Fashion and beauty so often go together, like cheese and wine or Netflix and chill (kidding!). It has long been said that perfume in particular is an affordable way for the average consumer to buy into a fashion brand without spending exuberant amounts on articles of clothing or accessories. This makes perfume a vital part of many a fashion label’s business, and few designers have gone without a signature scent in the past century. However, I do not necessarily agree that buying the namesake perfume of a luxury brand automatically gives you as much of a piece of the brand as marketers might have you believe. Wearing a Chanel perfume, for example, does not carry the same implications of being seen wearing a Chanel coat, or even having a handbag with the double C’s. I think you rather buy into the fantasy of the perfume and the chronicles that have been spun especially for it more so than the name of the designer. Affordable luxury? Hardly. Achievable fantasy? Totally, when it is done correctly.
BVLGARI (pronounced “bull-garee”) is an Italian jewellery brand many admire but few can afford. Their rings start at $555 and necklaces reach upwards of $112,000. One 18ct white-gold, black lacquer and diamond pendant is currently going for $178,505, but you’ll have to wait patiently because it’s out of stock for the time being. If you’re not ready to take out a second mortgage for a piece of the high life, settling for a BVLGARI perfume might be your next best option – just know which one to pick, or rather not pick. Like I said, it’s not the same thing as flaunting a multi-thousand dollar jewel at a cocktail party, but the range is generally considered quite decent in the community and there’s no shame in striving for luxe.
In today’s review I want to talk about one of the relatively unpopular scents in the collection, called Omnia Indian Garnet. Now, when I say unpopular I don’t mean it doesn’t have its fans; they’re just few and far in between. To understand why we have to rewind to 2003, when the original Omnia came out. Signed by famed perfumer Alberto Morillas (think Marc Jacobs Daisy Hot Pink Edition and Calvin Klein CK One), it was announced to be inspired by the spices Marco Polo discovered in his travels. The notes of black pepper, masala tea, saffron, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond and chocolate seemed like a promising combination, but many felt that it was underwhelming. “Sheer” is often the word most used to describe it. “Weak.” “Mild.” “Transparent.”
BVLGARI seemed to take the feedback to heart and pulled the plug on Omnia, although it is now reportedly back in production and might even be more potent this time around. They did, however, create a slew of flankers named after precious stones, including Jade, Amethyst, and of course Indian Garnet. You can find most of them at FragranceNet.com, which is where my bottle came from for review consideration. Indian Garnet retails for $95* Canadian, but on FragranceNet.com it’s just $34.99 – that’s a 63% saving on the authentic product with a June 2014 production batch number. You can use the affiliate banners in this post to find Omnia Indian Garnet and try it for yourself! Some have criticized the bottle, which is mostly plastic as far as I can tell, but frankly I don’t mind it. As long as the built in atomizer works and the bottle stands upright I’m happy. It does remind me of Voyage d`Hermes’s presentation, but the latter came seven years later so it’s not so bad.
I haven’t tried the original Omnia myself (the line is a little harder to find in Canada), but based on reviews I can see how the two are related and where they differ. First of all, the ingredient breakdown for Indian Garnet consists of saffron, orange, mandarin, tuberose, osmanthus, amber and woodsy notes. From the start you get a generous dose of soapy tuberose with saffron, a spicy floral opening that carries to the heart. The saffron somehow reminds me of curry, but the type food vendors make for Westerners in ethnic festivals; faint, vague, watered-down. The problem is that for me the scent ends there, it does not evolve or progress into anything more appealing or memorable. Worse yet, after no more than two hours it’s positively gone from my skin. I kept trying it out and hoping it would grow on me, but the reality is that despite the pretty packaging and the brand name, the effect was lost in translation. The most Indian thing about Indian Garnet is its name.
Have you tried the Omnia line, and if so, did you too find it to be underwhelming? I would still like to try other fragrances from BVLGARI, but this one left a bad taste in my mouth. I think I’ll stick to looking at their jewellery and whimpering for now.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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