Thursday, May 17, 2007

Creative Universe Té

The top notes of some perfumes instantly bring to mind a scent in the "real" world. L by Lolita Lempicka is salted carmels. (And like the candies, I can't help wishing there was more salt.) Caron's Poivre is the smell of the great, hole-in-the-wall Hungarian restaurant near my old apartment, with dishes full of paprika, pepper, clove and cream wafting past and dust drifting down from the touchingly tacky wall decorations. L'Artisan's Dzing! famously smells of cardboard, Piment Brûlant of red bell peppers, and Tea for Two is your tent permeated with campfire smoke. Comme des Garçons Rhubarb conjures, well, yes, rhubarb. Then, there are the maddening perfumes that smell exactly like... something, exactly like something that is evading you, it's right there, it's.... what is that smell, for the love of all things holy?!? Created by Creative Universe's Beth Terry, was launched in 1996, and contains notes of bergamot, celery (seed?), grapefruit, green tea, ylang-ylang and clove. For me, is the latter sort of eyebrow-knitting scent, the kind you just know, but you can't say from where.

At this point you are saying to your computer: "You nimrod, you know it from tea! It's called !" Beth Terry created the fragrance to evoke "tea in a glass", a childhood memory of her grandfather's indulgence. And indeed the heart and base notes of the fragrance do bear a remarkable resemblance to tea: rich, smooth, lightly bitter. (Oddly, to me, it resembles less a green tea than a more fermented Oolong or Darjeeling. I think this is due to the spicy, toasted, "dark" quality of the clove, but it may simply be because there is a sweet milkiness to the scent and green tea is almost always taken straight.) The top notes, however, are odd and close to unpleasant and really painfully familiar, if only I could remember from what. At first, I considered that it might be a paste or dough-like substance inflicted on me during childhood art instruction. (I am craft-impaired.) This would account for the almost salty angle. Unlike many tea scents, the bergamot is not particularly prominent here; the dominance of the bitter, sort of tannic celery early on reminds me a bit of poultry seasoning, and I therefore also tried to compare it to my olfactory memory of turkey stuffing.

In any case, my first wearing of was ruined by these top notes and my inability to pinpoint where I recognized them from. I put the sample away, but then found it just in time to put on some of the scent before I gingerly went to bed earlier this week with the aches of a brewing cold. I've worn it every day since and am finding it comforting and mellow. The ylang-ylang provides a light touch of floral sweetness and the green tea accord is drier and less "fresh" than that typically found in other perfumes. In some ways, does not smell like a personal fragrance at all. It is tea realism, unlikely to find favour with those looking for a bright, summery, stylized tea scent. Personally, I've grown to be quite charmed by it. Most impressive to me is the way Terry has balanced a sheer, cleanly modern style with a cozy, "round", comfort scent feel. The sillage is average for an eau de toilette, I suppose, and the lasting power probably on the higher end of normal for a scent of this type, but you'll be able to afford to refresh, as the Creative Universe scents are quite reasonable: $62 USD for 130 ml at luckyscent (which strangely seems to have in a larger bottle and for a cheaper price than beautyhabit.)


At 12:24 p.m., Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great review! This is still one of my summer favorites, and I'm still dying to know what on earth BT's grandfather was drinking.

At 2:37 p.m., Blogger Erin said...

R, so nice to see you here! Thanks for the kind words - I became interested in this one after reading your wonderful review. I'm glad I persevered with it after not enjoying it on the first testing, because I think it will become a summer fave for me, too. Had a very similar experience with Timbuktu, which I'm also loving right now, and I remember your review/reconsideration of that one being really interesting, too.


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