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.
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.