There are currently 7 numbered fragrances in the Parfumerie Generale line. L'Eau Rare Matale is no. 6, and features notes of sage, white fowers, bergamot, black Matale tea, Virginia cedar, Chinese cedar, vetiver, birch, burnt woods, pepper and musk. Matale, by the way, is one of the tea growing districts of Sri Lanka, and is also known for its spice gardens.
L'Eau Rare Matale has shot straight to the top of my list of favorite tea fragrances. It starts with a wonderful buzz of smoky tea leaves and bergamot. The floral notes are very light and indistinct. Over the next hour it softens and deepens, and the vetiver and wood notes kick in, creating a beautiful earthy-peppery undertone. As indicated in the list of notes, the wood smells slightly singed, although it is not a particularly smoky scent once the top notes settle.
It strikes a nice balance between deep and fresh notes. It is not too heavy to wear in the summer — although obviously, I'm just guessing as it is freezing here today — but nor is it the light, ethereal tea of say, L'Artisan Thé Pour Un Été. It could easily be worn by either sex. The lasting power is good, but it is very subtle and close to the skin after a couple hours, and I find myself reapplying just to get that lovely burst of tea and bergamot in the top notes.
L'Eau Rare Matale is an Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Parfumerie Generale under Perfume Houses.
Tomorrow: Parfumerie Generale no. 4, Musc Maori