Before I even try to carry out any sort of review of Sahara Noir, let me start by saying that I think it is my favourite Tom Ford fragrance. I haven't tried a lot of the Private Blends to date, to be fair (although this is set to change, as Fenwicks in Tunbridge Wells is about to stock some of the PB range) but certainly Sahara Noir comes up trumps in the main line.
That's not to say that I dislike Tom Ford's main line, in fact I quite like all of them, but Sahara Noir smells like a niche perfume that somehow got misplaced and ended up in mainstream by mistake. Again, I should make it very clear that none of the TF perfumes in the main line smell ubiquitously mainstream, to their credit.
I have read a few reviews of Sahara Noir, and it seems like some people felt it smelt good, but at the end of the day was an incense perfume that smelt just like that: incense. Perhaps that is the case, but the question I would ask is how many full on incense perfumes are you likely to find in your local department store? I'd hazard a guess that it would be very few, if any at all. Now, I also have to accept that Sahara Noir is priced very high, and that may give you an indication as to the quality of the creation and the ingredients, although I realise that price and quality do not always correlate.
One other thing that struck me is that while Sahara Noir is marketed as a feminine perfume, it does not smell remotely gender specific. Take the picture of the sultry woman off the packaging and advertising and I would never have remotely guessed.
I'm not aware of the exact notes for Sahara Noir, but other than incense, there is a fair amount of labdanum in here. Some people have commented that the perfume smells only of incense, and comes across as one-dimensional. Perhaps they are right, but I love incense in any form, and on my skin the ambery accord does come to the fore in the dry down, when labdanum is very clear to my nose. There is a slight sweetening too in the base, possibly by a touch of vanilla, but it is true that Sahara Noir is a fairly dry perfume, which suits me fine, as I love that style.
I have to be honest and say that I think this is a lovely perfume, although it is by no means cheap. Someone commented that it smelt like it belongs in the Private Blend collection and perhaps that is true.