Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique ~ fragrance review

Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique advert

Whether you’re a perfume blogger or consumer, the PR machine will be at you before you even get the chance to sniff most perfumes. Let’s start the Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique review with an examination of its press release, then see how it matches up.

From the press release:

Tomas Maier’s vision for Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique evokes the Italian sense of "la dolce vita", capturing the quintessence of a different moment in the life of the Bottega Veneta woman.

The Bottega Veneta woman? Already I feel alienated. I found a Pucci scarf once at a thrift shop, but that’s as close as I come to consuming Italian luxury goods. Oh, I suppose we’re expected to aspire to be the BV woman, and therefore we’re perched at the edge of our chairs waiting to see what she does next. I’m easy, but not that easy. (Plus, the copy editor in me notes the misplaced comma.)

A light summer wind dances through the hair of an alluring woman lying peacefully on the beach in an immaculate, white bathing suit.

Tampax commercial alert! Does any other advertising use white bikinis? And even if I were tempted to identify with the rich BV lady, they don’t make girdles for bikinis, so forget it.

Basking in the serenity of the moment —

Assuming she has Midol on hand...

— she exudes a casual elegance that naturally complements her intrinsic beauty. In the background, a jade green sea mirrors the freshness in both palette and scent of the fragrance.

“Intrinsic beauty”? We’ve crossed the line from corny to ridiculous. Also I'm not sure what “palette” refers to since it’s apparently not scent. The "jade green sea" bit sounds lovely, though.

Says Maier, "The primary inspiration was the freshness of a summer day and the tranquility of a seaside experience, from the warmth of the sun, to a gentle breeze and the unimaginably captivating infusion of the sea. I wanted to create an unexpected, crisp Cologne that lingers like the essence of understated confidence from the woman who wears it."

Poor Tomas. Someone clearly shoveled those words in his mouth. Try reading them aloud. Who talks like that? (That said, he may be a PR patsy, but the man is a terrific designer, in my opinion.)

Okay, snark over. But these press releases are so absurd that they get my back up. Why not approach us with intelligence? If they must reference “immaculate” white bikinis, a dancing wind, and a green sea, come at us straight with it. Say, “Meier was inspired by the vision of…” and leave it at that. When it comes down to it, I’m more interested in what the perfumer has to say, anyway. What was he inspired by?

And that perfumer was Michel Almairac, who also created the brand's Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum and Bottega Veneta Eau Légère. Essence Aromatique features notes of bergamot, coriander, white rose, vanilla, tonka bean, sandalwood and patchouli.

Essence Aromatique is pretty straightforward: It starts with a lime-inflected burst of bergamot. Right away, sandalwood leaps into the mix, and a canny balance of tart citrus and sweet sandalwood sustain the fragrance for most of the rest of its life, until the sandalwood and patchouli take over for its last hour. The sandalwood is sweetened with tonka bean, slightly clove-y and spicy, and patchouli definitely wafts its earthy, sexy skin smell into the mix. If you aren’t a fan of patchouli, pass this one by.

Although the press release mentions cologne, on my skin Essence Aromatique wears more like an Eau de Parfum. If I spray it on — just the stunted spray that comes from a sample vial — it lasts until well into the afternoon. However, that became a problem. Despite the fragrance’s citrus, the drone of the sandalwood-patchouli wore on me after a while, and I started dreaming of sheerer, lighter perfumes. Perfume more like the jade green sea, perhaps.

Still I think this one is worth a try for you who love sandalwood and patchouli, and its warmth and profile make it a good complement to the original Bottega Veneta. Guys, don’t let all this bikini talk scare you away — Essence Aromatique skews masculine, in my mind, thanks to its English Leather smack of bergamot and lime.

Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique fragrance bottles

Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique Eau de Cologne is available at department stores, and 50 ml is $90, 90 ml is $120, and 200 ml is $180.

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32 Comments

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  1. Dilana says:

    “A different moment” in the BV’s woman’s life. Different than what, two days later, when her wearing perfume rather than sun block at the beach has resulted in red peeling skin and little bite marks from bee stings, differnt then when she turns old (24), and has a toddler whose grape stained fingers make wearing that white bikini impossible (and results in her smelling like eau de juicey box)
    Or may be just different than when she is actually a BV woman, i.e., one carrying a luxury braided leather purse, w hich presumably the most sun addled BV woman knows does not get carried on the beach.

