The milky notes of chai, the earthy freshness of matcha and the airy florals of white tea - a freshly brewed cuppa can always be whiffed from a distance. Tea leaves are fragrant, and they instantly transport us to a zen state of mind, surrounded by warmth. It's probably why tea notes in perfumes are a sought-after olfactory experience.
In light of the 'clean girl' aesthetic on TikTok, tea-scented fragrances have taken off alongside skin scents. While the latter plays with our skin's natural chemistry, tea perfumes introduce a layer of clean, green and sometimes spicy elements to a fragrance.
Ghassan Hajjaj, a Dubai-based perfumier with three decades of expertise under his belt, compares the sensation to walking into a specialist tea store, where the scents are "a feast for the senses".
"Tea, as a drink, goes back centuries, and for any tea lover out there, the scent is half the pleasure. Tea notes made their entrance into the world of perfumery in the mid-'80s, but it was in the 1990s that they really began to gain popularity. It would take centre stage in several fragrances, from high-end brands to more accessible fragrances," Hajjaj told Gulf News.
As these scents brewed their way into the industry, developers plugged tea "as a supporting ingredient to fragrances", too, so it added a complex dimension to, say, vanilla, vetiver or bergamot notes.
"A green tea can add an elegant freshness to green, floral and aromatic scents, while a black tea may bring out more of a woody and smoky dimension," said Hajjaj. Tea notes offer a unique twist on the scents we're familiar with, making them a delectable perfume gift for a loved one this holiday season.
When our expert wants to replicate the warmth and comfort evoked by a good cup of tea, he looks for two of his favourite tea-scented perfumes. Browse Hajjaj's picks below, and other tea fragrances that are hot on the internet. Some of these are eligible for Amazon Prime shipping, so get a membership to score free, same-day delivery. Don't forget to check out discounted luxury perfumes.
1. Best Overall: Giorgio Armani Prive The Yulong
Whether you look online or offline, the consensus is that Giorgio Armani's premium range Prive holds one of the best tea scents bottled in The Yulong EDT. Hajjaj calls the fragrance a voyage to the Yulong Mountains in China's Yunnan province, which grows some of the best tea leaves handpicked for the composition of this scent. The perfume is a contrast between black and green tea extracts, where the latter "adds an almost citrusy freshness" against black tea's woody profile. Our fragrance expert finds The Yulong to be a must-have in any tea lover's collection.
2. Best Oolong Tea Scent: Atelier Cologne Oolang Infini
Another tea infusion worth your coin is Atelier Cologne's Oolang Infini, according to Hajjaj. "The name gives it away - the inspiration here is oolong tea, which is delicately smoky and almost a little woody," he added. It opens with sparkling bergamot from Calabria, Southern Italy, reaches into the soothing oolong tea accord and, then, closes with guaiac wood from Central America to enrich the smoky inflections of the tea. The cologne is both woody and bright at the same time.
3. Best Black Tea Scent: Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly
TikTok is rife with recommendations of Dear Polly by Vilhelm Parfumerie. Think The Yulong EDT but centred more on smoky black tea notes with a side of tangy, fruity freshness. In the opening, there's a bite of apple and bergamot, which gives way to Ceylon black tea. As the warmth of the tea dissipates, it's replaced with a dry down of musk, black amber and earthy oakmoss. Fans on the internet describe it as sipping on iced black tea with a slice of lemon.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh66.17 for 12 months with select banks.
4. Best Powdery Tea Scent: BDK Parfums Gris Charnel
One of the more popular tea scents is Gris Charnel by BDK Parfums. It comes with a heftier price tag than the rest but could be your signature scent if you want to smell like well-brewed chai. Gris Charnel kicks off with black tea, alongside fig and cardamom. The heart of the perfume grows warmer and sweeter with powdery iris and vetiver, simmering into sandalwood and tonka bean. If you lean towards powdery scents, this black tea perfume is the one.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh59.21 for 12 months with select banks.
5. Best Citrus-Based Scent: Nishane Wulong Cha
Those with a penchant for a vibrant citrus profile should look into Nishane's popular Wulong Cha fragrance. It's steeped in oolong tea and nutmeg, which open with a sharp, fresh complex of bergamot, orange and mandarin. Users on TikTok say its dry down is the best part of the composition - a creamy musk and Mediterranean fig concoction that lasts on the skin for hours. Reviewers attest to the authenticity of the oolong tea accord, and call it a fine balance between heavy and light scents.
6. Best White Tea Scent: Elizabeth Arden White Tea Vanilla Orchid
Our most affordable pick is still one of the most talked about fragrances. Elizabeth Arden's White Tea collection comes with a heart of various floral families, be it rose, lily or mandarin blossom. White tea, on its own, has the lightest tea accord since it's less concentrated. Its Vanilla Orchid bottle makes an excellent gift for a woman in your life, thanks to the sweet and delicate profile of the scent. You're greeted with quince, bergamot and lemon in the opening notes, and, then, you descend into a heart of vanilla orchid, white tea, gardenia and jasmine, which ends in musk, amber wood and creamy vanilla. Reviewers say that it's not an overpowering scent but sweet and floral, lasting for a couple of hours.
7. Best Vanilla-Based Scent: Ellis Brooklyn Sci Fi
Ellis Brooklyn's Sci Fi is a complex citrus scent based on darker vanilla. This gourmand perfume introduces green tea in its heart notes for an unexpected twist, as it opens with bergamot and bitter orange. Over time, your wrists should be left with remnants of cashmere wood and sweet vanilla beans, winning you endless compliments, say reviews. It can come off as heady for some, but this just means Sci Fi is the perfect fragrance for the cooler months.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh46.48 for 12 months with select banks.
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