New Perfume Review Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue- Spring Morning Lily

In my yearly diatribe against rose as the be-all end-all spring floral fragrance I think of all the other possibilities. One which is high on my list is lily of the valley/ muguet. The European celebration of May Day is celebrated with sprigs of muguet. One of the reasons I think lily has not become more of a possibility is it can have a funeral home-like old lady vibe to it. Which is true in the hands of a mediocre perfumers. When the talented take a hold of it they turn it from a symbol of death into something which represents the rebirth of spring. Which is why I was so pleased to receive the new Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue.

In the fall of 2015 perfumer Daniela Andrier was the perfumer behind the debut for the brand, Miu Miu. For that fragrance I was excited to see the use of a new ingredient called akigalawood. Mme Andrier highlighted the new ingredient as part of a floral duet of muguet and rose with some of Mme Andrier’s signature green notes opening the fragrance. It was one of my favorite releases of 2015. I wasn’t sure what to think of this spring flanker to that very original fragrance. What Mme Andrier chooses to do here is to mostly strip out the rose while making the green opening waterier. It comes together as a very nice spring floral that is not rose.

Daniela Andrier

In Miu Miu the green has sharp edges. In Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue the green is there but she sprinkles dewy water droplets all over it which has the effect of softening some of the blunt verdancy. It sets the stage for the green quality of muguet to ascend over it. In Miu Miu the muguet was more an equal; in this new iteration it is like the dew something which gets burned off as the radiance of the central muguet begins to shine. There is a tiny amount of jasmine and rose as distant support but Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue is a lily through and through. As the akigalawood comes forward it has a peppery aspect which provides a nice contrast to the lily.

Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

It does take a creative perfumer like Mme Andrier to make a vital lily fragrance. With Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue she has delivered a dewy spring morning lily fragrance which stands out in the sea of roses on the counter next to it.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Prada Luna Rossa Carbon- A Different Tack

Prada has become one of the more reliable designer perfume offerings in the mainstream sector. I can even go further and say the overall collection is the most coherent and best at the department store. I would chalk that up to the fact that Daniela Andrier has translated the same style and creativity that she uses on the more expensive creations for the brand to the general audience releases. I have unhesitatingly steered people to the brand because it has something good to great for everyone. Even the flankers are well-thought out. Except the latest release, Luna Rossa Carbon, is less a flanker than something which stands all on its own.

Luna Rossa Catamaran from America's Cup 2013 (Photo:Carlo Borlenghi via Luna Rossa website)

I have always felt an attachment to the Luna Rossa series because it is inspired by the Italian effort in the America’s Cup sailing competition. The boats have competed since 1997 and Prada has always been the team sponsor with their name prominently featured on the boats. The team has always been one of the innovators in design which is a significant piece of the America’s Cup. The team which marries superior engineering and sailing usually takes home the trophy. Luna Rossa has a desire to show off Italian design in every way. Prada finally took this partnership and used it in 2012 to release Luna Rossa. Mme Andrier served up a fougere anchored by clary sage. Through three subsequent flankers she would refine this idea of a fresh fougere which are all well done. Which was why when I received my sample of Luna Rossa Carbon I expected more of the same, only to be surprised that Mme Andrier took a different tack this time.

Daniela Andrier

The previous Luna Rossa incarnations were Mme Andrier finding ways to capture that sense of being propelled through the ocean by the wind. She found clever ways to introduce fresh without relying on the typical aldehydes, ozonic notes, and Calone. For Luna Rossa Carbon the lavender is still present to create the fougere but the overall effect is more industrial and obviously synthetic. Carbon fiber is the construction material for these racing boats and I wonder if that was what she was trying for. I enjoy fragrances which unabashedly embrace the synthetic which seems to be the case here.

Luna Rossa Carbon opens with lavender and bergamot. I believe Mme Andrier chooses the more austere lavandin with its higher percentage of camphor. In the past that camphor has been used as the foundation for Mme Andrier to splice the other choices for fresh notes on top of. In Luna Rossa Carbon she uses the camphor to set off the green rose quality of geraniol in the heart. It has a deepening effect which Mme Andrier modulates a bit by using heliotropin which grounds it with a bit of the vanilla cherry nature it is known for. This doesn’t get gourmand-like it comes off more like the sweet smell of freshly extruded plastic; in a good way. A suite of woody aromachemicals provide part of the base accord which are combined with patchouli creating a solidly darker base than ever before in a Luna Rossa fragrance.

