Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Black by Bulgari

Total Reviews: 316
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 I’ve heard about, just a bland vanilla in the genre of Le Mâle.

[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
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Back in black... ACDC
Unless it’s 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 Turin’s 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 L’Artisan than L’Artisan. 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 Nasomatto’s Black Afgano, but with subtlety and grace. The effortless cool of CdG’s Black, but something more innovative and daring. The patent-leather insouciance of Etat Libre d’Orange’s 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. I’ve 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 don’t really want it afterall. What’s 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. It’s nothing like the acrid smoke monsters I often flirt with, burning a black swath through the air with cade and birch tar. In fact, there’s a transparency to Black that contrasts well with the smoke. It’s 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, it’s 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
Ifti Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Wanted this to be amazing, from the strong positive reviews.Rubber, leather and smoky tea over a vanilla Amber and musky bases sounded like it'd be a hit.
I don't get much of the notorious tea or rubber notes at all.
Again like a generic modern frag, sweetish gourmand and or Oriental, feels like an easy inoffensive metro crowd pleaser.
I get a quite nice vanilla and sandal, but that's it's. Possibly had set it up and a mind blower from the note pyramid.
As it stands ( for me and my chemistry I guess) an ok sweet vanilla sandal , I feel something tart and peppery would really lift it.
Generally pleasing but it won't be on my wish list.
26th May, 2018
Smells like plastic/rubber and baby powder. Feminine leaning of the unisex range.
17th May, 2018
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.

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
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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
Annick Menardo's Parfum de Pneu or eau de tyre is an impressive idea, there's no denying its originality. The problem is that its passive-aggressive mix of dry rubber and aldehydic floral is more interesting than likeable, and this amounts to a self defeating strategy. It seems strange to criticise a work of art for not being practical but Black rarely gets worn in the gardener household because it's so difficult to connect with. More respect than love.

27th March, 2017 (last edited: 10th December, 2018)
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 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
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