In 2006, Bvlgari launched Rose Essentielle with Voile de Jasmin and the reissue of Bvlgari Pour Femme, in matching bottles. All the fragrances have now been discontinued, but the pleasing shape of their bottles has been continued in the Bvlgaria Splendida line. More on that later!
Rose Essentielle is a light, polite rose, which I own in the eau de parfum format. Despite the name, it isn’t strongly rose-centric. It opens with rose, violet, and blackberry; I find that the violet note is as present as the rose, and to my nose, sometimes the blackberry note smells more like raspberry — a bit sweeter, a bit less green. Many real roses do have a raspberry note in their natural fragrances, so this adds to the “rosiness”. When it leans toward the blackberry end of the spectrum, there is a noticeable tang to the opening. The violet lends a powdery note, but it is not a dry powder, if you know what I mean; it has a softness to it that evokes the silkiness of an actual rose petal, dewy without being damp or wet.
As the scent progresses, a mimosa note comes forward, and it is very pleasant; it lines up nicely with the powdery violet and eventually takes its place. The rose continues, but again, not very strongly. This is a rose fragrance for those who like roses but don’t want a soliflore and don’t want to exude an immediately identifiable ROSE. It is an ideal office scent, and I mean that nicely. Its sillage is strong enough that people will be able to tell you went to the trouble of applying a fragrance, but not so strong that it is all people will notice when you are around. It also gives the impression of polish without pretense, like an elegant but simple silk scarf. If its smell had a color, by the way, it would be a light, soft pink that shaded more toward a light coral or peachy color, not a true pink. Online photos of Rose Essentielle can be misleading; they often show it as a pale pink, whereas my (well-preserved) bottle has more of a rose-gold tint.
The drydown smells to me like a mix of white musk and soft woodsy notes. I wouldn’t be able to tell you that it includes the specific notes listed as base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, guiac wood, in addition to the musk. It’s very pleasant.
After Rose Essentielle was discontinued, Bvlgari launched a new rose as part of its Splendida line: Bvlgari Splendida Rose Rose. There has been much heated commentary comparing it (often unfavorably) to Rose Essentielle. This has driven up online prices for Rose Essentielle, but really, you don’t have to go out of your way to grab that unless you find it at a really great price and you really love it or think you will love it. There are so many excellent rose fragrances available these days at reasonable prices that there is little need to chase down this one and spend more than you might like. And if you do want to splurge a bit, you can get some beautiful, newer rose scents, including some niche fragrances, for the same price as an old bottle of Rose Essentielle or even less in a smaller size. Nicolai’s Rose Royale can be had for $52 for 30 ml.
Speaking of the bottle, I like the shape of this one and the Splendida line more than many fragrance bottles. It is distinctive, solid; it sits easily on any surface and won’t topple over, and it’s an attractive, simple design. I mention this because I loathe the bottles in the Bvlgari Omnia line! Ugly, wobbly, leaky — I don’t know who came up with those. It is one of the few fragrance bottle designs that I actively dislike. Luckily, the Omnia fragrances were also issued in charming “Jewel Charms” purse sprays, as was Rose Essentielle. It is still possible to buy those lovely little 25 ml bottles.
How do you feel about Bvlgari fragrances generally? Or fragrance bottles generally, now that I’ve had my little rant? Have you tried Rose Essentielle or Splendida Rose Rose?