18 dicembre 2010

Comme des Garcons Serie1: Leaves TEA

During the polar days with a hoarfrost I didn't see since some years ago in Milan, the first thing I happen to make just coming back home is a smoking tea cup: it's the only thing that really warms me.
There's a lot of tea qualities and each one has a characteristic aroma which could be widely discussed. The one I like above all is the Darjeeling, a kind of black indian tea grown at the feet of Himalaya which climate with thermal excursions confer to it an intense aroma with tanninic and floral hints and toasted spikes very typical. That's the way I like it, almost without sugar.

It's easy then to understand why when Jean-Claude Ellena's Eau parfumé au thé vèrt (1993) arrived together with all the plethora of the other tea based fragrances I turned up my nose smelling them. Some pretended to recreate the smell of a green tea slightly refreshed by lemon, other coupled it to a sugary or honeyed note to make it more snuggling. In any case I found the result disappointing.
Moreover the worst ones morphed the drink in a pure tea with pastries reaching to the sickeningly sweet and winking gourmand and that's why I avoided these fragrances for long time like a plague.

Fortunately one day a sales assistant was so smart to convince me to try a tea themed perfume saying the magic words "Do you have in mind tea perfumes? Well, this is all the opposite!". So I discovered the only tea based fragrance I like, Serie 1: Leaves TEA created by Sophie Labbe (Givenchy Organza, Guerlain Eau de cologne du 68, Romeo Gigli G Gigli...) for Comme des Garcons in 2000.

As suggested by the name of the serie, the reference here is not to the drink but to the dried tea leaves.
Maybe that's why I adore it, because here tea is not plain coloured water but becomes the excuse for an unreal strong black cup of tea with woody and medicinal facets.
The pyramid states notes of bergamot, black tea, rose petals, cedarwood and maté. The opening is powerful, just rounded by a whisper of bergamot and yet green and stinging with tannins. Vynilic notes hitting the head here immediately clarify that's not the afternoon tea for mincing posh young ladies. Later the fragrance gets brighter passing to a warm toasted smell of black tea leaves on a thick smoked cedarwood tarry base. Only going to the heart it's possible to understand the beauty of this scent that through the wood cracks watered with tea reaches to make bloom a velvety rose. The base becomes even more softer thanks to the greener maté with slightly powdery hints and yet is still powerfully toasted and smoky from cedarwood with a good sillage and an interstellar staying power.

As one would drink this dense and very toasted tea in a room with a cedarwood floor with imposing solid wood furniture, dark with a shining finish, a tea room close to an antique emporium with shelves, in the scent you can feel every detail: the green and smoky notes of the dried little tea leaves, the wood, the varnish, but all is amplified like in a dream. The atmosphere is ipnotic and the aroma pervasive, almost irritating in the very beginning but irresistible, a little bit like when children steal permanent markers with alcool and toluene to sniff them: the smell is intoxicating but totally addictive, you want to sniff  more and more till the end. After all who needs a tea with posh ladies when you can get this thrill?

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