Bottega Veneta Eau Legere : Perfume Review

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I keep misreading Bottega Veneta Eau Légère as Eau de Lingerie. Perhaps not such a strange mistake considering that it’s a silk slip of a perfume.  Sheer and delicate, it wears close to the skin, and just like a beautifully crafted lingerie, it makes me feel sexy and alluring. Designed as a variation (read, flanker) on the brand’s debut perfume, Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, Bottega Veneta Eau Légère has a similarly elegant character.

Bottega _Veneta_eau_legere

Elegance is something I fully expected from Bottega Veneta, but I didn’t anticipate anything interesting from its flankers. Brands rarely spend enough effort to develop original ideas, and since the rewards for flanker launches are small, perfumers often have few incentives to try very hard. Bottega Veneta Eau Légère is neither avant-garde nor trendsetting, but it’s made well enough that it stands on equal ground as the beautiful original. It only depends whether you prefer rich and glamorous or gauzy and sophisticated.

The idea behind Eau Légère is to turn the violet scented leather of the Eau de Parfum into a chiffon. To do this, perfumer Michel Almairac seems to have added a dose of watery notes. However, don’t expect Issey Miyake, because (thankfully!) the watery impression is subtle. The dark richness of violets becomes pale, the leather soft, and the swirl of gardenia creamy and lush.

Even if Eau Légère is not completely novel, it’s so well-made and smells so good at all stages that it wins me over. If I smell hard enough, I get a glimpse of the vintage Diorella, that milky-musky note that smells at once like a ripe peach and sunwarmed skin. The crisp mossy notes that you may remember from Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum are still there, but true to its name, Eau Légère is lighter and more casual. It has very good tenacity, without being noisy, but if you like more of a statement, I would recommend the original.

Lately I’ve started to appreciate subtle perfumes much more than before –or maybe I’ve just had enough of ambers and incenses that are as heavy as fur stoles. The refined simplicity of Eau Légère feels just right and I like how it creates an intimate aura around me. While I can go through my day without being aware of it, at the right moments when I smell its cool leather and petals, it’s a terrific boost. Just like wearing my favorite shocking pink silk slip under a thick wool sweater.

Bottega Veneta Eau Légère Eau de Toilette includes notes of gardenia, musk, leather, and oak moss. Sold at Saks5thAvenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and other major retailers.

Sample: my own acquisition

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46 Comments

  • Marieke: I adore the first BV, and naturally I now must try Eau Legere. Thanks for a great review, Victoria! February 4, 2013 at 7:59am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re welcome! I liked the original very much, and I’m glad that Eau Legere is a decent contender. February 4, 2013 at 9:18am Reply

  • Jenna: I still need to smell Bottega Veneta, but I worry that it may not be for me. Leather is not one of my favourite notes but iris is. Do you know of a similar perfume with a tad less leather? February 4, 2013 at 8:24am Reply

    • Victoria: The first Bottega Veneta is not too leathery, so I still recommend trying it. Eau Legere, on the other hand, is light on both leather and iris, handling them in a very sheer and gauzy manner. If you love iris, how about Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist? I think that it’s the best iris out there. Annick Goutal Heure Exquise is also fantastic, reminiscent of Chanel No 19. February 4, 2013 at 9:19am Reply

      • Victoria: And the new Chanel 1932 is another beautiful gauzy iris. February 4, 2013 at 9:20am Reply

        • Jenna: If I keep asking you for more recs, my list of perfumes to try will be enormous…. but do you know of a perfume that smells like iris flowers? My aunt grows the most gorgeous irises and they smell like roses and boiled sweets, indescribably good. February 4, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

          • Victoria: Hmm, this is a tough one, because iris flowers have such a range of aromas, from jasmine to clove scented roses to candy. I do like Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile, which reminds me of the iris flowers I know (the ones in my grandmother’s garden smelled more like orange blossom and musk). February 4, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Laura: Dear Jenna, as an iris lover you may have discovered Prada Infusion D’Iris by now. If you didn’t, look for it. It is beautifully done and will come in season soon. I wrote an article on early spring fragrances, and Infusion D’Iris with its frosty, ladylike demeanor is just right for late winter / early spring days filled with gusts of wind, naked trees and the brutally honest aroma of clean air and naked earth waking up. February 4, 2013 at 3:38pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: There is such a basic pleasure in subtle perfumes, isn’t there? I just spent a week in the hospital with a spinal injury (I won’t regale everyone with the details but it was extremely painful and scary) and am now confined to two weeks’ bed rest. At least now I am home and out of pain, though still very weak. In the hospital my aunts brought me perfume samples, which I very much appreciated. I never would have worn Dolce and Gabanna Rose the One or Swarovski Aura otherwise, but they were very welcome to me in the hospital. And as soon as I got home, I sprayed myself down with No. 5 Eau Premiere. February 4, 2013 at 8:27am Reply

