There are some scents you get, experience and can't wait to review, to gush words of praise and tell the world from the rooftops. When I first encountered BPH, it was almost a decade after its release (2006) and I bought it scent unsniffed, from an online retailer after reading the reviews of parfumisti far wiser and experienced than myself. It was an obviously well-made woody floral musk fragrance: clean and fresh without the tsunami of calone most newer men's scents of that era contained. Flowers musk and woods are deftly entwined, without too much sweetness or spice, and only enough citrus to tease out the freshness of the prevailing tea accord.
A slightly above average cologne with decent longevity and respectable projection, this found itself filed in the BVLGARI row of the designer shelf of my armoire after a few wearings and though it was solid...it failed to wow me. Had I reviewed this in my earlier reviews, I daresay I would have "sold it short"; mostly because I have an entirely new outlook on this scent, perfumer and house.
A prelude of freshness results from a cacophony of notes Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud has soothed to an harmonious choir of soft whispers, wafting as fresh as a breeze. Aldehydes add an airiness (as opposed to an expanding sparkle) while orange and bergamot add the needed citricity (and not a drop more) to attenuate the tea and petit grain; as they perfectly dissolve into leaf-tinged powdery floral notes of lavender and neroli closing a veritable perfect circle of clean, sans any of the usual soapy associations. BPH's aura of pristine masculinity makes it an utterly versatile scent choice suitable for the office, school, casual gatherings or a first date.
The floral choir in the heart (cyclamen, geranium and carnation led by iris) continues the floral theme of the opening lavender and develops it, making it deeper (not louder) and at the same time smoother with rosewood and guaiac. Cardamom (warm green sharp) pepper (piquant and sharp) and coriander (cool & leafy but bitter) are, like most notes in Msr. Cavallier-Belletrud's works especially for this House, imperceptible as individuals yet their additions are what makes this a flawless silk and velvet tapestry, as opposed to a flashy silk screen on simple material. The weaving of the aromatic threads and olfactive colors "just so" truly makes BPH more than the sum of the parts.
In the far drydown, the core of musk and cedar glows as it serves as a balancing point for the sweetness of amber (translucent amber is listed on Bvlgari's site) and *one single small?* tonka bean, against the dynamic duo of vetiver and oak moss while they hint at a hidden wildness underneath it all. BPH is a rather charming and very polite rascal beneath those starched collars and pressed trousers. Despite the fact this may seem cool or even aloof should not give you pause. Everyone needs a nice pressed neutral button-down shirt, that you can use with any outfit or situation. This is "that" shirt in a bottle-complete with mother-of-pearl buttons and hand sewn silk thread seams. Bravo!!
Sillage: moderate to very good
Longevity: above average (7-12 hours)
Now BVLGARI's perfume catalog numbers upwards of seventy fragrances; but, when BVLGARI POUR HOMME hit the market, in 1996, there were only two! (EAU PARFUMEE AU THE VERTE '92 and BVLGARI POUR FEMME '94) Later that year another *new* favorite of mine was released: EAU PARFUMEE AU THE VERT EXTREME-nosed by Jean-Claude Ellena.
Currently BPH is still available at several online retailers (some for as little as .50/ml!) and remains a fixture worldwide at high-end fragrance counters and flagship stores. BVLGARI POUR HOMME seems to "play well with others" while offering year-round versatility, excellent quality-to-price ratio (or QPR) and sheer stunningness.
I, therefore, dub BVLGARI POUR HOMME a Modern Masterpiece. Not only for how it has stayed the course over the last two decades, defining and setting the bar for men's elegance and style; but also for its uniqueness, considering its time and contemporaries, and subtle balance of softspoken luxury with graceful sensibility.