I've always been suspicious of Black Orchid. Something about its strident assertiveness - its poking, prodding, finger-stabbing insistence - has made me feel that its facade conceals a quagmire of insecurities. It is so determined to appear confident that surely, I've thought, it must be anything but. In olfactory terms, I'd say this low self-esteem manifests itself in the paint-stripping berry/currant note running behind the don't-mess-with-me patchouli, chocolate and white florals. Try as hard as they might, those heavy-hitters can't entirely divert attention away from the thinness of the fruit aspects, with the result that the Miranda Priestly demeanour never quite rings true. Thankfully, 9 years after it was released - during which time it has consistently been Tom Ford's bestseller - Black Orchid has learned to relax and stop trying so hard: it now comes to us in eau de toilette form, free of some of the neediness that made the eau de parfum such trying company. In essence, it is the same perfume, but more translucent, limpid and vaporous than the original, in keeping with what one would expect from an edt concentration. That said, it doesn't seem to be any less long-lasting - a noteworthy technical achievement, if nothing else - and it even permits its inscrutability to crack into a faint smile at a few stages in its development. So yes, I confess, I am more pleasantly disposed towards this new incarnation... but I still can't shake off the feeling that it's a deceptive beast. My suspicions remain.
[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Tom Ford in 2015.]