2/15/12

Tea Rose (The Perfumer's Workshop)



Myth: The more expensive the fragrance, the better it is.

Yeah, right.

Truth: A fragrance's price is in no way correlative to its quality.

Case in point: Tea Rose. Available in 4 ounce bottles at any Marshalls or T.J.Maxx across the land for the breathtaking sum of $9.99. Yet mysteriously favored by fragrance aficionados, rose lovers, and Nicole Kidman of To Die For fame. Did she ever make anything after that?

Sniffing it as I write this, Tea Rose strikes me as being one of those ultra-rare artifacts of perfume history, something only found once every thirty years. I'm not talking about the price-to-quality ratio. I'm talking about a rose soliflore that smells just like you have a big fat Chrysler Imperial pinned to your hand. This stuff is dry, greenish black, haloed in crimson and clover and everything else the world over. It smells like a red rose, very natural, very deep, and very realistic, to the point of being a bit spooky. You just don't encounter anything that's remotely close to this good with any regularity. For some, it's a once in a lifetime deal.

I don't know how they did it, and it doesn't really matter - The Perfumer's Workshop created a deceptively complex soliflore on a budget, and found a way to make it accessible to the public for an absurdly reasonable price. My hesitation prior to trying Tea Rose was caused by the reputation of cheap '70s soliflores for being stuffy, grandmotherly, dull. To say that I missed the mark in my prefiguring of Tea Rose is an understatement. I missed the continent on this one. The scent is crystalline, natural, sweet, and unforgettable.

The budget does present itself a little in the far drydown, but it's nothing to lose sleep over. An unwanted rubbery edge to the crispness, something outside of the soliflore realm that reeks of "supporting note," as though the chemical that makes the star notes dance and sing is vying for an unscripted number of its own. Ultimately, Tea Rose succeeds on every level as a pleasantly sexual rose scent, something either a man or woman can wear to enhance their charisma in a variety of circumstances. You don't have to be on the red carpet with this one. It's fine for daytime dates, dinner dates, Sunday brunch with the fam, or just slumming at your favorite park or garden. I wouldn't wear it to work, unless you're a florist, as the sillage here is tremendous, and you're looking at around ten hours for longevity. But hey, if you're tired of the same-old, same-old, maybe this could get you through a draggy casual Friday.

A parting thought - if this scent were available in the 18th and 19th centuries, it would now cost $100 an ounce, as it would certainly have been worn by royalty.




















13 comments:

  1. I've only tested this on a smelling strip, and I've actually been afraid to put this on my skin. On paper I thought it smelled like a cheap rose scented air freshener, and thus totally vile. However your review has convinced me I need to try wearing this. My wife has a bottle.
    Do you find a difference in smell on paper with this one?

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    1. not a big difference, no. but skin chemistry is essential with rose scents, as with most scents. how does it smell on your wife?

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  2. Tonight I tried wearing Tea Rose, and you're totally right. It's a very different experience wearing it as opposed to smelling it on paper. It's lighter, more transparent, more complex, greener, and it does darken a bit the longer I wear it. I'm going to have to wear this more often.

    To answer your question, my wife sprays Tea Rose in her hair, and it smells great - very airy and transparent and light. Just the way a rose scent should smell.

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    1. Glad you like it! You may find Red Roses by Jo Malone to be a nice updated version of the rose soliflore.

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  3. Kidman was excellent in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge. And your reviews are fantastic.

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    1. Thanks man. I was always more of a "To Die For" fan myself. But Kidman excels in everything she's in.

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  4. Hi Bryan,
    Do you think a man could wear it? I'm considering a blind buy (in my country, TR is only available through online retailers).
    I'm a fan of VC&A, Giorgio for Men, Grey Flannel -- just to give you some idea of what tickles my fancy.
    Kind regards.

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    1. No doubt a man could wear it. It's completely unisex.

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  5. Thank you. Kindest regards

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  6. Dear Bryan,
    I've ordered Tea Rose solely on the strength of your excellent review here. It arrives on Monday. I cannot wait!

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  7. I got it. It's gorgeous. Alas, it's very fleeting, and short-lasting.

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    1. Glad you like it. But hmmm . . . shouldn't be fleeting or short-lasting. Should stick around for hours and hours. Wonder if it's been reformulated and/or you have an old bottle.

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