Bulgari Eau Parfumee au The Rouge : Fragrance Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The newest addition to the Bvlgari tea party, Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge (2005), renders the cup of tea in a wispy, haiku manner much like its earlier predecessors Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert and Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc. However, while the former is a citrus and the latter is a soft floral, Thé Rouge offers a twist on the woody oriental theme. It is a vision of a cup of dark tea; however, where a sip of the dark ambery liquid would reveal the full depth and richness of the beverage, Thé Rouge remains a suggestion of steam rising in delicate swirls above the rim. …

The unisex quality of Thé Rouge is provided by a fresh citrus backdrop which colors many masculine fragrances giving them a traditional sparkly effervescence. Likewise, in Thé Rouge, the effect is of a slightly androgynous, clean finish. The crisp fruity notes are subtly woven into the composition, reminiscent of a custom prevalent in some parts of Russia to drink tea with apple slices instead of lemon. It renders the darkness of Yunnan red tea only in the most impressionistic and illusory manner, even if its allusions are enticing.

Thé Rouge has an elegant, polished quality like other Bvlgari tea fragrances; however, it is difficult for me to envision what exactly it adds to the lineup. If neither Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert nor Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc were already present, Thé Rouge might have been an interesting tea fragrance with a crisp overlay. As it is, I find myself reaching past it for Thé Vert and Thé Blanc instead. I had secret hopes that it might have been more along the lines of seductive Bvlgari Black. Ultimately, its suggestion of a dark rich liquid is simply too teasing to be fully satisfying.

Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge features notes of pink pepper, bergamot, orange, fig, walnut, musk, Roiboos red tea, Yunnan red tea. It is available from Saks5thAvenue, Neiman Marcus and various other retailers carrying Bvlgari. European shoppers can also find it at Escentual.

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36 Comments

  • portlandia: I tried this recently – it reminded me of the Red Zinger herbal tea I used to drink, which had a sharp note of lemon and hibiscus flower in it. It was very zesty when I first put it on and I was hoping it would stay that way, but alas, like all the tea fragrances I have tried so far, it turned sweet. Had it stayed astringent after the first few minutes, it would be a perfect summer scent. I agree with your assessment – it’s very nice, but not nice enough to be FBW. June 12, 2006 at 1:45am Reply

  • helg: I was lucky enough to sample this when it first hit the duty-free shops at a German airport, stuck between flights. However as you say it was rather disappointing : a tad bitter tanning opening and then some slight vanilla-wood and all that *poof* gone in ten minutes…

    I wish they’d bring out a red,strong tea scent like it should be. Any suggestions on the latter maybe? (Tea for two is not for me, because of the heavy ginger.) June 12, 2006 at 6:14am Reply

  • Mercedes Rey: Helg, try Osmanthe Yunnan from Hermés, I think you will like it more, although it´s kind of subtle, too. I´m wearing Thé Rouge today! I like it. Well, it´s not “my” scent, but I reach for it really often. I like it more than Vert and Blanc, and I have also used both last summer. The staying power is not great, though… June 12, 2006 at 8:23am Reply

  • Marina: I bought a bottle unsniffed as soon as the scent came out. It was very enjoybale and the bottle is now practically empty. Would I buy another one though? Probably not. It doesn’t have enough oomph for my taste to warrant a repeat purchase. I am still looking for a perfect tea scent 🙂 June 12, 2006 at 8:35am Reply

  • Tania: I smelled this and really liked it — once in Sephora, once in Bergdorf, but only in passing. I’d like to try it on, but I have to say, I enjoyed the bright, full tea character, and I was pleasantly surprised by the warm turn it took in the heartnote, not too sweet, not too woody, not too fruity, not too floral — a pleasant, abstract, balanced tea fragrance. Of the three Bulgari tea scents, the white variation strikes me as least inspired. I found it became an insipid, pale peppery musk, hardly detectable. In contrast, the red tea strikes me as a nice everyday scent — not so big and attention-getting as some of my favorite scents, not as soapy-sporty as Thé Vert, which I enjoy but never seem to want to wear. When I smelled Thé Rouge, I actually compared it to Omnia, which was right next to it on the tray, and I preferred the Thé Rouge. I haven’t tried it on skin yet, though, so we’ll see how that goes. June 12, 2006 at 10:18am Reply

