Tom Times Three – Review: Tom Ford Santal Blush, Jasmine Rouge And Violet Blonde

Tom Ford generously showers us with three new release this fall. Two in his Private Blend range and one in the wide distribution signature line.

Let’s get going then:

Tom Ford Private Blend Santal Blush:

Don’t you love this image? I do. The clear bottle and nude color of Santal Blush drew me in from the start. But superficiality aside, how does Santal Blush smell?

Not so long ago I tested the new Le Labo release, Santal 33, and I found it a bit too butch for my liking. Thanks to Tom Ford, here is a sandalwood that, while still being a bit rough and definitely loud and strong, is also feminine, smoother, minus the menthol and a lot easier to wear for me.

Santal Blush was created by Yann Vasnier and includes notes of ylang ylang, cumin, cinnamon bark, carrot seed, jasmine, rose, cedarwood, Australian sandalwood, oud, musk and benzoin.

Santal Blush starts out a little sharp and rough, but smooths out over the first few minutes, it has the typical Tom Ford volume only in the beginning, then it recedes a little and stays close, but wear for hours upon hours. I find Santal Blush elegant and highly wearable. It is milky and soft, like the best sandalwoods should be. My favorite of the three, by far.

Tom Ford Private Blend Jasmine Rouge:

Jasmine Rouge was created by Rodrigo Flores-Roux and includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, broom flower, jasmine sambac, neroli, ylang ylang, clary sage, Mexican vanilla, leather, woody notes, amber and labdanum.

While Jasmine Rouge starts out very promising, with indolic jasmine, spices and creamy ylang-ylang layered with red fruity notes, I can’t help but feel let down by the base. The drydown could have been amazing here, but somehow it doesn’t deliver.

After the first hour, the first half of which is very Tom Fordian in volume and presence, Jasmine Rouge steeply declines into non-descript scent territory and that is not what you would expect from a perfume in this price range. Jasmine Rouge feels like a broken promise.

Tom Ford Violet Blonde:

Violet Blonde is part of the regular line along with White Patchouli and Black Orchid and more widely available.

Violet Blonde includes notes of violet leaf, mandarin, pink pepper, orris, jasmine, benzoin, cedar, vetiver, musk and suede.

Of the three Tom Ford signature scents, this is the only one I would consider wearing. While the Private Blends offer many a coveted fragrance for me, I never quite got the appeal of Black Orchid and White Patchouli, their “put in everything you have, then shake” attitude is not compatible with my preferences.

All this rambling serves a purpose – namely to state the profound difference between Violet Blonde and the two previous perfumes. While the first two are dark, heavy, intricate, baroque and sexy perfumes, Violet Blonde is almost light in contrast. It is a lot more delicate and more sheer, more modern in feel, but still retains a certain loudness, sometimes almost to the point of bothering me. If you are anything like me, apply sparingly.

Violet Blonde opens with violets – green leaves and fruity, slightly peppery violets. I am reminded a bit of the candied variety. The opening is rich and plush, a sweet jasmine peeks through and the fragrance turns more an more powdery over time as orris makes itself felt. I’m not a huge violet fan, but this is nice enough. The base turns woody and a bit musky, the benzoin sweetening it, while a whiff of leather keeps it from being too girly at any point.

While I liked Violet Blonde the first few times, I did not expect to really love it. But the more I wore it, the more I liked it. Will there be a bottle in my future? Well, budget allowing, there will.

Of the Private Blend fall releases by the house of Tom Ford, I prefer Santal Blush, although probably not to the point of purchasing a bottle. I am waiting for the new Hermessence featuring sandalwood. Jean-Claude Ellena’s Santal Massoia is in all probability a world or two apart, but I want to compare the two takes anyway.

What is your favorite of the three?

Tom Ford Fragrances are available in Europe online through (this is not an affiliate links, I don’t have those, ever btw! )
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About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Jasmine, Powdery, Spicy, Tom Ford, Violet, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Tom Times Three – Review: Tom Ford Santal Blush, Jasmine Rouge And Violet Blonde

  1. Undina says:

    My preferences are similar to yours: I like VB – more and more as I wear it (I bought a small decant); I liked SB a little more than Santal 33 (I tested them in parallel), I might go for a decant; I will use once or twice the remaining sample of JR but I doubt I’ll need more.

    A side note: I want a nail polish that would look on my hand as on the first picture (a beautiful ad!)

  2. I haven’t tried any of them, but since I know how much I love Yann Vasnier, I almost feel an urge to buy Santal Blush blind. Being a man, drawn to fragrances with both a male and female touch, it might work.

    What do you think?

    • Olfactoria says:

      It might work! Although it is a quite expensive mistake if not.
      Personally I sometimes like the thrill of an unsniffed buy, but I have paid a price for that reckless behavior as well, it does not work every time, but when it does it is great! 😀

      I think Santal Blush is a very likeable fragrance, I don’t imagine many to say Ugh, what is that?
      Let me know how you decide, Martin!