Luna Rossa Carbon has 12-14 hour longevity and above average sillage.

There is a moment in every sailing race when a captain and the tactical team must make a strategic decision to chart a different course. It is done based on the knowledge of the waters being sailed in and the conditions learned over sailing them for weeks and weeks. At the moment of making the decision to take a different tack you are hoping for the wind to fill the sails as you expected. Mme Andrier is performing a perfume version of this maneuver. For those who have enjoyed the past Luna Rossa releases this one is enough of a departure that you should try it before expecting a continuation. For those who want to try something delightfully different in the department store I suggest setting course for the bottle of Luna Rossa Carbon.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Prada.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano V- Soliflores Aren’t That Easy

An emerging trend for 2016 has been the return of the soliflore collection. In particular for the upcoming fall releases I have two other soliflore collections which will be released soon. One thing that I always value is when I get a lot of the same thing is it allows me to clarify my thoughts on what it takes to make something compelling in these most simply constructed of fragrances. The new Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano collection really brought home one lesson very clearly; your focal note needs support to carry interest for an entire day.

Tomas-Maier

Tomas Maier

The Bottega Veneta designer line of perfumes has been one of the better collections in the department store category. Creative director Tomas Maier has managed to carry the luxury leather goods aesthetic successfully into fragrance. For Parco Palladiano he was inspired by the Palladian style of architecture. Andrea Palladio was a 16th century architect who did most of his work in and around Vicenza, Italy. In Vicenza one of his most famous is the Villa Capra aka La Rotonda. Sig. Palladio designed his structures to harmonize with the surrounding landscape. To that end specific styles of gardens were designed to surround his designs. Hr. Maier visited La Rotonda and was taken with the different plants and flowers growing there which in turn lead to a collection of perfumes based on those plants. The result is the six fragrance Parco Palladiano collection.

Each of these perfumes are meant to be a single scent representing one of the growing things around La Rotonda. Working with four different perfumers the choices were: Parco Palladiano I is magnolia. Parco Palladiano II is cypress. Parco Palladiano III is pear. Parco Palladiano IV is azalea. Parco Palladiano V is sage. Parco Palladiano VI is rose. After smelling these together with the other soliflore collections I have I realized that this collection took the term too literally. Most of the Parco Palladiano fragrances are just what I wrote above. There is little to no other notes present which means that central note needs to be able to be enchanting throughout an entire day of wearing it. This is where all but one of the Parco Palladiano releases fell apart for me. They were just simply azalea or rose with no addition of notes to help enhance or contrast except for Parco Palladiano V.

Daniela Andrier

Daniela Andrier

Parco Palladiano V was composed by Daniela Andrier. Mme Andrier uses sage as her focal point but there are two other near equal intensity notes in laurel and rosemary which allow the sage to interact off of them creating a much richer effect. These kind of perfumes usually go on with everything in them to be detected right from the start and that is true here. A very green clary sage is matched with a lively rosemary and a stolid laurel. I have a little herb garden which smells of stem and aromatics so does Parco Palladiano V. The laurel provides that stemmy quality to allow the sage to attach to. The rosemary acts as green modulator adding intensity early on and then as it fades it allows the sage to be more on its own. Over the course of hours these three ingredients present different facets of the sage which is what sets it apart from the rest of the Parco Palladiano perfumes.

Parco Palladiano V has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I am not sure why the sudden interest in soliflores but if there is one critical component to making a successful one is the choice of a few well-chosen supporting notes is critical for it standing out as something other than just the single note. Which means these simplest of constructs are not that easy to do successfully. When it is done well as in Parco Palladiano V it can be beautiful.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples from Bottega Veneta.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review La Femme Prada- Finding a New Voice

Prada has released a new pair of his and hers fragrances. Called La Femme Prada and L’Homme Prada. Both were produced by in-house perfumer Daniela Andrier. I wasn’t expecting much from L’Homme Prada because in the press materials it was mentioned it was Mme Andrier returning to that neroli/iris/cedar axis she believes makes up a men’s perfume. In trying it this is more like a flanker of Infusion D’Iris which had its own sort of flanker in Infusion D’Homme and now L’Homme Prada completes the trilogy. I am not sure why Mme Andrier keeps tilling the same soil for L’Hommes while finding new things to say for La Femmes. La Femme Prada has a nod to the Prada past while finding some new things to say.

