Interview, Editor's Pick, Grooming, Fragrance

We Interview Perfumer Alberto Morillas for Bulgari’s #CITIZENOFNATURE

We Interview Perfumer Alberto Morillas for Bulgari’s #CITIZENOFNATURE


The Italian luxury jewellery maison’s latest olfactory gem Bulgari Man Wood Essence’s tagline is “#citizenofnature”. The premise of the scent is one that posits all of us as citizens of nature first then citizens of the world, whereby nature is the source of all life. Bulgari attempts to bottle the energetic power source into a scent by invoking woody intensity with notes of cypress, vetiver and cedar wood. When we think of nature, one thinks of an evergreen rainforest.

For men living in the city, the towering skyscrapers can sometimes have a looming pressure. Bulgari Man Wood Essence hopes to serve as temporary “green spaces”, encapsulated in a spritz to refresh the senses and reset focuses. The zest of energy is sparked by the invigorating top notes of the scent.

If one were to study the fragrance pyramid of Bulgari Man Wood Essence, he would discover that master perfumer Alberto Morillas poetically blended the scent like a tree, the true force of nature, which is also the inspiration of the scent. Bulgari Man Wood Essence opens with a bright spark of Italian citrus and coriander, much like the lively energy in the leaves and branches of trees. The middle notes comprise hearty cypress wood and Haitian vetiver to represent the sturdy trunk of the fragrance. It then settles down into the base notes of cedar wood and ambergris accords to give a warm, smoky scent of a home, poetically thought of as the roots.

Intrigued by Morillas’s inspirational thought process, Men’s Folio caught up with him during the recent London launch of Bulgari Man Wood Essence and found out his guiding principle in life is “simplicity”.

What do you love most about Bulgari Man Wood Essence?

I love the simplicity of the wood. You have the simplicities of cedar wood, which everybody knows, but you also have the high technology of the new wood. This is very important – the new technique with the traditional technique – for Bulgari. It has many years of tradition, but it also has the modernity when it comes to creating jewellery, watches, and everything.

What does the theme “Man meets Nature” mean to you?

Nature is very important. If you don’t have nature, everybody would be dead. However, nature is boring, so I have to bring in technology. Take the example of cedar wood, if I mix it with another technique; the scent can stay longer on the skin, come with more energy, and can also have the freshness of the scent.

How different is Bulgari Man Wood Essence compared to the other men fragrances that you have created in the past?

The simplicity of the smell of cedar, and you can smell the cypress. The [Armani] Aqua Di Gio is more about evoking the emotion of water, and when you smell CK One, it’s more about the “iced tea effect”. This one is for a new generation because everybody now wants to understand the simple life and we want the perfume to link to our roots.

What were the memories and emotions involved in the creation of this scent?

The thought of the strongest of trees is a memory for everybody. When you are young, you start to climb into treehouses; you have that emotion you have when young, and you smell the trees. Simplicity for me is not to be artificial; you need to create with your heart to understand, which can be smelt immediately. I smell the energy and space of the trees. Maybe you have never climbed trees, but you have this emotion for nature through nature. You feel like a king, and you own the emotion of being free.

What are your favourite everyday smells?

Water, because when you smell water, it doesn’t smell strong, but there’s energy. We need to have this energy. When you have a glass of water and drink it, you don’t smell anything, but you have the emotion of drinking. For me, to create a perfume, you need to smell it and want to wear it immediately to have an emotion.

You have been credited for many signature fragrances. Is there a winning formula?

No, but they all have the character of simplicity. I don’t have a vision because I make everything I love. When I work, I’m free. The brand tells me what it wants, and I’m free for the creation. I don’t want to understand the marketing; I just create with my passion.

You still hand-write all your perfume formulas. Why is that important to you?

For me, it is very important because I don’t know how to write with computers. When you write, you take time to consider in your brain – you think jasmine, you write jasmine, and you smell the jasmine. For me, it is more emotional when I write because I’m an old man. When you write, you have the emotion, and you immediately see the emotion in your writing.

What is the future for fragrance, beyond floral for women and woody for men?

I think when you create a perfume for men, you need to think about women because a lot of women love to wear perfume for men. But men are not so accepting towards perfume for women. For the future, to create emotion is the most important, to create something you feel happy when you smell it. It’s the same with fashion; when you create something, you can think it’s going to stay for ten years, but it’s something for the moment. It’s the same for perfume – to create something for the moment.