Tuesday, December 1, 2009

SOTD: Bvlgari Black

I'm a perfume snob. A terrible, terrible perfume snob.

I avidly research and sample niche scents, like L'Artisan Parfumeur and Serge Lutens and Parfumerie Generale and a zillion others. And classic scents, like the older Chanels and Guerlains. I enjoy the inexpensive unknowns, like the perfume oils at the health food store, and the little-known cheap thrills, like deeply discounted Balmain fragrances or the Pacifica solids.

But the moderately expensive well-known department store fragrances, like Angel or Acqua di Gio or Nina Ricci or Bvlgari Black? Meh.

Why meh, when many of those fragrances are really good, created by the same perfumers that create the niche fragrances? Well, those fragrances go along with having some idea of what to do with makeup. And knowing what hair is in style this decade. And being able to wear clothes that stay where you put them and don't attract droplets of hot chocolate. I don't have those skills. I could probably work at those skills, but, well, there are a lot of Guerlains left to sniff, and I haven't re-watched all the episodes of Firefly this month, and, well, you see?

So all those perfectly nice department store fragrances seem like an inappropriate accessory for me, like wearing a cocktail hat with flowered overalls. They're from a world that I admire but don't inhabit.

I prefer geek perfumery. I like things best when I'm the one with the extra knowledge.

All of this leads up to the fact that today I'm wearing a department store fragrance, Bvlgari Black. Created by Annick Menardo, Bvlgari Black is a pretty unconventional department store fragrance, which may explain its presence in my world. If a niche perfumer had come out with it, I don't think that they'd be mocked for caving to conventional tastes.

My usual description of Bvlgari Black is "vanilla and rubber". Followed by an assurance that it's a really nice vanilla and rubber. There are other things in it - the notes list claims tea, bergamot, jasmine, cedar, sandalwood, leather, amber, musk, and vanilla. For the first few minutes, I can smell some of this - the woods and the leather combine to form something spicy, and there's a higher-pitched note that's probably the jasmine, and the tea is draping it with pleasant smoky-bitterness.

But within minutes, it's vanilla and rubber. As if someone soaked a clean tire in vanilla extract. And you'd never know it until you smelled it, but that smells really good. It starts out heavy on the rubber and light on the vanilla, and ends up with more vanilla. I like it. I don't have a full bottle yet, but one of these days when I see it discounted to the cheap thrill level, I probably will.

Review Roundup: Now Smell This and Bois de Jasmin and Aromascope and I Smell Therefore I Am and PereDePierre and All I Am - A Redhead and Nathan Branch and MakeupAlley and a Katie Puckrick video and MaisquePerfume and Muse In Wooden Shoes and Scent Of The Day and Scentsate.

Edited to add to the Review Roundup.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


  1. Bulgari Black is a re-discovery for me. :) I mean I tried it before, forgot it and then tried it recently and fell in love. :)
    And I love this:
    "I like things best when I'm the one with the extra knowledge."
    True but not many of us would admit. ;)

  2. Heh. I burble incessantly about perfume to my non-perfume-freak friends, and so far they've been very tolerant. :)

    I remembered that I liked Black, but even so, I was dubious about trying it. But it was lovely. I think it's finally time to put it seriously on the Budget For A Bottle List.