Bulgari Rose Goldea

Bulgari revisits rose for the second entry in its Goldea fragrance franchise.

After exploring yellow gold and amber in the floral oriental that kicked off the premium line of scents last year, the LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy-owned luxury jewelry brand turned to a trendier rose — both the precious gold metal and the flower — for Rose Goldea. Priced at $155 for 3 0z. and $112 for 1.7 oz., the eau de parfum rolled out to Bulgari’s international doors this month before a soft U.S. launch slated for next month and expansion to full distribution in January.

“Our last rose was created more than 10 years ago, so we had to give our customers a new interpretation. Techniques have evolved so much in perfumery that now perfumers are able to create the precise rose they want and catch an aspect of rose that they really love. That’s what Alberto [Morillas] did,” said Bulgari Parfums managing director Valeria Manini. “Rose can be very traditional and smell a bit like your grandmother, but, when you smell this, you will feel the modernity of it because it’s a more straight to the point, sharp rose.”

Firmenich master perfumer Morillas, a favorite of Bulgari who worked on the initial Goldea scent and a number of the Omnia and BLV fragrances, concentrated on the Damask rose in tandem with musk to develop Rose Goldea. Straying from classic rose sensibilities, he explained, “I wanted to illustrate the very natural freshness, youthfulness and luminosity of the flower with the more translucent notes of musk. This new musk is very radiant, exciting and underscored by a transparency that is completely feminine.”

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Although relying on rose is rare for Bulgari, musk is a frequent fragrance theme for the brand. In addition to rose, plentiful musk varieties are paired with pomegranate, jasmine, white incense and sandalwood milk in Rose Goldea. “Musks are fundamental to Bulgari,” declared Manini. “Musk for Bulgari is like the gold in jewelry. We use the gold to enhance the gems. We are not a gold jewelry brand. We are a gems jewelry brand, but gold is the base.”

Mirroring the fragrance, the encasement is exceedingly feminine. It consists of two round shapes splashed in shades of gold and rose. Decoration along the bottle and on its cap is meant to evoke a snake and crown. “When we started the Goldea story, we took inspiration from Cleopatra. Cleopatra always had a crown on her head and a snake on the arm,” she said. “On the packaging, you will see a crown that expresses royalty and the snake that is there to protect.”

While Bulgari conceived of Goldea as targeting a slightly older demographic than eau de toilettes in the Omnia series drawing women in their 20s, Manini believes Rose Goldea is a fairly universal scent. “In the market, we see that women are looking for natural scents. People want to feel closer to nature. They want to be sophisticated, but natural at the same time,” she said. “Rose Goldea is very sophisticated with a touch of naturalness, and it’s for women who love flowery fragrances.”

For its original Goldea fragrance, Bulgari focused efforts on the U.S. Rose Goldea is slanted to international markets. “All of the research we did on the first fragrance and the feedback we have is that it’s a fragrance for Americans. I don’t know at the moment if American women are ready for a rose fragrance. I am very frank about it. I just don’t know,” acknowledged Manini. “In Asia — China and Southeast Asia — the Middle East and Europe, particularly the U.K., those places are really lands of the roses. Now, I will discover if it will go well in the U.S. as well.”

Bulgari declined to forecast the sales Rose Goldea could ring up in the U.S. or elsewhere. Industry sources estimate that, within two to four years, the Goldea line of fragrances could approach the Omnia collection in combined volume. Sources approximate that the Omnia fragrances as a whole generate sales of nearly $100 million.

Bulgari isn’t finished building the Goldea franchise, but it might not produce a gigantic flotilla of fragrances under the umbrella. “Being a jewelry brand, there are a few ways to communicate to capture a woman. You have the gems, and we are in that segment with Omnia. I always say what is important in creating a new one [for Omnia] is having something interesting to say about a new gemstone to find a new story. It’s exactly the same with gold. The difference with gold is that there are only three: white, rose and yellow,” said Manini. “The story may be a bit shorter with Omnia. There are only three golds in the world, so that might be the [entire] story.”