The Aromas of Tea in a Bottle : My Financial Times Magazine Column

I have a new article in the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column, The inspirational aromas of tea ­– in a bottle. This time, it is all about tea. While Andy has been tempting  us with his tea descriptions, I explored the tea notes in perfumes. I hope that you will enjoy my selection of tea scents.

tea-scents

Warm jasmine petals, green twigs, cedarwood shavings… I close my eyes and inhale again. The top notes are crisp and bright, reminiscent of fresh leaves, but underneath I notice a musky sweetness. This complex scent is so heady and rich that I imagine it in a perfume bottle, but instead it blossoms in my cup of jasmine pearls tea. Please read the rest by clicking here.

Do you have favorite tea fragrances or perfumes with tea notes?

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73 Comments

  • Lucas: I’m not a huge fan of tea smelling perfumes. I tried Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan and it was too dark, too unpleasant for me.

    I enjoy tea, apricot & osmanthus combination in Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite. February 5, 2013 at 7:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I also liked Osmanthus Interdite, except that the drydown was too creamy and musky on me, but I should revisit it. February 5, 2013 at 9:35am Reply

  • Austenfan: It is such a pity that Eau du Fier has been discontinued. The Lapsang Souchong fragrance par excellence.
    Your list includes many of my own favourites. Thé pour un Eté, and Eau Parfumée in particular. Lovely article, as always. February 5, 2013 at 7:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Eau du Fier with its mix of smoky tea and ripe apricots was one of my favorite Goutals at one point. It was so different from the rest of the collection, and I’m still disappointed that they chose to discontinue it. CdG Tea also has a great smoky tea note, but Eau du Fier was still more interesting. February 5, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

      • Austenfan: I am so glad that I got my bottle in Paris when I did ( 2009). I do not wear it very often but it’s one of my favourite “male” Goutals as well. Together with Monsieur and Sables. February 5, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Sables is one of their most original perfumes, but I haven’t smelled it recently (my own bottle is a few years old). I wonder how it fared given the regulations and the lack of Indian sandalwood.

          Duel is another tea based Goutal I like very much. February 5, 2013 at 10:23am Reply

          • Austenfan: I have never tried the old Sables and got myself a bottle of the new last Autumn. I love it. Very comforting in the cold and probably blooms in the heat.

            Duel I have a sample of, it’s a nice scent, odd and green.
            Do you like Eau de Monsieur? February 5, 2013 at 10:38am Reply

            • Victoria: I do! It makes me think of a forest on a damp fall morning. Goutal’s Isabelle Doyen does these kind of atmospheric fragrances really well. February 5, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Congratulations on your–well deserved–succes in The Financial Times! Answering your question, I would say No, i don’t appreciate tea, nor the beverage, nor the perfumes. But you never know, taste can change. February 5, 2013 at 8:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Cornelia! I take it that you’re a coffee drinker? February 5, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Absolutely a coffeedrinker! February 5, 2013 at 10:38am Reply

        • Victoria: I love the smell of coffee, but so far haven’t found a perfume that matches what I have in mind. February 5, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: I like with my espresso the smell of Angel le Goût du Parfum and Bornéo 1834. They don’t smell like coffee, but the combination is great! February 5, 2013 at 11:35am Reply

            • Victoria: Mmmm, that sounds really nice! February 5, 2013 at 1:54pm Reply

        • solanace: I’m a coffee drinker too. Heavy consumer. I like tea, but always go for the coffee, it’s part of my Brazilian culture. Except now, because if I drink coffee, my 1 month old girl never sleeps again! Oh, man. Only the Weleda Nursing infusion por moi these days, and it tastes like nothing! Blah! February 6, 2013 at 8:06am Reply

  • Marieke: I don’t know many tea perfumes, but I wore CkOne when I was in my 20s and loved it. Interesting article, Victoria! February 5, 2013 at 8:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! CK One was not just a scent, it was a whole era of style. Quite a remarkable launch. February 5, 2013 at 9:39am Reply

  • Hana: Great article! I love tea as the beverage and in fragrances. It’s fascinating how many diverse flavours come from one plant. Bulgari Black and Tea for Two are my staples this winter. In summer time I love briny taste of Vietnamese green teas. Chanel 19. and Odalisque remind me of that smell even though there are no official tea notes included. February 5, 2013 at 8:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Hana, I also notice a tea note in Odalisque–that green, leafy note that feels a touch salty.

