Candy Crush: Man in Black Essence by BVLGARI

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“I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.”

I’m always here for BVLGARI and their fragrant offerings. I feel as if everything they do is very well-crafted with an attention to detail and quality that is often disregarded in the mainstream. For the most part their perfumes are accessible and easygoing, with high quality materials favoured over a unique or challenging signature. Think your typical mainstream fragrance but elevated – that’s BVLGARI. So I crush on BVLGARI quite regularly, but I’m crushing hard right now on their new limited edition: BVLGARI Man in Black Essence.

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There are two things to crush on with BVLGARI Man in Black Essence – the scent and the bottle. Let’s start with the bottle because that’s the most eye-catching part. The scent is inspired by “the deeply wild, arid nature of Africa” and BVLGARI have teamed up with Nigerian artist Laolu Senbanjo (Laolu NYC) who is famous for his “Afromysterics” art, which uses pattern to display the mystery of African thought. It’s this style of pattern that appears on the bottle and it’s really beautiful. I think we can all agree that it’s refreshing for a perfume brand to showcase the work of an African artist in such a visible and striking way.

Now for the scent, which is composed by none other than Alberto Morrilas (Mugler Cologne and CK One). BVLGARI describe the scent as having a “warrior-like intensity” and note that it takes inspiration from African Gods, with the perfumer adding that BVLGARI Man in Black Essence “transports us to the heart of Africa and strongly expresses a primal and hypnotic manliness”. Of course a mainstream masculine wouldn’t be a mainstream masculine if it didn’t sing its own praises about just how darn masculine it is. Are guys really that worried about their manhood that their fragrance has to promise “virility, power and manly strength”?! Jeez!

Anyway, small gender-based rant aside, what does it actually smell like? Well, I’d say it is actually surprisingly soft, given the description. The two main themes are warm, gourmand-style woods, with tonka, rum and cocoa creating a deep, rich and almost liquorice-like character, against a backdrop of soft iris powder. I really like it and it feels like it lives up to the earth-coloured patterns that adorn that gorgeous bottle. To me BVLGARI Man in Black Essence is not a fragrance of strength and virility – I’d actually say that it’s a bit too cosy for that. It’s an odd one – a fragrance that smells warm and cuddly but actually feels impeccably tailored and smart. I think I might rock it to work when the weather turns and I start my season of smart knitwear (I seriously cannot wait for the Season of the Knit). Now that sounds like a plan!


BVLGARI Man in Black Essence is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum (£77).


Sample, notes and quotes via Bvlgari. Images are my own.