La Femme Prada and L’Homme Prada are meant to be mirror images. If you own both bottles they go together to form a circle with the men’s side having a black leather coating and the women’s a white leather coating. Because I had tried L’Homme Prada first the mirror image part worried me. There is no mirror here these two fragrances are distinctly different. It seems lately Mme Andrier has found having a little more presence in her compositions to be a desirable thing. Most of the Olfactories and Candy are examples of this. La Femme Prada also has a heightened floral presence. Mme Andrier uses a mixture of notes to tune that floralcy into something quite nice.

Daniela_Andrier1

Daniela Andrier

La Femme Prada opens with a very expansive frangipani which provides a tropical garland accord. She supports the frangipani with tuberose mainly along with a little ylang-ylang to enhance the tropical facets. At this point I liked the nice floral accord. Mme Andrier then begins to transform it first with spice and beeswax. The spices provide contrast to the very sweet florals. The beeswax provides a lightly honeyed nature which is quite appealing underneath the flowers. The base uses the push and pull of vetiver and vanilla as the latter turns the sweetness of the florals into something more confectionary while the vetiver provides a sturdy foundation.

La Femme Prada has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

La Femme Prada is the better of these two releases simply by virtue of Mme Andrier finding a new voice to her compositions. I would really like for her to find the same inspiration when it comes to her next perfume for the L’Hommes.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Prada.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Prada Olfactories Pink Flamingos- Tokyo Midnight Movie

If you came of age in the US in the 1970’s you probably went to a midnight movie or two. The one thing the offerings had in common is they were loud, garish, over the top examples of trash cinema; and we loved them. There is no better example of all of these qualities than the 1972 movie Pink Flamingos directed by John Waters. It was why we went to the movies in the middle of the night. Because of my affection for the movie I was a little leery of the new Prada Olfactories Pink Flamingos. Was perfumer Daniela Andrier going to go all trashy on me? Not quite.

The Olfactories collection has replaced the old Exclusives collection. The one thing that remains the same is the concept that they are the best kept secret at Prada. Since their initial launch they have again been relegated to the basement of the Prada flagship in NYC. Mme Andrier wanted this collection to be “potent concoctions of the unexpected”. The potency of these will be what makes wearers love some and not be so enthused by others. Pink Flamingos is one I think is a good example of one people will love or dislike. In the description on the website it says, “A cloud of pink bubbles floating through the heart of Tokyo. The joyful embrace of nature and the synthetic animates the familiar to produce a heightened form of beauty. Pink Flamingos is the scent of fluorescent pink blossoms, stylized and innocent.” That didn’t sound like my trashy movie I enjoy so much. Once I wore Pink Flamingos I realized I was incorrect because this perfume is loud to the point of near garishness making it over the top fun.

Daniela_Andrier1

Daniela Andrier

Pink Flamingos opens on a super sweet fizz of mandarin, neroli, and some aldehydes. This is not champagne it is orange soda bubbling out of the bottle. Where it spills all over the Ginza during the height of cherry blossom season. As the heart accord of rose, cherry, and iris provide a neon-lit version of the festival. The topper to this is the use of the fruity flavored white musk Serenolide which does nothing but add to the intensity of all of this.

Pink Flamingos has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

What I think is particularly appealing to me is Mme Andrier adds a midnight movie sheen to a Tokyo aesthetic written large. There is a concept that Asian tastes are minimal. I think any Japanese would see this as midnight in Ginza and enjoy it for that. I know I do.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Prada Infusion de Mimosa- Hit Among Misses

1

There is nothing so frustrating as inconsistency. When it comes to Prada the line which causes some of this is the Les Infusions. Launched in 2007 with Infusion D’Iris it was one of the best perfume releases of that year. Perfumer Daniela Andrier had seemingly translated one of the Prada Exclusives into something similar but different in its opacity. By making Infusion D’Iris lighter she was showing even the deeper perfumes have a lighter side. At the time it was expected that all of the Exclusives would get this treatment. Over the years that has been mostly correct. Ever since that initial release there has been a steady stream of product. Except some of them were just so ethereal they didn’t feel like they were even there. Others were good but not as good as Infusion D’Iris. A few others, Infusion de Vetiver, were as good. I look forward to most of what Mme Andrier does at Prada but Les Infusions had struck out for me. When I received my sample of the latest release Infusion de Mimosa I was surprised to find a strong entry in the collection.

Daniela Andrier

Daniela Andrier

One of the reasons for my dissatisfaction for some of the previous releases might have more to do with timing. This is a line which seems designed to be worn in the summer. A great many of the releases showed up when there was snow on my doorstep. Infusion de Mimosa appeared just as the temperature began to rise. Mimosa is a perfect summer companion in many perfumes I own. Infusion de Mimosa proves to be another.

