Tea tease? Yes please! Mona di Orio's Bohea Bohème & some favourite brews, bottled…

Tea is having such a moment in fragrance, we’re finding – a surprisingly versatile note that can be smoky and resinous, a quenching cup of uplifting silvery freshness or playing on the unique dryness found in green teas. At once beckoning images of far-flung places and yet comfortingly familiar, it’s perhaps no wonder that perfumers are reaching for the teapot for inspiration in their leafy compositions.
The niche house of Mona di Orio is no exception, and we were fascinated to learn of the inspiration behind their just-launched Bohea Bohéme. As perfumer Fredrik Dalman explained, this evocative, unconventionl and epicurial scent taps into a rich seam of history while carrying aloft the reputation of the house following the sad passing of the co-founder, Mona…
Fredrik Dalman: ‘Tea is a perfect scent in so many ways. It has the extraordinary power of escapism trapped in its leaves, instant relief and a journey to a faraway land on a rainy day, or, for those who cherish gloomier days, an instant journey back to that moment. The scent of tea is far more complex than at first glance, with layer after layer of hidden facets. Smoke from burning pine is exactly the same – infinitely complex. A combination of the two, as in Bohea tea is therefore naturally an exciting challenge. Poplar Bud Absolute provided the perfect spiced honey note that was needed in the smoke. The fraction of Fir Balsam was a fantastic link between the creamier notes of the tea with the darker notes of wood in the base. Blue Chamomile, which is the main player on the top, gives an herbal touch of sweetness to the whole creation.’
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Describing the unique take on a note we all feel we know so well, Fredrik explained that ‘…Bohea bohème is not a tea scent in the way many people are used to.’ Not to be taken too literally, then, he continues: ‘I was not looking to recreate the scent of sticking your nose in a jar of tea. This creation wants to take you on an olfactive adventure, constantly finding new facets just as you would in real Bohea tea. As a creator, I wanted you to feel as if you were standing by the fire and smelling as the smoke seeps through the freshly plucked tea leaves, whilst feeling the same kind of comfort you might feel as you walk past your local tea shop. This is an intimate scent, just as drinking tea is to me!’
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Mona di Orio Bohea Bohéme £150 for 75ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Les Senteurs
With tea having such a renaissance in perfumery today, we urge you to seek out some other favourite examples of this refreshing trend…
‘Tea Tonique celebrates the energising and restorative powers of tea. Immediately captivating, like a swirl of tea leaves and steam or hearing a story for the first time. An infusion of Italian bergamot with smoky tea and maté add an unpredictable nature to the aromatic blend. Hints of warm nutmeg and birch create a smoky and multi-faceted character…’
miller_harris_tea_tonique_eau_de_parfum_50ml_1445001494Miller Harris Tea Tonique £65 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Miller Harris
‘A delicately balanced floral eau de toilette fragrance for her, inspired by the beauty of a Sichuan goddess. Composed of zesty top notes softened by a floral heart that floats on an embracing warm base…’
molton-brown-honeysuckle-white-tea-fragrance_kej086_xlMolton Brown Blossoming Honeysuckle & White Tea £39 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at Molton Brown
[Psst! Try a sample of this in the fabulous Art of Fragrance Box]
‘An infusion of well-being, an invigorating and soothing perfume to be shared. Between the sea and volcanoes, a stroll in the fields of mandarin trees and tea plantations, waving in the wind of an Asian island. The crystalline mandarin bursts into freshness, contrasting, in a soft and soothing breeze, with the tea, green and leathery, and the osmanthus, carnal and fruity, like a caress on the skin…’
_00000_ileauthe-edt100ml-711367121665_z_1_1Annick Goutal L’ile au Thé £67 for 50ml eau de toilette
Buy it at John Lewis
‘A smooth and comfortable fragrance of the private moment of the recovered inspiration. A full-bodied, mysterious concoction that captures blue tea and bergamot in the warmth of smoke and leather. ‘
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Atelier Cologne Oolong Infini £100 for 100ml Cologne Absolu
Buy it at Selfridges
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Pozzo di Borgo – it’s a family affair with perfumed portraits (past and present) captured in scent

When you’re a direct descendant of Xavier Givaudan – founder of the eponymous fragrance house, and therefore responsible for many of the greatest scents in the world – growing up with perfume practically running through your veins; it seems only natural the fragrance world would also beckon you forth. And when your childhood is spent living in a house bursting at the seams with creative, eccentric and loving family members – how natural, then to be inspired further, and create an olfactory family album…

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Pozzo di Borgo is a new fragrance house, launching with five fragrances exlusive to Les Senteurs in the UK – each of them based on one of Valentine’s family members, and created by collaborating with differing perfumers for each scent. Pozzo di Borgo explain they are ‘…an olfactory portrait of an ancestor or a living relation, creating fascinating links between past and present, interpretation and perfume. The fragrances showcase precious traditional ingredients in a revealing way.’