  3. Aaron says:

    You have me worried now, as I was basing my like for JR from a couple of card sprays which I discarded after an hour or so. I’m gonna need to apply on skin this weekend and hope the drydown doesn’t disintegrate!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Definitely stick it out with JR for a day on skin, before you commit to buying, it is lovely at first and I was thrilled, but it really ends up as unimaginative as possible. Too bad, really.

  4. andrea says:

    Yay, the review I have been waiting for. I love and bought a small bottle of the Violet Blonde, I really love violets so it was a no brainer for me. This is the most unusual violet perfume that I own so I could justify a small bottle.
    As for the Santal Blush, the cumin on me was too strong so ended up being a scrubber, I really wanted to love this one though.
    The Jasmin Rouge was just ok to me but did not warrant the price tag, there are others in the Private collection I would rather spend my money on.
    I would love the make up shown in the advert but the prices make even me shudder and I buy Trish Mcevoy.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I couldn’t resist one lipstick, they are so elegant and perfect as far as lipsticks go.
      Too bad that you didn’t enjoy Santal Blush, but – money saved! 🙂

      • andrea says:

        A Lipstick will be going on my Christmas wish list.
        I can instead put the money saved into looking for Frapin 1697, should I find it anywhere. I do not think my nose is yet sophisticated enough to enjoy SB, its getting better though, I am now enjoying fragrances that I previoulsy disliked. I am hoping that Missoni grows on me after my blind buy (LT A-Z book) So far its not looking good. 🙂

        • deeHowe says:

          Damned that guide! It got me into an unsniffed bottle of Beyond Paradise, which I not only never learned to love, but went from distaste to hatred, lol! Lucky for me, there was another perfumista in our little community to love it 😉

          • andrea says:

            I know, you get sucked in with the brilliant reviews and who does not want to own a ‘masterpiece’ I feel ebay is calling this one. 🙂

  5. vanessa says:

    I have a sample of Santal Blush on its way – wanted to try it for the wonderful “paint shade” name at the very least, and your review has confirmed that I will very likely love it. Violet Blonde also sounds interesting, and though I can go either way with violets, some have won my heart!

    I think I will skip the middle one, haha! Just those notes would have deterred me, and your review puts the lid on it. : – )

  6. Tara says:

    I haven’t tried any of these and I really don’t feel that inspired to do so. I loved your review though B, especially “Jasmin Rouge feels like a broken promise”. I just tried quite a few of the line at Selfridges and was really unimpressed. I really disliked White Patchouli.

    I wanted Violet Blonde to sound a little darker but as you like it I will give that one a try when I come across it. Apologies for the apathy!

  7. Georgy says:

    Are these tom Fords hands? they are beautiful!

  8. I was just going to say the same as Georgy, even Tom Ford’s hands are sexy!

    Great reviews B, I haven’t tried either SB or JR enough to really comment, that said I did like JR sprayed on the card more than I did SB, but deeper delving into both scents is definitely required.

    As for Violet Blond, well for me it’s love at first sniff!

  9. deeHowe says:

    I tested Violet Blonde, but only on paper, on my first sniffing adventure in Austin— Nordie’s had a tester! But… It never made it onto skin. Part of me thinks I should give it a chance, but another part of me thinks, “What for?”

    I’ve grown to appreciate the rose/violet combo, but violet on it’s own still escapes me. Still very much look forward to sniffing Santal Blush, and count me in on wanting that nail polish! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      What for? Because that is what we do! 🙂 Apropos rose-violet: what perfumes with that combo can you recommend (aside from Insolence, I know how much you love that! 😉 )

      • deeHowe says:

        Lol, on my new severely restricted budget, I don’t need to go looking for love, when my list is already so long! 🙂

        The Rose/violet combo that I love best is Citizen Queen, followed by Putain des Palaces… But I have not yet tried To Dream, which I suspect will supplant CQ easily! A sample set of the remaining untried SSS frags will probably be my next fragrant purchase, and I’m really looking forward to it.

  10. I would love to try the sandalwood. Big Vasnier fan here as you know.

  11. Thanks for these reviews; Santal Blush is easily my favourite of the three too. But I must say that the main thing which struck me about this post was your final line about the fact that you’ve never used affiliate links. I’ve never done that either (and I have no intention to start any time soon) but it made me wonder if people may have assumed that some of my links are affiliated because I haven’t explicitly stated that they’re not!

    Do people generally assume that links are affiliated, unless stated otherwise?

    Perhaps I need to take a cue from you and include a similar disclaimer on my blog.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Persolaise, honestly I don’t know! I never thought much about affiliate links or lack thereof, and I often provide links to commercial sites as a kind of service for my readers, because I like that myself when I read other blogs. I saw disclaimers on Victoria’s blog ( and I thought I’d make that clear once and for all.

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