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