The venerable Italian luxury jewellery brand entered the fragrance biz in 1992, almost 90 years after it was founded by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari in Rome in 1884. In its nearly three decades in the fragrance biz, Bvlgari has maintained a level of quality that befits an upmarket company.
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Our Top Picks of Bvlgari Colognes That Are All About Reliable Quality
Releases from the house have a dependable, elegant feel, with the occasional surprise to keep it interesting.
From the legendary Jean-Claude Ellena (creator of Terre d’Hermès) to Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud (now Louis Vuitton’s in-house perfumer), only the best perfumers get to create a Bvlgari fragrance, so class is assured. Many of their recent releases have been produced by the prolific master perfumer Alberto Morillas.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is included in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
1. Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Vert (Jean-Claude Ellena)
The brand made a fine debut, in 1992, with Eau Parfumée (now known as Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert), a celebration of Japanese green tea.
It starts out with the fresh citrus notes of bergamot, lemon and mandarin orange. They mingle with the spices and herbs of cardamom, nutmeg and clary sage to help create a green tea accord that’s aromatic and uplifting.
Hints of florals – jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, Bulgarian rose – add to the refreshing vibe.
This is a softie, so “beast moders”, please move on. Anyone else will appreciate the artistry of this trendsetter that paved the way for other scents such as Elizabeth Arden Green Tea and Kilian Bamboo Harmony.
Also look out for Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc Eau de Cologne, a white Himalayan tea variation on the theme.
2. Bvlgari Pour Homme EDT (Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud)
Sometimes you just want something classically elegant. And that’s what this 1996 release will give to you in abundance.
A note of Darjeeling tea, with its green nuances, headlines the intro. There’s fresh spiciness in the way of bergamot, lavender and, in particular, cardamom notes.
If you concentrate hard, there are some soft floral notes in the background, including iris, carnation and geranium.
White musks dominate the drydown, with woody notes of cedar and vetiver in support.
Twenty-five years after its initial launch, this EDT has aged well.
3. Bvlgari Black EDT (Annick Menardo)
Bvlgari surprised everyone with this unisex 1998 release. From the bottle to the actual scent, it’s a standout.
The opening notes of smoky, herbal green tea and crisp citrus tones of bergamot, with a smidgeon of fresh rose in the background, will tell you that this is not your ordinary designer fragrance.
Notes of sandalwood and cedar give it depth. But it’s the leather accord, with its burned rubber vibe, together with smooth vanilla, that makes this one so intriguing.
Despite its popularity, it was discontinued but is still much in demand online, so best shop around for the best deal.
4. Bvlgari Aqua Pour Homme EDT (Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud)
Aquatic fragrances were popular in the 1990s and noughties, especially on the designer side, but many haven’t aged well. This 2005 release is not one of those has-beens.
It opens in fresh citrus mode with notes of sweet mandarin orange and green petitgrain. It’s an uplifting combo.
The seaweed note is subtly salty, its aromatic profile accentuated by lavender. Woody notes, specifically Virginia cedar and patchouli, continue the softness in the drydown. The amber is kept to a thankful minimum.
This Bvlgari cologne is a sophisticated, slightly restrained take on the theme. Great bottle too – the blue and green spherical shape captures its inspiration oh so cleverly.
5. Bvlgari Man In Black EDP (Alberto Morillas)
The Bvlgari cologne Man range was launched in 2010 and Man In Black is one of its best iterations.
This 2014 EDP opens with an irresistible trio of spice (slightly peppery on my skin), rum and tobacco notes. They’re perfectly blended and balanced. Sometimes, I get more of one than the other.
The sensual mood continues with smooth leather and a hint of the powdery iris.
The tonka bean, guaiac wood and benzoin notes in the drydown have a sophisticated vanilla-ish facet.
The result? A snug treat.
6. Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli EDP (Alberto Morillas)
Launched in 2019, Wood Neroli is a citrusy spin on its predecessor, Wood Essence.
Neroli, bergamot and orange work in unison to set a fresh, sunny scene. The woody aspect comes through in the form of Virginia cedarwood and cypriol oil.
There’s a big dose of Ambrox in this creation, which, depending on your view on this synthetic form of ambergris, will be good or bad news. It’s enhanced by a white musk note.
It’s not the most exciting Bvlgari cologne around but will make you feel good.
7. Bvlgari Man Glacial Essence EDP (Alberto Morillas)
The latest flanker in the Bvlgari cologne Man range continues the theme of the natural elements of its most recent predecessors (will water or air be next?)
No prizes for guessing that with a name like Glacial Essence, this 2020 release is a freshie.
Juniper berries, cool and aromatic, stand out in the opening. There’s a hint of spicy ginger in the background. A note of Australian sandalwood brings creamy smoothness to the composition, while orris root does its powdery thing.
And now for some science (which perfumery is often about). Clearwood features in the drydown. This synthetic molecule from Firmenich is a cleaner, softer and airier version of patchouli.
It’s not my favourite from the range and I also dislike the cheap white plastic packaging. That said, I know several people who love it, and it smells good on them, so try it for yourself.
8. Bvlgari Le Gemme Azaran EDP (Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud)
Following the success of its female range, Bvlgari launched its private collection for men in 2016.
Inspired by precious gemstones, it competes with the likes of La Collection Privée Christian Dior and Les Exclusifs de Chanel, although it doesn’t get as much attention.
There’ve been some top scents already, such as the rose-centric Garanat (2016) and the musky Falkar (2019). But it’s the latest 2021 release, Azaran, that has us hooked.
The leathery qualities of saffron extract are maximized in the intro, with bergamot adding a touch of citrus.
The mix of warm red cedarwood extract and smoky green tea leads the way to a darkly delicious leather accord and amber-y beeswax.
Only the best ingredients have been used in this sexy and sophisticated beauty, hence its hefty price.
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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.