Scent | Tea and Perfume (Russian Breakfast)

My coworker started a tea blog and we discussed collaborating and coordinating posts in which she would write about a tea and I would write about a perfume in the same family. Tea of course is very fragrant and can even include the same ingredients as perfume (rose, jasmine, etc), albeit in very different form. We’ve never managed to make it happen, but I still think posts about perfume and tea would be fun to do. And so.

I switched from coffee to tea a couple of years ago because I was having acid reflux every morning on the way to work. I also had to give up milk, and coffee without milk is just not worth it to me. Yes, I tried rice milk and coconut milk and all those things, but it is just not the same. I’ll still have coffee with milk occasionally when I’m out or on vacation, but often it just seems to harsh to me. I have become very appreciative of of the delicate nature of teas. I think my favorite is the first fresh tea I ever bought–Mariage Frères’ Russian Breakfast Tea.

mariage freres

Even the packaging is lovely.

The very brief description on the Mariage Frères website says it has “a pronounced note of citrus fruit.” Indeed–it’s like lemon and oranges mixed with very subtle spices, making for a nice complex flavor with depth. I find many black teas to be rather bitter, but that is not the case here.

The perfume it reminds me of is Eau d’Hadrien, a top scent from the French perfume house Goutal Paris (formerly Annick Goutal). It’s no surprise this is a popular scent, with its complex palette of citrus notes (grapefuit, lemon, citron, and mandarin orange) spiked with piney cypress. Somehow it all combines to evoke a Mediterranean summer–in fact, this scent was inspired by Tuscan gardens, although for me it’s more redolent of Capri and the Amalfi Coast further south, where lemon trees are an indelible part of the landscape. Somehow it manages to be intense yet light and zesty at the same time.


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I drink Russian Breakfast tea almost every morning. I used up my bottle of Eau d’Hadrien long ago, but writing this post is making me miss it. Perhaps I need to get a sample to meet my citrus needs.


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