    • Angela says:

      “A different moment” is a kind of odd statement. Maybe the original moment was the original fragrance? I don’t know, but I definitely chortled when I saw “old (24).”

      I wonder if BV makes a white bikini? I’m sure I’ll never know.

      • Omega says:

        Different moment? Menopause? lol. What does that even mean? Where is the creativity?

        • Angela says:

          I think they must be thinking that it’s a different moment than the original BV, which features a more “formal” moment. I think.

  2. martha24 says:

    Thanks for your review! I was lucky to get a sniff of this great scent before any confrontation with the PR machine and I got carried away to ancient times when Laura Biagiotti’s Roma was new (the EdP version!!!). It wasn’t only a new scent – it was a way of life. So sophisticated and elegant to me… 25 years later I know the differences between Italian and French perfumery. The French style is more refined, more delicate, but the Italians – they have got interesting ideas.

    • Dilana says:

      Would you recommend it?

      • martha24 says:

        Yes, it is great and although I compared it with Roma, it is something new! And I agree with Angela that BVEA has EdP qualities despite its status as an EdC. It is more than a small talk at a garden party – you have to be prepared to cope with this scent for a couple of hours. And there is this special kind of sandalwood which makes me happy…

        • Angela says:

          Sandalwood does make happiness, true!

    • Angela says:

      I’m glad you found a fragrance you love!

      BV is an Italian company, but the perfumer is French (I believe). It would be interesting to talk to people from both sides about the interplay of the cultures when making perfume.

    • annemarie says:

      Do you still wear Roma, martha? Roma is a recent discovery of mine but I love it to bits. I’m always curious to hear from people who wore it back in the day. It seems that people who love Roma REALLY love Roma.

      I’m in Australia and Laura Biagiotti is not distributed here any more, as far as I know, so I bought Roma online. Apparently LB used to be sold here, but I never saw it.

      I hope to encounter the new Bottega Veneta soon though. I’ve so far not loved the first two.

      • martha24 says:

        Here in Germany Roma and several other Biagiotti-fragrances are still very popular and quite inexpensive. All the grandmothers in the villages wear it…Well I really love grandmothers but…
        I had difficulties with the original BV scent too. It smells great when it is lingering in a scarf on the the day after but before that it gives me a headache. This new green scent is different. And if there weren’t all those other bottles, I wouldn’t say no.

        • Angela says:

          Oh, I know so much what you mean about “all those other bottles”!

  3. happy888cat says:

    The amount of adjectives used is a little hard for me to digest. Even after you have broken the press release down Angela!
    It’s times like these when I tend to think “Oh, just hand me the vial and let the scent do all the talking.” :P
    Somehow, I can’t quite get pass the photo as well. Perhaps it’s her thick, combed back wet hair that doesn’t sit right with the “light, summer wind” or her somewhat stern/serious expression.
    I will sample the scent still though, seeing I loved both the original and Légère. Was the white rose at all noticeable though?

    • Angela says:

      White–or any color–rose didn’t stand out for me, but I’ve noticed that rose can play a tricky role in some fragrances, almost as a sort of “solvent” that makes the rest of the scent talk to itself.

      Yes, perfume PR–and perfume reviews sometimes, I know I’ve been guilty of it–can turn purple very fast.

  4. I Love all things Bottega Veneta Fashion and definitely Fragrance wise and know I will Like/Enjoy/Love/BECOME OBSESSED With this new Fragrance!

    I J’Adore you, Mon Angel, Angela, However, Comically so, This review seems like you were possessed by Kevin who reviews here! So Sharp Tongued and Tart, very unlike you! ;-D But as always, Honest to a Fault and Deeply informative! I am glad it skews kinda masculine as you say… I will spritz it on myself for sure on my next Neiman’s Visit!

    • Angela says:

      Yes, I was unusually snarky, I admit. I think it was the mention of the white bikini that put me in such a foul mood. (I don’t consider myself overly plump, but my bikini days disappeared when I was a teen.) But do try the fragrance, and I’d love to know what you think of it!