    • Jenna: Oh, poor dear! Please get better. When I feel sick or under the weather, I like my Coco and No 5. Nothing like a bit of glamour to make a girl feel better. February 4, 2013 at 8:33am Reply

      • Victoria: I also like going that route. Or the opposite–something cuddly and comforting like Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender or Kiehl’s The Original Musk. February 4, 2013 at 9:22am Reply

        • Jenna: I used to wear Kiehl’s Musk, but it doesn’t smell the same anymore. They didn’t tinker with the formula, did they? February 4, 2013 at 11:45am Reply

          • Victoria: They mostly likely did, I’m sorry to say. I still like it, but if you wore this perfume in its heyday, you will disappointed. February 4, 2013 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wishing you a speedy recovery, Elizabeth! Enjoying good scents, good food, and your favorite books, and you will soon be feeling like your usual self. Plus, you have a wedding to plan! :)

      It’s so nice of your relatives to bring you perfume samples, such a thoughtful gesture, especially given your love for fragrances. February 4, 2013 at 9:22am Reply

    • rosarita: So sorry for your pain! I hope you are feeling better soon. How nice that your aunt brought you some perfume. February 4, 2013 at 10:40am Reply

  • Allison: Sounds so lovely – I am definitely going to seek this one out! I have developed a recent interest in scents with leather. Have you tried Cuir Fetiche by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier? I’ve heard that it’s softer than the name implies. February 4, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried Cuir Fetiche, and you’re right, it’s much more tender and soft than you would expect from the name. It starts out a bit raspy and sharp, but it dries down to a delicious leather finish. February 4, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

  • Ajda: Thank you for a wonderful review. I love BV, I will have to try this one, too.
    I don’t usually comment, but I follow your blog daily and I wanted to let you know that I enjoy it very much. February 4, 2013 at 10:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Ajda! I’m glad to hear from you. I generally find flankers boring, but this variation on the original Bottega Veneta is very nice. February 4, 2013 at 11:11am Reply

  • Barbara: I missed your reviews! This part of your review made me smile “Just like wearing my favorite shocking pink silk slip under a thick wool sweater.” I love it! February 4, 2013 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: :) These small pleasures do add something special. February 4, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

      • constance: Ms, Victoria,

        You have a wonderful understanding of words and phrases. I would look forward to a sexy murder mystery based on perfume!
        lol February 4, 2013 at 6:03pm Reply

  • rosarita: I swapped for a bottle of BV last fall and I have enjoyed it very much; it’s become my favorite “go to” scent. Looking forward to trying this new one. February 4, 2013 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I wear Bottega Veneta on days when I want something understated but polished and interesting. Eau Legere is in similar vein, but more sparkling. February 4, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

  • Jan Last: Except for my beloved Reglisse Noir, which I learned about from you, I am ready to move on from my winter ambers and smoke tones toward the spring and summer scents. I think these beautiful, subtle scents may fill that gap in time. I’m looking forward to hunting them down. February 4, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I also recommend Jour d’Hermes. It has become one of my favorite subtle (but not at all boring or trite) perfumes. It’s beautifully crafted. February 4, 2013 at 11:16am Reply

  • Tatiana: You had me at “glimpse of the vintage Diorella”. Thanks for this review. Next time I’m passing through one of the big retailers I’ll be sure to seek out a sniff of this. February 4, 2013 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s subtle, but it had the “baby breath” impression of Diorella (as Luca Turin called it). I notice it in Gucci Rush as well, which I suppose is a predecessor of Bottega Veneta. February 4, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

      • Tatiana: Well, as there is very little original Gucci Rush to be found around here, I will check this one out. Thanks again. February 4, 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

        • Victoria: I just noticed that at my local perfumery, a spot where Gucci Rush used to be is now occupied by Gucci Premiere, not a good sign. February 4, 2013 at 4:43pm Reply

  • Austenfan: This sounds good. Wouldn’t it have been fun had they chosen to call it Eau de Lingerie? Not a bad name in itself.
    I like the original well enough. I keep sniffing testers whenever I can, but so far haven’t liked it enough to want to own a bottle. I expect if a small bottle of it would fall into my lap I would probably wear it a lot.

