Those with even the faintest passing interest in fashion will already be familiar with the name Tom Ford. After all, here is a man who brought Gucci back from the brink of financial ruin, turned a generation of men onto tailoring and can lay claim to having dressed everyone from James Bond to Johnny Depp. Ford has even directed Academy Award-nominated films. It’s almost as if anything he touches turns to gold.

No exception to this rule is fragrance. Ford’s celebrated collection has earned itself a reputation as the gold standard of modern perfume. And despite most of his scents having only been around for a decade or so, many are already regarded as modern classics. In other words, these are must-have weapons in any self-respecting gentleman’s olfactory arsenal.

So, what makes a Tom Ford cologne unique? Are they really worthy of the price point they command? And which ones are worth investing in? Here we uncover the answers to these questions and more.

Understanding The Collections

The first thing you should be aware of when shopping for a Tom Ford fragrance is how the collections are organised. There are a number of distinct subcategories – Oud, Portofino, Noir – but generally speaking, all can be divided into one of two lines: Signature and Private Blend.

Signature Line

The Tom Ford Signature line contains what might best be described as the “crowd pleasers”. These scents are undeniably rich and complex, but also extremely wearable. Consider them day-to-day fragrances – the sort that are likely to become long-time favourites. Refined, but not so much as to only appeal to perfume experts. And therein lies their beauty.

Private Blend

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Private Blend. Ford himself describes the collection as his own, personal “scent laboratory”. It’s a place where he has been able to experiment, unconstrained by mainstream conventions. The result is a range of unique and interesting fragrances that can be worn either alone or in combination with other eau de parfums from the line. It is, as Ford puts it, a collection designed “with the true fragrance connoisseur in mind”.

Why Buy A Tom Ford Scent?

To put it simply, Tom Ford takes fragrance seriously. Each scent is painstakingly crafted by some of the top noses in perfumery, right alongside Ford himself.

For so many fashion houses, fragrance is an afterthought. Something inclusive and affordable that can bankroll haute couture while keeping a label accessible to the masses. For Ford, on the other hand, it’s considered an essential: the last and most important piece in any outfit.

In fact, he’s even said in the past that he’d sooner be without fancy clothes or modern luxuries than a good scent. It’s a way of approaching perfumery that shines through in each and every creation, making them as respected, covetable and popular as they are today.

The Most Iconic Tom Ford Scents

Oud Wood

Season: Autumn/Winter
Occasion: Evening

Oud fragrances are notoriously deep and complex, but this bestseller from Tom Ford makes for an excellent introduction to the genre. With rich, woody notes, it’s one of the lighter ouds on the market but still long lasting and with impressive sillage. Perhaps more of a sandalwood fragrance at its core, it’s an excellent winter warmer and true modern classic. A must-have fragrance that commands respect.

£230 for 100ml Eau de Parfum; MR PORTER

Neroli Portofino

Season: Summer
Occasion: Daytime

One of Tom Ford’s many unisex scents, Neroli Portofino takes its inspiration from the classic cologne. As such, it’s a playful, aromatic citrus scent that makes up in character what it lacks in longevity. Citrus and rosemary top notes give way to a neroli and African orange flower heart, before softening to reveal a complex base of amber and musk mallow. Think high-summer sailing trips, garden parties and lazy Mediterranean afternoons in the sun.

£238 for 100ml Eau de Parfum; SPACE NK

Noir

Season: Autumn/Winter
Occasion: Night

Noir has become one of Ford’s olfactory calling cards. A contemporary classic, with a distinctly masculine character. Spicy and full-bodied, this deep and intriguing eau de parfum stays on the skin and makes the perfect accompaniment for an intimate evening meal or winter date night. Boasting top notes of Italian bergamot, verbena and violet flower; heart notes of black pepper, nutmeg and Tuscan iris resin; and a base of amber, patchouli, vetiver and vanilla, Noir is a gentlemanly scent with purpose.

£98 for 100ml Eau de Parfum; The Perfume Shop

Grey Vetiver

Season: Spring
Occasion: Daytime

Those looking for a nice, approachable vetiver scent to take them through the transitional months and into summer could do a lot worse than Grey Vetiver. A long-lasting fragrance with impressive sillage, it’s a dominant vetiver, softened with salty notes and sunny, woody accords. Featuring crisp citruses and spices, it feels mature and established, despite only having been in the scene for 10 years.

£98 for 100ml Eau de Parfum; John Lewis

Fucking Fabulous

Season: Autumn
Occasion: Evening

One of Ford’s more recent (and questionably named) fragrances, Fucking Fabulous first made an appearance at New York Fashion Week in 2017. Key ingredients of the composition include bitter almond oil, tonka bean, orris root, leather, cashmerean and clary sage oil. It’s a bold, autumnal scent and not one for the quiet or unadventurous. Still, if you have the confidence to carry it off, it’s a seriously powerful evening ally that cannot fail to leave an impression.

£218 for 50ml Eau de Parfum; TOM FORD

Tom Ford For Men

Season: Spring/Autumn
Occasion: Daytime

Tom Ford For Men is a woody, floral musk fragrance with serious personality. It’s blend of light, crisp, citrus notes and dark, purposeful, wintery undertones make it an excellent choice when it comes to tackling the transitional months. Features top notes of ginger, mandarin orange, lemon leaf oil, basil, bergamot and violet leaf; a Tunisian orange blossom, pepper, tobacco leaf and grapefruit blossom heart; and an amber, Virginian patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar, leather and cypriol oil base.

£76 for 100ml Eau de Toilette; MR PORTER

Tuscan Leather

Season: Winter
Occasion: Evening

If you’re looking for a powerful, wintery scent capable of cutting through the cold, Tuscan Leather has you covered. This versatile, leathery fragrance is probably best suited to formal occasions, but can be worn casually without raising any eyebrows. Longevity, sillage and projection are all fantastic – one spray is all you’ll need to get you through even the coldest of winter days. Expect a sharp, sweet opening, that mellows out into a deep, masculine, leathery base.

£207 for 100ml Eau de Parfum; allbeauty.com