I'm on my second bottle of the original, eponymous Bottega Veneta fragrance and at some point during these purchases I scored a gorgeous little boxed mini of Eau Legere, the inevitable flanker.
I should mention here that the bottles from this house are truly praiseworthy: simple, clean and expensive-looking with hefty glass bottoms and restrained details, such as the basket weave pattern on the base paying homage to the brand's heritage as a high-end leather goods designer. But the bottle alone won't do it - with a generous mini at my disposal, I've had the chance to sample this over a couple of seasons and I'm not entirely convinced.
According to the company's website, the intention of this flanker was to "illuminate the brightest, freshest facets of the Bottega Veneta fragrance" and to that end they have succeeded with Eau Legere. Given that flankers generally go in one of two directions: "extreme" or "fresh", what we have here is the latter: Bottega Veneta Lite.
This opens with the signature leather accord that characterised the original; not a smoky, birch tar leather - to my nose, the "leather" in both these fragrances reads more like a cedar note, but perhaps the citrus-like nuances of pink pepper and bergamot are influencing that impression. Either way, the opening of Eau Legere is familiar, albeit more subdued, and distinguished by a stronger lime-like citrus note.
After a promising opening, the heart and base notes are where this fragrance really begins to part ways with the original. The milky, plummy violet-like jasmine of the original has been replaced with a clean, crisp gardenia and jasmine heart with a trace of the opening leather/citrus hummimg quietly in the background and keeping sweetness at bay.
At this point, Eau Legere begins to smell somewhat generic, like a pleasantly clean but faceless floral you've smelled many times before. The extended oakmoss base note, a highlight of the original, seems entirely absent in this version, being replaced by a soft musk. Discussion of base notes is somewhat irrelevant, however, as after a couple of hours Eau Legere has retreated to a very close skin scent and has all but disappeared by the three to four hour mark in my wearings, even with lavish application.
It seems a shame that the trade-off for "freshening up" the more distinctive elements of the first Bottega Veneta fragrance has resulted in something less distinguished and noteworthy than the original.
This assessment probably sounds a little harsh but I don't mean it to be dismissive. It's just that (in Australia) the 75ml EDT retails for $165, which is approaching niche territory. For that price I want a little more bang for my buck.
I can see this one having appeal for those who found the original a little too declarative and want a light, close-wearing floral leather that feels crisp and fresh for the summer months.
I would emphasise testing on skin before purchase, as Eau Legere had significantly more presence on paper than it did on my skin.