My name is Derek, and like many of you my life is guided by my nose. It started as a child: my mother would allow me to help choose the fabric softener and detergent we purchased. On each trip I would carefully smell each and every bottle. She has told me many times that I doubled her time in the store in that one aisle. As I grew up my fascination with scent continued. Like many guys my age my first cologne was Abercrombie Woods. I loved that sucker, and it still makes me smile to this day. I never really thought much about my scent fascination or what that would mean for my life. I grew up; went to college; majored in marketing. My first year out of school was quite unfulfilling. I was unhappy with my career prospects–the few the recession had left me–and unsure of what to do. Along with help from important people in my life, I realized my passion was wine. Once again my obsession with scent took center stage in my life. My first introduction to niche fragrance came by a happenstance meeting with a representative for Bond No. 9. I was hooked, and about a year ago I found my way to some fragrance boards. My nasal persuasion had come calling again. Now it has brought me here to you.
I’m making up for lost time in my olfactory journey by sampling some classic scents by some of the more ubiquitous niche houses. Can a company be niche and ubiqitous? I decided to begin with L’Artisan and more specifically the recently discontinued Tea for Two. Scent is deeply personal to me, as it is for the rest of you, so when I find a scent that sums up a time or place in my memory I must have it. (Spoiler Alert: I love this fragrance)
Tea for Two opens with cloud of smoke enveloping the entire body. It begins a small puffs, but it quickly develops into a thin veil. From out of the veil peek ginger and cinnamon. They are shy at first, but quickly make their presence emphatically known. A sweetness from honey lingers under the surface and grounds the smoke from becoming too similar to a long-dead campfire. At the heart, shrouded by smoke, is tea. A fresh core standing proudly along the spices.
Tea for Two is classically unisex leaning masculine. It would take a confident woman to wear this, but I would welcome smelling it on her. I think the scent would be right at home on a man. The smoke prevents the fragrance from being too sweet a gourmand for a man, but there’s enough interest for it to stand out.
During my first two wearings I was perplexed by the familiarity of Tea for Two. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew it was quite familiar to me. It hit me on my third wearing: a hotel I stay at often when I’m traveling to New York City. It is the scent of their lobby. The complimentary hot tea mingling with the spicy fragrance they spray to scent the space punctuated by the cologne of the bellmen and smokiness of the leather furniture. I fell in love with Tea for Two at that moment. It is the scent of a home away from home. Unfortunately, Tea for Two has been recently discontinued, and I have yet to purchase a bottle. Neiman Marcus still has some stock of 100 mL bottles available. (ED: I’m running down this rumor, which has been going around for a while unabated – there are others that are rumored to be on the chopping block and many that have been on the block in the past that are still being made – sometimes I think it’s a size or the bottle they are discontinuing, but be aware!)
The sample came from Luckyscent a few months ago.