By  on July 17, 2009

ROME — In a Dolce Vita-style celebration for its 125th anniversary, replete with a jewelry retrospective exhibition opening and party in a nearly 2000-year-old castle, Bulgari concluded its recent festivities here with its latest women’s fragrance launch, Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II.

The scent was officially unveiled at a lunch in La Posta Vecchia, a home built in 1640 on the remains of an ancient Roman city.

Building on the Bulgari Blu fragrance story, which began nine years ago with Bulgari Blu, Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II is the 17th scent for the brand.

Francesco Trapani, Bulgari’s chief executive officer, said in an interview at his offices here he felt very confident about the launch. “I think we have a winner in our hands,” Trapani said. “We expect this scent to be our most successful fragrance launch ever.”

Though Trapani declined to comment on sales projections, he said the beauty firm expected the scent’s first-year sales to surpass Bulgari’s current best-selling fragrance, Jasmin Noir. Industry sources estimate the new fragrance could generate $60 million at wholesale the first year.

Starting in September, Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II will roll out to 18,000 doors globally.

Trapani said Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II hoped to “leverage on our Blu franchise that was extremely successful. It continues to sell very well, even though we are not investing in it.” He added Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II had a larger target compared with Jasmin Noir, which was launched last year.

“I have to say it’s been a great success but anyhow certainly it is a very expensive fragrance for a rich woman and not very young, it has a more mature positioning,” said Trapani.

The nose behind Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II, Jacques Cavallier from Firmenich, created five other Bulgari scents from the past. Cavallier said an initial two months of work on the scent were abandoned after he saw a mock-up of the fragrance’s bottle design and color. “It was special,” explained Cavallier. “It is a sophisticated and intense blue with a touch of gray in it, which inspired me to use iris,” he added.

Cavallier sourced a Florentine iris priced at 100,000 euros per kilo for the scent. “It’s not really powdery, but something very natural — and you can smell that in the scent.” Iris, together with Haitian vetiver and patchouli, make up what Cavallier described as “flowery” heart notes of Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II. They are book-ended with “crispy” top notes of violet, star anise, licorice and mandarin, and a bottom accord of three amber notes blended with benzoin, ambergris, cistus flower and musk.

“We tried to translate the Bulgari Blu concept in terms of smell, the idea of making something different. It is transparent, with a lot of body, without the current codes of transparency,” explained Cavallier. The perfumer also used a new type of patchouli note which involved distilling the leaves without water or any other solvent. “So you are left with a clear delicate smell of the patchouli,” he explained.

Swiss design agency Atelie Oï created the Blu Eau de Parfum II flacon, a clear glass rectangular shaped bottle, topped with a curved silver cap engraved with a double Bulgari logo.

A visual for the fragrance, which features Laetitia Casta captured by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott in Miami, shows the model adorned in Bulgari’s Sassi necklace, made up of over 3,000 carats of blue topazes, crystals, and blue sapphires.

Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II will be available in two sizes, $68 for a 1. oz. bottle and $88 for a 2.5 oz size. A bath and shower gel, at $39, and a body lotion, at $44, will accompany Bulgari Blu Eau de Parfum II at launch.

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