"On these days he rose early, set off at a gallop, urging on his horse, then got down to wipe his boots in the grass and put on black gloves before entering. He liked going into the courtyard, and noticing the gate turn against his shoulder, the cock crow on the wall, the lads run to meet him. He liked the granary and the stables; he liked old Rouault, who pressed his hand and called him his saviour; he liked the small wooden shoes of Mademoiselle Emma on the scoured flags of the kitchen--her high heels made her a little taller; and when she walked in front of him, the wooden soles springing up quickly struck with a sharp sound against the leather of her boots." ~Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, ch.II
If you've admired Florentine artisan handbags, fondly remembering your hand caressing the supple leather surface and the feeling of understated luxury and elegance they exude...
If you yearn for the sweetly pungent and at the same time totally "fabricated" smell of a good, old-school leather fragrance...
...then the fragrance release introduced by the Bottega Veneta brand (the apex of leather luxury) is set to stir your heart with unbridled longing. And deservedly so: Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum is unquestionably among the finest releases of 2011.
Bottega Veneta follows into glorious lineage: it unites elements of both posh-smelling floral leathers of yore (Chanel Cuir de Russie, Grès Cabochard), fusing the narcotic sex of jasmine with the plush of leather, and some of the plummy-citrusy goodness of legendary fruity chypres (Diorama, Guerlain Parure, Femme by Rochas). In the past, "woody plum" was based on the famous De Laire Prunol base: peach, ionones, aldehydes C-14 and C-18, cumin, cardamom, methyl isobutyl ketone V and patchouli.
But Grasse-born, renowned perfumer Micheal Almariac gave a decidedly modern feel to the Bottega Veneta composition; like a vegetal, herbal sub-segment which opens the perfume for the first 10 minutes, shared with Chanel's 31 Rue Cambon or Dior Homme, quickly meeting the patchouli-vanilla of Gucci Rush alongside a plum-rose-leather accord; if you can fathom the quirky marriage of such diverse elements. If I were to liken the perfume's overall effect to other perfumes though, it would be to Boxeuses by Serge Lutens, or Cuir Améthyste by Armani (on which Almairac also worked).
There are four key notes in Bottega Veneta's Eau de Parfum: jasmine sambac, Brazilian pink peppercorn, bergamot, and Indian patchouli (a not particularly "dirty" but richly mature kind, like the one in Almairac's patchouli opus Voleur de Roses, which grows as time lapses and becomes more comforting). The citrus and leather are recoginisable from the opening spraying, while the fragrance warms increasingly with perceptible candied plum notes fanning the floral heart of jasmine, on a resinous backdrop of caramelic benzoin and dark earthy oak moss. Bottega Veneta gains in patchouli strength (nuttier and sweeter) boosted by the humming leather the longer it stays on.
The scent of Bottega Veneta is by no means a powerhouse, but the sillage and tenacity are undeniably very good (even though you might not notice it all the time!) floating over your skin in a delicious murmur and spontaneously eliciting three unsolicited compliments on the morning I tested it for the first time. I think it opens up like a fine cognac when used with a spray; a dab or a blotter test hides its intimate, skin-like tonalities. Although usually I discourage readers from blind buys, this is one of the rare releases that sounds like a good bet for perfume enthusiasts into leathery chypres and who like the notes listed. Even though it's gloriously feminine, daring men might pull it off without eliciting raised eyebrows.
Fragrance composer Michel Almairac told The Moodie Report, “I was asked to create a fragrance that would mirror the brand, which would convey its feeling and atmosphere. That image of Bottega Veneta incorporates elements such as a countryside villa, the smell of furniture, food, and vegetation - in short, the whole ambience of Vicenza, where the brand was born. And as this is the very first Bottega Veneta fragrance, the parameters were broad, and I could give full rein to my imagination.”
Almairac zeroed on chypre: “Chypre is rich, elegant, and timeless, and very helpful in terms of conveying the abstract floral affect that Tomas wanted me to convey, in addition to the subtle leather tones” and married it to the leather accord of his dreams.
“The choice and quality of components is even more important when you have a simple formula such as this,” noted Almairac. “My company, Robertet, is known for using natural products. We treated the four ingredients of this fragrance to enhance or diminish certain qualities. For example, we treated the jasmine to give it a stronger character, but a lighter color.” He succeeded most admirably, hitting upon a soft leather accord which is polished like a fine kid glove and caressing without turning wimpy.
Fronted by model Nine D’Urso (daughter of Inès de la Fressange and Italian businessman & art dealer Luigi d’Urso) on the beach, the advertising campaign for Bottega Venete Eau de Parfum is dreamy but nicely restrained. Pity those who might think it involves a "marine" type light affair though, as Bottega Veneta is a perfume drenched in ciaroscuro, very specifically full of the warmth of indoors as opposed to outdoors.
The fragrance's bottle harkens back to Murano glass and the traditional Italian carafes. It features a brunito cap and collar, an ebano logo, and a nude leather ribbon clipped with a brunito butterfly, while the underside features Bottega Veneta's famous woven look.
Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum is available in 30ml/1oz (65$), 50ml/1.7oz (for $95) and 75ml/2.4oz (for $130), in matching body products (shower gel, body crème and lotion) and as limited edition Extrait de Parfum in Murano (available at Harrods and the Bond Street BV boutique in the UK for £365). The fragrance is currently available in Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus in the US and Debenhams and House of Fraser in the UK and will launch more widely in November.
Drive film artwork featuring Ryan Gosling via Soraiah Zohdi