Mme Andrier opens with the mimosa out in front. The press materials define it as “yellow velvet”. For once I agree with the PR. The mimosa has a soft plush feel. The promo picture in the header gets it just right as the mimosa glows with a warm fuzziness that is tremendously appealing. This is the part where things either get better or worse in many of the previous Les Infusions. This time Mme Andrier adds star anise. It adds a contrasting licorice-like effect to the sweet transparency of the mimosa. Soon after a lilting rose joins in. This is where Infusion de Mimosa lingers for many hours. There are an assembly of clean dry woody notes in the base but they take a long time to gain much traction.

Infusion de Mimosa has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Infusion de Mimosa is my favorite of the Les Infusions since the original Infusion D’Iris. It achieves much of the same effect as that debut release by creating a veil of the titular note. That veil is then shaded with a judicious use of well-chosen notes completing an affable companion for the midsummer day and night. I have to say it is nice to have another hit among the misses with Infusion de Mimosa.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Prada.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Prada Olfactories Double Dare- Hazy Spices & Refined Leather

My first stop in NYC when I was in for Sniffapalooza weekend was a trip to the Prada boutique on Broadway. Prada introduced a new 10-fragrance collection to replace the now discontinued Exclusive Collection. The new collection will have the same semi-secret distribution pattern as it will only be available in select Prada boutiques and only if you know to ask for it. When I arrived at the Prada boutique I was surprised to see displays for all 10 of the new Olfactories showing the silk bags they come in, the inspiration piece, and the bottles. I was told they would only be up for another few days and then they would be moved to the same out of the way downstairs counter where the Exclusive Collection resided previously. Meaning if you don’t know they exist good luck in stumbling across them.

Daniela Andrier

Daniela Andrier

I own all of the perfumes in the Exclusive Collection and they are some of my favorites by perfumer Daniela Andrier. Mme Andrier has defined a Prada style which she has further executed at all levels within the Prada fragrance section. For the Olfactories Mme Andrier wanted to create “potent concotions of the unexpected”. What I found in sniffing the entire collection on strips and putting a few on my skin was that description was not uniformly applied throughout the collection. There were four which stood out on this initial visit. Cargo de Nuit was a mix of aldehydes, cedar, and musks that gave off an interesting aquatic vibe. There was a little bit too much ambroxan for my taste to make me want to buy it, but it is “potent”. Pink Flamingos seems like a Japanese aesthetic as viewed by John Waters. Mme Andrier takes a heart of orris, cherry, and rose and makes it seem garish but not cheap. Nue au Soleil surprised me as Mme Andrier produces a simple construct of orange blossom, patchouli, and musk. Except this was the strip which changed the most over the twenty-four hours I kept trying it. This is a gilded orange blossom which feels decadent. Both Pink Flamingos and Nue au Soleil will definitely find their way into my grasp over time. The one which I bought on the day was Double Dare.

prada olfactories silk purses


The silk pouches for each of the Olfactories

In the store Double Dare was simply described as “leather and suede”. Which is true but where many of the Olfactories are exactly what the small phrase promises Double Dare had more to offer than just leather. It is the journey to that leather in the base which made it my favorite. If you go to the Prada Olfactories website for Double Dare you will find this description, “Creatures roam in a warm haze of spices and leather”. It is those spices along with a couple of other choices which made Double Dare my choice on the day.

Double Dare opens on the promised “spicy haze” made up of cardamom and saffron. These are two of my favorite spice notes in perfumery and Mme Andrier balances them perfectly as they do feel like a diaphanous spicy veil. A lovely transparent jasmine joins this after a few minutes. All of this is introduction for the suede accord to come. This is not hazy, diaphanous, or transparent. This is leather. This is the creature underneath the haze. It is very refined leather as it has all the rough edges removed but it carries power. Enough to impose itself over the spices and jasmine. Vetiver and patchouli provide some contrast to the refined nature of the suede accord. At the very end a warm amber and vanilla come out to bring back the refinement.

Double Dare has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

At least on first impression I do not think the overall Olfactories are as good as the Exclusives Collection was. There are some which I think are every bit as good. I bought Double Dare because I believe it forms a trilogy with No. 3 Cuir Ambre and No. 11 Cuir Styrax of Mme Andrier’s exploration of leather. Double Dare could easily have been named No. 15 Cuir Epices. If you find yourself near a Prada boutique it is worth the effort to try the collection. It may all eventually grow on me over time. In the meantime Double Dare will do a fine job representing the other nine for the time being.

Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Miu Miu- Mind Your Fractions

1

When it comes to innovation in materials it seems recently that it mostly has happened on the niche side. I usually am tipped off that something new in the perfumer’s toolbox is being used. Which sets off a lemming-like response in me to rush out and try whatever new perfume it is in. When I received my sample of the new mass-market perfume Miu Miu I was surprised to see an ingredient listed I had never heard of; Akigalawood.

Of course I was off to the internet to find out more. While taking my first sniff of Miu Miu I was detecting a slightly peppery oud-like woodiness in the base which I was attributing to the new ingredient. When I got to the Givaudan website I learned a lot more. I have spoken about taking natural raw materials and fractionating them via distillation. It is a way of altering the scent profile by enhancing concentrations of specific ingredients within the parent essential oil. What Givaudan is doing is entirely different. They are using an enzymatic process to break down an essential oil leaving behind only some components. This is fascinating because with distillation it is physics which determines what your fractions produce. With the process behind Akigalawood it is biology through what the enzyme chooses to digest and what it leaves behind.

For Akigalawood the Givaudan team added patchouli to an enzymatic bath and after allowing it to sit washed it with salt water and what remains was dubbed Akigalawood. This is patchouli with all the earthy herbal qualities removed. The spiciness and the woodiness are what predominates. It is surprising to me that the woodiness is very similar to a cypriol-based oud accord. I think in the right hands this could produce a fantastically fragile oud perfume.

Daniela Andrier

Daniela Andrier

For Miu Miu perfumer Daniela Andrier decided to keep it very classical as she uses a white flower accord to take you down to the new raw material. There was a real conscious creative decision to make Miu Miu feel like a throwback to the 1960’s and the ad campaign with model Stacy Martin strongly hints that this was the inspiration. The difference is by using Akigalawood it is always going to have that contemporary feel.

Miu Miu opens with what is almost becoming a trademark for Mme Andrier as a sharp green accord catches your attention. Muguet picks up the green to make the transition to mostly rose with a little jasmine in the heart. When the three floral notes combine it has a real vintage feel of a white flower powerhouse of the 1960’s. Then the Akigalawood uses the spicy aspect to enhance the rose and contrast the muguet.  I strongly pick up this oudy quality which I like very much. It makes Miu Miu feel like a perfume unstuck in time.

Miu Miu has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

Early on 2015 was not shaping up as a good year for the department store fragrances but the last few months have provided a number of really interesting entries. Miu Miu does not smell like everything else in the department store. The ability to tilt classic while also tilting contemporary is unique in this sector. It feels almost daring in its desire to give perfume wearers something so distinctively different. I hope that these kind of fractions will be embraced by the consumer because Miu Miu deserves some positive attention.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Miu Miu.

Mark Behnke

Dead Letter Office: Gucci Rush for Men- Tom Ford’s Incense

As the calendar changed over to 2000 as a society we were warned of doomsday prophecies along with the collective meltdown of our computer infrastructure’s inability to deal with the changeover to Y2K. As we look back from the safety of fifteen years later without having lost the ability to look up Nostradamus via Google it is clear that the fin de siècle also had effects on different creative pursuits. It encouraged risk taking because there might not be another chance. At this time there was no bigger risk taker than Tom Ford.

Tom-Ford

Tom Ford

Mr. Ford had made a leap of faith when he joined Gucci in 1990 as the women’s ready-to-wear designer. That would be the start of meteoric rise as Gucci went from has-been to have-to-have all under Mr. Ford’s savvy direction. He dramatically expanded the brand into every sector of fashion and style. It is also where he would begin his fragrance career. In 1997 he would release Gucci Envy followed a year later by Gucci Envy for Men. They were typical Floral and Oriental fragrances of the time period and there was little of the signature style Mr. Ford would bring to fragrance. That would come with the next set of releases.

gucci rush ad

Gucci Rush Advertisement

In 1999 with the release of Gucci Rush Mr. Ford used his trademark mix of danger and sexuality for the first time in fragrance. The sexuality came courtesy of model Liberty Ross tinted red with a look of open-mouthed pleasure underneath the crimson. The danger came from the bottle which looked like an anonymous VHS rental tape box which would most commonly hold a pornographic movie. All of this is tame compared to what Mr. Ford has evolved into but it is all on display in its earliest incarnation. With Gucci Rush for Men the other thing Mr. Ford will become known for also displays itself for the first time; the use of an ingredient which would set the standard for fragrance from that point on. That ingredient in Gucci Rush for Men was incense.

