My teachers were right: perspective is everything. When you get close to Noir Anthracite (a flanker which, despite its name, shares few features with the original Noir from 2012) your experience is promising. Moonlit minerals. Brooding gunpowder. Sparks lining the edges of polished flint. Maybe some flames too, but no towering ostentations. This isn't a raging bonfire, which is apt, given that the Oracle (ie Wikipedia) tells us anthracite “burns with little flame and smoke”. However, things change when you take a step back. Instead of forming an attractive sillage when they coalesce, all those elements turn into a wall of brash, typically 70s-inflected, Tom Ford patchouli, with an off-putting wood facet and a dubiously aggressive attitude. Ford makes no apologies about his love for older scent codes - and so he shouldn’t, as they’ve often led him to gorgeous creations - but here, the time warp idea reminds you that the decade of flares and disco balls was also the era of bigotry towards women and mass social disillusionment. In other words, it’s just a bit too chest-wig-heavy. When not one, but three people come up to you, pull a face and say, “You smell like my dad,” you know the retro vibe has probably been overplayed. Apply with caution. Or maybe only when you’re going to be within stroking distance of everyone around.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Tom Ford in 2017.]