Cafe Rose by Tom Ford (Private Blend)

cafe rose tf 2Notes: saffron, black pepper, May rose, Turkish rose, Bulgarian rose, coffee, incense, amber, sandalwood, and patchouli.

I don’t yet own a Tom Ford Private Blend scent. This is mostly due to the price, but also due to my own changing tastes. When the line first launched I was all about Tobacco Vanille, and I was certain it would be my first eventual Private Blend purchase. I now find Tobacco Vanille too overwhelming and cloying to be wearable on me. As I’ve explored more floral and rose fragrances, I’ve gravitated towards other Private Blend offerings like Fleur de Chine, Noir de Noir, and the subject of this write-up, Cafe Rose.

Cafe Rose is a floral chypre that’s meant to be a spicy, earthy rose. At its core, it’s a rose/patchouli fragrance, which is perhaps not the most unique genre these days, but Cafe Rose is so good, I don’t mind. Cafe Rose opens as a big aromatic floral that comes across as a blend of spicy/sweetness for me. There is just enough of the pepper to be noticeable, but not too much. A sweet powdery layer seems to blend with the rose, and I assume this is the saffron note. It reminds me a little bit of iris, only sweeter, but it will turn more earthy later.

This beautiful aromatic opening lasts for the first hour on my skin before the fragrance settles and brings more of the earthy aspects to the forefront of the composition. Cafe Rose has coffee in its name and, of course, coffee is listed as one of the notes. However, I get more of a chocolate feeling from the heart stage of the composition, which is a little disappointing for me since I love the smell of coffee. But I definitely won’t complain about chocolate! This chocolate note has a solidity about it and puts me in mind of a block of dark baking chocolate.

This bitter dark chocolate note blends with the patchouli, which gradually becomes a stronger note. If this is starting to sound quite bitter and heavy, not to worry, it doesn’t come across that way. The blend here is exceptionally smooth and velvety. This is partly due to a change in the rose from the opening. It’s less sweet going into the dry down, and has more of a rich and velvety texture. I’m not advanced enough to detect the difference between a May rose or a Turkish rose, but this change may be due to the different rose varietals.

The dry down here is just the right amount of earthy for me. There’s nothing funky or mushroom-y, but the patchouli is rich, amplified by sandalwood and incense. I really don’t sense any amber but that may just be me. The bitter chocolate note actually grounds the composition at this stage. And I sense a little touch of saffron flitting in and out in a teasing reminder of the opening. My only issue with the dry down is that it doesn’t fade away on my skin. Instead, it very suddenly drops off and disappears completely. I enjoy this this dry down so much, I wish it would linger a bit. But apparently when my skin is finished with this scent, it’s really finished.

Cafe Rose is such a delicious blend of a fragrance. It combines spice, sweetness, earthiness, and even a touch of the gourmand, while still retaining its floral rose heart. It feels sumptuous, but is also surprisingly wearable. If I’m going to purchase something from the Private Blend collection, I want it to be something I can actually wear and make good use of. I have a small decant of Cafe Rose and I’ll continue to make my way through that for right now, but I think it’s contender for a full bottle eventually. If you’re looking for something luxurious, but still pretty and wearable, Cafe Rose is definitely one to try.


Tom Ford private blend fragrances are available from the usual department stores such as Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Luckyscent also carries the Private Blend collection now. I got my Cafe Rose sample from The Perfumed Court.

The image is from Tom Ford and the list of notes is from Fragrantica.

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