Le Labo Thé Noir 29

We’re about to enter four very cold (for here) days – Beast from the East II. Previous BftE a few years ago gave us the only decent snow I’ve seen in this country in ages. I like snow. I have some very pleasant memories of it: one from 1998, when we got two feet in NY on a Sunday into a Monday; also, in 2011, we visited my father in Brooklyn, made one of the last flights out of Heathrow and ended up diverted to Minnesota because of a storm. Only time I’ve ever been to that state. We got to NY the following day and my son got to go sledding for the first time. He still talks about it.

But I digress.

I do like Le Labo fragrances and I like that they offer different sizes (the 15ml bottles are quite reasonable priced in the £50 area). For my Christmas stocking gift last year (that being the unmentionable 2020) my son gave me four Le Labo samples. I’ve spoken about Ylang 49. Today is Thé Noir 29. I would really like to find a tea fragrance. I love the idea of wearing a conceptualisation of smoky black tea. I enjoy TN, but it’s not ‘the one’. It just doesn’t have oomph on me.

Launched in 2015, notes list includes fig, bay leaf, bergamot, cedar, vetiver, musk, tobacco and hay. I’ve also seen lists which include black pepper and rose. One immediate problem I have with Thé Noir is that it’s very light on me – very very very light. Not an issue I’ve had with any other Le Labo.

As I said this is nice but I’m beginning to think that if something has a lot of bergamot my chemistry turns it to soap – no matter the composition. TN starts fresh (why would a theoretically black tea perfume be fresh?). I do get some bay and a bit of what I guess to be fig leaf. With time, I think I get some pepper and some very whispery woods. Neither the tobacco or hay make much of an impact on my chemistry. Whatever the musk is it’s one of those soft, skin things – definitely no growl here.

Lasting power is meh. Couple of hours at the very best.

Ironically, I have a Thé candle from Diptyque which again is supposed to be black tea but someone threw in too much of something into the mix which makes it smell of soap when lit. It’s ok after – ie, there is some sense of tea in the post-lit throw, but not enough. So, after I’d lit it several times I contacted Diptyque about this. They swore up and down that the batch from which my candle came smelled like tea to them. So, nothing to be done about that.

I have found a very well reviewed chai tea candle but it’s out of stock. Hoping it returns soon.

Ah, well. The search continues for a tea fragrance with oomph. Do you have a favourite black tea perfume? And if tea is your thing to drink (I don’t do coffee any more) what’s your fave (I get a black tea chai latte from the wondrous Sara’s bakery; I make chai at home with a roobois chai tea).


  • Patty says:

    There is a new Martin Margiela Matcha something that is coming out soon. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect tea and coffee perfume. So far, I’m still looking, but have found a few I love

  • ScentSpirit says:

    Eau de Memo is a nice gentle tea fragrance that isn’t shouting TEA to me.

  • Musette says:

    Woke up this (Sunday) am to -5F, which then DROPPED to -13F, then had the nerve! to ooch up so that it could snow some more. I think we got about 4″ from Saturday through this evening, which sits atop the 4″ of permafrost. I’m kinda over it.

    I’ve never really paid attention to tea, with the exception of Tea for Two (which is too strong for me) and Bulgari Au The’ Vert, which smells of jasmine to my nose. xoxoxo

    • Cinnamon says:

      Oh my. Minus 13. I can’t even fathom that any more. The real cold and snow seem to be bypassing us — that stuff is more east. Paris occurred to me this morning. That what I really need is a long weekend in Paris visiting various perfume shops. Maybe somewhere on such a jaunt I’d find something appropriate.

      • Musette says:

        yeah – around here it’s just … Tuesday in February. Alas. Paris! a quick stop in at Pierre Herme for some chocolate sables couldn’t hurt, either 😉 xoxoxo

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I had a CB I Hate Perfume sample that was TOTALLY a smoky black tea. Sadly I can’t remember its name.
    Bulgari Thé Noir is very nice. Maybe only a very stylised look at black tea but it hits the spot well for me.
    Tea for Two is smoky tea with loads of bells and whistles for me, I love it but not really as a tea fragrance.
    One think I love about tea fragrances is how it often catches in the back of my throat giving a dry ache.
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      When CB sets out to do a scent, he doesn’t do it by halves, does he! I wonder if yours is Russian Caravan. I actually remember that one – it was AWESOME, though not something I would wear on the daily. xoxoxo

    • Cinnamon says:

      How I wish it was easy to get CBIHP stuff here. Sample of l’Artisan stuff are sort of hard to come by. I think I’m just going to have to wait till I can travel again for that.

  • filomena813 says:

    I have a bottle of The’ Noir 29 and it lasts on me fairly well.

  • carole says:

    I really like the New Guerlain scent, Neroli Outrenoir, which is deep dark tea and neroli. It’s beautiful. I have a 4 ml sample of it. Last all day. And I bought the Laure Maercier tea body gel-it’s mint tea and cedrat. I love it! And I love the Duel scent from Annick Goutal, but it’s mate tea and I’m not positive that’s what you’re looking for.

    I have some samples of the Le Labo scent and I really like them-just not the price, or the super limited distribution.

    Just went out and turned the truck around so the nose is pointing towards the street. We’re due for 40 cm of snow and some super powerful wind. Beast from the East, indeed 🙂

    • Cinnamon says:

      oh, that does sound interesting — the Guerlain. I haven’t smelled Duel in years. Must try it again. Best wishes with the snow.

      • Natalie says:

        Neroli Outrenoir has been my go to for a while after seeing it on this site. In the summer when I sweat it gets very milky black tea-y on me. Gorgeous.

  • trabuquera says:

    True black tea seems almost impossible to formulate in perfume form – and believe me I’ve looked!

    So far, the closest for me – but only if you like it seriously smoky, like Lapsang Souchong – is Mona di Orio’s astonishing Bohea Boheme. If you like rooibos, Memo’s Winter Palace does it in style (and for too much money, but hey…). People often recommend L’Artisan’s Tea for Two for black tea – but to me it smells only, mildly and sweetly, of a bit of vague spice, a load of honey, and no tea.

    Green and citric tea is a differnt matter – there are loads of things at many price points – from Bvlgari’s tea series to Nishane Wulong Cha to Roja Dove and on and on. Some of them really good and much truer-to-life.

    But black tea – real, malty, rich, black tea? Nah, not so far. At the moment I’m working my way through a set of samples from a French house called State of Mind (Etat d’Esprit), who do their own teas and are now bringing out a range of 11 fragrances to match; unfortunately, so far, to me, they seem too heavy on the non-tea side of the equation, with too much fruit / base notes / other notes and NOT ENOUGH TEA! argh!

    I love The Noir 29 – and on me it DOES last – but in my mind it’s more of a general fresh/green/fruity/spiced thing, than tea per se.

    • Cinnamon says:

      hmmm, will have to look up Etat d’Esprit. I have this idea that years ago Marriage Freres did a perfume. Sort of makes sense that a tea company could make the leap. But, yes, what I’m looking for is a proper black tea fragrance. So, I guess I’ll have to wait.