tea fragrances: 9 posts

L’Artisan Parfumeur Histoire d’Orangers : Perfume Review

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This review of Histoire d’Orangers, a fragrance created by perfumer Marie Salamagne for L’Artisan Parfumeur, continues both the Women in Perfumery and The Scents of Tea series.

Annick Goutal’s Néroli was one of my favorite orange blossom perfumes. I loved its graceful, lighter than sea-foam character paired with its robust lasting power, and it made me content. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a limited edition and the Cologne version that replaced it was pretty but flimsy. Until I discovered L’Artisan’s Histoire d’Orangers this summer, I’ve been rationing my last few drops of Néroli.

On the face of it, I shouldn’t have had trouble finding a replacement for a simple orange blossom cologne. They’re a dime a dozen. You can have a bottle for a couple of euros (Roger & Gallet Bois d’Orange) or for a couple of hundred (Tom Ford Néroli Portofino). But as my perfumery teacher Sophia Grojsman says, nothing is more difficult than a simple thing. Many orange blossom colognes smelled either too pale (Jo Malone Orange Blossom), too dry (Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte), too flashy (the aforementioned Tom Ford), or just not right (Houbigant Oranger en Fleurs). The beauty of Annick Goutal’s Néroli was that it captured all the facets of the real thing, like the honeyed softness, indolic tang, and green sharpness, but made them refined and velvety. Every time I picked up the bottle and pressed the nozzle, I imagined a shower of white petals brushing my skin.

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Reading Tea Leaves: Best Tea Perfumes in 10 Different Styles

The scent of tea leaves is created by hundreds of aroma-molecules, and each variety has its unique fragrance. Terroir plays a role as does the method of curing the tea leaves. For instance, steamed Japanese teas like sencha and matcha have grassy, spinach-like aromas thanks to hexenal, while mildly oxidized oolongs share aromatics with lilac blossoms, roses and jasmine (nerolidol, cis-jasmone, linalool). The smoky profiles of teas like lapsang souchong are created by molecules like pyrazines, longifolene and guaiacol. In an interesting twist, guaiacol, along with certain types of pyrazines, is what gives roasted coffee its distinctive scent, which is why smoky teas are recommended to coffee drinkers wanting to expand their horizons. With such a rich palette of aromas, the tea accord is a fascinating exercise for a perfumer.

In my recent article on the development of Bulgari’s Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, I described how Jean-Claude Ellena discovered a novel accord and created a modern classic. Since Bulgari launched the perfume in 1992, it became the green tea of fragrance. However, tea accords aren’t limited to delicate green blends, and when I began researching my article, I realized how many fragrances successfully incorporate a tea effect, both light and dark. I decided to make a list of the most interesting examples, in 10 different styles.

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Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Bleu : Perfume Review

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Who could have predicted that one of the greatest perfumes of the 20th century would be a rejected green tea accord? Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert was originally created by Jean-Claude Ellena for Christian Dior, but at the last moment, the house decided on what is now Fahrenheit. A number of fragrance houses also shook their heads, until the Italian jeweler Bvlgari took a gamble on Ellena’s mod. The rest is history.

the bleu

Today, despite its young age, a mere 23 years, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert is in the pantheon of perfumery classics for its laconic composition and distinctive character. The theme invites plenty of variations and none have been more interesting than Bvlgari’s own. The green tea note can be embellished with orange blossom and bitter herbs (Eau Parfumée au Thé Blanc), pepper and fig (Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge), or, as is the case with the latest sequel, Eau Parfumée au Thé Bleu, iris and lavender.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur The pour un Ete : Perfume Review

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Andy dreams of finding a fragrance that smells of jasmine tea.  

In concept, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Thé pour un Été sounds like the perfect perfume for a tea lover like myself. Created in 1995 by Olivia Giacobetti, Thé pour un Été is meant to evoke the experience of sipping an icy glass of jasmine tea on a hot day. Unfortunately, my experience of repeatedly trying this perfume has felt more like sweating it out in the sun, still waiting for that glass of iced tea to come my way.

the ete1

 

Soon after applying Thé pour un Été though, I am quickly reminded of its more interesting older cousin, Bulgari’s Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert. Where Thé Vert seems fresh and original, I don’t find nearly as much creativity in Thé pour un Été, which embellishes a familiar green tea accord with citrus, gauzy jasmine, and crisp herbs.

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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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