Since I tried Tea long ago, I have wanted it since, but have never felt the real need to buy it. The other day I recommended it to someone who emailed me from the blog, and I thought “Yeh I gotta get this now” – well, it arrived today and I remembered just how good it is!
Tea opens with a very bitter bergamot, before it very quickly becomes a hugely medicinal bomb of a fragrance. Now when I say “bomb” – it’s a bit overdramatic; it’s not particularly loud, but it’s a hellofa pungent smell. Instantly familiar, Tea brings to mind antiseptic cream and bundles of sterile bandages. It’s texture is also relatively creamy at first, but with an astringent kick throughout.
A smokiness from the stewed black tea creeps up underneath, entwining with the antiseptic medicine that smells smooth but clinical. It’s reasonably quiet pitch is appreciated, which isn’t something I’d normally say – but Tea would be without a doubt hugely overwhelming if presented at full volume.
I think I get a very subtle clove note, or it could be a mirage from the “Savlon”. As the smoky tea and antiseptic cream settle, a scattering of roses begins to creep up – very subtle, but adding an undeniable floral presence which slowly begins to make tea a lot more wearable if the opening is a little too much. The simple addition of rose needs nothing more or less, and there is nothing more or nothing less. Tea’s heart feels simplistic and minimal, relying on its strong personality to make it instantly identifiable and interesting – and it is.
Tea keeps changing, it’s ancient smelling, herbal blend getting more delicately floral, and its initial creaminess getting stronger as a nearly de-sweetened vanilla creeps in from the base. The smoky notes infuse the vanilla, and Tea becomes one of the few vanilla fragrances I am happy to wear – and thoroughly enjoy. Pitch black and slightly sticky, but not at all sugary and sweet, the vanilla smells bone dry and heavily distorted by the opening. The successful transition from the pungent smell of bandages from the opening to the delicate floral and smoky vanilla heart/base, is undoubtably impressive – a turnaround as great as Tubereuse Criminelle’s opening of menthol and camphor to creamy white floral.
In the very base is dry woods, made smoother by the vanilla. A safe but secure base that whilst not quite as unusual – doesn’t really need to be. It becomes quiet quickly, retreating close to your skin – ready for some spritzes later on in the day to capture the bizarrely compelling opening.
Tea is a standout in the Comme Des Garcons lineup in my opinion, and I recommend any perfumista to give it a sniff – my favourite tea scent by far, and a fantastic vanilla drydown unlike any other.
Tea 50ml EDT Comme Des Garcons – £48 doverstreetmarket.com