Perfume Directory

Black (1998)
by Bulgari


Black information

Year of Launch1998
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1634 votes)

People and companies

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

About Black

A woody, smoky 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

It smells like vanilla laced tires, but also of asphalt a bit. Maybe that's why I love it so much - it smells just like my childhood on the block in the 90s/early 00s.
05th November, 2020
As another reviewer noted, this seems to have been reformulated into irrelevance. I get nothing of the rubber tire accord Iíve heard about, just a bland vanilla in the genre of Le M‚le.

[Purchased Nov 2019 from FragranceBuy, batch no. 00H15K17B]
20th December, 2019
Fragrances are a "subjective" thing in that we all can smell the same odor and interpret it in different ways. I never wore Black when it came out, and the only version I'm familiar with is this more recent iteration. This must have undergone a significant reformulation, because the famous "idiosyncrasies" of Black seem to be absent in the bottle that I'm smelling.
I purchased this on Fragrancenet a while back, so I know that this isn't a Canal Street knockoff shipped in from Shandong Province.

Upon first spray, and for a while, the intro to this is dominated by sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, and amber. Two of the three mid notes are cedar and sandalwood, two of the three base notes are vanilla and amber. Minus tonka bean, those four notes make up the base of Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male (1995), and I have to tell you that the similarities between Le Male and Black are pretty darned apparent. Instead of the smoky Lapsang tea, I'm getting only a hint of the smokiness -- not so much tea -- and I'm only picking up a tiny bit of the leather. Since the leather and the tea notes are responsible for Black's infamous "rubber" note, and they seem to be basically neutered in this formulation, the rubber note is almost undetectable, and what's left is a semi-darker version of Le Male after it dries down a bit.

They must have really mucked around with the reformulation because this scent is not bad, but at the same time it's not interesting at all, save for coming across as a more restrained, smokier Le Male. I'd like to get my hands on some vintage Black, as I'm assuming this version underwent the same kind of castration that Dior's Fahrenheit (1988) did, except that Fahrenheit still retains it's diesel-soaked leather vibe, but just not as well as it used to.

All in all, this is a fair scent. I hope that the original iteration is better than this one, because for all intents and purposes this is a relative snoozer.

I give it a neutral, as I am truly indifferent to this scent.
11th September, 2019
Back in black... ACDC
Unless itís bulgari
Smoking vanilla pods...

Nice for the price

15th November, 2018 (last edited: 23rd February, 2020)
An extraordinary machine among clones

I believe that anyone who becomes obsessed with perfume, particularly those who maintain a strict budget like myself, eventually starts making a list of white whales. Difficult to find or discontinued Moby Dick-ian perfumes you build up in your mind and chase, fragrant phantoms in your imagination, haunting you when you least expect it.

For me, one such fragrance has been Bvlgari Black. I first read about it years ago in Tania Sanchez/Luca Turinís Perfume Guide in which Turin waxed rhapsodic and anointed the scent with a coveted 5-star rating. Its pyramid hit all the notes for I love smoke, woods, rubber, jasmine. And then there were the descriptions. Innovative and modern yet wearable. Complex and perfectly balanced. Scintillating, smoldering, daring, original. More CdG than CdG, more LíArtisan than LíArtisan. Black has been described as all of these things and so much more.

In my mind, Black began to take on mythical proportions. I read reviews as if they were travelogues from Atlantis. I imagined the burning asphalt of Nasomattoís Black Afgano, but with subtlety and grace. The effortless cool of CdGís Black, but something more innovative and daring. The patent-leather insouciance of Etat Libre díOrangeís Rien, but without its brattiness. You get the idea. Black was the Alpha and the Omega. Holy Grail status before I'd even smelled the thing.

Of course I've had Black sightings in online stores and flash sales over the years. Iíve always known samples and decants were readily available. But I never bought it. I told myself this was because of prohibitive shipping costs but the truth was, I was avoiding the crushing disappointment of getting what you want and finding you donít really want it afterall. Whatís more valuable? A wonderous fantasy of the most perfect fragrance, THE Platonic Angelus Novus ur-fragrance, or 40 bucks plus shipping for the real thing?

Well, I came across a tester of Black today. I hesitated. They say you should never meet your idols. But it was time to kill a god. I sprayed my wrist, and inhaled.

Black is good. It starts off innocuously, but give it time to breathe and that smoky, rubbery, synthetic accord starts to come alive. Itís nothing like the acrid smoke monsters I often flirt with, burning a black swath through the air with cade and birch tar. In fact, thereís a transparency to Black that contrasts well with the smoke. Itís also a lot less cerebral and more approachable than one might expect. It's the vanilla, which manages here to impart a soothing quality to the composition. The jasmine seems gentle, the leather becomes friendly. There is an attractive warmth to Black that reminds me that synthetic arts can in fact be very human, kindly even. This is a fragrance for urban types who do not find cities intimidating or overly exciting, but rather, welcoming and familiar.

After 4.5 hours, Black dries down to a warm vanillaic wood skin scent. My chief complaint is that Black seems weak overall and does not last very long to the point where I was tempted to knock my rating down to neutral. And if I am to be honest, I personally prefer something more aggressive. I'm afraid this was not FB worthy for me.

So there we have it. What was once limitless potential has been met with finitude. Although it was not a hollow disappointment, itís strange to think that the chase for Black is now over. How shall I comfort myself, murderer of all murderers? Why, I shall steep a pot of tea, curl up with a book of poetry with my nose to my wrist, send in an order for another round of perfume samples and call it a day. Because I'm just a lady who enjoys smelly water. And it's one white whale down with countless others to go.

If you have read up to this sentence, thank you for indulging me with this unnecessarily long and tangential review. Le parfum est mort. Vive le parfum!
09th November, 2018 (last edited: 15th November, 2018)
When I bought this for my husband, I wondered if he too would like the warm, musky and leathery, rubber scent as much as I did - he did. Now our son is older, he has taken to wearing it regularly also. It's unusually attractive, and even now I wonder how the scent of new car tyres could be so highly intoxicating, but it is. It's very masculine, and so far every man that I know, that has been introduced to it, likes it too.
30th October, 2018

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