Some of you might remember that late last year, I went on a brief yet action-packed trip to Japan with Jo Malone. It's up there with my all-time favourite blogging-related experiences and it absolutely killed me at the time not to be able to share my entire experience with you all... but the day has finally come, and I can share a little more about my trip!
My first thoughts upon hearing about this new collection are probably similar to what you're thinking right now... how can six fragrances all based on tea be so different? Well, trust me they are. Each has it's own distinct scent and feel about it, and you will definitely have a favourite as they are all distinctly different. They stand out from the rest of the fragrance offerings from Jo Malone for a few other reasons too. Firstly, they are housed in a beautiful new architectural-looking bottle with a large magnetised lid. Secondly they are super-sized, coming in only 175ml sizes, and thirdly they are a much more premium price point for the brand at £240 each.
Although all tea is essentially grown from the same plant (the Camelia sinensis) not all teas are created equal, and 'rare teas' such as those used in these new fragrances are produced in tiny batches using traditional techniques and meticulous care. Some of these rare teas are so sought after, they are worth more than gold, gram for gram! Environmental factors lead to vast differences in each tea's taste and scent including the soil, climate, altitude etc and to create six distinctly different scents for this collection, other notes were added to each fragrance in order to enhance each teas natural properties.
I'll talk about each in colour order, running from the palest Silver Needle to the deepest Golden Needle...
Silver Needle Tea - Made using tea from Fuji, China. Silver needle tea was traditionally grown especially for the Chinese emperor and it is still one of the most precious white teas grown today. This is the lightest fragrance in the collection and one of my favourites. It's fresh and slightly floral, with added notes of rose, sage and musk. If you like lighter, fresher fragrances then this one is for you.
Darjeeling Tea - Made using Phuguri Darjeeling tea from the foothills of the Himilayas, on the Nepalese border. It has a floral note to it, with a slight hint of fruitiness and the tea is infused for 45 hours to create the scent. The fragrance is completed with jasmine and freesia notes, so it's one of the most floral in the collection. It also contains an Indian herb called Davana which adds a unique fruity note not dissimilar to apricot. It's a very smooth scent that has a distinct depth to it despite having solid floral notes.
Jade Leaf Tea - Grown in Kyushu, Japan, Sencha Ariake was used to create the green tea fragrance in the collection. This variety of tea is the smoothest of all Japanese sencha and it is infused for 22 hours to create this fragrance, then combined with unusual notes of sesame, lentisk (similar to pine) and a hint of pomelo. This is a fresh take on a green tea fragrance. It has a fresh bitter element to it thanks to the citrus notes. If you like your fragrances clean and sharp then this is for you.
Oolong Tea - My personal favourite from the collection, the Oolong Tea scent has been created using Fu Lian Ooling Tea grown in the mountains of Jiangsu, China. It's a rich, smokey tea that is fermented before infusing for 68 hours to let the spicy notes develop. Jo Malone have added cocoa, tonka, hay and tobacco to create a dark, creamy scent that is totally unique and delicious. I am utterly addicted to this fragrance. It's warm and sexy, but subtle at the same time.
Midnight Black Tea - Made using Puerh from Yunnan province in China that takes years to mature and develop, this tea is then infused for a whopping 100 hours and enhanced with notes of vanilla, amber and guaiac wood. This is a very close runner up to my favourite Oolong, and slightly similar in it's warmth. This is a unique, alluring fragrance that is as sweet as it is spicy. A perfect evening fragrance.
Golden Needle Tea - Another spicy creation. The tea used in this fragrance is grown in the Yunnan mountains in China. It's infused for 92 hours then blended with smooth, dark notes of sandalwood and leather. All of the scents are uni-sex but to me, this is the most masculine of the collection. It's very deep but not as strong as the Midnight Black or Oolong tea, so it's not overpowering.