Get a whiff of this:

You are at a party in a tire warehouse. It looks to be a bit naughty due to staff wearing skin-tight latex bearing whips as appendages. But there is nothing dirty going on at this affair. There’s not even alcohol – only a nice spicy black tea served mostly by friendly, upbeat girls next door – their demeanor anything but dominatrix. There is no hint at the whips being wielded anytime soon. A Hell’s Angels contingency is out in back of the shop enjoying a smoky little campfire, with back-slapping and cheerful laughter easing back into the shop along with the sweet smoke. You almost expect children to be on the premises, and your eyebrows raise as you eventually do see them, clustered on the floor silently devouring a succulent vanilla cake. You stand in awe, and silently receive a slice of the vanilla delight with a cup of tea spritzed with a hint of lemon from a Steve McQueen lookalike in a sterile, squeaky clean F1 leather jacket, and then you sit yourself down on a freshly-made Michelin truck tire, eagerly awaiting what you anticipate to be an interesting myriad of conversations as the party progresses.

I’ve read Bvulgari Black has been described on a forum (or was it Youtube?) as “the Michelin man driving a good year blimp into a vat of vanilla extract,” and although the scent is far too soft and demure for than analogy, it is not unfitting either. This somewhat linear fragrance’s opening note is a split-second citrus, followed quickly by smoky, warm rubber, but it isn’t burnt – it’s sweet, refined, and raw rubber, more like eraser debris. The rubber note is actually a result of a smoky tea called lapsang souchong, simulating rubber, car tires, automobiles, asphalt, and engine noise, but the amber, vanilla, and woody notes negate the idea of fast cars and fast women with their nuance of romance and tenderness. It’s powdery, leathery, smoky, and strangely light and fresh at once. Oakmoss is listed as an ingredient in Black, but I don’t get it, and seeing as the IFRA has that ingredient on its banned list, I’m not surprised if newer batches don’t or won’t include it. The longevity is pretty good, but it fades very close to the skin, with the rubber fumes exhausting out after an hour or two, muffling into aspartame sweetened vanillic, woodsy, and amber tones built for close quarters. But wait, is that the rubber coming back? You can also hear echos of muted, far-away florals. This vanilla-flavoured plastic, sexy gourmand is perfect for dudes who secretly dream of either being Hank Moody or traveling to outer space.

Black is marketed for men “living a metropolitan life,” but it is actually highly unisex, and brings to my mind a colour lighter than black. It is more masculine than feminine at the start, but more feminine than masculine in the drydown. Although urban and edgy, it is also versatile in that it can be worn night and day, although better in cooler evenings, and is unoffensive, comforting and pleasing. Yet at the same time, this is one weird concoction.

The trademark for Bulgari is usually written BVLGARI in the classical Latin alphabet (where V = English U), and is derived from the surname of the company’s Greek founder, Sotirios Voulgaris. Bvglari commissioned perfumer Annick Menardo, a prolific nose with an amazing portfolio of artworks, including Bois D’argent and Hypnotic Poison by Dior, Body Kouros by YSL, and the main Lolita Lempicka perfumes, to create this wonderous, vanilla rubber delight housed in a black, matte plastic hockey puck. While the bottle does not quite convey the luxury of this high-end jewelry maker, it is far from inappropriate with its rubber fetishness and off-on gadget for spraying.

Bvlgari Black has fast become classic that is future-proof. Annick Menardo, in her genius, has managed to satisfy her artistic needs in creating something abstract, unique, and incredibly interesting, yet she’s also met consumer demand for something that is safe, balanced, and highly wearable. If you’re a quiet, confident bad ass who thinks or knows you’d enjoy hanging out in the interior of a new luxury car sitting on hot pavement, this 5-star scent is for you. My only personal lament with this fragrance is that it doesn’t have a louder engine. BB hums just a wee bit too gently for my personality, but I did finish off a bottle in my collection. The good news is that the fragrance can now be had at a very decent price and is not hard to find.

From Fragrantica:

  • OLFACTORY GROUP: oriental woody
  • MAIN ACCORDS: vanilla, animalic, woody, green, powdery
  • TOP NOTES: green tea, bergamot, rose
  • MIDDLE NOTES:  sandalwood, cedar wood,  jasmine
  • BASE NOTES: leather, amber, musk, vanilla, oakmoss