Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Black by Bulgari

Total Reviews: 307
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
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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
What more can be said on this one?

I ordered it blind ages ago having read countless reviews. It wasn't what I was expecting.

I don't get the Lapsang references - yes, it's smoky, but Lapsang tea has a sort of meaty smokiness, and this is more of a citric, vanilla, amber smokiness. I get something of the same zingy citrus vetiver bitter sweet top I get from Fat Electrician although vetiver is not listed as a note in Black. Again, I wish I actually knew how to identify notes - I might reward myself with a course when this odyssey is over!

I was a Lapsang drinker in my day and I might have some later to actually run some data against my opinions! I'm not a huge fan of tea scents as I don't like the tang of tannin they seem to engender in me. This has none of that.

I love it, especially as the first thing I noticed on smelling was its resemblance to the Je Reviens Memories of Times Past that haunt my dreams. It's got that same oddly sharp chemical bite that I love - which seems to be floral, vetiver, spice, and vanilla all at once. I think the 'rubbery' aspect is what I consider the shared Je Reviens DNA. The sharpness keeps the whole confection light and not too sweet.

It is lovely in autumn and winter, but I'm running out of summery stuff, and it is perfect today - the weather has cooled down a bit and it's cloudy. It has a tiny hint of plasters or bandages - the old very sticky type that came on a roll and smelled 'clinical'. It lasts as a lovely skin scent and is linear enough to stand repeated sprayings throughout the day.

It also makes me long for skyscrapers and modernity - it has an urban feeling about it - perfect for walking city streets and soaking up the energy.
22nd June, 2017
Smells like last night's campfire in my tent awaking with my face nestled in my air mattress. On one hand it is summer and I love camping but on the other hand, I long for a shower.
18th June, 2017
alexmate Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Big on leather and Lapsang souchang tea. A bit of sandalwood as well. This very smoky, almost like a burnt tyre, but in a good way; definitely an evening scent and a sexy one at that.

Bottle Design: 3/5 Looks like a tyre with a silver top.
Scent: 4/5.
Complexity: 3/5 Not overly complex. The smoky tea and leather dominate.
Value for Money: 2/5 Possibly discontinued. Prices have gone up over the years. I paid the equivalent of around £30 in France for 100ml when it was launched which is a bargain; for £70 now not good value.
Overall: 3.5/5.
20th May, 2017
I picture a garage filled with mechanics. There are automobiles and motorcycles in various stages of repair or rebuild. It is mid-autumn. The smell of burning wood wafts inside the open door, from a neighboring dwelling. Someone amongst these rough-looking, grease-covered mechanical gurus is wearing fragrance.

That's my take on this one. Leather is the strange passenger aboard this liquid ride. It is peculiar, at best.
10th May, 2017
A dark and flat expanse of black rubber. This minimalist car tyre and iris combo with a vanilla praline undercurrent is very original; its also not easy to tell that its actually based on tea.

The merit of Black is that its not at all comforting or compliment seeking, quite the opposite; its provocative, and in this way more like a work of modern art than a simple olfactory ornament.

Works like this are a major step forward towards a modernist style of perfumery, but that still leaves us ninety years behind the plastic arts...

****
27th March, 2017
I overlooked trying this one for quite awhile, and after reading some of the reviews I almost put it on my "only if extremely convenient" list. I'm kind of glad I waited, because last year, I may not have enjoyed this one.
It's a strange one. Definitely on the challenging side, not one I expected from Bvlgari.
To me: Dr. Pepper and Cypriol/Nagarmotha. That's what stuck out to me. I am in love with it. I know it's likely the lapsang souchong that gives the smokiness, and with the strange rubber ball note, plus vanilla... I can't even think of what else to say.
Except, if you can afford it, and it sounds interesting, it's so affordable that you might as well spring for it. I chose to get a large decant, in with an order of some other decants, out of convenience.
But it's going to be my next full bottle.
Here's to the strange!
02nd February, 2017
Just lovely, but performance generally poor on my skin. Even so, I love this fragrance. Like, really love it - nose to wrist, purring.
Hot rubber and smoked tea opening with moderate projection; at this stage, it's compelling and sexy. As the rubber fades, smoke sits on a medium-dirty leather; the drydown stays close to skin, giving a soft, creamy base of amber, sandalwood and vanilla - it's pretty.
The opening is interesting for those that get close enough to smell it, but it's still really super-easy to wear.
Longevity no better than moderate - good job this is cheap because I have to use lashings and reapply halfway through the day.
29th January, 2017 (last edited: 16th March, 2017)
Bvlgari Black: From the online reviews, I was expecting something like Dior Fahrenheit (one which will make your nose burn and eyes water), but this is actually an original variation on the familiar warm and spicy, oriental category. The opening is a blast of some kind of unfamiliar spice. I don't smell any of the rubber notes that have been discussed. I can kind of discern a "smokey" note, although I wouldn't have called it that without reading the other reviews. All together, I would rate this an "A-": a worthy contender, but I have no plans to buy at this time. The price, however, is quite reasonable.
30th December, 2016
Lapsang souchang tea....an exotic drink and a daring fragrance note! Smoky oriental fragrance that is a bold statement (which can result in pleasant or annoyed responses); Bvlgari Black is an acquired taste (love it or hate it). I even had a co-worker say that this scent smells like burning candles, a spot-on description! The dispenser is exotic in itself, and overall I do appreciate this scent more as a personal lift-up versus one to get noticed.
10th December, 2016
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Love this one! So different...kind of edgy, definitely not one that everyone can pull off!
14th October, 2016
I'm having a really hard time with this one. The alcohol scent is so strong that I miss any initial scents and once its faded it smells like baby powder. If I really concentrate I can pick out the rubber and leather, but it's buried under a powdery smell that is similar to baby oil. I tried it a couple times on myself and it's all powder.