    It’s funny that you are gearing more towards lighter scents these days. When I first discovered the perfume blogs and the existence of niche perfumery I gravitated to the lighter scents. Hermès and Goutal in particular. I seem to be wearing my heavy hitters more these days. Mind you I started my perfume “career” wearing Paris. February 4, 2013 at 12:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I ended up getting a 1oz bottle, and it’s a perfect size (great for travel too). It’s unexpectedly sophisticated for what Coty usually does, but then again, Bottega Veneta is a different sort of brand from Lady Gaga (another one that belongs to Coty).

      Paris is a fascinating perfume. It’s full of contradictions too–transparent and yet full-bodied. You can modulate its voice through application fairly easily, but it can be the ultimate statement fragrance. My perfume preferences probably traced an arc too–I started out wearing light perfumes (L’Artisan, Goutal, Hermes) and then started exploring heavy hitters more. Overall, I prefer fragrances that don’t walk into the room before I do. I also appreciate the skill needed to create a “radiant but not noisy” perfume. It’s much more difficult than it seems like at first. February 4, 2013 at 1:16pm Reply

    • Rachel: For me too Paris was one of my first perfumes. Whenever I smell it, I get nostalgic. Do you still wear it? February 4, 2013 at 2:33pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I do. I still love it, probably my favourite of my whole collection.
        I have several bottles of the different concentrations. Older version. The new EDT especially doesn’t smell at all like it used to! February 4, 2013 at 3:29pm Reply

    • annemariec: I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot recently too. While I generally avoid the traditional ‘heavy-hitters’ like Paris and Opium, I do look for work-hard perfumes that offer a sense of ‘completeness’. They last well and have have at least moderate sillage. They don’t fall apart or have gaps. They can melt into the skin without being skin scents; they have something to say, but they do not announce your presence from half way down the corridor. They are not weird or scary but obey the dictum that perfume should smell good. ‘Perfumey’ might be the simplest description. 24 Faubourg, Le Temps d’une Fete, Beautiful, Chamade, SSS’s Nostalgie, and No 5 Eau Premiere are some that I can think of off the top of my head. Bottega Veneta (the original) is probably one, although I have only tested it a few times. I’ll certainly give the new one a go as well. February 5, 2013 at 3:06am Reply

      • Austenfan: Although I know I am probably in a minority on this I don’t find Paris that heavy at all. When I think of the heavy-hitters of that era I think of Poison and Opium. Poison I quite like in very small doses. I own a mini of esprit de parfum. Opium I have never liked at all.
        It’s funny, I find most of the Lauders too loud, including Beautiful. February 5, 2013 at 4:45pm Reply

        • annemariec: Yes, Beautiful is generally an ‘apply with caution’ perfume, but my skin seems to automatically turn down the volume a bit, thankfully. February 5, 2013 at 5:47pm Reply

  • Rachel: I also started liking subtle perfumes more. Like Austenfan I started my perfume journey wearing big ‘fumes like Opium, Coco and Paris. Who knew that I would someday swoon over violets or tea roses. :) February 4, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fun to try something different, for a change. Plus, in perfume, a road from Paris to violets is not such a long one. :) February 4, 2013 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Laura: The loveliest note in the original Bottega Veneta – at least I think smell it – is a just-ripening apricot. If Legere is more apricot and less leather, i’m sold.

    Have been looking for a wonderful apricot since Chopard discontinued my beloved Mira-Bai. February 4, 2013 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: It does have that apricot skin note that I loved about the original, but its presence remains the same, neither more nor less. It’s interesting to see how the interplay of sensations is different in the new perfumery. It’s more transparent, fresher, but also muskier and creamier in the drydown. Mira-Bai, by the way, was one of my first Chopard discoveries. Unfortunately, it didn’t have much success. February 4, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

  • Daisy: I’m looking forward to trying this. I could use a little shocking pink silk slip in the wardrobe :-) February 4, 2013 at 11:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s my favorite. I’ve had for over 7 years, but with good care, silk lasts really well. February 5, 2013 at 5:33am Reply

  • kuri: This sounds lovely! And a whiff of gardenia is always welcome :) I hope they carry this in Japan. February 5, 2013 at 3:57am Reply

    • Victoria: I believe that they might. The houses usually develop the lighter versions to target the Asian market. February 5, 2013 at 5:34am Reply

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