Bottega Veneta Eau Legere ~ fragrance review

Bottega Veneta Eau Legère

Where I live, this past weekend brought a few days of false spring. The sky shone rich azure, windows through the neighborhood flew open, and birds came out in legions, singing fiercely and hopping through the garden. I craved asparagus, fava beans, sorrel — and a lighter, fresher fragrance. It was the perfect time to crack out my sample of Bottega Veneta Eau Legère.

Perfumer Michel Almairac developed Eau Legère as a flanker to Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum. Bottega Veneta describes it as a “leathery floral chypre” with notes of gardenia, musk, and oak moss.

I’m a fan of the original Bottega Veneta and bought a bottle within a week of smelling it. It’s a jammy blend of apricot, suede, and patchouli that weaves a cashmere blanket of scent. Bottega Veneta has a definite presence, and it’s a warm, approachable, comforting aura I’m complimented on nearly every time I wear it. But I can’t imagine wearing it in warm weather. It’s just plain too thick.

Enter Eau Legère. Basically, Eau Legère is Bottega Veneta on spring break. I’m not talking about a Girls Gone Wild spring break with fruity drinks and hangovers, but a week in New York, maybe, with theater tickets and an apartment overlooking the budding trees in Central Park. Unlike, say, Cartier Baiser Volé Eau de Toilette which tweaks the Eau de Parfum's mood, Eau Legère maintains both Bottega Veneta’s signature and spirit. Eau Legère isn’t so much a playful version of Bottega Veneta as it is a slightly more crisp take on the original.

Eau Legère punches up Bottega Veneta’s high end with a wash of lime zest, fluffs its heart with gardenia, and cools its drydown with a neutral musk. To me, Eau Legère’s lime is where it diverges the most from the original. After a few minutes, the lime sinks into the composition, but you can still smell it for hours. Eau Legère’s gardenia is blended well enough to lend light and buzz to the fragrance without making it in the least a gardenia perfume. White flower phobes have nothing to fear here. I can't pick out the oak moss at all. As for Eau Legère’s musk, it’s not the soapy musk that transforms so many fragrances into bodywash smell-alikes. Instead, it lifts the sweet heft from Bottega Veneta’s drydown and cuts its patchouli. Still, few people would call Eau Legère sheer.

Eau Legère has moderate sillage and lasts nearly as long as the original on me — about six hours.

Maybe false spring is the perfect time of year for Eau Legère. The weather isn’t properly warm yet, but it’s past the time for gloves and knit caps. Sure, weeks of rain lie ahead, but now we’ve had a taste of the wakening Earth, and even if we build a fire to take off the chill, there's a vase of daffodils on the mantel. Eau Legère promises warm nights to come, even if when summer arrives you reach for another fragrance.

Bottega Veneta Eau Legère Eau de Toilette is sold in 30 ml, 50 ml ($90) and 100 ml ($115) bottles and is available in high-end department stores.

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45 Comments

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  1. littlecooling says:

    Great little review, Angela. I have always loved the original Bottega Veneta, but finds it a little too much for summer. This sounds like a nice version of the original, without turning in to a awful fruit salad :D

    • Angela says:

      It’s still a lot like the original–just not as apricot-jammy. But do try it and let me know what you think!

  2. littlecooling says:

    I will…I just have to come around it :) It’s only sold at Bottega’s own boutiques, as far as I know. And we only have that in Copenhagen (3 hours from where I live) :)

    • Angela says:

      Oh, it sounds much more difficult to get where you are. Although having Copenhagen so near must be wonderful!

      • littlecooling says:

        Copenhagen is a wonderful city. It’s my hometown :)

        • Angela says:

          Lucky you!

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Oh! My father’s family comes from Denmark. I have wistful thoughts of going there some day to “meet my people!” :)

  3. AnnS says:

    Angela: thanks for the nice review! I also like the original very much and own a bottle. I just got this Eau Legere last week as an unsniffed opportunity, and I really do like it. The first time I wore it, I was a bit brain-fried (my normal mode these days), so there was no room for acute analysis. What I got was the effect of the original (without the rich jammy apricot-fruity suede effect), but more like how it smells on me many hours after I put it on – much softer and melded with the skin. So Eau Legere is muted and lovely. I also got the effect of some lovely creamy florals as if I’d put on some great lotion before I applied BV. It is just softer – the creamy florals are just floating below the fragrance. I don’t get any oakmoss from it either. It is very well done.

    • Angela says:

      It sounds like you got more on the floral front than I did–I’m jealous! I hope you get the chance to relax soon and get your brain back to normal. In the meantime, enjoy the Eau Legere.

  4. Abyss says:

    I really like the original, I think it’s a nice example of how to make a designer scent that’ll both appeal to the wider consumer and please the perfumistas.

    I smelled Legère very briefly last week and, based on that fly by sniff alone, it mostly struck me as quite musky (think Lovely).

    • Angela says:

      It definitely isn’t very musky on me, thank goodness (although Lovely is so nice). Mostly what I was stuck by is how like the original it is.

  5. maggiecat says:

    I tried this over the weekend and was very impressed with its faithfulness to the original and its staying power. I think I like this lovely scent even better than the original – it’s certainly more versatile in terms of seasons.

    • Angela says:

      It really does have impressive staying power, and I agree with you about its versatility. I still don’t think it’s a shoo-in for hot weather, but it’s not quite as fluffy-warm as the original.

  6. RusticDove says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this, as I also love the original and purchased it soon after its release. I’ve been looking forward to trying it and sounds like BV didn’t let us down with this one. Yay!

    • Angela says:

      It’s nice, but not super different from the original–but that’s not so bad!

