Bvlgari released Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert in 1992. It is a unisex cologne created by perfumer Jean Claude Ellena, and the notes are bergamot, orange blossom, cardamom, coriander, pepper, rose, jasmine, green tea, oakmoss, tonka bean, and beeswax.
According to Chandler Burr,
Ellena and his wife Susannah are serious lovers of tea and usually bought at the house Mariage Freres, which at that point hadn't become as famous as it is now. He went often, and loved the smells....and after making his purchases, he would go back to his lab and, all but compelled, write short formulae, the scents he'd been buying running in his head.
The result, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, was Bvlgari's first fragrance release. It is the fragrance that introduced what I think of as the Jean Claude Ellena handprint: sheer, minimalist, stripped bare, even, but not in the least dull — the sort of fragrance that Ellena later called "little haiku". The green tea itself is a stylized notion of green tea, as Ellena noted (see the Chandler Burr link above), and it doesn't really smell like any green tea I know, but the accord has become so instantly recognizable as "green tea" that newcomers to the actual beverage might be surprised to find that it doesn't evoke any of the now ubiquitous green tea scented products, ranging from hand wash to candles to bathroom cleaner.
The fragrance itself is very fresh, but happily without any of the huge synthetic ozone/fresh air accord that so often announces fresh. It starts with green-tinged citrus, then a little buzz of smoky tea leaves softens into the green tea accord discussed above. There is a suggestion of jasmine, and a light dusting of cardamom & coriander, two spices that Ellena has used in many of his perfumes. They add some warmth to what is otherwise a very crisp and clean fragrance, and a little hint of sweetness balances the dry woods and oakmoss in the base.
To my mind, there is something sort of sexy about Eau Parfumée, but at the same time, it is a casual scent, and it stays too close to the skin to make a big statement. It has been copied many times, but offhand I can't think of anything that has bested it. The one drawback is the minimal lasting power. If you like it, you'll need the large bottle.
It can be purchased just about anywhere, and is easily found at discount. Froogle will turn up numerous online options.
Tomorrow: Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert Extreme
And for Jean Claude Ellena's latest take on tea, see Osmanthe Yunnan.