Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum : Perfume 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.

To all those fearing doom for today’s perfumery and saying that there can be nothing good under the sun, I say—smell Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum. Here we have a big “prestige brand” launching its first fragrance that by all accounts should be either a copycat or a predictable crowd pleaser. Instead, it is a sophisticated, polished composition with a voluptuous character. Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum intertwines leather and violet notes into an intricate accord that feels like warm silk on the skin, and—in a rare occasion of marketing concept matching the olfactory idea—evokes the sumptuous feel of Bottega Veneta’s classical intrecciato woven leather.

The fingerprint of perfumer Michel Almairac is clearly seen in the composition. Both the milky-lactonic chypre idea, similar to his masterpiece Gucci Rush, and the violet leather of Armani Privé Cuir Améthyste play an important role in the new perfume. However, while a familiar melody may be at the core of Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, it is colored quite differently. It is darker and softer, progressing from the bright spicy top notes to the velvety warmth of moss and woods. The leather notes that form the main impression of the fragrance are caressing and tender, possessing a classical tangy animalic richness without any of the smoky and rough facets.

The floral notes are an important element of Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum; however, they remain hidden under the layers of woods and leather. An apricot note of jasmine lends a delicate sweetness, while the violet-iris is a perfect, suave counterpoint to the rich motif. Like other fragrances by Almairac, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum has tremendous radiance, revealing the perfumer’s impressive technical genius. In the end, the only thing that matters is that Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum is beautiful and memorable. It makes me happy, which is probably the best compliment I can give to a perfume.

Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum includes notes of jasmine, bergamot, pink pepper, patchouli, and oak moss. 30ml ($70), 50ml ($95), 75ml ($130) bottles are available as well as the whole line of matching body products. Sold at Saks5thAvenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and other major retailers. As for the strikingly beautiful model in the ad campaign, it is Nine d’Urso, the daughter of French style icon Inès de la Fressange.

Sample: my own acquisition

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47 Comments

  • Kristina: Wearing BV today! I totally fell in love with it and bought the small bottle. I find BV complex and very easy to wear at the same time – it definitely has lots of character! December 14, 2011 at 6:52am Reply

  • carmencanada: I am happy to see that you appreciate Bottega Veneta as much as I do — let’s hope this nudges big brands towards more original notes! This is definitely making it into the year’s top ten for me: it’s a fragrance I wear for my own pleasure, and that hasn’t happened with a new mainstream product in quite some time. December 14, 2011 at 7:45am Reply

  • Kristina: Agree! And even if I didn’t like it as much as I do I would still appreciate the quality behind it! December 14, 2011 at 8:43am Reply

  • Anne: I love this perfume! I wore it this autumn! It feels very luxurious, very polished, Somehow, and although it is TOTALLY different, it has the same feel than Love , Chloe. It smells “New York Loft”… (hmmm….not sure I make any sense). Anyway, love it too! Love their bags too……seriously hoping Santa will get the hint….
    Thank you Victoria!
    Anne December 14, 2011 at 8:59am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: This was love at first sniff for me back in late August when I came across a bottle in Fenwicks. It felt like the perfect usher for Autumn. I immediately thought of Cuir Amethyst which I do like but BV is softer (and darker as you point out). It is immensely wearable and yet is still chic in a soft way. Well Done Bottega Veneta for choosing so well and thanks for a lovely review.
    Nicola December 14, 2011 at 9:29am Reply

  • Carla: I was so pleased with this scent. I haven’t bought it, though. I prefer to wear stronger leathers. But if I still had a corporate job I’d be wearing it regularly. Bravo, BV! December 14, 2011 at 9:36am Reply

  • Victoria: That’s the most difficult combination to achieve! December 14, 2011 at 11:59am Reply

