Henry James wrote "There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as an afternoon tea." There are indeed few indulgences more easily satisfying than warming my hands on a hot gàiwǎnof aromatic tea on a cold and gloomy day; letting the steam of clove-laced tea rise and dissipate in front of my eyes at a tea salon waiting for friends to arrive for an afternoon snack (my favourite is in the elegantly historic Grande Bretagne hotel, Athens); or sipping jasmine tea with mint on my verandah in the hours when the sun is setting into the sea in summer, an orange disk sizzling -as I imagine- as it meets the blue waters.
The overall character of the Limited edition Tea Collection is one of light, diffusive fragrances which rely on a somewhat simplistic composition, meant to be used for layering or to satisfy a specific craving for ambient music to one's nose; typically Jo Malone concept. In short, if you prefer the more baroque formula of Five o' clock au Gingembre by Lutens or L'Artisan's Tea for Two with its smoky, tarry undercurrent, these tea scents by Jo Malone might prove to be too transparent, lacking the robust character you seek. But if you want refreshing and -sometimes- cuddly spritzes to lift your spirits on a day that just doesn't go the way you wanted it to go, they're easy and mood-altering scents that might fit the bill.
The Jo Malone Tea Collection includes 5 fragrances:
Assam & Grapefruit,
Earl Grey & Cucumber,
Fresh Mint Leaf
To beging from the bottom up, Sweet Lemon as well as Fresh Mint Leaf are extra refreshing formulae, meant to be savoured best on a hot summer day, respectively emphasizing the properties of sweet-sour contrasts in the rind of lemon and the fuzziness of peaches; and the piquant, slightly spicy (peppery basil) note that is as cool as a Wringley mint gum respectively. I would suspect that paired with the bright and lively Roses in the Jo Malone line that latter Fresh Mint Leaf would make a killer masculine combination or one which more adventurous females might investigate for warm weather wearing.
Warm Milk on the other hand, although predictable (it's exactly what its name suggests, a soft-core sort of tea with condensed milk to take to bed and cuddle up) is pleasurable, definitely a skin scent and very long lasting. It's probably what most lovers of light gourmands or light woodies would gravitate to!
Perhaps what's missing from such a quintessentially British brand (though bought out by Lauder in recent years) is a "London Fog" fragrance: bergamot laced tea notes alongside warm milkiness and a hint of vanilla syrup. The building blocks are already in the lab, all that's left is for them to cut the deck once more!
Notes for Jo Malone Assam & Grapefruit:
Top notes: grapefruit, violet, rhubarb
Heart: Assam tea, rose, cardamom
Base: patchouli, musk, almond
Notes for Jo Malone Earl Grey & Cucumber:
Top notes: bergamot, apple, jasmine, water notes
Heart: angelica, cucumber, davana
Base: beeswax, vanilla, cedar and musk
Notes for Jo Malone Sweet Lemon:
Top notes: lemon, bergamot, rhubarb
Heart: pineapple, freesia, peach
Base: cypress, musk, cedar
Top notes: basil, mint, bergamot
Heart: water jasmine, rhubarb
Base: mate, musk, cedar
Notes for Jo Malone Warm Milk:
Top notes: star anise, heliotrope, bergamot
Heart: milk, caramel
Base: vanilla, almond, musk
Available at Jo Malone counters in 30ml/1oz bottles, extremely limited edition (grab them while they're hot!), from March 2011.
top pic via le petit ogre