Jasmin Noir is the latest feminine fragrance from Bvlgari, and it’s positioned to attract a “new consumer looking for something more prestigious” — that is, it’s more expensive than the other fragrances in the line. I would say I was cautiously looking forward to it; I adore jasmine, and a big, dark jasmine is always welcome, but the foody notes did not sound entirely appealing (the list: green sap, gardenia, sambac jasmine absolute, satin almond, precious woods, tonka bean and licorice).
As it turns out, Jasmin Noir is not a big, dark jasmine anyway, or at least, maybe it isn’t. The opening is citrus-y green and rather sweet (think syrupy sap rather than bitter). There is a flash of gardenia in the early stages, almost but not quite heady, but it doesn’t linger long. Then, just when I’m waiting for the heart notes to bloom, it seems to lose steam entirely. There is jasmine, yes, but it is faint, and likewise some dark wood, very faint (too faint to justify the noir in the title), and some milky almond. There is a very subtle hint of licorice, although like the gardenia, it doesn’t hang around long. After an hour, it is just a bit of dry wood enlivened with a touch of vanilla and what’s left of the milky almond, nothing more. It smells good, but it doesn’t smell much, and the jasmine hardly seems to be the point. I had expected that I’d want to test it next to some of my favorite jasmine scents, but as it turned out, what it reminded me of more than anything was Estee Lauder’s Sensuous — it has that same “modern woods for women” vibe, but with a drier, more austere finish.
The lasting power is tremendous; I wore it to bed last night and could still smell it when I woke up this morning. But overall, it wears almost incredibly close to the skin once the top notes have faded — even when applied lavishly, I cannot smell it at all unless I press my nose to my skin. By comparison, Bvlgari’s Voile de Jasmin seems a virtual powerhouse of sillage (as does Sensuous, which I also think of as wearing rather close to the skin). This seems so unlikely that I’m wondering if I simply can’t smell it, that is, that possibly I’m anosmic to one or more of the raw materials. There is only one other fragrance that I know of that I literally cannot smell, and that is Narciso Rodriguez For Her. With the Narciso Rodriguez, I can feel my throat and nasal passages constrict as soon as I inhale, so I know I’m having some sort of physical reaction. With the Jasmin Noir, that doesn’t happen, but it seems so odd that Bvlgari’s “luxury” debut would be such a paragon of minimalism. Please, do comment if you’ve tried it (or come back and comment after you try it) and tell me what you smell, I’m very interested to hear whether I’m completely off-base.
Bvlgari Jasmin Noir was developed by perfumers Carlos Benaïm and Sophie Labbé, and will be available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products; it can be pre-ordered now at Nordstrom stores, where you’ll also find testers.