Saturday, March 12, 2011

We should have each other to tea....

Monday, 3/7/11 - Friday, 3/11/11

I'm out of town this weekend on a short trip to Washington for my birthday.  David and I are seeing his parents and hanging out in the general Olympia area, so if you've got recommendations, let me know. If I'm slow to respond, please forgive me -- I'm probably adventuring with my lovelier half.  Despite this trip, this week I'm actually giving you the as-promised five days, five scents challenge results, but with a specific focus.

I admit that I am not a fan of tea.  Until about four years ago, my reaction to the word was something along the lines of "Bleh! Tastes like dirty water!"  My husband, who loves tea, has always been amused and horrified by this attitude.  Slowly but surely, he's begun winning me over -- a little "sleepy time" here, a little "raspberry zinger" there.  But to me, tea is still something relegated to being consumed when I am too sick to smell or when I'm freezing and coffee is unavailable.

Jo Malone's idea of tea...
So you'd think when Jo Malone recently released a limited edition "tea" series, I'd have passed automatically.  Suprisingly, though, I actually like tea scents, even if I'm not wild about the beverage.  The five "tea" offerings, which are actually three tea scents and two layering flankers, are described as follows:
Tempting. Refreshing. Engagingly unexpected. The World of Jo Malone introduces a special limited edition collection - Tea Fragrance Blends. Five distinctive, contemporary scents, inspired by that most quintessential of British traditions - when everything stops for tea.
Assam & Grapefruit - Meant to be a morning tea incarnation, this scent is a bright fruity citrus. It's in the same vein as the English Pear & Freesia, but less floral and more spicy, in a baking spices kind of way. I own the English Pear, so I wasn't moved to purchase this one, but for anyone feels the English Pear is too "knock you down like a drunken floozy" loud, bright and boozy, this might be a good one for you. 3.5 of 5 nods.

Earl Grey & Cucumber - The afternoon tea offering, and in my opinion the most masculine (in the general perfumey sense) of the five. I found it gently dark, with a freshness I don't normally find in darker tea creations. Again, nice, but not moving me toward my wallet. 3 of 5 nods.

Fresh Mint Leaf - Now this one -- wow! This evening tea offering is admittedly the lightest of the three, with the lowest sillage and duration. That said, the mint is balanced with a delightful green herbal twist, and the whole experience is a light and airy affair. It may be that this was a "right time, right place" circumstance, but Fresh Mint Leaf immediately fed my desire for warm shiny days of Spring and Summer. This will make an excellent summer scent, and sniffing it I imagine keeping a bottle in the fridge so that it falls as cool and refreshing on the skin as it smells. Given that I am a wary scent shopper prone to buyer's remorse and therefore hard to move to purchase without finding an alarmingly good deal, I am completely surprised and pleased that I bought a bottle immediately. FN1. Over 24 hours later -- absolutely no regrets AND the sun came out today! I take it as a good omen. 5 of 5 nods.

Sweet Milk - It's a gently sweet gourmand scent that I think would do well as a stand alone, though it was designed as a layering compliment to the three teas. If the idea of milk smell on skin makes you think of sour baby breath, try this. You're in for a lovely surprise that might open you up to more milk-themed experiences. 4 of 5 nods.

Sweet Lemon - Tangy, zesty, sweet but not too much, this struck me as a classy option for those looking for a youthful scent. It felt contemporary, and the pineapple sweetness is a nice twist on your usual "sugary lemon" approach. Again, a great possibility for summer. 4 of 5 nods.

My idea of tea...
Also, because half of Jo Malone's marketing efforts are aimed at selling the line as one with layering possibilities to create your own 'signature' scent, I gave the layering thing a whirl with the Jo Malone options I had available. FN2. Some are endorsed by the line, and some are my own curious spraying efforts. Here are the results:

Red Roses and Fresh Mint Leaf - Nice in theory, but results in a smell akin to bitter, metallic, overheated dryer interior for an hour, then just becomes Red Roses alone. (personal mixology effort)

Orange Blossom and Fresh Mint Leaf - Two and a half minutes of overheated dryer smell then all I got was Orange Blossom. it was as if the mint wasn't even there.(personal mixology effort)

Pomegranate Noir and English Pear and Freesia - I really can't decide.It kept shifting on me, like using one of those old school view finder toys I had as a kid. Click: a delicious sangeria. Click: a loud fruity bubblegum. I can't decide if the two fight or compliment each other. (Jo Malone endorsed)

Pomegranate Noir and Red Roses - This one I liked.  It gave the Pomegranate Noir a liquored edge.  Nice option to have but I didn't like them as much together as I like them individually. (Jo Malone endorsed)

Sweet Lime & Cedar and Grapefruit - I love the Sweet Lime & Cedar by itself, and I normally don't have a lot of affection for the plain Grapefruit, but together I think the Grapefruit is a nice alternative to Sweet Lime & Cedar alone.  (Jo Malone endorsed)

So there you have it. A week of Jo Malone in all its British glory. If you've tried the tea scents, let me know what you think of them. If you haven't and the tea options sound interesting to you, beware: they really are limited. My local rep told me that the shipment they had in store was all they were getting, and once it was gone, that was it. I suspect this clever ploy will win over other impulse-resistant purchasers like me, who fear only one thing more than overpaying -- missing out entirely, then having to choose between paying double on Ebay or never get a bottle at all.

Jo Malone scents are available online and in a number of fine department stores, and generally run $55 for 30ml or $105-$110 for 100ml.

My personal love cats...
"We move like cagey tigers.
We couldn't get closer than this.
The way we walk, the way we talk,
the way we stalk, the way we kiss.
We slip through the streets while everyone sleeps,
getting bigger and sleeker and wider and brighter.
We bite and scratch and scream all night
Let's go and throw all the songs we know...  
We're so wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty!
Oh you know that I'd do anything for you.
We should have each other to tea.
We should have each other with cream,
then curl up by the fire and sleep for awhile.
It's the grooviest thing.
It's the perfect dream."
~ "Love Cats," The Cure
FN1. I never regret having the scent so much as I find myself thinking "was that the best possible use of your perfume budget? Could you have gotten something better, or found a better deal?" Any time they ask you that question on personal typing tests: do you prefer the time (a) just before you make a decision, when all options are available or (b) after you've made a decision and things are settled, I am the person who always chooses (a).

FN2. I really have to struggle not to giggle any time I hear a rep refer to it as "the art of fragrance combining."


KathyT said...

Well my idea of tea is a sweet Southern iced tea with lemon, and I feel like I have it covered with my Elizabeth W Sweet Tea. I haven't been able to work up a lot of enthusiasm to brave the counter at NM to try these new ones. It sounds like these fragrances are done well, so perhaps I should try them before they are gone and I am filled with remorse. I have trouble making decisions...and buyer's remorse is a close personal friend. I hope you had a good weekend!

Cymbaline said...

I usually drink tea after a visit to my naturopath, after getting "the look" during a discussion on healthier food choices. I prefer coffee! Maybe that's why the Pomegranate Noir scent sounds more appealing than the others : ) I'm a sucker for anything with "Noir" involved! I haven't tried JM fragrances before. Loved your reviews.

taffynfontana said...

Tea time in England is full of tradition and ritual and recall a time when the hustle and bustle of life was more subdued. The new collection is a must try for me especially the Sweet Milk.