Tea fragrances: calming, soothing, a balm for the soul. Much like tea itself is.
Camphor, cardamon, cedar, rose, tea, ho wood, musk, myrrh, pepper.
Phaedon are a really great brand to try if you are new to niche perfumery or if you are looking to add some real staples to your collection. They produce excellent quality scents which are classically elegant and easy to wear. The brand focuses on timeless, great construction rather than on producing anything gimmicky or ‘trendy’ which will fall out of fashion before you’ve got more than a centimetre down the bottle. Instead, Phaedon perfumes are the sort of scents you will be wearing for years and years and which will still make you feel classy and elegant at each wear.
We’ve previously reviewed the glorious Pure Azure, the camomile softness of Hesperys, the crowd-pleasing delight of Pluie de Soleil, the watery florals of L’Eau de Phaedon and the sweet almond notes of Ilanguara.
Spray Cendres de Thé and for a moment you get a contrasting chime of notes. It’s almost like a murmuration of starlings; you’re not quite sure if you’re looking at a cloud, or smoke, or birds until it resolves itself. There’s a moment like that here, right in the top of the perfume: there’s a little smoke, the warmth of a spice, woodiness, and even greenery. It’s fresh, comforting, warm and close all at once.
A few moments later and the obfuscation clears, however, and the gentle thrum of cardamon sinks down beside you like a tabby cat. The cardamon is beautiful, and wondrously delicate. Cardamon can be abrasive if it’s too strong in the mix, but Phaedon have got it just right here, it offers warmth but also a freshness. It’s inviting, enticing and moreish, never loud or brash. A good perfume should always leave you wanting more and indeed Phaedon does that perfectly with the start of this fragrance.
The cardamon is the thread that connects the top of the perfume all the way through to the base but as you would expect, its subtly shifts and changes as the perfume wears. At first it is bright and zingy, but then it becomes harder and more like a wood, before finally softening, melting and becoming a little more soapy in its disposition.
The beautiful woodiness in the heart of the scent is very much like you’re smelling the equivalent of woody skin. This isn’t hard, cold, dead wood, it’s flexible, malleable, warm and alive. The camphor adds a very subtle and beautiful cleanliness to the overall scent which further adds to this woody-skin feeling. Imagine if an ent had taken a bath and you got to sniff their softened bark as they stepped out of the water. That’s the sort of vibe we get from the heart of Cendres de Thé. The unromantic might imagine that the corporeal fleshiness is coming from the rose peeping through here, but we prefer to imagine an ent emerging steaming from a rose-petal scented bath!
One of the things we liked very much about Cendres de Thé is that it feels like it has an inverted structure. It starts off more woody and somewhat heavier, but becomes lighter and more airy as it goes on. Don’t take that to mean that this is a heavy scent, it isn’t. Even when it is at its most dense, Cendres has this airy, dry and delicate quality about it which makes it really easy to wear at any time of year and for any occasion. Subtle and shifting are the keywords that define this fragrance. If there is any criticism to be made of the scent it could well be that it is too subtle, but if the volume were turned up then the delicacy may well have been lost.
In the base of the fragrance, a soapy cleanliness peeps through at times which is moreish and enticing. There’s a gentle freshness about the whole fragrance, as if someone has left an upstairs window open on a spring day and you can make out wafts of cool outside air. As a result it has this wonderfully relaxed and optimistic vibe about it. It’s chic without trying too hard.
It is in the base of the scent which we get most of the tea notes. There’s something intoxicating about tea done well in fragrances and Cendres de Thé manages to evoke that in a refined and delicate way. It most definitely is moreish and it really does make you want to keep sniffing it, but the payoff from doing so is restrained, delicate and subtle. This isn’t a fragrance for people who want to shout about what they are wearing, it’s a scent to wear for your lover to enjoy and be beguiled by once they get close to you.
The other stuff
The projection of Cendres de Thé is limited, it stays very close to the skin and may not be detectable beyond hugging distance. That said, there’s something elegant about that – it isn’t brash or loutish.
The longevity of this fragrance is moderate, we got it to last until around lunchtime or just after from an early morning application.
We can see Cendres de Thé being worn by all genders, but it does perhaps lean slightly more towards the masculine end of the spectrum. That said, it’s so delicate in composition that it would also be easy for those more towards the feminine end to wear too.
Cendres de Thé is a lovely fragrance which could be worn at any time of the year. It would suit daytime wear perhaps more than evening, due to the delicate complexity it possesses.
You can buy Cendres de Thé from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at a very reasonable £80 for 100ml EdP.
Cendres de Thé can also be purchased from the Phaedon web boutique.
We were very kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by a friend and follower of The Sniff who (as far as we are aware) is unconnected to the brand. Thank you for your kindness.