From Zero to Forty (ml) in less than 15… years: Bvlgari Black


Soon after Bvlgari Black had been released I picked up a bottle from a perfume counter thinking: “It looks like a hockey puck!” I sprayed a paper strip, sniffed: “It smells like it too!” And that was it. I haven’t approached Black for the next ten years.

Rusty And Bvlgari Black

Growing up I lived in a large multi-unit building in the downtown of a big city. After school children would play in the yard formed by the building. I wasn’t a tomboy or too sporty but there were almost no girls of my age in our building at the time so I didn’t have much choice but to play with boys. They weren’t super thrilled by my company (we’re talking about the age between eight and twelve) but when they needed an extra body for a two-team game mine would do (and on rare occasions I wasn’t even the last one chosen!).

Once in winter, I think I was ten, I was a goalie for an improvised hockey team that was one player short. I didn’t have a goaltender mask (none of us did, we were very poorly equipped in general) but I still was happy to be invited… You can guess where I’m heading with the story, right?

I was lucky: I ended up with a black eye that went through the usual rainbow of colors before getting better and a scar on my eyebrow that I carry through my life. No wonder I wasn’t too enthusiastic about something reminding me of a puck and smelling like burning rubber.

Rusty And Bvlgari Black

When I started my journey in the Perfumeland I read many praises for Bvlgari Black. I got curious and even managed to find it once at a store but I was wearing another perfume so it was a paper strip again. And again I smelled some rubber and smoke but that time I liked what I smelled.

It’s not an expensive perfume so I’m not sure why I didn’t go for a bottle immediately. Probably because it seemed easily obtainable once I make a decision to buy so I didn’t want to do it without testing on skin. Too bad I couldn’t find it in stores any longer.

Finally a couple of weeks ago I got a small decant of Black from Judith (the unseen censer). I sprayed it on, smelled and… It was the fastest start from the first application to the Place Order button: the burning tires smell was still in the air.

Rusty And Bvlgari Black

Up-close it still looks like a hockey puck but it doesn’t bother me any longer: over the years I mastered the art of covering the scar.


Images: my own.


50 thoughts on “From Zero to Forty (ml) in less than 15… years: Bvlgari Black

  1. I loved this post. The mental images I have of you as a young girl, playing with the relucant boys, then of that hockey puck hitting you…. ouch! I actually winced a little at that. You might have lost an eye if there had been a few inches difference!!

    I also loved the part about how, years later, you practically left burning rubber in your rush to the computer to place an order! What a huge turn-around. Do you think your tastes changed a little over time, or is this one of those cautionary tales about never trusting how things smell on paper. (I hate the paper. I think it’s always bloody misleading!)

    • Thank you, Kafka. I did realize later how close I was to a disaster. As kids we do stupid things.

      I’m sure that my tastes have changed over time. And, when I think about it, only once I’ve experienced the full 180 degrees turn of a perfume on skin compared to how it smelled on paper (see My First Scrubber) in all other cases there were some variations in both directions but not that dramatic.

  2. Great story! :)
    Now I’m thinking, as my boyfriend used up the decant I had, I might go for a small bottle of this as well. I really like Black now that you reminded me of it.

    • Thank you, Ines.
      I think you should go for a bottle: it costs almost nothing (I got mine for $26 includin delivery!) but it’s a good perfume.

  3. Undina, you have the best stories.

    I think Black has one of the best bottles around but I can see how you’d be put off if you been scarred for life by a hocky puck. I have a similar scar as a result of worrying my mother to play with a metal tea strainer as a toddler, would you believe.

    Black is really great, but there’s something in there – a strange sweetness – that doesn’t work for me no matter how much I love the black tea and the burning rubber.

    • Tara, thank you. I’m glad that my stories find such good readers.

      I like the bottle now though I still think of it as of a hockey puck. As to the sweetness, I smell some but I suspect that this perfume has one of those components that my nose doesn’t register as sweet so for me it’s not too sweet.

