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February 14, 2011

Bulgari Eau Parfumee au The Vert : Perfume Review

Munnar tea plantation 2

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

Despite having been around for almost 20 years and having served as an inspiration for numerous tea fragrances, Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert has lost none of its appeal. Its misty tea accord wrapped into a layer of citrus and violet toned woods still seems exciting and original. While its name promises a familiar scent, Thé Vert delivers a novel experience. For me, it does not so much evoke the aroma of green tea, as it conveys the freshness of morning air, the bitterness of fresh leaves, the sweetness of nightblooming jasmine dissipating as the sun comes up...

Pure serendipity led to Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert being launched under the Bulgari label. Originally, perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena developed this woods and tea etude for Christian Dior as part of the Fahrenheit project. Instead, the mod that blossomed into Thé Vert was turned down. Perhaps, in the end, this was a lucky turn of events, since a big masculine launch from Dior is not likely to have retained the very elements that make Thé Vert such a beguiling composition—transparent softness and elegant minimalism.

I find that the most beautiful aspect of Thé Vert is how cleverly it interprets the classical citrus eau de cologne theme, rendering it fresh, memorable, and above all, timeless. The bergamot and pepper provide the immediately recognizable and alluring freshness, but at the same time, Thé Vert feels soothing and tender on my skin, in contrast to the exhilarating brightness of of a classical cologne. Ellena builds the composition on the accord of two important materials in the perfumer's palette—violet and jasmine. However, here violet is played by the soft, hazy ionones and jasmine by luminous, lemony hedione.

While the main impression of Thé Vert is a misty, green citrus, it has an intricate floral heart accented with rose absolute and orange flower. These floral touches, along with a discrete hint of coumarin, round out the composition, lending it complexity and softness. The contrasted leitmotif of warm and sparkling, sweet and bitter, spicy and tender is maintained as Thé Vert dries down to an elegant, finish of woods and moss. While it is a sheer fragrance, it has excellent diffusion and a recognizable signature that would suit men and women alike. While Thé Vert is uplifting and bright, it nevertheless clings to the skin like warm silk, thus making for another irresistible contrast.

Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (fragrance family: citrus) includes notes of bergamot, orange blossom, cardamom, coriander, pepper, jasmine, rose, woods, green tea. Available from major retailers and online. Similar fragrances include Jean-Claude Ellena's own The Different Company Osmanthus, a bolder, richer composition, Hermès Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, a richer citrus idea. Calvin Klein CkOne, L'Occitane Green Tea, and L'Artisan Thé pour un Été also explore the same radiant tea idea. There is also Bulgari Exreme Au Thé Vert, a version embellished with richer rose and orange blossom notes and smoky woods.

Photography © Bois de Jasmin, Munnar tea plantation, India.

Sample: my own acquisition

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