Making some free associations with smell at my solo tea party

Artichoke made to look like a rose

My other half has gone to several work-related social events recently (safely; most people we know are very cautious and are vaccinated and/or take precautions). Sometimes, he returns bearing corporate-funded snacks. I mention this because among said snacks is one with which we’ve both become smitten: dried Montmorency tart cherries! Family farm grown. Very low sodium. Infused with organic apple juice concentrate.

On the back of the pack, we learn that these cherries contain at least 17 antioxidants and are misted with organic safflower oil to prevent clumping.

They are quite delicious.

And, to me, they smell just like black tea.

Perhaps mixed with a bit of yerba mate.

I tried to verify this with aforementioned other half. What do these smell like to you? I asked.

“Cherries,” he replied.

“But typical cherry notes are made with benzaldehyde, which smells like bitter almonds,” I countered with faux matter-of-factness—I’ve told him all of this before at some point, and he believes everything I tell him about smells and perfume…

It’s too late for him. He smells cherries because he’s seen cherries. Even though they looked more like raisins.

I kept the empty packet around for a couple of days just to keep sniffing it from time to time. It smells like tea.

Not unlike the smoothened mate note in Floraïku The Moon and I, a perfume whose only fault to my nose is its extremely short lasting power. Nor far removed from the strangeness that is Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly (a free sample I was very surprised to receive with my purchase of the Floraïku discovery set). Dear Polly is a tea perfume, for sure, but it also has something else very pronounced and synthetic—is it in aid of the apple top note or the oakmoss base note? It’s alluring in a way that reminds me of travel, which may be by design based on the love story between the founder Jan and his eponymous wife that started at an airport, who knows? Something minty and plasticky. Not quite my cup of… ahem, tea… but then, my name isn’t Polly, so it wasn’t meant to be anyway.

I have been on a tea-perfume discovery kick of late, although substitutions have applied—with a recent purchase at Luckyscent, I had requested a sample of Masque Milano Russian Tea (among others) and instead got Byredo Mixed Emotions. Not to add to the mountain of clichés, but I really did have exactly those regarding this fragrance. It opens with blackcurrant and mate, as promised, and I do like blackcurrant, especially in Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau. Somehow I initially mistook it for grapefruit. However, it soon turns a bit acrid, with heavy tones of, shall I say… rhubarb?! For a few hours, this is where Mixed Emotions lingers—berry, rhubarb (not listed), and tea. Like a pop art rendering of body odor, with bold colors and sharp outlines only; none of the musky, smudged nuances of the IRL version. It calms down to a more pleasant drydown, vaguely woody and smoky. Can we edit out the whole middle part, please?

Someday, I’ll find my perfect bottle of tea… perfume.

3 thoughts on “Making some free associations with smell at my solo tea party

  1. Yes, I agree that Bvlgari has some interesting stuff around tea note. There is even a story about it mentioned in Chandler Burr’s The Perfect Scent book. And maybe a world away from what you are looking for – it is a true gourmand – but Kerosene’s Unknown Pleasures is built around pretty Earl Grey accord.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great read. Have you ever tried Tea for Two by L’Artisan Parfumeur? Russian Tea by Masque Milano is a good one, but not sure I’d need a full bottle. Masque’s latest offering Lost Alice has a tea note mixed with a carrot cake accord. Very well done, and not too sweet. Might be worth a try. The Bulgari Tea Series and Gucci Pour Homme II are some of my picks from the designer world. Hopefully you find the perfect tea scent one day.

    Liked by 2 people

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