      The variety of tea is really incredible. I once tried a Chinese tea that tasted remarkably like sweet peas, but I haven’t been able to find anything like that since. February 5, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

  • Jenna: Bulgari Eau Parfumee The Vert! February 5, 2013 at 9:16am Reply

  • ojaddicte: Great article, congratulations!

    Bulgari Black and The Vert are in my collection. February 5, 2013 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: I also liked Bulgari The Rouge and strange The Blanc that smelled like wet paper. But I haven’t seen either at the Bulgari counters for a while, and I wonder if they are discontinued.
      Glad that you liked the piece. February 5, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

      • Ariadne: Bulgari Au The Rouge can be had very economically at FragranceNet.com. I love it! I wear it often at work and was asked one day, by a very senior male colleague, what kind of tea I was drinking from our machine… he wanted some. It would have been very unseemly for me to tell him it was my perfume so I told him green tea with jasmine! February 5, 2013 at 6:25pm Reply

        • Victoria: What a great story! 🙂 You surely smelled delicious (I love the touch of fig in The Rouge, which is such a great accent to the tangy tea notes.) February 6, 2013 at 7:24am Reply

  • breathesgelatin: I have a favorite tea perfume – Dior’s Escale a Pondichery cologne. I adore it – it’s one of my absolute, all-time favorite perfumes. But it doesn’t seem to get much love at all from perfumistas. 🙁 February 5, 2013 at 9:50am Reply

    • Victoria: I wore it a lot the summer it came out, and I enjoyed it. Once I drained my decant, I didn’t repurchase, but if a bottle fell into my lap, I would no doubt wear it quite happily. It’s a nice tea cologne. February 5, 2013 at 10:24am Reply

  • Elizabeth: My favorite tea to drink is Darjeeling, but I love The Pour Un Ete, and often wear it in the summer. It’s one of my favorite jasmine perfumes as well as my favorite tea perfume. I have always liked fresh, green, herbal treatments of jasmine. Today I am wearing Cristalle! February 5, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Cristalle is perfection either on a cold winter day (to remind me of summer) or on a hot summer afternoon (to refresh me). One of my favorite pick me up perfumes. February 5, 2013 at 10:57am Reply

  • Merlin: Great article for the times!
    I very much enjoy Osmanthus Interdite but find some tea accords, like that used in Tea for Two, disturbing. I have no idea why. I also find Osmanthe Yunnan a little dry… February 5, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. Tea for Two has a smoky, almost raspy note. It’s really dry too. February 5, 2013 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Merlin: Oh, and a question: is that Lancolm Tonic widely available? I have not heard of it. What is the lasting power like? February 5, 2013 at 11:03am Reply

    • Victoria: I think so. There were several Aroma scents–AromaFit, AromaCalm, but AromaTonic is the only one still sold. It has a decent lasting power, slightly better than a citrus cologne. February 5, 2013 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Barbara: I tried Osmanthe Yunnan at long last, and it’s just lovely, but it doesn’t stick for longer than 15 minutes on my skin. Anything I can do to make it last better? February 5, 2013 at 11:18am Reply

    • Barbara: Loved your article too, as always. February 5, 2013 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: It hardly lasts on me either, but I still enjoy it very much. That first hour is just so evocative. You can try applying it on well-moisturized skin. February 5, 2013 at 1:54pm Reply

  • Kristina K: I love Elizabeth Arden Green Tea 🙂 February 5, 2013 at 12:15pm Reply

    • nikki: Yes, and I read it was created by Francis Kurkdijan? February 5, 2013 at 1:23pm Reply

      • Victoria: Nikki, yes, it was made by Kurkdjian, and it was a very successful launch for Elizabeth Arden. I also liked the jasmine flanker. February 5, 2013 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like it also, but I haven’t smelled in a while. Need to revisit. February 5, 2013 at 1:54pm Reply

  • maja: Lovely article, as usual. I’m afraid I like my tea cheap – Elizabeth Arden Green Tea 🙂 But I used to enjoy it very much when I lived in Sardinia and have fond memories of those days. I should try to find Bulgari au the vert or is it discontinued? February 5, 2013 at 12:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a very nice tea fragrance, inspired by Bulgari’s The Vert. If you enjoy Green Tea, then definitely try Bulgari. It’s less citrusy than Green Tea, less effervescent. February 5, 2013 at 1:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, and no, Bulgari au The Vert is definitely not discontinued. It’s selling well enough, from what I hear, so (thankfully) it’s still with us. February 5, 2013 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Mel: I’m still in mourning for the discontinuation of L’Artisan’s Tea for Two. Which of your tea scents would you recommend as a lateral segue for TFT? I haven’t tried The Pour Un Ete but it just zoomed up to the top of my list. February 5, 2013 at 12:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: It may sound unlikely, but for me Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb fills the same niche as Tea for Two. And it’s more affordable. February 5, 2013 at 1:57pm Reply

