Eau Parfumée au Thé Rouge (Red Tea) was released by Bvlgari this month, and is the third in a series of tea-based perfumes following Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1992) and Thé Blanc (2002). It was created by perfumer Olivier Polge, and features notes of bergamot, orange, pink pepper, fig pulp, Roiboos red tea, Yunnan red tea, walnut and musk.
It starts with a heavy, rather sweet blast of citrus with a good dose of pepper. That calms into a sweet mix of tea, fig, and walnut. It is very well blended and none of the individual notes stand out; it smells vaguely figgy, vaguely floral, and has a subtle nutty undertone. The Yunnan red tea, which is simply black tea from Yunnan — in China, fermented teas (e.g., all black teas) are referred to as “red” teas” — is more noticeable than the Rooibos tea to my nose.
After an hour, it has faded to a mildly sweet, mildly nutty musk fragrance with a perhaps a bit of vanilla. It is very soft and light and close to the skin, and nowhere near as rich and foody as you might think from the notes. It is not quite as clean as Thé Vert or Thé Blanc, but it is in keeping with that style: fresh and wearable, nothing assertive.
Thé Rouge is not my cup of tea (very bad pun, I know). I was hoping for something a bit warmer and deeper, with more of a focus on the Rooibos, and perhaps with a bit more presence in general. Do comment if you’ve tried it. I’d love to know if fans of the first two Bvlgari tea scents find this one appealing.
Bvlgari Red Tea is available in 50 ($57) and 100 ml ($82) bottles of Eau de Cologne, and is exclusive to Saks through the spring.