I’ve been obsessed with Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert de Bulgari since discovering toiletries scented with the fragrance at Four Seasons Los Angeles while researching my book, Pacific Spas. I made friends with a housekeeper there who kindly supplied me with extra green tea-infused soaps and tiny bottles of shampoo to bring home and I scored a sample of the perfume at the Bulgari shop on Rodeo Drive, which I nursed for two years before asking Santa to consider giving me a bottle for Christmas. Thank you, Santa.
I squealed with joy this morning when Chandler Burr detailed the history of master perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s creative process developing this scent, a process that included smelling lots of Mariage Freres teas.
Here’s how the Sephora website describes the perfume’s smell:
“Notes: Italian Bergamot, Tunisian Bitter Orange, Spanish Orange Blossom, Ceylon Cardamom, Jamaican Pepper, Russian Coriander, Bulgarian Rose, Egyptian Jasmine, Green Tea, Smoked Wood. Style: Lively. Delicate. Discreet.”
Here’s how Chandler Burr describes it in The Perfect Scent:
“…a smell as deep and strong and clear as Turkish seawater. The scent has power, a technical feat. Aesthetically it conjures a small amount of the smoothness of Darjeeling but gives in much greater proportion a rough, potent black tea from China; Bulgari’s marketers called it a green tea, but it has only the freshness of green tea, not in any way the scent. There is a vaporous trace of old wood smoke from the fire used to boil this pure water, and at the same time the scent is shot through with this freshness, which is why, as Ellena intended, it smells like tea and, simultaneously, it doesn’t. His idea was — explicitly — not to copy reality. His idea was to transform reality.”
Hello, MacArthur committee…