. Was Violet Blonde too much jasmine for you or too little? As a jasmine loather, I rather liked it!

  14. I’m not totally sure what my favorite Tom Ford is. Velvet Gardenia is nice. Violet Blonde is nice. I feel like I haven’t tried enough of the line to really have found a favorite. It’s crazy that he’s pricing it this way!

    I was a Vanity Fair subscriber when that cover came out…. Oh, the memories!

    1. Was Velvet Gardenia the mushroom-y one? In addition to not understanding their prices, I also don’t understand Tom Ford’s discontinuations. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to which Private Blends get discontinued, although I’m sure there must be.

      1. yes, it’s mushroom-y, although to my nose not as mushroom-y as some breathless reviews would have you believe. About 6 months ago, when there was such a surge of new niche gardenia-centric perfumes, and a lot of writing about gardenia-centric perfumes, I saw a lot of bloggers recommending this as supposedly one of the best gardenia perfumes ever, with animalic undertones, etc. I ordered a sample which I’ve tried once… obviously didn’t capture me enough on first wear. I plan to try again, though. It’s nice. But it’s discontinued and super-expensive to get. A lot of the Private Blends that were most loved by perfumistas seem to have been discontinued…

  15. I never got to try Velvet Gardenia.. only read about it. I really like Tobacco Vanille, especially in the fall, but not at that price. I think last time I looked at it at Neiman Marcus it was like $195 for 50ml or something. Crazy. Especially when you can go to L’Occitane and get 100ml of L’Eau des Baux, which is nearly a dead ringer, for $50. There are a few others I’ve tried and remember liking, like Neroli Portofino, Tuscan Leather, Noir de Noir, and Black Violet. The last one surprised me because I don’t generally like violet much. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Jardin Noirs that I tried. I tried Ombre de Hyacinthe and Cafe Rose, and I thought they both opened really nicely and then kind of descended into non-descriptness on me.

    This new one does interest me. I’m a sucker for labdanum so I imagine I’ll probably like it.

  16. Gosh, I want to try this! I loved your review, of course you always make me laugh, and I agree the price is ridiculous, but I think I might love this. My wallet hopes I don’t, but I reaaaallly hope I do.

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