Bvlgari Black

A few months ago, I dismissed Bvlgari Black with the words,

Black is supposedly a smoky vanilla scent, with the smokiness coming from a lapsang souchong tea note. The reality is that Black smells like straight-up burnt rubber. Now, rubber may have sexy connotations galore to the BDSM crowd, but I personally find it disorienting and unenjoyable.

Well, I feel like an asshole.

Inside that strange little hockey puck of a bottle is probably the most interesting mainstream fragrance on the market today. Pure intellectualism, however, does not a great perfume make: above all, perfume has to smell good. Black succeeds on both counts. If I had given that rubber note a few minutes, I would have found that it softens into sexy, smoky leather underscored by soft vanilla. In a time when the legendary leather scents (Bandit, Tabac Blond, etc) are being reformulated, Black is an extremely welcome addition to the category.

Black reminds me of the “cool girls” in high school. Not the popular girls, the ones on the cheerleading squad, but those worldly ladies with older boyfriends who picked them up in flashy cars. Black is a cologne, and therefore unisex, although I can’t imagine any of the men in my life wearing such a daring scent. It would, however, be perfect for the man who inspired this review: Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With that scar over his eyebrow and his charismatic swagger (not to mention his motorcycle and leather duster), Spike was the ultimate bad boy. Black wouldn’t be half bad on Buffy, either.

Early Billy Idol, anyone?

Isn’t he the most perfect thing you’ve ever seen? Whenever I watch Buffy, I find myself screaming, “Buffy, you fool, the hottest vampire in Sunnydale is in love with you, so move the hell on from Angel, because he has his own spinoff now and is NEVER COMING BACK, except for like 5 minutes at the end of Season 7.” Then I remember that the little people in the TV cannot actually hear me. Incidentally, this little habit is the reason that everyone but my most loyal friends refuses to watch Gossip Girl with me.

Disclaimer: I own a bottle of Black, which I purchased from Sephora.

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Gucci Envy

Has anyone tried theĀ Fragrance Finder tool on the Sephora website? It is way too much fun. You tell them a perfume that you love, and based on your tastes they recommend new perfumes for you. At first it seemed gimmicky, but to my surprise, many of their recommendations were spot-on (for example, they recommended Guerlain Shalimar for fans of Editions de Parfum Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, which is often considered a modern-day Shalimar). Of course, some are a just a little bit off base (lovers of the leathery Robert Piguet Bandit should consider… Bvlgari Rose Essentielle??)

Anyway, when Gucci Envy was suggested as a substitute for both Christian Dior Diorissimo and Chanel 28 La Pausa, I had to try it. Gucci Envy was created by one of my favorite perfumers, Maurice Roucel (the man behind Musc Ravageur and Lolita Lempicka L de Lolita Lempicka), so I was imagining something rich and hyper-sensual. Instead, Envy opens on a sharp, green lily note. Although it’s not what I was expecting, I still liked the opening quite a bit. It struck me as Diorissimo Light, a very pretty lily without the richness of Diorissimo. HOWEVER. After ten minutes, Envy began to smell distinctly soapy. Turns out I hate soapy, especially in the context of a rather powerful scent like Envy (like all Maurice Roucel creations, Envy has a STRONG presence). I can’t say I much enjoyed wearing this.

There is one thing that I love about Envy, and that is the ad campaign. The vast majority of perfume ads have at least some sexuality, but the Envy ads are hilariously over the top. Get a room, y’all!

Gucci Envy is available at Sephora for $50 for 1 ounce, $70 for 1.7 ounces, and $90 for 3.4 ounces.

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Envy from Sephora (which is likely going back).