I always find that jewellery brands take a completely different approach to perfumery in comparison to their fashion contemporaries. The fashion approach to perfume is very much about embodying the spirit and aesthetic of a designer, turning it into something more accessible and wearable than the brand’s couture, whilst the jeweller approach is all about showcasing the sheer beauty of the materials. Jewellery houses want the materials to speak for themselves, using an endless quest for perfection to lead to euphoric results.
The house of Bvlgari embodies this approach more so than any other jeweller. They have turned the note of tea into a spectrum of sapphire shades, boasting reds, whites, greens and blacks a plenty, whilst also shaping their fragrances fastidiously, in the same way they would cut a gem stone. Bvlgari favours quality and craftsmanship over fads and gimmicks, always coming back to the most important thing there is to make their fragrances quietly stand out from the crowd: the materials.
Bvlgari has just presented their ‘Splendida Collection’, a collection that pays tribute to the ‘Bvlgari Divas’ – three classic fragrances that have been revitalised by perfumer Sophia Labbe and rehoused within this special series. ‘Splendida’ is Italian for splendour and magnificence, two things that are not in short supply within this collection. These three Eau de Parfums present classic Italian glamour crafted with the signature finesse that one expect from the house of Bvlgari. They are Jasmin Noir (a reinterpreted version of the original), Rose Rose (a new version of Rose Essentielle) and Iris d’Or (a new version of Bvlgari Pour femme). Three classics, three icons and three beautiful fragrances.
Top: Gardenia and Green Sap
Heart: Jasmin Sambic Absolute and Satiny Almond
Base: Heart of Patchouli and Cashmeran Woods
How Does it Smell?
A floral, but not as we know it.
Splendida Jasmin Noir is an ode to white flowers dipped in jet black paint. It calls the bluff on any floral that dares to call itself ‘noir’ and whilst it is very dark indeed, it’s not without a touch of light too. Jasmine may be the eponymous material here but it’s not the star – that title is held by the gardenia, a pungent white flower that has an odour profile that includes blue cheese and mushrooms. In Splendida Jasmin Noir the gardenia brings a nutty, truffle tone that invites a feeling of richness. It clashes its heady, creamy white floral tones with the sharpness of patchouli to create something beyond glamorous – a perfectly cut black sapphire.
Top: White Mulberry and Mandarin Essence
Heart: Damascena Rose Absolute and Damascena Rose Essence
Base: Sandalwood Essence and Musks
How Does it Smell?
So good they named it twice.
There are two types of scented rose used in perfumery; damascena and centifolia. The centifolia rose has more of a citrus character, presenting a lighter more bubbly take on rose, whilst the damascena rose is jammier and more fruity, boasting accents of lychee and blackcurrant. It’s the fruity damascena rose that takes the spotlight in Splendida Rose Rose and what a beautiful starlet it is. This is a sparkling and transparent rose in the lightest shade of blush pink. It’s fruity in a delicate way, peppering its portrait of pink roses on the bushes with inflections of mandarin and blackcurrant over a soft breeze of musk. Splendida Rose Rose is drinkable and bright with a texture that is satiny smooth.
Top: Violet Leaf Absolute and Heliotrope
Heart: Orris Absolute and Mimosa Absolute
Base: Tonka Bean Absolute, Heart of Vetiver and Sandalwood Essence
How Does it Smell?
All that glitters is iris and gold.
Iris (or orris) is the most expensive and luxurious ingredient in the perfumer’s palette. It’s a material that provides a rich, powdery texture and the scent of cool, grey earth. For Splendida Iris d’Or, Bvlgari has paired this magnificent material with two key notes that mirror and extend it; mimosa and violet. Iris naturally contains irones, which are also found within violets, linking these two materials together via sweetness. Mimosa accentuates the powder character but also adds soft hints of honey and pollen, warming the cool nature of iris and leading it away from aloofness in the shadows and into the sunshine. Altogether this makes for an incredibly luminous take on iris, that glitters like pure gold.