Than I had the idea to try it on my boyfriend. Mmmmm a bit of cedar and than super-vanilla. Imagine if you were to polish a nice oak cabinet with vanilla. No rubber. No leather. Sadly no delicious smokey tea. Just rich woody vanilla. It's not his taste, but I think it's yummy.
01st September, 2016 (last edited: 12th September, 2016)
I like the spicy sharpness in the air; I cant place the scent, but I think it's a bit like the smell on your hands after handling rubber stoppers, or casters.

I'm not getting the sort of metal I wanted from this; I've smelled galvanized steel in a perfume before. And something like a sinus-clearing ozone smell of clean metal. But neither are here.

I like the scent when it's in the air; but on my skin its just a muddy rubber mess for at least half an hour. After that, the rubber seems to fade, and leaves a pleasant, masculine smell behind. That's when you finally get the leather and musk, and that's when this fragrance is finally worth putting on.
20th July, 2016 (last edited: 21st July, 2016)
Let me start with... I do like most of the Bulgari scents that I have owned or sampled... I find them pleasant and even a few AMAZING... This isn't one of them. The only thing that I smell is a "Rubbery" synthetic note that kills me. Instant headache... I did give it several wears before kicking it to a friend of mine who I believe is on his 4 bottle of this mess...
02nd June, 2016
Simple and low key with loads of sophisticated charisma. A really good bouqet with the right amounts of everything. Not manly and not girly. Just nice, so nice it could be all the cologne you'll ever need.
10th May, 2016
I couldn't understand how something described as smelling like rubber, glass, metal, etc could be a unisex fragrance but now that I'm wearing it today for the first time, I can totally see this being worn by women. I do get a little of the rubber note but it's mostly sweet vanilla, woods and a soft leather note on me. Feels refined, not loud or messy.

Projection is good while it lasts, maybe 2 hours?

Reminds me of Midnight in Paris, seems to share some similar notes.
15th April, 2016 (last edited: 20th September, 2017)
It is rubber and vanilla. Like going to a biker ice cream stand. And not luxurious leather but cheap rubbery leather. Nothing great about it. Not unpleasant and hence not a thumbs down. For the price it can be a blind bought. Don't expect to be swept off your feet
14th January, 2016
I bought a sample of this one partly because Turin says it's one of the best fragrances of all time in his book the "A-Z Guide to Perfume", and also partly because it's theme is supposed to be motorcycles and bikers, and biker/rocker guys with lots of long hair and tattoos and black leather are exactly what I usually love!
I'm sorry to say I actually don't like this scent! The amber-woody-musky-vanilla notes in the base remind me too much of "Angel", which I also never liked. And aside from that, the only other thing I can actually smell a lot of is freshly cracked black pepper. Weirdly, pepper isn't even listed as a note for Bvlgari "Black", but I swear, this smells like pepper to me! Sometimes I love that note in perfume, but unfortunately not in this one. :(
Also, I don't think I would even like this scent on a guy either. I just don't care for the way it smells! It's certainly unique and original, but it doesn't work for me.
12th November, 2015
My heart missed a beat when I received the news that this particular fragrance was not going to be available next to where I live. And when one had to know that I had the opportunity to buy it and bought A*Men instead, it is more painful to absorb.

Anyway, I found a way, in a local retailer and bought it blindly. It is magnificent, especially the Vanilla and Leather.

Thanks.
31st October, 2015
Bvlgari Black

BB is a very good masculine oriental whose appeal rests in its simplicity and subtleness.

Simply, it's a predominant vanilla tempered with a leathery powdered rubber note... all in a hockey puck bottle. What more can a guy want? Especially one that doesn't care for the way vanilla is used more often than not. Average strength / longevity and surprisingly not bad in the heat, providing you mind the triggerfinga.

