I’m always attracted to fragrances with a good tea note. I think it’s the dark, smoky, yet comforting aroma that I love so much. In warmer weather I could happily wear Osmanthe Yunnan day after day, while during the colder months I wrap myself up in a layer of Tea for Two.
When I first got into perfume in a big way, Tea for Two was talked about a lot on Now Smell This but was discontinued at the time. Last autumn, to my surprise, it popped up on the L’Artisan Parfumeur website and without much hesitation I pulled the trigger on a 100ml blind buy. Thank goodness I did because it was love at first sniff.
Tea for Two is a cosy yet chic aromatic composition of smoky lapsang souchong tea, warm spice and leather on a vanilla base.
Originally launched in 2000, the Nose behind this fragrance is Olivia Giacobetti. The top notes are bergamot, star anise and tea; middle notes are cinnamon, ginger, spices and gingerbread; base notes are honey, vanilla, leather and tobacco.
Normally I have big problems with cinnamon because it can be spiky and irritating but thankfully it doesn’t put me off at all in Two for Two. It’s well blended with the other spices which lay beautifully over the darker accords.
I love the smell of smoke but often birch tar leathers feel too one dimensional or overtly masculine on me. Tea for Two has lots of smoke but it’s balanced out by the sweet spice, drizzle of honey and bed of vanilla. It may sound like a heavy-hitter but in keeping with Giacobetti’s usual style, it has a lot of buoyancy.
Its depth and contrasts can keep me interested for days on end. I find it both relaxing and stimulating.
It’s pretty linear and dry but a gorgeous vanilla does seep through from the base over time. It’s the kind of fragrance that you regularly catch wafts of over the course of a day’s wear and lasting power is excellent.
It’s the perfect fragrance for autumn because it encapsulates all of those wonderful seasonal aromas like bonfires, steaming hot cups of tea, warm spices and new leather boots.
At this time of year Tea for Two contains everything I crave.
Imagine it’s a cold Friday in November and you’re escaping the city with your other half until Monday. You’re in the car listening to the rain hammer the roof as you turn onto the gravel drive of a country hotel a couple of hours outside of London. You and your partner enter the warmth of the lobby and find you are just in time for afternoon tea.
You sink into leather chairs beside a crackling fireplace. Laid before you on a pristine white tablecloth is a pot of piping hot tea, with a jar of honey to add sweetness and a china plate of pastries and spicy gingerbread.
You smile softly, feeling soothed and excited as you look forward to the weekend ahead.
N.B. Great news! L’Artisan Parfumeur are re-releasing Tea for Two (100ml EDT) from November 2014.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried Tea for Two and what other smoky fragrances you’d recommend.