      Sometimes I’m amazed how we survive: everything around childred is sooo not child-proof but unlike kittens or puppies we do not have any self-preservation instincts when we’re little… or in our teenage years ;)

  4. agreed with Kakfa wholeheartedly….I loved hearing about your childhood experiences (albeit a black eye :(!!). I have always wanted to try Black and never have…honestly I don’t know why…as you said it is quite affordable and easily accessible online! And you know how much I love black tea :D!!

    • I decided for myself before publishing this story that the first person who says he/she hasn’t tried Black will get the decant that led to my purchase. So, Brie, you’re that person :)

  5. It’s awful that you got the black eye but the story about it is wonderful. I have a bottle of Black. It is much softer than the name and the hockey puck bottle would imply. At least it is on me.

  6. Great story and yes it definitely looks like a hockey puck and it does smell like burning rubber. I had a bottle of this once and it lasted for years and I probably would never go back. Rusty is cute as ever :)

  7. Dear Undina
    Such vivid recollections… I can so understand why you might not be attracted to a flacon in this shape!
    As strange as The Dandy’s senses can be sometimes, I have no recollection of Black even though I know I’ve tried it.
    One reads everywhere of its unique qualities and your excellent post has finally tipped my over the edge into grabbing a sample for myself.
    I thank you.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Thank you, dear Dandy. I hope to read your impressions of this perfume one day. Though it’s definitely not strictly feminine but rather a truly unisex perfume.

  8. Beautiful story Undina and congratulations on your bottle of Bvlgari Black. I wish I had such a wonderful stories about my perfumes.

    Best wishes for the weekend and hugs to Rusty, he looks stunning as always

    • Thank you, Lucas! The second treat goes to Rusty :)

      When I read your reviews (or Kafka’s ;) ) I wish I could smell perfumes the way you do (or describe them the way she does). But for me perfumes are usually barely divided into notes. But they interweave with my life and memories.

      • Yaay, enjoy your treat Rusty, you hansome!

        I believe that everything is a matter of training. And when I prepare for the review I always look at the notes, and some other reviews. Without it I wouldn’t notice half of the notes, lol!

        It’s so great that perfume interweave with your life and memories, I think I’m too young (and too short in the perfume world) to have such perfume – memories relations

  9. The first time I smelled it I though “vanilla ice-cream served in an old tire.” It seemed way too weird for me. Now I love it, the smoke, rubber, black leather smell of it, with smooth vanilla, seems so chic.

  10. Love that you played hockey! It’s probably the biggest sport here in MN. We put kids on skates by 2.

    I adore Black. My husband and I wore it when it first came out, our first perfume experience together and his honeymoon perfume.

    Reading your review makes me want another bottle!

    • Thank you, Annina!

      You definitely need another bottle! Look here you can get a real bottle in the box for $28.81 including delivery. And if you use the code MOMMY10 you’ll get 10% off.

  11. Undina, you do realize that you’ve become quite the writer, don’t you? Your style is so natural and yet so … exact! This was so much fun to read, and I can just see you playing with the boys.

    (I had a similar eye incident as a kid. I almost lost my eye because I was showing a friend one of our cows and this girl was a biter. She bit the cow in the ass (I’m not making this up) while I was standing at the cow’s head. In reaction, the poor cow knocked me down and rolled me under her hoof. I had a black scab that formed over my entire eye area.)

    Enjoy your Bvlgari Black. I love that first photo, where Rusty initially looks like he’s too preoccupied to participate in the Bvlgari Black photo shoot. :)

    • Suzanne, you’re always very kind. Thank you for the support.

      Your story first made me laugh and then I shared it with several co-workers and friends (and later with my vSO) and they all laughed out loud :) Great story!

      The first photo represents how I felt about Black for a long time ;)

  12. I enjoyed reading this Undina. I agree with Suzanne – you’ve written the story with such effortless, yet precise style. Congrats on your new bottle. I trust there’s more to it than burning rubber? ;)

    • Thank you, Lorraine. I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful this perfume smelled on skin – even though I still smelled that rubber but now it was like a drift from the distant road in the blooming field.

  13. Great story, Undina! I myself can relate to being a not so welcome participant not so much with neighborhood kids (as we were not allowed to mingle with the neighborhood kids) but rather with my brother and his friends and the occasional cousin who came by to play basketball – I used to stand in their way until they allowed me to play.

