Perfume Directory

Black (1998)
by Bulgari

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Black information

Year of Launch1998
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1559 votes)

People and companies

HouseBulgari
PerfumerAnnick Menardo
PackagingThierry de Baschmakoff
Parent CompanyBulgari
Parent Company at launchFerragamo Group

About Black

A Woody Smoked fragrance. The bottle is rounded and designed to fit the hand. A combination of metal, glass and rubber. Like most of the Bulgari fragrances, it contains a tea note.

Black fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Black

A kaleidoscopic modern vanillic oriental, Bvlgari Black is elusive and intriguing. Crafted carefully and cleverly, Black is a wonderful interplay of leather, smoky tea, florals, a rubber like accord and vanilla. Yet, rather than being loud or cacophonous, Black is gentle, persistent, wearing like a translucent veil of grey. Black opens with a hint of jasmine, but is soon accompanied by a wonderful note of black tea, a little smoky. As these persist, the development leads to a famed accord of 'rubber', to which the jasmine contributes notably. This is the phase where a leathery aspect comes to the fore, that I associate more with new car tires than anything else. The final development brings a dry, non-sweet vanilla laced with musk.

Bvlgari Black is a unique and interesting fragrance, and perhaps best showcases the talent and ingenuity of Annick Menardo. It is beautifully androgynous, futuristic and very memorable. While I admire Black more than I love it, it is one of my personal favourites to wear on a cool rainy day. I find sillage to be close and persistent, and duration to be excellent at over several hours. However, perhaps the greatest achievement here is how all these innovative and seemingly discordant elements come together to create a whole more than the sum of its parts, and an end product that is a complete personal fragrance. It's like a L'Artisan, perhaps before L'Artisan became widely respected for being innovative. Those in disagreement with Black usually come around to the fact that it is a venerable perfume. Just that it's not stereotypical, but perhaps a trifle quirky.

4/5
01st February, 2018
I read the reviews on this website and was a bit intimidated. It's actually one of the safer colognes that I've ever encountered. It's like a Vanilla scent for those who found others too cloying. There is a rubber note which seems to even it out, and it's the one cologne which I feel that one could be doused in without being overbearing. Unique. I wear it almost every single day.
23rd December, 2017
Love that new car smell!
19th November, 2017
I liked it. Smell like burning rubber gasoline at auto shop. Really neat perfumery. Great idea. Good to see that the shops are putting out really new ideas, however like most department store brands, it faded after two or three hours. Longevity poor, projection poor
15th July, 2017
Spin true, fake wheel's tea!
Rubber lies of leather's lie,
True enough for me.
02nd July, 2017
I remember buying my first bottle of Bulgari Black, back in about 2000. I read about it in a magazine shortly after its launch; the big hype in the press centered on the tea note, which got my attention immediately, seeing as I was a tea drinker, and a lover of Lapsong souchang. This was right at the time that Sephora first opened in the US, so I headed to the brand-new store in the Houston Galleria, seeing as I could sniff and think in relative peace there, with no sales assistant staring at me while I tried to decide if I liked it or not. I figured I'd need a few visits before I made up my mind.

I don't remember what I expected, but it wasn't . . . this. It came out of the little rubber-coated bottle hitting on all four cylinders, all big, meaty, smoky, and floral in the way that tea smells floral, with an expansive quality that reminded me of redwood forests in the Pacific northwest. The rubber note felt almost like sap (which is where rubber comes from, after all). But what Black really brought to mind was the machine shop at the family business; Dad was a pipeline contractor, and the shop comprised a warehouse of lathe operators and arc welders--hot metal, cool lubricants, and the smell of shavings piling up on concrete. So there it was, a machine shop forest, or a forest in a machine shop, or vice versa. And it was--daringly--marketed primarily to women, although even the early blurbs mentioned that anyone could wear it. I fell in love with it instantly.

The best thing about Black was its aura of mystery. It smelled a little perfumey (from the jasmine on the top, which gets lost once the smoke gets going) and a lot dangerous. Plus, it cost a very reasonable 50 bucks, even at full retail. It took me about 10 seconds before I stuck one of the square black boxes in my little Sephora basket and headed for the counter. I took it home and wore it nearly every day for at least a year; it put me in a sort of friendly ass-kicking mood, which was perfect for surviving the daily insanity of living in Houston, with its batshit traffic and noxious weather.

Now, almost two decades later, I still have one vintage bottle of Black. It's on its last legs, and it breaks my heart a little every time I spray it. Reformulation removed the chewy complexity of the tea notes, exaggerated the rubber, and also brought out the vanilla/tonka accord in the base; the whole perfume went out of whack and lost the balancing act that made it so interesting. Also, unlike many reformed perfumes, the drydown of the original smells quite different: when the smoke dies down (literally), my vintage settles back into a true tea scent instead of the rubber marshmallows of the current version.

I could elegize for several more paragraphs, but it's depressing, and boring, to read reviews that moan on about the ruination of great perfumes. So I'll just say that the latest (and the last, as I believe it's discontinued) edition of Black still smells pretty good, albeit much cruder--a better masculine, perhaps, but a less compelling perfume to my nose. It's still better than 99 percent of the stuff out there, and my heart still skips a beat when I smell it on a stranger. Passionate love has faded to wistful affection. I'll miss it when it's gone.
25th June, 2017

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