      • Dilana says:

        Angela, I just re-checked. The bathing suit is not actually a bikini. In fact, looks like a sweetheart neckline one piece, similar to Gotex’s “miracle” suits.
        Of course, white suits often become unintentionally transparent when wet, so snarkiness is fully justified.
        Plus, I suspect that the sea (rather famously blue along the Riveria) has been photo shopped to pond scum green to match the bottle.
        I always thought of BV’s prior fragrance as a very nice Daim Blond Light, and the one I would have bought if I did not already have Daim Blond.
        But this add does not measure up to my idea of the quality of the line. Maybe the Italian ad copy is better.

        • Angela says:

          You’re right! Why was I so fixated on a bikini? The press release doesn’t even mention bikinis. I obviously have some bathing apparel PTSD going on.

          I do like and wear the original, but I’m not sure I’d buy this one, although I like it conceptually and I’m sure it will find lots of fans.

  5. floragal says:

    Great review! Such personality and humor! The PR machine is quite something – beware!

    I tried this at Bergdorf and can’t say I was smitten. I found it very sharp and polarizing for me.

    I’m a huge fan of the BV original, however. I’ve got this as part of my regular rotation these days.

    • Angela says:

      I like the original a lot, too–especially when I want a cozy, warming scent. I always get compliments on it.

  6. Oakland Fresca says:

    And in some perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

    Angela, sounds like you need a good dose of the Bard to hearten you!
    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15557

    …It would be a loss if perfume p.r. had to be FDA approved or some such. I sort of miss the days when a cereal or vitamin could promise me so much–weight loss, shiny hair, and younger looking skin… reading perfume p.r. is like standing outside the storefront of a palm reader… of course it is bunk… but… Chi lo sa?

    • Angela says:

      That poor press release had the fortune to reach me when I was cranky…grrr. You’re right, I need some poetry to sweeten me up!

      • Oakland Fresca says:

        Sonnet 130—“My Mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun….” was Shakespeare thumbing his nose at overblown prose…(and I rhyme!) I thought a 500 year old response to “she exudes a casual elegance that naturally complements her intrinsic beauty. . . ” was in order :)

        • Angela says:

          Nicely observed! (Besides that, you’ve classed up the comments quite after my complaining about bikinis.)

  7. Omega says:

    Will have to sniff this out…but I am not huge into patchouli. I do like her bathing suit..though, I don’t think I could pull it off..esp when that time of the month lol..but I can’t pull of many things in perfume ads, for the best I suppose:).

    • Angela says:

      Now that I see that it is, indeed, NOT a bikini, I feel a little better. The bathing suit in the ad is gorgeous, in fact.

  8. Flora says:

    I love this review, tell it like it is! I am a big fan of the original BV but this seems like it might smell a little bit pointy for my taste. Not unlike the bathing suit. ;-)

    • Angela says:

      The Essence is, just like you might imagine, a balance between sandalwood and bergamot/lime. To me, it’s a warm-cool masculine but fresh blend. “Pointy” is a fascinating description. I think the sandalwood rounds it out, but the citrus definitely adds an edge.

  9. Subhuman says:

    Somehow I still haven’t sniffed the original BV, despite my love for Maurice Roucel’s works, and particularly his use of patchouli. He manages to highlight the sensual, peppery, addictive qualities of patchouli and make them truly part of a perfume’s blend, rather than letting the strident aspects of the note take over. This version sounds even more to my liking. Any word on whether this will make its way to Canada?

    • Angela says:

      The original BV–and this one–are by Michel Almairac (although I, like you, will always try to smell something by Maurice Roucel.)

      I sure would think it would be in Canada soon, if not already.

  10. AnnS says:

    Thanks for the funny review, Angela. I had no idea this was coming out, so now I have something to seek out. I really, really like the original BV and the BV eau Legere particularly. Last year both of them were the dominant go-to scents in my wardrobe, and they certainly make it into my top 50 frags. (They must share a spot!) I find them very easy to wear and well done. So I’m curious for sure about this new one, and maybe I’ll get an olfactory vacation I need. What’s next year: the end of the life experience – BV voile de mumu? Or maybe the other end of the spectrum: BV Bambini, eau de nappies?

    • Angela says:

      Yes! Bring on Voile de MuuMuu! (Honestly, I’ve been jonesing for years for a Diana Ross style 1970s caftan with a V neck.)

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