      • Mel: Great to know! Thanks. Inspired by your post today and the weather at my California beach (cloudy and cool), I am enjoying a Cafe Andy moment w/ a cup of Darjeeling/lemon peel/vanilla/rosewater/apricot jam – his tea cocktail has become a ritual for me! February 5, 2013 at 3:08pm Reply

        • Victoria: For me as well. We need to ask Andy for more of his magic tea recipes! I love that rose-apricot jam combination. February 5, 2013 at 4:58pm Reply

    • Alityke: TfT is still available on QVC in the UK if that helps. I recently got 100mls at a very good price February 5, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Domestic Goblin: Bvlgari Eau The Vert is my favourite fragrance to wear in the summer time. The notes seem come alive on warm skin and higher temperatures. 🙂 February 5, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: My husband wears it almost exclusively, because I love it on him so much. You’re right, it’s even better in the summer. February 5, 2013 at 2:01pm Reply

  • iodine: I love drinking (and smelling) tea, but when it comes to perfumes I generally fail to detect and recognize the tea note… As you said in your article, teas themselves have rather complex bouquets, so maybe I tend to separate the various components and not to perceive the wholeness…
    Moreover, in Italy a few years ago there was a craze on “green tea”scented body products, so you could smell it almost everywhere, on everybody: no tea at all, to my nose, but very very unpleasant indeed, so I have grown a serious hate for that note!
    Nonetheless, I can perceive and appreciate a nice black tea note in Coeur de Vetiver Sacrè by L’Artisan, more than in the eponymous tea fragrances of the line (Thé pour un été being more on jasmine and Tea for Two on pain d’épices!) and, more recently, in Myrrhiad by Huitième Art. February 5, 2013 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for reminding me about Myrrhiad by Huitième Art and Coeur de Vetiver Sacrè by L’Artisan. I didn’t find Coeur de Vetiver Sacrè all that rich in vetiver, but the tea notes were so nice.

      I know exactly what you mean about the generic green tea fragrance that you find in many body products. I now associate hotels with that scent! February 5, 2013 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Anne Sheffield: Congratulations! So deserved too! M’y favourite tea perfume is Bulgari. To me a classic that hasn’t been matched. I am a big fan of green green fragrances. And I am glad you too mentioned Crystalle in the winter. I am wearing it too today and I find it amazing against the crisp cold! February 5, 2013 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Anne! And another Cristalle wearer. Today it was perfect in our odd weather. At first, there was sunshine, then rain, then snow, and then more sunshine. February 5, 2013 at 2:04pm Reply

  • Joanna: You must have been reading my mind, as I’ve recently been exploring tea fragrance options online (I adore the tea posts in this space). How serendipitous! Merci! February 5, 2013 at 12:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re welcome! I love the topic of tea, both in food and fragrance, so it’s always a pleasure to talk about it. February 5, 2013 at 2:04pm Reply

  • jirish: I love the tea note in Osmanthus Interdite and also find a strong tea note in PdE’s Ambre Russe. Everyone goes on about the vodka and champagne notes for that one, but on me that lasts only for a short time, while the tea note goes on brewing. February 5, 2013 at 1:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m with you, I don’t smell either vodka or champagne in Ambre Russe. On the other hand, it’s all about amber and smoky tea notes. A very good winter amber. February 5, 2013 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Alityke: Congratulations on your article. Good to know the media are enjoying your writing as much as I do.
    I was an early tea adopter with the Bulgari’s and EA Green Tea. I now have several tea based scents in my wardrobe, TfT is being eeked out now, having been fortunate enough to find a new bottle.
    My daily tea fix is Earl Grey with Lady Grey and Sunshine Grey thrown in when I fancy a change. Yep I am so English! February 5, 2013 at 3:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! 🙂 I confess that I truly fell in love with Bulgari au The Vert when I had to duplicate it as a perfumery student. Unfolding the perfume note by note and then putting it together was fascinating. Suddenly it made sense how a combination of sheer jasmine and woody violet can smell of green tea!