  7. Merlin says:

    I only have a dabber sample of the original, but it didn’t seem at all heavy to me… I probably wont be able to even smell this one!

    • Angela says:

      Try a big spray from the tester bottle, then we’ll see….

      • Merlin says:

        Neither Bottega Veneta nor Marni made it to South Africa, but I may get small decants, and then I will report back!

        • Angela says:

          Oh! That’s too bad. I hope your local stores get lots of other interesting fragrances to fill the gap.

  8. Marjorie Rose says:

    I am not a fan of the original–and it gets so much love, I sometimes wonder what I’m missing? I will probably try this one, too, just to check and see if it speaks to me more.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Oh, and I LOVE this time of year! It’s like a girl with a calf-length skirt with a slit up the back–little hints of beauty to pique your interest! ;)

      • Angela says:

        That’s such a better way to see the season than the attitude of “why are you torturing me?” that I too often take. But what a gorgeous Friday and Saturday we had! So, so beautiful.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Yes! I mowed my lawn for the first time on Saturday. One of those chores that I will probably dislike some day, but for now is another exciting new-homeowner first for me! I’ve never had a lawn to mow before!

          • Angela says:

            That’s exciting! Plus there’s that marvelous fresh cut grass smell to revel in.

    • Angela says:

      I’m going to wager that if you didn’t like the original, this one won’t appeal to you much, either. But you never know!

  9. annemarie says:

    Where I live we had a ‘false winter’ last week, which had me breaking out some of the winter scents – Dioressence, and even Montale’s Aoud Queen Roses! – and I was reminded of my resolution to properly test the original Bottega Veneta. I have no excuse for not having done that so far: there is a tester sitting right there at my local mall, about 15 minutes from where I live. Anyway, if I wait a bit longer hopefully the Eau Legere will be there too. I certainly like the idea of it being almost an all-season fragrance. Thanks for the review.

    This week we are back to an unseasonably warm autumn. Good for testing Jour d’Hermes, which I don’t think I will be so keen on in cold weather.

    • Angela says:

      I still haven’t tried Jour d’Hermes, and I’ll have to remedy that soon. It sounds like it will be nice in warmer weather. Of course, today the skies are leaden and the air is cold again.

      • annemarie says:

        I find the opening very sharp and green indeed. Other people not so much, from what I have read. On a cold day the opening of Jd’H would really give me the shivers. The fragrance does mellow though. Hope you get a chance to try it.

        • Angela says:

          “Sharp and green” does sound best for warmer days. I’ll wander by Nordstrom this week and see if I can find a tester

  10. Bee says:

    wearing BV today, but now I need to try this flanker! How does it compare to kelly calèche which is my option (up to now) for a crisper take on BV?

    • Angela says:

      It’s been a while since I smelled Kelly Caleche, but I remember it as lighter and more rosy than BV Eau Legere. I’d love to know what you think, though.

  11. The Dandy is a great fan of the original Bottega Veneta – a fragrance that I regard as definitely being good to go for guys.
    This eau legere is also has allure, it seems to vere almost towards a cologne + patchouli structure, especially is the oakmoss is absent in all but name.
    One to try I feel.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Angela says:

      It’s definitely worth a try! I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s like a cologne–although the lime does hint a bit at cologne, I guess.

  12. Omega says:

    I have BV, in that limited puffer-atomiser bottle. Great scent. BV with a fluff of gardenia? No thanks! I can’t do gardenia! Plus, no oakmoss? Double pass! I will stick with the original;).

    • Angela says:

      I don’t think you’d get much gardenia with Eau Legere, but if you already love the original, there’s no need to go further!

  13. cj says:

    I feel like I should have loved the original, but something about the apricot/leather effect turns me off. I have the same problem with Daim Blond. If this version has a bit less of that, it may work better for me. I’m looking forward to trying it!

    • Angela says:

      Maybe this is the BV for you, then!

  14. C.H. says:

    Angela, thanks so much for this great review! The original BV was too much for me (“too thick” in all seasons, alas), and I wouldn’t have bothered with the flanker but for this description–and I’m so glad I did! “Crisp” is exactly the right word. It still smells a good deal like the original, just in a version that’s not remotely smothering. Very pleased with it! And with the adorable mini the nice SAs at the boutique gave me. Thanks to them, and to you!

    • Angela says:

      How lucky to score a mini! Enjoy it!

  15. Villagebeaute says:

    Your review seems to poetry and I was imagining the scent … Unfortunately where I live (Florianopolis, southern Brazil) do not sell fragrances Bottega Veneta. I think the notes are my style.

    Dâmaris
    Blog Village Beauté
    from Brasil.

    • Angela says:

      In Southern Brazil, you surely have other wonderful distractions! (I’m imagining long beaches and delicious food.)

  16. kate says:

    Sorry but not impressed with Eau Legere:( I love the original BV and it is a classic apricot leather – wonderful -but this one is insipid on me unfortunately. Why go for flanker when the original is so good? If you don’t like BV you won’t like this ENOUGH to buy it. Betcha!

    • Angela says:

      At least you have the original!

  17. kate says:

    Hi again – just wanted to add a post script to my comment above. I was going thro my pile of samples at the weekend and came across the BV Eau Legere and tried it again. I wore it for the evening and it really is lovely – lighter than the original and to me its as if it has all the top notes without the depth…..BUT its great for warmer weather, its like a veil of the original but has all the shimmer and light of BV. Its strange how time plays such a big part in loving or not loving a fragrance…..sometimes when we have TIME and its the right place in our lives then something that we dismissed can find a place in our lives.

    • Angela says:

      Well said! And so true. I’ve lost track of how many fragrances I turned my nose up–or simply felt “meh” about–then returned later to love.

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