Time for tea… tea for ten… The Perfumed Dandy’s Sunday Supplement

The warm glow left by an hearty lunch is starting to fade away into the distance this grey Sunday here in London.

So, at The Perfumed Dandy‘s place thoughts are already turning to that wonderful fixture of every gentleman’s day: afternoon tea.

For many poor souls the hectic world which they live means that there’s no time for the proper taking of tea of an everyday afternoon. But come the weekend The Dandy simply insists one must make time for tea!!

And if there is no time for tea itself?

Why not take a tea scented perfume instead?

In order to accommodate the proper apportment of a favourable fragrance for a tea party or even (if times is hard) something to wear in place of taking of tea itself, The Dandy has set out on a search for the best tea scent a gent can buy.

The hunt is on going, but so far your gentleman of the scents has found that as well as “Two for Tea” there are at least another nine worthy guests to be invited…

1. L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

Some argue that this craftsman’s work is more spice and smoke than real tea.

The Dandy says “Have you never tasted lapsang souchong?”

This one wholeheartedly meets with approval here at Dandy Mansions, as it’s able to give a decided kick up the proverbials to even the dullest social intercourse.

Not of course that there’s ever a dull moment here.

2. Jo Malone Tea Collection Assam and Grapefruit

Coming from the now Jo-less Jo Malone’s Tea Collection this plays amiably on the indisputable affinity between tea and citrus, though whether there’s actually any tea in the composition or merely a suggestion is a moot point.

The twist is one of the most accurate renderings of a grapefruit (a pomelo being a rather thick skinned version of everyone’s favourite breakfat fruit) anywhere in fragrance.

Light and fresh and not too sweet, not at all that sweet actually.

3. Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au The Vert

A deliciously herbaceous green tea with a great wedge of lemon.

That’s it. No less no more.

But whatever you might think of it, this typically sparse affair from Jean Claude Ellena is something of a reference scent in this class.

Longevity is variable, but one might try layering with the body products to increase the overall effect.

4. Illuminum Tribal Black Tea

Setting aside the inexplicably unappealing and industrial packaging that is the downfall of this otherwise delightful house, this is a quite deliciously simple scent.

There is citrus at the start, but beyond that a good clear note of black tea set off marvelously with cardamon.

Just lovely.

5. CoSTUME NATIONAL Scent Intense

Looking more like the front end of an art deco motorcar than your average flacon, this is a suitable storage mechanism for a decidedly streamlined scent.

It would be easy to miss the tea in this at first as it has to compete with very efficient amber and patchouli notes (The Dandy gets much less sandalwood than others) but there it is and it leands a certain civility to a perfume that might be a little too modern without it.

One for a very contemporary tea party one feels.

6. Fragonard Concerto

My goodness, what is it with tea and all this brushed aluminium and faux industrialism? I sense an unwelcome theme emerging…

A more welcome connection between many of these fragrances is that they genuinely do capture that illusive Holy Grail of perfumery “freshness” - much more pleasantly to my mind than many aquatics or heavy citruses.

Allegedly male – since when did the taking of tea become a gender issue? – this is a light and airy bergamot infused little number.

Perhaps a little uninspiring tout seul, it is quite lovely as part of a cleansing routine when taken along with the accompanying toiletries. At Fragonard’s prices why not bag the lot?

7. Roger & Gallet The Vert

Sticking with Gallic retro reliability, Roger & Gallet are guardians of one of the world’s oldest colognes and maintain an admirably wide range of perfumes in this concentration (Cedrat and Orange are much under rated favourites of The Dandy‘s).

Like much else in the house’s range The Vert is exactly what it says on the ample container – a refreshing perfumed water – as such it does not aim to be nor is it overly sophisticated, long lasting or intense.

It is pleasantly perfumed and very refreshing – perfect when that’s what you want.

8. L’Artisan Parfumeur The Pour Un Ete

A counterpoint to The Dandy‘s first pick from the perfumed craftspeople, this is a much less spicy and smoked affair, but it has a wonderful jasmine note that carries it away into a different realm from other teas.

The lemon here is also to die for and there’s a deal more mint in my opinion than is often noted by other noses.

A scent for summer? Perhaps.

A perfume to cut through humid heat? Undoubtedly.

9. Robert Piguet Chai

A new addition to the increasingly highly esteemed re-imagined Robert Piguet collection, Chai comes across as a much more complex affair than many of the others mentioned here.

Yet, its notes are not dissimilar: both bergamot and beeswax are there, but the substitution of white tea for black and a magnificent basenote of mate take this brew in a decidedly different direction.

Potentially difficult to track down in some parts of the world as it ‘is intended for an Asian market’ (really?), this is undoubtedly worth the effort.

10. Angela Flanders Earl Grey

Presiding over her perfectly formed perfume shop on Columbia Road, home to London’s Sunday morning flower market, where The Dandy was just this morning (as you ask, some lovely purple roses) Angela’s fragrances have become something of a British institution – just like afternoon tea itself.

Not, strictly a ‘tea scent’ at all – except in name and allusion, this oriental chypre is sumptuously splendid, with bergamot sitting on top of a suitably dark rosewood heart and a green and earth base.

This maybe a slight cheat, but Angela’s Earl is undoubtedly The Dandy’s favourite.