  • Karin: I quite like this one. I can’t wear either of the other teas; they get sharp on me. June 12, 2006 at 10:34am Reply

  • Rafael: I tried this one recently while browsing duty-free shop shelves, and totally agree with you that «Thé Rouge remains a suggestion of vapours rising in delicate swirls above the rim».
    Let me say I had high expectations on this one as I’m such a tea fan, and though I liked the first minutes of it when I tried it on my skin, it became sort of dull as it evolved. Besides, I didn’t find it easy to wear either for a man or woman.
    However, I loved the concept and the first impression it gives, just like the one you get before sipping a cup of dark, exotic tea for the first time.

    Regards, R. June 12, 2006 at 11:54am Reply

  • patchamour: V, Helg,
    I share your disappointment with Au The Rouge, especially in terms of its quick fade. I’ve timed it by the clock: in two minutes flat there’s nothing left on my skin. This is especially disappointing to me, because the initial bright burst smells exactly like some plant or flower (weed, most likely) that we used to play with as children. It wasn’t bee balm, or bergamot, but something very pungent that was said to ruin the milk with its flavor if cows ate it. Out of nostalgia, I keep spraying away my little sample of rouge, which is now almost gone. I would have bought it, had it lasted. June 12, 2006 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Robin: Easily my least favorite of all the Bvlgari Teas. Somebody needs to do a really great Rooibos fragrance… June 12, 2006 at 12:14pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I love the initial fig-tea opening, which reinforces my references to the Russian apple tea custom. Have you tried The Vert? It is more astrigent, even in the drydown. June 12, 2006 at 6:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: E, I find that it lasts rather well on me, however what becomes obvious is the clean musk. Somehow, I find that it does not have a touch that would make me want to revisit it often, even though it is very elegant. June 12, 2006 at 6:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, I agree with your recommendation to helg. Osmanthe Yunnan is one of my favourite tea fragrances. June 12, 2006 at 6:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I think I know what you mean. Certainly, I shall use up what I have, however the only tea fragrances from Bvlgari I would repurchase are The Vert and Black. June 12, 2006 at 6:59pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, you’ve inspired me to revisit Omnia. I have not worn it in a while, and I shall certainly compare it to The Rouge. Thé Vert strikes me as the most original of the three. Moreover, it was the trendsetter. On the other hand, Thé Blanc is the one I find to be easy to wear. Then again, I like a well-done musky note. With Thé Rouge, I get a glimpse of Rooibos and then it disappears. I suppose that I hoped for something a little bit darker and richer. June 12, 2006 at 7:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Karin, yes, the drydown of Rouge is very smooth. June 12, 2006 at 7:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Rafael, yes, the initial impression is enchanting, which is why I was a little bit disappointed by the turns it took as it dried down. June 12, 2006 at 7:05pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, I loved the memory you have from your childhood. It reminded me of how I tried Marc Jacobs Blush for the first time, and how vividly it reminded me of flowers in my grandmother’s garden. June 12, 2006 at 7:08pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I love the smell of Rooibos. I also wish for another fragrance based around its rich, warm scent. June 12, 2006 at 7:09pm Reply

  • perfumey: hey, just dropping by to say hello, and tell you that i have enjoyed reading your blog for some time now! i finally set-up my own blog, and added a link to your blog on my “blogroll”. if it’s not too much trouble, i would really appreciate a link back to my blog from yours. in any case, keep up the great blog! June 12, 2006 at 7:37pm Reply

  • marchlion: I am seconding Robin’s vote. I think Roiboos is a delectable scent that is sadly overdue for prominence in a fragrance — I’d had high hopes for this one. June 12, 2006 at 11:05pm Reply

  • co: …there are way too many mediocre teascents on the market, all above comments proof there’s big potential for the “right black/red tea”-perfume!
    …being a serious teafan and teadrinker myself I had big expectations on the “the rouge”….and got dissapointed.
    …you almost want a good teacompany to create the “black tea” scent, as if a freshly flown in box of first flush darjeeling is being opened in front of you and the heavenly aroma is enveloping everything and you’re just soaking this purest smell into each cell of your body…and it develops into a stronger scent with more punch, like a strong 5’o clock brew, kicking your system alive and happy!
    🙂 too much asked for?
    maybe one day!
    p.s. V, are the teacandles from Mariages Freres really REALLY good? or just ok?
    THANKS! June 13, 2006 at 2:33am Reply

