TEA notes have always been close to the heart of every perfumer and the team here at PAIRFUM have enjoyed following and attending the events of the ‘afternoon tea’ week. A variety of events run during the week of 10th – 16th August 2015 across the UK and you should really take the opportunity to check what is happening close to your home.
Here are some of the highlights of the week that stand out for us here at PAIRFUM:
From an olfactive point of view, tea tends to be classified as part of the green and herbaceous family.
Tea leaves infuse perfumery accords with a unique aromatic profile, depending on which tea leaf variety a perfumer chooses: green, red, white, black, Oolong, …
These are some of the best known varieties of black tea: Assam, Darjeeling and Ceylon teas.
In perfumery, accords inspired by black tea are noted for their roasted, smoky fragrance. Examples are L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two or Bulgari Black.
The secret of Oolong Teas lies in their production, after picking, the leaves are not allowed to fully oxidize, which means they are “semi-oxidized”. This partial oxidisation places Oolong leaves in between a black and a green tea. With the amount of oxidization being variable, the flavour of Oolong Tea varies greatly. Less oxidised Oolongs have a fresher and brighter flavor, similar to a green tea. On the other hand, a more oxidised Oolong has a darker and more woody flavor, not unlike a black tea.
Oolongs varieties exhibit a multitude of subtle flavours: floral-fruity accents of peach, pear, plum and lilac. An example of Oolong in fragrances is Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini.
As green tea leaves are not given a chance to oxidize, they retain their green colour and anti-oxidants as a consequence.
The major distinction is between Japanese green teas with their grassy and ‘vegetal’ nuances and Chinese green teas which exhibit flavours from earthy and toasty to fresh and mild.
The first fragrance with a significant green tea accord was Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert. Thereafter green teas inspired many perfumes: L’Artisan Parfumeur Thé pour un Été, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Lancôme AromaTonic, Calvin Klein CK One, Tommy Girl, Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Bleu and PAIRFUM’s SPA.
Typically in fragrances, the green tea note is achieved through Jasmine, Hedione and / or Ionones (Woody Violet).
A few years back, green tea in combination with citrus fruits (mandarine, lime, grapefruit…) was very popular in both Home Fragrance and Skin Care.
Of all teas, white teas are the least processed. In spring, the new leaf buds are plucked when they first emerge. Thereafter the leaves are protected with great care to prevent blemishes, breakage or exposure to extreme heat or humidity. This results in white teas producing a delicate and gentle flavour and retaining their level of antioxidants.
In home fragrance, white tea perfumes have come onto the market but we are not aware of any major Prestige Fragrance House launching a white tea note.
Here at PAIRFUM, we are proud of our own home fragrance note ‘bergamot & white tea’ which includes elements of thyme and rosemary.
This is a variation on white tea, as it is produced in the same way (unwilted and unoxidized) but the leaves are allowed to yellow.
We are not aware of any ‘yellow tea’ based fragrance.
The best know ‘red tea’ is Rooibos (or ‘red bush’) and is from the leaves of a South African shrub, also known as honey bush, and is not really tea (i.e. not Camelia Sinensis leaves). Rooibos produces a sweet herbal infusion
This tea inspired the creation of Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge. The inspiration for this note was the sweet woodyness found in Rooibos.
Herbal teas are also not made from ‘tea leaves’ (Camellia Sinensis). Instead, herbal teas can be blended from a variety of leaves, flowers, roots and even stems coming from a multitude of plants. Herbal teas usually do not contain caffeine. Popular examples of herbal teas are rosehip, chamomile and mint. Sweetened mint teas are at the heart of the Moroccan ‘tea ceremony’.
Not surprisingly, many newer herbal blends are based on Rooibos, with other herbs added to create a more pleasing taste.
Many of the ingredients used to blend herbal teas can be found in perfumery, home fragrance, skin care but also household cleaning products, e.g. mint.
Special ‘Afternoon Tea’ Setting
For anyone that cannot make it to one of the ‘afternoon tea’ week events, we have the following suggestion: just light one of our ‘bergamot & white tea’ candles, set the table with your best vintage tea service, put the kettle on and then sit back, relax and enjoy ! XX