By Kilian Imperial Tea ~ perfume review

jasmine-yin-hao

Imperial Tea is the latest addition to the Asian Tales collection from niche line By Kilian. It is being launched along with Sacred Wood, and the duo made me sit up and take notice: I’m not always a huge fan of the By Kilian line, and the earlier scents in the Asian Tales series — Bamboo Harmony, Water Calligraphy and Flower of Immortality — pretty much left me cold, but jasmine tea and Mysore sandalwood? Theoretically, at least, I’m in.

I’ll talk about Sacred Wood later (possibly on Thursday); today’s focus is the Imperial Tea, inspired by the Asian tale of “The Big Red Toga Tea” (you can read versions here and here), and promising “the olfactory impression of authentic Jasmin tea”.1 Jasmine tea is one of my favorite smells in the world. I drink a cup of Yin Hao jasmine nearly every morning, and while there are fancier (and more expensive) versions of jasmine tea, few of them can beat a really top quality Yin Hao. The smell from a freshly opened pouch or tin is exquisite, and the taste is about as close to a drinkable perfume as you are likely to get.

The Imperial Tea fragrance was developed by perfumer Calice Becker, and it’s darned close to perfection…

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Valentine’s Day fragrance gifts 2014

A few gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, in case anyone is in need of (scented) inspiration. Do feel free to comment and tell us what present you’d most like to get!

Diptyque + Macon & Lesquoy brooch

From Diptyque, a brooch you can scent with your favorite fragrance: “Our new hand embroidered Rose brooch was developed in partnership with jewelry designers, Macon & Lesquoy. Perfume the ceramic drop and enjoy your fragrance all day long.” $55 at Diptyque

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Holiday fragrance gifts 2013, part 5

Our series of holiday gift posts continues with a selection of fragranced teas and sweets — even perfumistas need to eat and drink, right?

Up next (probably on Thursday), more travel sizes & coffrets. If you missed them, check out Part 1: scented body products, Part 2: travel sizes & coffrets, Part 3: home fragrance and Part 4: gifts for men.

More shopping ideas: see the Fragrant Man’s round-up of holiday fragrances from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz.

Hudson Chocolates Yuzu Fruit

From Hudson Chocolates, a ‘Yuzu Fruit’: “Made in a mold cast from an actual Japanese yuzu fruit, this gorgeously executed Yuzu Fruit confection is a perfect example of wabi-sabi – the ability to see beauty in imperfection. Its creamy, sweet-tart, citrusy ganache is made with yuzu juice and milk chocolate, which is wrapped in a thin layer of lemon verbena ganache before being encased in a crispy layer of candied almond nougatine.” $34 at Dean & Deluca

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L’Occitane Collection de Grasse Vanille & Narcisse and The Vert & Bigarade ~ fragrance reviews

L'Occitane Vanille & NarcisseThé Vert & Bigarade

La Collection de Grasse is a new quartet of fragrances from L’Occitane, all of them developed by the house’s newly announced in-house perfumer Karine Dubreuil. On Tuesday I reviewed Jasmin & Bergamote and Magnolia & Mûre; today, Vanille & Narcisse and Thé Vert & Bigarade.

Vanille & Narcisse

blackcurrant, bergamot, narcissus, gardenia, vanilla and tonka bean

Vanille & Narcisse is the floriental of the collection, and was probably the one I had the least interest in before I smelled the set, but I’d say it’s the best (and the most unusual) of the four, and the only one I would be tempted to buy — if these weren’t so expensive (see the end of last Tuesday’s review for a discussion of the price). The opening is bright, the dry down is a spicy, medium-weight creamy floral that earns the “sensual, enveloping skin scent” of Dubreuil’s description. I would never have noticed the gardenia were it not listed in the notes…

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Sweets for the sweet: five chocolate bars, two teas

Kusmi Violette tea

We haven’t talked about chocolate around here in a good long time, so in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are quick reviews of five chocolate bars. Plus two Kusmi teas just because. Do share any of your own chocolate or tea favorites in the comments!

MarieBelle Dark Chocolate Banana (65% cacao)

This is a spendy New York brand that reportedly makes great hot chocolate, but I’ve never tried any of their products except this admittedly sort of strange bar. Numerous little bits of dried banana translate into an oddly bumpy exterior similar to a puffed rice chocolate bar, and lend a satisfying chewy-crunchy texture. I frequently complain that bars don’t have enough “additives”, but this one arguably doesn’t have enough room left for the chocolate — chocolate purists would probably not like it, but then, chocolate purists probably wouldn’t like any of my favorite bars…

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