Tea for Two
L’Artisan Parfumeur, 2000
Nose: Olivia Giacobetti
Tea For Two perfume is exactly as I was hoping it to be! Dark! Bold! Smokey! Dense and unapologetic! Yet gracious and graceful, yet warmly inviting you to take a break, to pose and to catch the breath. Indeed, why don’t sit next to me, and have some tea! (Of course!)
I absolutely adore the composition, which although is changing and glimmering slightly different facets each time I sprayed it – is not a level-by-level scaffolding composition. To the contrary, Olivia Giacobetti’s mastery in this fragrance is expressed by a olfactory orchestration that is humbly working within one or two registers. Tea For Two shows the mastery and opulence with just few tones and shades of nonchalant perfumery! We start of with liquorice smoky tea, plushed with bergamot into familiar and cosy terrain of early grey tea, but not replicating it. The darkly and smoky lapsang souchong black tea is so adorable here, and anise just makes this perfume a true star!
Ah those undertones of liquorice and aniseed chewiness, that warm smokiness! They drive me mad! Absolutely adore it! It’s one of those rare moments I’m having here right now, writing these words: I just can’t stop smelling and sniffing myself! It’s like wanting to sick up my arm into my nose and never stop! (Ough… now I scare myself!)
Perfume of oozy liquor, dense and smokey, rum and whiskey on tobacco. Sweet tobacco juice, macerated leaves for weeks to mature and crack that deep brown, wet nuance of slow, thick, meandering smoke, and meandering lazy in the air for there is no rush whatsoever… All the spices and accord notes are here in the L’Artisan Perfumer’s fragrance form the beginning: the scent is quite linear in this respect. And this perfume is a meisterstück!
In many respects it is so much harder to build a convincing and satisfying linear perfume, because it needs to be whole effect all the way through, right from the beginning of the perfume’s life span. One cannot count on second and third chances of heart or base notes, if the previous one does not make you fall in love with the scent. It is a hit or miss with linear fragrances, and this one is pure gold!
Ah the heart… A little less sweet, a little more astringent and tart, a touch more black and tarry. But the tar is hidden behind the other douce notes that take away all the nasty aspects of tarryness, and leave us with the heavy density of the black coal in the heady day of summer amid a rural road with patches of tar filling up the holes…
That is how I find the heart of the L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea for Two fragrance. Smokey, dense and gooey, but gooey nicely, like you know, that almost abject-like thick and repelling something; and yet, you are so drawn to it that you just can’t help yourself and have to stick something into it… Stir it, feel with your hands, haptically, that engulfing pressure on your fingers…
Later into the phasing, the fragrance becomes drier, less opulent and more, hmmmmm, dehydrated, just like leaves of withered and tedded black tea… also the drier facets of tobacco are here a touch more prominent, instead of the more molasses-infused thus dump, maceration silos of cured tobacco as featured in the earlier stages.
Finally, a hint of sweet leather pops up occasionally, but mind you! Leather here is a hint and background layering, not a note on its own. Well, at least for me; it works in combination with other notes to create that ideal plush formation, a soft shawl that woos and bewitches you, so you have no choice but to give yourself up to the scent…
Notes: bergamot, star anise and tea // cinnamon, ginger, spices and gingerbread // honey, vanilla, leather and tobacco.
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