Incense? Really incense hasn’t always been a thing? Incense had been used in perfumery as an accent note but very rarely as the focal point. In a mainstream designer fragrance? Not at all. Mr. Ford worked with perfumers Antoine Maisondieu and Daniela Andrier to create a typical masculine woody structure infused with a significant amount of incense.

Rush for Men opens with the light woodiness of cypress matched up with lavender. Cedar makes the woody quality cleaner while a very light application of patchouli tries to mar those sterile lines. This all transitions quite rapidly into the foundation of sandalwood, cade wood, and incense. The sandalwood is boosted with a suite of milky lactones so that it provides a creamier woody foil. I am guessing this was to allow the incense to not become too astringent in this first use of it. The result is the incense comes in with a translucent quality while also becoming the focal point.

Rush for Men has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

When you smell Rush for Men now it seems like a child’s version of an incense perfume. It is similar to what Mr. Ford would do with oud when he used it in YSL M7. You have to dole out the unusual in small doses before really letting them have it. Just as M7 would launch a thousand ouds; Rush for Men paved the way for the incense prominent perfumes, especially on the masculine side.

Based on the research I was able to do I was unable to find a reason for the discontinuation. Rush for Men sold quite well especially in the first couple of years. It was a viable alternative for the other styles of the time on the masculine side. The only reason I have found in a couple of places is purely anecdotal and sort of tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. The idea is Gucci was decisively cleaving itself from the Tom Ford era by discontinuing as much of it as they could after he left in 2004. Of course there is no hard evidence of this. Over time many have come to realize what a trailblazer perfume Rush for Men was and the price of a bottle has climbed pretty steeply over the past few years.

If you get the opportunity to try some it is really a time capsule capturing the early influences of Mr. Ford as well as showing the Y2K era as well.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Bleu- More Purple than Blue

1

There is probably no better example of the principle of diminishing returns than that of flankers. The great majority of the time it can be a frustrating exercise to see a “new” flanker which is nothing more than shoving new notes on top of a true original. If there in anything multiple mediocre flankers has taught me is that getting the magic balance right is truly something special. At their worst flankers become like a movie title with a number after it. By the time it hits five or six you wonder why you liked the original. Bvlgari has definitely worn my patience to a nub with the flankers to their very first perfume 1993’s Eau Parfumee au The Vert. That perfume broke new ground and created a style of perfumery imitated to this day. Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena would begin to refine a style of composition that would become synonymous with his name.

It would take Bvlgari ten years to finally put out flankers this time it was Eau Parfumee au The Blanc followed by Eau Parfumee au The Rouge. Both of these lacked any character and felt like cynically composed perfumes not worthy of sharing most of a name with Eau Parfumee au The Vert. Because I so disliked those two perfumes when I received my sample of the new Eau Parfumee au The Bleu I kept it at arm’s length. I was worried it would plumb new depths of despair. Instead Eau Parfumee au The Bleu reminded me of everything I loved about the original with a fresh new take by perfumer Daniela Andrier.

Daniela Andrier

Daniela Andrier

What made Eau Parfumee au The Vert stand out was the use of cardamom, jasmine, and green tea to create a cologne-like fragrance. Eau Parfumee au The Bleu returns to that style as Mme Andrier uses a core of lavender and violet to form something of similar structure but with a little more presence.

Mme Andrier opens with the blue tea promised which is oolong. There are supposedly versions of oolong with bluish leaves. The smell of oolong should be familiar to most tea drinkers and Mme Andrier has pitched this at a level equivalent to breathing in over a steeping pot of oolong. To set this tea note off she also employs grapefruit and shiso. These provide some classic citrus and green character both tinged with a bit of bitterness. This all leads to a heart of lavender and violet. I’m not sure about the color of oolong tea leaves but the florals turn this perfume decidedly purple. Sometimes a perfumer just has to know how to balance a couple of well-known notes and let them be. That’s what Mme Andrier does here. She intensifies the purple as powdery iris adds to the party. It all ends with a musk cocktail in the base.

Eau Parfumee au The Bleu has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

It has taken over twenty years for there to be a true successor to Eau Parfumee au The Vert. Mme Andrier has made a perfume which can stand up to the comparison in Eau Parfumee au The Bleu.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Bvlgari.

Mark Behnke