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Gladys Chung
Urban, The Straits Times
Thursday, Aug 7, 2014

Haute perfume

Urban, The Straits Times | Gladys Chung | Thursday, Aug 7, 2014

Each of the perfumes in the Le Gemme collection is named after and inspired by a semi-precious stone. For example, the Amarena is named after the tourmaline and the Lilaia is named after the peridot.

With its new Le Gemme collection of six premium eau de parfums, Italian luxury label Bulgari's 22-year-old perfumery arm has come of age.

Priced at $499 for 100ml, one of the most expensive in the market, and bottled in glass flacons that resemble ancient Roman urns used to transport precious materials, Le Gemme is the brand's first haute parfumerie line.

Bulgari's other fragrances usually cost around $160 for a 100ml bottle of eau de toilette and around $200 for a 100ml bottle of eau de parfum.

The Le Gemme collection is stocked exclusively at Robinsons Orchard and the Bulgari boutiques at Takashimaya Department Store and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

"After two decades, we now have the competency, knowledge and the right team to develop haute fragrances," says Ms Valeria Manini, the brand's fragrance business managing director who was here in May for a trade exhibition. "Bulgari Parfums is an adult now."

There are 25 Bulgari perfumes, and they make up about 25 per cent of the brand's total business with a global retail value of around one billion euros (S$1.7 billion).

With this premium line of perfumes, Bulgari sets itself on a par with other branded perfume houses such as Chanel, Guerlain and Christian Dior, which also sell pricey high-end fragrances alongside its masstige variations.

The premium perfumes of these brands cost at least $250 for 100ml - regular perfumes are priced at less than $200 for 100ml. They are mostly made with quality and rare extracts, and smell unique.

Some brands such as Christian Dior and Chanel loosely term their premium perfumes as "heritage" scents, as they take their cues from the label's milestones.

Likewise, for Bulgari, Le Gemme is a direct reference to the rare gems the brand has been crafting into jewellery for more than a century.

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