  • Victoria: Me too! I try to stop on top of new launches and I smell most of them, but very few end up in my shopping cart, so to speak. I have been wearing Bottega Veneta a lot, and I get many compliments on it (from the perfumers too, which does not happen often.) December 14, 2011 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love the quality of their bags. For now, I admire from afar… At least, the perfume is more affordable, and it really conveys all of BV’s elegance and craftsmanship. December 14, 2011 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: Comparing Cuir Amethyst and Bottega Veneta side by side, I strongly prefer BV. It is more layered, more nuanced. CA feels compact and heavy.
    “Chic in a soft way” is a perfect description, Nicola! December 14, 2011 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: I alternate between leathers like Bandit and Cuir Mauresque and softer suede-like fragrances like Cuir de Russie (in its current version, at least). BV falls into that category for me as well. December 14, 2011 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Elisa: The lack of a bitter/smoky angle in BV means that I don’t experience it as a leather at all — I do think it’s a very nice, tangy version of a fruit-chouli with lots of benzoin. I wish I got leather from it, but I’ve got enough Cuir de Lancome and Cuir Mauresque to last me most of the rest of my life! December 14, 2011 at 12:22pm Reply

  • RusticDove: Where oh where can one find the 30 ml size? I was really excited to see it would be available since I love when fragrance is offered in that small size – when you have so many scents to wear, the small sizes are such an asset. Does anyone have any idea where to find it? December 14, 2011 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: I got a 30ml bottle when I was in Paris, but since it is on BV's website, I assume that it should be available from the department store counters in the US as well. It is just that some stores do not want to carry small sizes. 
    I will check for you the next time I am at Saks.  December 14, 2011 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are in a good shape with all of your leathers. Cuir de Lancome is fantastic, isn’t it? December 14, 2011 at 1:23pm Reply

  • Elisa: It’s simply my favorite. Bulgari Black often hits the spot, too. December 14, 2011 at 1:27pm Reply

  • sweetlife: You inspired me to dig out my sample of this and try it this morning V., and I’m so glad I did! I ended up with quite a few sprays, very unusual for me. It was so lovely and soft I wanted to be wrapped up in it. The leather in this is so fine–almost suede (that apricot jasmine?) or very thin kidskin–but it is quite definitely present. I also like the mossy drydown very much. The whole thing, that woody/animalic darkness made soft and velvety, reminded me a bit of M7. A much more delicate, fine-boned version, but still related. December 14, 2011 at 1:45pm Reply

  • sunsetsong: BV is lovely and I wear it a lot! Am just starting to appreciate leather fragrances, I have Azuree and Cuir De Lancome. Can’t choose a favourite between them! December 14, 2011 at 2:28pm Reply

  • Carla: I tried the current cuir de russie in Paris this summer and it was just gorgeous but didn’t last on me. I bought Rien after trying based on your rec. Now that’s a strong leather; woods and smoke too. December 14, 2011 at 2:32pm Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I think this is the great scent of the season, destined to be a classic.

    Who knew?

    Hugs! December 14, 2011 at 3:03pm Reply

  • tomate farcie: So glad to see that others like BV as much as I do! gives me some “perfume confidence!” December 14, 2011 at 4:14pm Reply

  • bulldoggirl: Unfortunately, this lasts about 2.5 seconds on my skin. It’s the most bizarre thing. I spritz and spritz and spritz and . . . nothing. I struggle to suss out the notes. It’s like trying to grasp air. So I gave it to a friend. And she is over the moon in love with it. Yay! December 14, 2011 at 7:04pm Reply

  • dleep: Dying to try this. Thanks for that beautiful review. December 14, 2011 at 8:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Rien is another stunning leather. A dramatic, bold and original composition. I am a big fan of Etat Libre d’Orange in general, but this perfume is something else. December 14, 2011 at 8:23pm Reply

  • Victoria: Black is great! I love its rubbery-woody notes. They smell so strangely alluring. December 14, 2011 at 8:24pm Reply

  • annemariec: I find it too sweet. My scent brain seems to magnify the apricot (and plum?) notes in the mid-development. The opening and the drydown are lovely, but for an hour or so in the middle a sweet stickiness catches unpleasantly in my throat. So I will give it a miss, sadly. Money saved. December 14, 2011 at 8:36pm Reply