      My best friend stores her bottle of EA Green Tea in the fridge in the summer, and it’s the best refreshment on days when you can’t get enough cool breeze. February 5, 2013 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Merlin: A fragrance I really like for any exercise, walking, hiking, etc is L’Occitaine’s Vert. I know its quite simple and all but I find it really refreshing and pleasing, in its own way. Any thoughts about this one?
    (Maybe it is the dryness in Tea for Two that I find so difficult – I need to try it again!) February 5, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like it very much for this same reason. I also like the body products, especially the soaps. Unlike the generic green tea scents that I was complaining about earlier, it’s more interesting. February 5, 2013 at 4:57pm Reply

    • Annikky: I like it too, and I like it’s jasmine flanker even better – the tea note is realistic and the jasmine is quite lovely. I almost bought a FB during the recent sale and might still get it for summer (and scented baths/showers). February 6, 2013 at 6:26am Reply

  • Vanessa: Congratulations on another beautifully written article in a major title!

    Two of my favourite tea scents are Atelier Oolong Infini and Bvlgari Black, though you have reminded me of The pour un Ete, the scent I should have bought right at the start of my hobby, but at the last minute I plumped for L’Ete en Douce, only to repent my purchase at leisure. February 5, 2013 at 6:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Vanessa.
      I had a mixed impression of L’Ete en Douce. On the one hand, I loved its breezy, lighthearted character, but it quickly turned boring. The Pour un Ete, on the other hand, is much more interesting. February 6, 2013 at 7:28am Reply

  • Claire: Beautifully written article as always, Victoria! Another vote here for L’Artisan Tea for Two and AG Sables. Sables is one of my first love in tea perfumes: smoky but pungent at the same time (perhaps due to the pepper?). Tea for Two is a comfort perfume, truly sad when I heard it is discontinued. I haven’t really venture to the greener tea notes, but hearing that Elena was inspired by Mariage Freres (which is my favorite tea house) gives me a reason to try the Bulgary. Thank you again for the wonderful article. February 6, 2013 at 12:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m happy that you’ve enjoyed it. I can talk about tea endlessly, so I’m glad that there is a group of tea lovers here.
      Sables is one of those intriguing fragrances that grows on you little by little. At first, I found it very odd, thick, syrupy, but as I revisited it time to time, I realized that it keeps my interest and offers something more every time I smell it. What else can you ask of a perfume, right? February 6, 2013 at 7:30am Reply

      • Claire: Absolutely!! In fact, now that you mentioned that Sables is syrupy, I almost forgot that the maple note was what attracted me to the fragrance at first, then I started to notice the smokiness, then the pungency, etc. “It’s like onion” (to quote Shrek — a less elegant but nevertheless scented creature :-)) it has layers on it. Layers upon layers of discover, that is why we all love perfume so much. February 6, 2013 at 11:10pm Reply

  • yin: lovely article, victoria!

    my favourite tea perfume is probably tea for two – which is funny, because tea for two is nothing like how i like my actual teas (light, refreshing and clean-tasting, jasmine/green/chrysanthemum) but it’s wonderfully cozy in cool weather. i have yet to find the perfect tea scent that actually evokes tea for me. perhaps i am just too picky! February 6, 2013 at 3:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve discovered chrysanthemum teas recently, and I’m hooked. The slightly bitter, earthy flavor with a hint of green apple is almost addictive. Now, I want to find that in perfume. 🙂 February 6, 2013 at 7:32am Reply

  • Patt: Great article, Victoria. In addition to the perfumes already mentioned, I’m very fond of Tocca Bianca, a citrus-rose sweet tea. Very nice on a hot summer’s day. February 6, 2013 at 7:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Patt! I haven’t tried Bianca, so that’s something new to discover. February 6, 2013 at 7:33am Reply

  • Snowyowl: I am wondering if anyone has experienced Guerlain Tokyo, which has a lovely, subtle green tea combined with vanilla/jasmine note to it, and yet it is nuanced and feels so subtle, like a gentle presence when I wear it. I love it, it speaks to me as a variation on my usually ‘darker’ choices. I have a small sample and am considering splurging on a full bottle. However, I have not tried many of the other fragrances listed in your wonderful article, Victoria. Has anyone experienced both Tokyo and many of these others and have an opinion on whether another could suffice? Thanks! September 13, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

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