  • helg: Thanks for your recommendations on Osmanth Yunnan : I like that one better, it’s more elegant, it’s true, but it also lasts a little on me 🙁

    Like Co says, there’s a market for the irght black/red tea perfume. Anyway, thanks again! June 13, 2006 at 3:24am Reply

  • Mercedes Rey: You´re welcome, Helg! I just remembered a scent by Comptoir sud Pacifique, Ecume de Thé, it´s quite sharp and I think you will like it. June 13, 2006 at 5:59am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Perfumey, thank you. Glad that you are enjoying it. June 13, 2006 at 12:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I am actually enjoying some Roiboos right now. The scent is heavenly. June 13, 2006 at 12:26pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Co, if you like dark, intense tea fragrances, Comme des Garcons The might be a nice choice. I know that many like it, although it is a bit too tarry to me. Overall, it is nice.

    I do like Mariage Freres candles, which have amazing scents and great throw. Now, that company should come out with a line of fragrances. June 13, 2006 at 12:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Helg, I would also mention the same recommendation I made for Co–CdG The. Have you tried it? It is a dark, rich tea. June 13, 2006 at 12:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, Comptoir sud Pacifique Ecume de Thé is another nice recommendation. I have not worn it a while, but you inspired me to seek it out again. June 13, 2006 at 12:30pm Reply

  • Mercedes Rey: V, I also love Rooibos, I just bought some with Panna Cotta Rhubarb Cream Flavor in a Tea shop in Germany! I have not tried it yet, but smells divine. Mmmmm, perhaps a scent like that would be worth wearing! June 13, 2006 at 12:42pm Reply

  • co: mercedes, thanks for the tip to Helg! this sounds good…I will look out for it as well.

    V, the “the” CDG may be the answer, although all CDG scents develop into the same CDG-note in the end…on me…
    and yes, if the Mariage Freres candles are excellent, maybe we could talk them into developing THE tea-perfume? They are big enough to do it and they are at the direct and best sources of tea!!!
    Honestly! In Sept I’ll be in Paris, then I’ll drop the hint to them…how about you?

    Helg, so you’re also looking for a dark strong tea scent, without the frou-frou pleasing fruity,vanillic, gourmand accents?
    Let me know how your search is going! June 14, 2006 at 1:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, Panna Cotta Rhubarb Cream Flavor sounds great. I am a huge tea addict, and I love discovering new kinds of teas. June 14, 2006 at 12:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Co, sounds like a plan. 🙂 I would love their The Rouge as a fragrance accord (perhaps, modified to make it less sweet and sharp). June 14, 2006 at 12:49pm Reply

  • helg: Thanks for the rec of CSP “Ecume de The”, I haven’t tried that one. Will see to it!

    Vic, I guess the CDG rec is the “Nomad Tea” one? I think I had sampled this and found it nice and rich. I must re-test it at some point and maybe get a decant to wear for a while. Thanks! June 16, 2006 at 5:24am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: E, I meant The (or maybe it is just called Tea) from the Leaves Series. It is dark and smoky. Nomad Tea is also very interesting. June 16, 2006 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Suzette: I’m a tad late but I just bought a bottle of Au The Rouge and I like it! And since it is a eau de cologne, I was not expecting it to have the same staying power as a eau de parfum. But I like it very much and the strength is just right for my sensitive nose. First thing to pleasantly tickle your olfactory sense is the rich smell of tea but when you inhale deeper you’ll be surprised by the creatively mellow infusion of citrus and woody notes. Perfect for everyday wear! I might even buy me another bottle as soon as it’s empty. But I am interested to try Osmanthe Yunnan based on the comments above. And the mention of Omnia intrigued me too. Glad I stumbled in this site! September 3, 2007 at 11:01pm Reply

  • Cams: This is an absolute favourite of mine. I do find the Bvlgari fragrances to be very refined, well-behaved and polished and because my fragrance taste has morphed so much from the sweeter fragrances that I now love this. Perfect for me! April 10, 2013 at 2:30pm Reply

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