Well hello again, Mr Ford. You seem, well, different. But better.
I’ve loved every Tom Ford fragrance I’ve had the pleasure of sniffing (here and here for example). Noir Extreme was my gateway drug to gourmands. But I have come to expect a certain pain with the pleasure, a deliberate tension to the perfumes that demands your acceptance of the Ford aesthetic. And I’ve submitted, willingly. With Anthracite though, it feels like something’s changed. Perhaps Ford is reforming. Or evolving.
Anthracite, to my nose, releases the clenched composition of many of Ford’s perfumes to instead present an interpretation of ‘Noir’ that is like mercury, smooth but as sexy as ever.
Noir Anthracite presents as quite linear to me, yes there is a gingery warmth to the opening, and a slightly smoky, incense-like quality from Sichuan pepper, but they are tempered with the classic citrus of bergamot and the numbing qualities of these spices are made steely, distilled. Immediately we are cooling, dropping into a dark world. These elements dissolve very quickly, and into the woods we go.
This dark, dry forest, the kind inhabited maybe by beasts or maleficent fairies, is where Anthracite finds its place to settle – or you could see it as a dark tailored tuxedo jacket fitted tightly over tanned, muscled skin. Either way, the planes are smooth and strong, catching the silver light.
The inclusion of sandalwood, cedar and ebony in the core of the scent creates a shimmering length and space, and perceived between these timber boughs, as the moonlight illuminates a lush green, is a delicate white floral. Just every now and then. This is the delightful part of wearing Anthracite, this glimpse of a silvery blossom in the cool.
It saves Anthracite from becoming flat, instead it opens and closes, the elements always moving together with a sensuality that Ford has nailed. So maybe not much has changed after all.