‘Valentine has the perfect background to create an intriguing scented gallery. Having grown up surrounded by fragrance, and habitually drawing on this olfactory intimacy, she has always had the motivation to create her own personalised fragrances. Named after the dates on which each family member was born, Pozzo di Borgo perfumes are contemporary readings of the past as well as characterisations of personalities we can all recognise. The bottles, at once classic and contemporary, are designed by Pierre Dinand, creator of the iconic Opium bottle.’

We caught up with Valentine Pozzo di Borgo during the launch at Les Senteurs to ask more about this intriguing – and so personal – project in perfume. What inspired her to begin…?

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‘I decided to do olfactive portraits of my family because I think you decide to wear perfume based on your character – who you are, who you want to be, where you are going… I used to live in a huge houseful of my family, all the cousins, grandparents, parents, it was crazy, but it gave me a lot of time to think about all their characters. For each member, they chose the inspiration for the fragrance, and I would say if I liked it or not, but really it was a direct dialogue between them and the perfumer. It was very important for me to choose the right perfumer for each project, based on my knowledge of their work – their unique styles had to fit the character of each family member. It was a very long process, as you can imagine!’
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When judging, and “capturing”, someone’s character in scent, all manner of problems must arise! But which has taken the longest, we wondered? Explains Valentine: ‘The perfume for myself was probably the most difficult for me personally. The first perfumer I chose was a friend, and he kept seeing me as iris, but it wasn’t really how I saw myself. In the end I went with Violaine Collas and said “this is how people keep seeing me – iris, but it doesn’t work I don’t think…” She also saw me in iris, interestingly, but mixed it with fig and musk and somehow that just worked!’

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The first creation is a celebration of Valentine’s 18th century ancestor, Carl Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, a Corsican politician and diplomat and one of the most colourful members of this ancient aristocratic family. This is a spicy citrus with warm, rounded base accords of Russian leather and cognac: Diplomatic, shrewd, eloquent, tenacious. Perfumer: Philippe Bousseton

o.3112027 Fevrier 1950
A tonic cologne with bergamot, patchouli, and neroli, with the Corsican additions of lavender, caraway, boxwood, and oakmoss. Inspired by Reynier Pozzo di Borgo: Creative, tolerant, sensitive, elegant. Perfumer: Pierre Bourdon

pozzo_di_borgo_19_mai_1957_119 Mai 1957
A scent of powerful yet elusive intensity. Evocative of the Corsican landscape of the family heritage, with the liquorice-like odour of the maquis, lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, heliotrope, cistus labdanum, and peru balsam. A portrait of Alexandre Pozzo di Borgo: Intrepid, entrepreneurial, witty, sophisticated. Perfumer: Sonia Constant

101166142024 Octobre 1985
A scent for Valentine’s cousin Chinzalee – an aquatic and green aromatic scent of mint, grapefruit, and galbanum, with gourmand facets of rum and pear, and a suggestion of cucumber: Independent, spirited, enthusiastic, generous. Perfumer: Mathilde Bijaoui

23_janvier_pozzo23 Janvier 1984
Valentine’s own scent captures the enchanting contrasts of her character. Freshness, sophistication, and spontaneity are characterised in this luminous perfume of cardamom, petitgrain, coriander, fig, iris and musk: Discreet, energetic, audacious, enigmatic. Perfumer: Violaine Collas.

So what next for Valentine’s perfumed portraits – we wondered if every single member of her family is queuing up to be “captured” by a perfumer in scent? Valentine laughs, and admitted that is kind of what’s happening; but there’s one fragrance in particular that’s very special for her.

‘I’m working on the two next fragrances at once – one is for my cousin who’s in a wheelchair following an accident. In fact he has completely lost his sense of smell and taste, and that’s very challenging because we’re working on his olfactive memories, it’s very emotional… Everything is disconnected, he can only move his head, and it’s so complex trying to explore his smell memories and then recreate them – without him being able to smell them. We’re working with Sophie Labbé on it, and it’s fun but super personal…’

Pozzo di Borgo £99 for 100ml eau de parfum
Exclusive to Les Senteurs – available now in-store, and soon online.

Written by Suzy Nightingale