“Tea is water bewitched” Robert Louis Stevenson
Tetley the ‘tea folk’ have launched a Tea inspired fragrance (Tetley-Le Brew) which has many people bemused, .. who wants to smell like a cuppa char!? Promoted by the fair Tina, the female team member who poses on the packaging in a Marilyn Monroe guise, the perfume is described as ‘fresh, exotic and spring-like’ and ‘reminiscent of the tropical scents in the company’s Kenyan tea plantation’.
I have missed the boat (or should that be tea trolley?) in getting hold of a bottle of this to smell – so I am unable to pass comment on the fragrant juice itself but two notes included are Clary sage and Oakmoss.
However, it is not such an odd ingredient to include in a fragrance, in perfumery many aromatic plants are used and ‘Camellia sinensis’ (Tea) is an inspiring note to structure a fragrance around. Consider the smokiness of a black tea like Lapsang souchong; the delicate, floral tang of a Jasmine green tea, the cucumber, melon notes of chinese green tea and (rolls eyes in bliss) the citrus, floral dry notes of a well crafted Earl Grey and lastly, not forgetting the delicate, (expensive) soft sweetness of a white Silver Needle – the possibilities are endless.
Here are a few commercial fragrance examples:
- Elizabeth Arden – Green Tea
- L’ Artisan Parfumeur – Tea for Two
This is my new bottle of Tea for Two – which I LOVE!! It is soft, smoky, with a little spice and dries down beautifully to an incredible sniffable, nuzzle-worthy scent. Understated, subtly sexy- hooo harrr (as Al Pacino would exclaim)
- Bulgari eau parfumee Au The Vert (Green tea)
- Bulgari eau parfumee Au The Blanc (White tea)
Within the aromatic realm of natural perfumery a few ingredients pop to mind that possess a tea-like quality, so could be blended with other materials to create a ‘tea’ inspired perfume:
- Green tea absolute – I do not (yet) possess this, but it is on my ‘covetlust’ list. From my ‘aromabiblia’ the smell is delicate, slightly sweet, leathery, herbaceous with a balsamic, woody undertone, I am thinking it would blend really well with Clary sage, Jasmine, Wild Rose, Oakmoss, birch tar, black currant bud …just for starters!
From my numerous meanderings into archives and books, it is described as a thicky, grainy, solid mass and can be quite challenging to work with; however it is available in a diluted form (in grain alcohol). In natural perfumery Steffan Arctander says “it can be used to produce sweet-herbaceous notes in certain floral perfumes eg: gardenia, freesia, jasmin and to produce new effects in wood or non-florals in general.” I am thinking perhaps, herbal bouquest, green accords, chypres and amber bases perhaps?
- Rose absolute/otto: depending on your rose and which country its from bouquet notes range from honeyed, green tea like notes, touches of beeswax and trace elements of fruit (teas!) apricot, strawberry, raspberry
- Neroli and Bergamot – lend a citrus, light green, floral aroma reminiscent of some green teas and of course Earl Grey tea.
- Clary sage – I have an essential oil, but there is an absolute available which offers a different fragrance, the oil is intriguing: sweet-herbaceous, drying out to a faint tobacco/amber tea-like note. I read somewhere – not substantiated – that Clary sage has reminscent undertone of fresh male sweat (Eau de lumberjack??
- Vetiver – There are numerous types of Vetiver with their own nuanced fragrance characteristics. I have a rich, beautiful Vetiver Bourbon and its smoky, very earthy/woody wafts remind me of bonfire smoke on an autumn night; so this in itself can lend a note that is reminiscent of a Russian Caravan-type tea/or overlap with a Lapsang souchong
- Tobacco – again, dry masculine ‘tobacco’ cigar note that might be found in a Lapsang Souchong could give a sophisticated, warm edge to a tea-bouquet.
A not so tenuous link but I have tasted the most sublime Earl Grey from the East India Tea Company, and have also tried teas from the following companies Leaf, Jing and Lahloo. I am storing away, ‘squirrel-like’, these aromatic memories to draw on for some tea-inspired perfume themes – which of course I shall share in good time.
<Sigh> we have not even touched on Chai’s and spiced teas as a structure for a tea perfume..next time!
Until then, go put the kettle on!