So there we have it – ten for tea!!

Quite a crowd I should say, but there’s always room for more at The Dandy‘s table…

My search for the ultimate tea scented experience is far from complete and I would simply adore it if you could suggest a few more brews for us all to try.

You never know, the best answers might earn you an invitation to The Dandy‘s parlour.

I say.

More tea vicar?

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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27 Comments

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27 responses to “Time for tea… tea for ten… The Perfumed Dandy’s Sunday Supplement

  1. Refreshing, as only an exquisitely brewed cup can be!
    Thank you,
    V

  2. rosestrang

    I’d love to suggest another tea scent but haven’t tried many, except au The Vet which I wore a lot a few summers ago, quite elegant, made me think of a jug of chilled water with herbs and citrus. Bulgari’s Black is based on Lapsang Souchong which I think it captures, hence the ‘car tyres’ note people talk about.
    By the way Monsieur Dandy, have you ever tried loose leaf Earl Grey with a tiny pinch of Lapsang Sounchong? It’s so refreshing!

  3. rosestrang

    Ha! I mean au The Vert, not Oh the Vet!

  4. From your list I tried only first three. Tea for Two and Assam & Grapefruit (btw, pomelo isn’t a version of grapefruit- it’s its parent) are still my favorites and I got tired of Bvlgari and gave it away.

    Some other perfumes with tea note in them that I like: Oolang Infini by Atelier Cologne, Bamboo Harmony by By Kilian, London by Guerlain and Five O’Clock au Gingembre by Serge Lutens.

    • Hello Undina
      Thank you for the illuminating information about the pomelo – it’s always good to know where one’s fruit hang off the family tree.
      Tea for Two is rather delicious, but I understand why some others don;t regard it as a ‘true tea’ – though I don’t agree.
      Your other suggestions sound enchanting Oolang Infini had slipped my mind otherwise I would have included it, the others I will now start a hunt for!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Lilybelle

    The Illuminum one sounds interesting, black tea + cardamom. I’m not fond of Earl Grey tea. Did you know it is scented with bergamot, which is just fine in a perfume, but I don’t like drinking it.

  6. Dearest Lily
    This is an interesting house that does elemental notes very well – it’s wild tobacco is quite remarkable.
    Yes, I did know that bergamot was the distinctive flavour behind Earl Grey and I do believe that much of the pleasure of that particular “cuppa” derives from the scent rather than the taste.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  7. batkitty

    Oh Tea for Two, how I love thee! Great way to start the list–this has such an amazing Lapsang smoky core. And I’m most curious about the Illuminum perfume. I’ll have to track some down to try.

    • Dear Batkitty
      Do hunt down the Illuminum – I am very curious to know other people’s thoughts as many people find their fragrances to simple. I feel, however, that the notes are so well executed that they earn their sparse treatment.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  8. I’m happy you included Jo Malone. I was first introduced to the Lime Basil and Mandarin Cologne at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London. Each room is stocked with lotions and soaps galore. Now whenever I wear my Lime Basil, which is very unisex, I might add, I’m transported to Knightsbridge. :)
    I’d love to sample Angela’s Earl. It sounds glorious.
    Gripping

    • Dear Gripping
      What a wonderful story.
      Now I can’t remember whether The Dandy’s ever mentioned it before, but this is very similar to my experience with Hermes Orange Vert…
      I was staying in an hotel in Budapest and the room came complete with with a full compliment of toiletries including the perfume (long gone and replaced) and a gorgeous soap in an emerald dish that I have never had the heart to use. One day perhaps.
      Isn’t it wonderful how scents or even the mention of them can transport us so through time and space?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Cairo Rose

    Well we are all now dying to try Angela Flander’s Earl Grey, my favorite flavor of tea…and Robert Piguet’s Chai as I adore freshly ground green cardamom. Collecting tea pots and tea cups is a hobby of mine, how “evil” of The Dandy to combine tea and perfumes!!!

    • Dear Rose
      I do adore Angela’s Earl Grey and for a chypre, it is quite easy to wear even for those not accustomed to the genre or wary of it.
      Columbia Road is not only home to this wonderful parfumeurs and a flower market, but also a splendid array of small craft and antique shops where I am sure you would be able to indulge your tea cup habit too.
      It may be a dangerous place for you ever to visit!!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  10. brie

    As you know I ADORE drinking tea…thank you for this wonderful review of all the tea that I should be wearing!!!!

    • Dear Brie
      There’s nothing better than a refreshing brew of one’s favourite blend no matter what it be.
      I do hope these recommendations hit the spot – I felt I should make a mends after last week’s unsuccessful outing with Elizabeth Arden!!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  11. Have you considered Kerosenes Unknown Pleasures? It’s tea based but to me it’s more of an orgy of cakes (and what’ not to like about that?)

  12. Miss Misty

    I am drolling now over the Angela Flanders Earl Grey description….
    Another lovely Earl Grey would be L’Occitane’s Bergamot The.
    And there is a wonderful winter tea scent from Stephanie de Saint-Aignan
    “Un The Au Sahara” A minty spicy amber tea.

    I am cancelling know my afternoon cup of coffee…

  13. How wonderful to read the finale. When I was last at Angela’s, Earl Grey was the one I bought. So clover and poetic. I love it.

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