I love tea scents as much as I love tea – a lot. Green tea mania hit in the 90s, and Bvlgari’s Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert became a staple in every perfume lovers collection. I also enjoy L’Artisan Parfumeur’s The Pour une Ete which is a gentle green tea with a barely there jasmine, so pretty. I have and love Jo Malone White Jasmine & Mint, a lovely powdery mint tea with a gentle jasmine, but I tend to wear it to bed more than anything.
Christopher Brosius’s I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea water perfume and perfume absolute are based on black tea vs green. At first spritz I thought hmm, a lovely black tea scent, and went on about my day. It is the dry down of this Russian Caravan Tea that surprises and delights. And the fact that such a gentle, water based scent could last all day. By gentle I mean hardly any sillage, it wears very close to the skin but throughout the day little wafts of the scent of warm comforting steeped tea wrap around me like a silk scarf. This isn’t an herbal tea, or a green tea. It’s a rich black tea, steeped for a long time. It smells like a quality black tea that brings to mind the Russian Tea tradition. A cozy baroque room, tea served in beautiful podstakannik (silver holders for glasses) and maybe even some Russian Tea Cakes.
My mother’s family is Ukrainian and we always had a Russian tea samovar in our home – see above. It always seemed to grand & royal to me- of another time and place, the kind of thing used to serve tea in fairy tales. It had old Russian wiring so it was never used, which made it all the more mysterious. My grandfather was a palace guard in the Tsar’s army and I like to imagine the tea the Romanovs might have enjoyed in the palace, and the scents that might have been wafting around. Tea was an important occasion in the palace, and the Empress Alexandra had a love of fresh cut flowers. Maybe the combined scent of flowers and tea with some buttery tea cakes is the scent I imagine.
The notes from CB I Hate Perfume’s site say there are smoky notes but I can’t smell any smoke at all. Perhaps its so smooth it doesn’t smell lapsang souchong smoky which is good because that kind of smoky would not be a pleasant perfume. There are also notes of bergamot and the citrus is noticeable but so subtle and compliment the tea perfectly. And Russian Caravan Tea is very lovely, addictive almost. Interestingly it is not sweet, which is what ends up bothering me about most tea scents. Perhaps the citrus balances the tea and adds another dimension in lieu of sweetness. Yet its not bitter either- its just right.