Andy: 34 posts

Andy Gerber is a student with a love of reading, writing, cooking, collecting and drinking tea, and growing plants of all kinds. At a young age, he developed a natural affinity to everything botanical, and his fascination has never waned since. His expertise revolves around fragrant plants, teas and medicinal herbs.

Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur : Perfume Review

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Andy on his love of incense.

If there’s one thing I smell to feel better, it’s frankincense. Whether I need a break from typing, am feeling stressed, need to be jolted awake—I often simply reach for my pouch of frankincense tears and take a deep whiff. Even if I rarely find the time to conduct an incense ceremony all my own, just a brief inhale of frankincense has come to feel like a special, private ritual to me. I mention my habit of smelling this special resin because Aedes de Venustas’s Copal Azur, created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, captures every element of frankincense I love, from brisk piquancy all the way down to rich, balsamic sweetness.

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Soon after Copal Azur melds into the skin, it reminds me of crushed peppercorns and cardamom pods. As this initial fiery sizzle begins to soften, the frankincense starts to shine through with a nearly pine-like, aromatic freshness. The overall effect is bracing and crisp, uplifting enough to widen one’s eyes for a moment, but devoid of any rough edges.

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Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli : Perfume Review

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Andy on some of his most versatile orange blossom perfumes. On the difference between neroli and orange blossom (and other fragrances with these notes), please see an entry in our Perfume Lexicon.

It’s often that I look at my bevy of perfume bottles, samples, and decants, and wonder which one I might choose if I could only wear a single fragrance, day in and day out. After some consideration, I’m often apt to think Atelier Cologne’s Grand Néroli would be a perfect choice. My first instinct is usually to think I’d select a perfume that I could be sure would surprise me with unexpected twists and take me on an infinite journey every time I wore it, but Grand Néroli is none such a perfume.

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In fact, when I think more practically, I realize that owning only one perfume bottle would require that my scent be interesting yet simple, and versatile enough to suit every occasion while still possessing a memorable appeal. In light of this theoretical dilemma, I don’t hesitate to choose Grand Néroli, because this refined, fresh fragrance always feels like the right thing to wear, no matter what.

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By Kilian Imperial Tea : Perfume Review

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Our resident tea expert Andy explores Kilian’s Imperial Tea, as he is searching for a jasmine tea in a perfume bottle.

The unending lure of creating new tea-inspired perfumes never ceases to amaze me. I’m always convinced the tea fragrance trend is on the brink of disappearing, that perfume houses have labeled it entirely passé, until yet another tea scent is launched, much to my delight. In the past, I’ve found myself sometimes disappointed by tea perfumes, so when I found out about By Kilian’s new addition to the Asian Tales Collection, Imperial Tea, I sat up in attention.

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Calice Becker, the nose behind the radiant, green tea-inflected Tommy Girl, clearly authored Imperial Tea with a different point of reference. Imperial Tea takes a decidedly photorealistic approach to conjuring tea, in comparison to the airy abstraction of Tommy Girl and its relatives. However, with my overall feelings on Imperial Tea split, I’ve come to question whether or not this realistic approach is any more effective at capturing the spirit of twisted leaves and steaming cups.

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My Perfume Story : Andy

Andy, whose perfume reviews and tea articles we have been enjoying on these pages, shares a story of how he fell in love with scents.

Like so many others, I didn’t enter the world of fragrance in a contemplative tiptoe. Without plan, and against my better sensibilities, I plummeted into this universe in a headlong nosedive.

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Fully explaining my fragrance journey up to now is to tell a true love story though, which is to say that along with incredible serendipity and bliss, has not been without occasional doubt and darkness. Unforgettable is the exhilaration I felt when I first tentatively tested some perfumes, finding myself feeling at once both helplessly surrendered to and strangely in control of my own sense of pleasure. On the other hand, it’s hard to forget the misgivings that initially led me to look deeper into perfume in the first place.

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Warmth and Comfort: Perfect Teas for Autumn

Andy invites us to share a cup of tea.

I’m never really sure autumn has begun until I can smell the fallen leaves. Even as the trees begin to shed their green coats, sporadic warm days and bright sunshine deliver teases of summer. Nonetheless, once the leaves begin to tumble, so fall the tea leaves into my cup, and when dried foliage starts to crunch underfoot and release its crisp perfume of vetiver, myrrh, and scorched citrus peels, I know I’m in another season. Much in the way I select a perfume to wear, I often tailor my choice of tea to harmonize with the seasonal scents that naturally color my day. Whether you wish to reflect the time of year in your teacup or simply want to experience a taste of fall wherever you are, below are some of my favorite autumnal teas.

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The Art of Tea Caramelized Pear

I never would have believed a tea could deliver on a promise as specific as caramelized fruit, but this offering by Art of Tea actually does. The real wonder lies in a pear flavor married perfectly with the toasty softness of rooibos, so as to create the effect not merely of pears, but those slowly baked in the oven and glazed with golden sugar. This herbal tea is an indulgent choice, but even a sometimes tea-purist like myself can appreciate the autumnal embrace of this comforting cup.

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