BB, with Patchouli 24 and Jaipur Homme, rounds out my Annick Menardo trifecta.

I'm a 50+ average Joe living in the midwest U.S., for reference. fin 10/19/15

19th October, 2015
There isn't a single scent in the note tree that I don't love. It's like a magic list of things that should smell completely awesome when put together.

Too bad it doesn't work out that way. The fume of burnt rubber was so bad that within 10 minutes, I desperately scrubbed and scrubbed.

I drink lapsang souchong tea all winter long, and I can tell you, I wouldn't, if it stank like Bvlgari Black. I don't smell the slightest similarity.

Must be a chemistry thang.
18th October, 2015
I bought this fragnance immediatly after smelling it for the first time. I love it! I find the scent is more leathery than rubber, though I do detect some rubber
when I first spray it on. A soft masculine fragrance with smokey, leathery notes. Hints of florals and bitter vanilla. Easily worn by women and men. I was most surprised at how modern it smelled for a perfume from the late nineties. My only issue with this beautiful odour is the longevity. I have to really smell my skin at the 6 hour mark to detect it. Could it be because it is an eau de toilette? Regardless, even if it lasts only a short while, the beautiful scent is worth every second.
***Love the bottle too. It reminds me of a hockey puck***
16th September, 2015
hcr Show all reviews
United States
The vanilla drydown on this is lovely. The tea/rubber note is very interesting, but just not quite enough to sell me on this. Price is pretty good, but I think this will stay in the sample pile. Definitely try a sample before you buy a bottle.
24th August, 2015
I wore this for several years and believe it went over well with many people who smelled it on me. It always smelled slightly more masculine to me, but a lot of girls I knew liked it a lot. It had a noticeable lapsang note that encapsulated the smoky, tarry quality Bvlgari wished to convey, accompanied by a vanilla smoothness that lingered for several hours.
02nd August, 2015
Salutation.

BLACK is one of those unforgettable fragrance that both men and women love it.It is a true classic that has a uncompromising level of spicy sexiness never seen by BVLGARI before and after it is release.It is unisex with but a prominent hint of masculine. Leathery, Warm,Animalistic, Sophisticated,Sweet, Fascinating, Passionate and Classy.

The opening is classic floral with a citrusy note by bergamot and also tea while cedar and sandalwood sensually intertwine with jasmine in the heart. luxurious musk,sensual vanilla and especially leather complement this sexy scent.it makes an air of sensual and if the opening is nice the dry down is really great for me.

BLACK BVLGARI is a mature scent that for someone who wants to smell sophisticated animalistic not a faint-hearted character.It is suitable for a Night out on the town.definitely for Cold weather. In conclusion if you have never tried this one,you don't know what you're missing.It is great no doubt about it.test it first.

Sillage?Ok.

Longevity?Pretty Good on my skin.

7.5/10
13th May, 2015
I owned Bvlgari Black when it first came out and used up my bottle over the course of a couple of years. I don't know why, but Black was my go to fragrance for any nice dinner for several years. The tea and leather just suit fine dining in my mind. I never replaced it when it ran out, probably because I now own other tea scents, but Black is in a class of it's own, IMO. I noticed Black for sale at a discount store the other day for less than $30. I'll probably pick it up next time I'm there and will definitely look forward to wearing it again.
21st April, 2015
One of my all-time favourites. Bulgari Black certainly suits either men or women and I can think of many niche or mainstream scents with far more challenging notes.

It opens with a green-toned citric/smoky vanilla which is mostly reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea (which in itself reminds me slightly of scorched tyres) so this is the tea aspect of Black. Some people have compared this citric/smoky vanilla with Shalimar and there is a sort of similarity but Black's top notes are much lighter, more diffuse and contemporary.

It feels slightly synthetic at first, and has what my male friend described as an 'urban night out' scent. Hang in there though, because into drydown you'll find hints of powder, like lightly scented talc, then into dry down it's a smoky/salty vanilla with a nice rose absolute underlying.

Just imagine a pot of Earl Grey Tea with a touch of smoky Lapsang Souchong, dark velvet rose petals floating on the surface and a nearby vanillic cupcake and you're close. Black actually has something in common with classic rose/chypres (almost like a high quality Elizabethan pou pourri) what makes it contemporary is the rubber smoke, tea and vanilla. All combine to create a unique and abstract effect

It's rightly regarded as a modern classic and I've never been without it since 2001! I sometimes wear it layered with rose otto, which lends a prettier edge. I think it's more typically masculine on opening, or on clothes, on skin and into drydown it's pretty in a kitten claws and fur way. Also, this has attracted more compliments form men than any of my other perfumes. If you're female and like perfume with an intriguing slightly darker edge it's great
12th February, 2015