Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Bulgari Man Wood Neroli by Bulgari

Total Reviews: 1
Color me surprised by this, because I did not expect to like yet another flanker in a beaten-to-death line from Bvlgari, which has been vomiting AI-powered stream-of-consciousness drivel for years, mostly from overworked commercial wizard Alberto Morillas, but here we are. Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli (2019) is a flanker-of-a-flanker to Bvlgari Man Wood Essence (2018), itself a misguided flanker of Bvlgari Man (2010) that sought to merge a green aromatic fougère-type construction with an ambroxan base like a sloppy photoshop job for a National Enquirer cover. With Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli, much of that retro-chic half-heartedness is discarded and replaced with a rather well-done citrus and white floral structure, although the same ambroxan-powered base remains. In this case, the standard almost pre-fab base Morillas seems to be rolling out for most designers anymore actually works well in the context of the rest of this fragrance, so I'm not irked by what otherwise would be another asleep-at-the-wheel composition. Anyone deeply in love with orange blossom perfumes with heaps of natural neroli oil or looking for a more-pure soliflore presentation of the note may wish to look elsewhere though, as the note is a key player, but still just a cut-rate version produced by a mass-market flavorant/odorant supplier. All told, this reminds me a lot of what Luciano Soprani tried to do with neroli notes in Just Free (2004) but in a woody ambrox context rather than aquatic.

The opening isn't the most resplendent or lush bergamot and neroli combo, but if you can suspend disbelief for just a moment, you can sense that this comes heavily-inspired by the classic eaux de cologne of antiquity; the Farinas, the 4711's, the Guerlains (although less of the latter), all feel channeled in this opening. Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli comes across like yet another attempt to extend the performance of a traditional eau, but without the luxury leanings of when Penhaligon's, Bond, or Creed did it. Instead, frugal but serviceable IFF captives from Morillas' repertoire do the heavy lifting, and the soapy clean neroli/bergamot note drifts lazily into a salty haze of cedar, "clearwood", and vetiver in the heart powered by the ambroxan throb in the base. Some late-stage white musk also appears, which assists the neroli in maintaining the retention of that white shirt cleanliness this stuff goes for, but a bit of scratchiness also comes in the late stage too, reminding you this is just another designer cranked out in cost-minimized fashion to capitalize on short-term trends. Projection crushes in the first 30 minutes then Bvlgari Man wood Neroli deflates to a moderate personal scent bubble of dry woody ambergris speckled with wafts of the orange blossom on top, and feels very casual, unisex, and easygoing for about 8 hours. Best used in spring through summer, Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli does have some office potential thanks to its politeness, but feels best outdoors.

Usually the words "you get what you pay for" are condescendingly applied by snobbish types from on high when anything less than a semi-bespoke artisanal or ultra-luxe perfume is discussed, but I'm going to borrow their rhetoric for just a second because it does mildly apply a bit here with Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli. This isn't a Tom Ford or high-end niche brand like Arquiste, the orange blossom accords in this are very pleasant, but have the same television "depth" or focused lucidity as lavandin does when it stands in for real French or English lavender essential oils. Combine that with the fact that the base is pure woody aromachemical magic with flits and flickers of the real deal, amplified by a salty ambergris proxy, and you'll see Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli is the casual dining chain equivalent of a meal created by a Michelin star restaurant; it's good but it won't appease the uncompromising connoisseur. All that aside, Bvlgari Man Wood Neroli is a decent workhorse fresh fragrance at a reasonable price for fans of the classic eau de cologne aesthetic, superimposed over a modern "amberwoods" base that has been done to death but is excusable when done well like it has been here. Also I guess it should be mentioned that if you dislike orange blossom, nothing here will change your mind, so perhaps avoid if that is the case. I might not have a lot of good things to say about the Bvlgari Man line, but this is one unlikely gem amongst what has been a mountain of coal thus far. Throw enough stuff at the wall and eventually something sticks. Thumbs up.
30th June, 2020