Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sit down, have a spot of tea. Bulgari tea, that is.

In warm weather I drink a lot of iced tea and I enjoy perfumes with tea notes. I especially love Bulgari’s trio of teas, which includes Au The Verte, Au The Blanc and Au The Rouge.

All three, let’s call them Verte, Blanc and Rouge for short, start off beautifully, develop nicely and then largely disappear within 3 hours (Verte and Blanc are the most fleeting, Rouge sticks around the longest). If you apply lavishly as I do you might find the scents lingering on your clothes and hair for much longer.

A very brief description of each: Verte is the most hesperedic/citrus and green, Blanc is the sweetest and most floral, and Rouge is the most strongly tea-like, tangy, sweet, figgy and spicy.

Many reviews I’ve read suggest that Rouge doesn’t even smell like tea, or rooibos (red tea), as it’s meant to evoke. For me, it starts off exactly like Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea, which my Mom drank when I was a kid. My Mom is a tea aficionado so I’ve definitely tasted and smelled my share of weirdly exotic loose leaf teas. I suppose some might say Bulgari Rouge smells like rotting leaves or vegetation, which is probably true, if you don’t really know what tea smells like. I prefer Rouge, out of the three, because it’s the most zesty and strange.

Rouge begins like dead-on rooibos tea, with all it’s tart tangy tannic qualities and a mound of dry hay baking in the late summer sun. I’m amazed at how exactly they’ve captured tea in the top notes of Rouge – if I have the bottle nearby I love re-applying it to get the strong tea-like rush over and over again. Once you move into the heart notes, Rouge exhibits a creamy fig note with dashes of sandalwood and pepper. The creaminess makes sense to me, because the traditional way to serve rooibos tea in South Africa, where it’s most popular, is with milk and sugar. Once Rouge dries down, it becomes reminiscent of sweet, woody hay with spicy figs and the memory of tea.

Rouge is rounder, richer and stranger than the other two Bulgari tea scents. If you’re looking for something different, with a striking tea note, that can be worn in the summer heat, give this a shot.

I wish Bulgari would package these three tea scents as a set, maybe 15 ml bottles of each. This might be the one perfume gift that my Mom would actually like.

Bulgari Au The Rouge was created by Olivier Polge in 2005.
The notes are listed as: bergamot, orange, pink pepper, fig pulp, Roiboos red tea, Yunnan red tea, walnut and musk


Olfacta said...

Great packaging idea, A -- it just occurred to me that Blanc is a spring fragrance, Vert a summer, and Rouge a fall/winter.

Abigail said...

True, they do seem like 3 seasons, but I love to wear Rouge in the summer.

ScentScelf said...

Huh. I totally get pepper and spice out of this, heavy on the pepper. Have stashed it way back...but will dig it out soon for another go at discovering rooibos OR Red Zinger.

I agree, the trio would be a logical set...especially using those handy travel sizes they have at Sephora.

On the side...Have you ever had Red Zinger lemonade? It's basically an Arnold Palmer, but with Red Zinger as the tea.

Abigail said...

Red Zinger Lemonade will be made and sampled this weekend - I promise to report back. Thanks, ScentScelf :-)

Aparatchick said...

At last! Someone else who like Rouge the most of the three. I also see the Red Zinger connection now that you point it out. Like your mohter, I'd love a set of three.

Joe said...

I've not tried Blanc or Rouge, but coincidentally I read Turin's review of Rouge last night in The Guide and he most certainly does NOT like it (not that that's worth much... I think their dismissals are often entertaining). Vert is definitely wonderful, though, and I could imagine going through 50ml in two months, easily.

Actually, L'Occitane's Green Tea is a favorite of mine, though MUCH sweeter than the Bvlgari, it also lasts longer. Very good in the heat. I've only briefly sampled, in-store, the ones they do with Mint and Jasmine, but I do wish they sold those in the cute 20ml bottles, like they do the regular Green Tea. Perfect size.

Abigail said...


I really love Rouge. I revisited the tea trio this weekend and realized I only like Vert if in the Extreme concentration. Otherwise it's just too fleeting on me (typical JCE I must say).

I'll check out L'Occitane. They are making better and better fragrances these days. And I'm crazy about tea scents when it's humid.

ScentScelf said...

I have the Green Tea & Jasmine! Decided I liked it on a pretty warm day strolling through Georgetown in DC...was just the right thing. It just went into the "now appearing" basket, to get ready for warm weather.

veuve amiot said...

Ah, I found myself nodding ALL THE WAY through your review! It's great to find someone who agrees Rouge is the most tea-like of the trio and likes it best.
Just discovered your blog, so off to explore some more. Great writing!