  • RusticDove: Hmm, not available online at the dept. stores, but yes, maybe in person at the counters. I’ll try that. December 16, 2011 at 9:46am Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that you retried it! It is really a terrific fragrance–elegant, wearable and high-quality all the way. December 16, 2011 at 9:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: I would not be able to choose just one either! December 16, 2011 at 9:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: I completely did not expect it. So enjoyable. December 16, 2011 at 9:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 I like that too, for the feeling of camaraderie. 🙂 December 16, 2011 at 9:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: Perhaps, you are anosmic to something in it. There are some fragrances that others describe as very tenacious but that hardly register to me. December 16, 2011 at 9:11pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love writing reviews of things I enjoy. It is so effortless. December 16, 2011 at 9:11pm Reply

  • Victoria: That’s exactly how I reason when I do not like something. Granted, there are so many perfumes to enjoy. December 16, 2011 at 9:12pm Reply

  • Hannah: I’m wearing a sample of this right now. It’s gorgeous, but it really does smell like Gucci Rush to me. Granted, it’s a lot more toned down, definitely not at all as brash… I wore Gucci Rush when I was 15 to “go out.” I think I shall wear this out one evening and see how it plays, but I am hesitant to buy a bottle when it truly smells so similar on my skin to how I remember Gucci Rush (I haven’t repurchased it in ages and haven’t sampled it, so it may indeed be quite a bit different than how I remember it). December 23, 2011 at 6:37pm Reply

  • March: Oh, I love this review! I was totally prepared to be underwhelmed, and this turned out to be something I wish I had a bottle of. I hadn’t noticed the Gucci Rush angle, I’m going to have to re-sniff and look for it.

    Happy 2012, honey. January 2, 2012 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: Same to you, dear March! Hope that 2012 will be full of happiness in all respects for you and your loved ones.

    If someone told me before I smelled BV that this would be one of my top picks for the year, I would have laughed. It turned out so elegant, so beautiful. I love my tiny 1oz bottle, and I wish more companies offered this size. January 2, 2012 at 1:26pm Reply

  • reem: first time I feel so strongly about a perfume that I decided to post a comment. I think they nailed it: elegance, mysteriousness, strength, femininity…embodying everything that a confident, independent working woman is.

    Granted I am a sucker for the brand, especially the bags. So I was happy to see their perfume gave continuity to the high standards BV set for itself.

    I think I just found my favorite scent…. August 11, 2012 at 5:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for dropping by, Reem! I’m also glad that Bottega Veneta released an elegant, beautiful perfume. It feels like something high-quality, just like their bags. August 11, 2012 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Ela: I love this perfume by Bottega Veneta – I am so fussy about perfume and always looking for something different and special, this one is special, it makes me feel happy, elegant and very feminine. The scent is quite unique. October 19, 2012 at 7:28am Reply

  • paola: A bottle of BV was my Christmas present from my brother, but unfortunately it makes my head ache…could it be the violet-iris note?
    What a pity!! After a year the bottle is still full; I should consider to give it to a friend but…I don’t want to disappoint my brother. In the past he always bought me such fantastic fragrances!! December 3, 2012 at 3:28pm Reply

  • Patty Mullin: My new signature fragrance. Elegant, warm and sensual. Sometimes I spritz a very small amount of Houbigant’s Orangers En Fleurs into the air and walk through the mist after using BV body cream and BV perfume, and the two fragrances blend beautifully for me. I can’t imagine ever being without my Bottega Veneta perfume though – I think it is drop dead gorgeous and I absolutely adore it! August 8, 2013 at 1:19am Reply

  • Captain: This fragrance is indeed so luxe and lovely, I have to stop myself from wearing it everyday. I don’t want to tire of it. When I wear it I feel gorgeous, sexy and sophisticated. This is a masterpiece. April 17, 2014 at 2:16pm Reply

  • jasmine: This parfum is intoxicating…I can’t stop smelling my wrist. It reminds me of Balenciaga December 1, 2014 at 9:23pm Reply

  • Julie: A friend gave this to me for Christmas, it’s lovely. A wonderful review. I agree Victoria, makes me happy too. 🙂 It’s snowing again today in New England! March 28, 2015 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, no, not again! Stay warm, Julie, and enjoy your perfume. 🙂 March 28, 2015 at 12:58pm Reply

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