    Oh Rusty, he is such a cutie and a wonderful actor.

    And since this post is about perfumes…I’m pretty sure I have a decant of Bulgari Black somewhere from a swap buddy. I’ll need to try it!

    • I hope your relationships with your brother improved with age (the same boys didn’t mind my company that much 3-4 years later but by then I preferred the older ones with guitars ;) ).

      Rusty enjoys playing with anything he’s not supposed to play with. So it’s not hard to get him to participate. Catching both him from the right angle and falling bottles/vials/etc. requires some dexterity.

      • ;-) your comments about the boys not minding your company 3-4 years later!

        I’d like to think my bratty phase didn’t last all that long…but of course I am not the most objective judge. That said, I do get along with my brother. As the middle child, I ended up having the best relationship with each of my siblings and really, to this day, they still instinctively use me as go-between until I roll my eyeballs and say “talk to him/her directly!”

  14. What a perfectly wonderful review my little hockey puck! I was enthralled. You know I can’t stand Dior Fahrenheit but I do just out and out adore Black. Go figure!

    • Thank you, Lanier. A compliment from you means a lot.

      I remember liking Fahrenheit long-long time ago. Then I tried it and couldn’t understand what I used to like… Now I think I just smelled it pre- and post-reformulation. But I’ll never know now.

      In case you’re looking for a bottle, in one of the comments above a gave a link to a very good deal on it.

  15. Wonderful memories, a love story for Black (what’s better than the “you remind me of someone I once knew who hurt me – but I open my heart to you anyway” story?) and delightful photos of Rusty engaging the puck. Well worth a decant. :-) I’m glad to know how the story comes out!

  16. You are such an enabler, Undina…posting that link! I just tried my Bvlgari Black (in a generous 10mL decant) today and it is very nice, burning rubber and all. Hmmm, anything under $50 is practically free….

  17. How funny that you came round to this perfume all those years later, despite the unfortunate memories associated with its shape! Black was one of my early T K Maxx bargains and one of the best purchases I have made in my five year fumie career. And as ever, Rusty’s hockey puck batting action in the photos is the icing on the…er…ice? ; – )

    • Thank you, Vanessa. I think Rusty enjoyed that part the most (and I tried my best not to let him to knock off my new bottle to the ground).

      I’m glad I finally “found” this perfume: it is just the right combination of strange and comforting.

  18. You were a tomboy! It’s a long way to go, from the being the extra “boy” in the game to a perfume enthusiast and writer.

    Bulgari Black is something I’ve never tried. Rubber worries me, although maybe it shouldn’t. So is it contemporary L’Heure Bleue?

    • I was “into perfumes” by that age already ;)

      Since L’Heure Bleue doesn’t behave on my skin I’m not familiar with it enough to make that comparison. But if by Fall (I’ll be traveling soon and then it’llbe too hot to send perfumes) you don’t come across Black somewhere at a store I’ll send you some to test.

  19. I love the story to go with the perfume! Your sweet kitty is a great perfume model as well! You know, I have a hit or miss think with Bulgari in general. I can’t remember if I’ve tried Black or not! You’ve piqued my curiosity. :)

    • Thank you (from both me and Rusty – he got his treat for your compliment).

      I used only one other Bvlgari perfume – White Tea. It was OK butI got tired of it and gave away the remaining half ofthe bottle.

  20. I loved reading this post, Undina! Glad to hear that despite the scar and the memories, you were able to embrace a perfume that looks like a hockey puck :-)

    I love Bulgari Black. I think that I smelled it, loved it, and ordered it almost immediately. Now I actually don’t find the black rubber smell that strange after all the other things I have sniffed!

    I also wanted to add that I’m not a cat person, but Rusty looks so soft and perfectly plush that I will make an exception for him ;-)

    • Thank you, Daisy! Rusty will enjoy your exceptional approval (and the corresponding treat ;) ).

      Now I also do not find Black’s scent that strange. I think it’s a perfect perfume and Bvlgari should keep it in their line-up as new classics.

  21. Pingback: Perfume Diary: NovAmber | Undina's Looking Glass

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