A fragrance that sits at the intersection between tea and fruit. But this is no insipid herbal teabag!
Earl Grey tea, raspberry leaf, leather, nutmeg, plum, prunes, tonka bean, vanilla.
Before we dive into this scent, let us pause for a moment and consider those notes. They read like a description of what Phileas Fogg’s knapsack might smell like. Tea! Leather! Strawberry! There’s something of the derring do, or even the – dare we say it – foolhardy Victorian adventurer about the notes of this scent which had us intrigued from the off.
If this scent leans towards someone like Phileas Fogg (the protagonist in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in 80 Days) then the opening notes of the scent would take place in some bookcase lined, wingback-chaired, gentleman’s club of the late 1800s as our hero sips on some dark, rich, syrupy liquor. When you unleash this scent there’s a burst of a really wonderful creamy, milky, sweetness which is almost chocolatey, and a bit like the inside of a truffle. This is a beautiful opening, faintly boozy but rich, opulent, the sort of scent you want to dive into. It’s really enveloping, oozy and satisfying.
As the languid opening begins to clear the most gorgeous soapy leather starts to peep through. The leather here is really very nice indeed. It’s a clean leather, a bright leather, but it is formed so beautifully that in itself it could make the centrepiece of many lesser perfumes. Instead here, in Tea Shop, it feels as if it is a supporting cast member to the gorgeous cacophony of tea and leather and booze and fruit which are all now starting to unfurl. To go back to Phileas Fogg, this would be the equivalent of Fogg’s leather armchair, his freshly tidied mutton chops, carbolic soap and the cleanliness of the upper classes.
The leather accord, which – let’s say it again – is stunning in its understated construction, gently morphs into much fruitier notes. The shift is gradual and the perfume moves beautifully and smoothly through the transition. You can’t see the seams, there is no harsh join where the phases butt up against one another, which makes it very satisfying to experience and wear. But it’s also here that Phileas Fogg starts to shed his gentlemanly, urbanite ways and go into the forest…
A soft, berry nuance enters the composition. The leather is still there, but it bows gracefully into the background as a warm, strawberry type scent emerges. Not the saccharine, synthetic, nasal-passages scorching strawberry that you get in say kids’ shower gels this is a pretty, fleshy note which retains hints of greenery and freshness about it but at the same time brings elements of sweetness, a little burst of juiciness, and a round softness to the overall fragrance that makes it feel as if it is bending under the nose. It’s really quite remarkable and makes that strange list of notes really start to coalesce and make sense.
It would be remiss of us to not mention the tea in this fragrance. Tea Shop is well named, because throughout the perfume there is the comforting familiarity of tea wafting about in the background but it has this distinctly tea shop vibe about it. By that we mean that it isn’t straight up old black tea you can smell; with the fruity vibes running parallel with the leaves there’s the real sense of richness and variety of the tea here. It’s really easy to imagine that Phileas Fogg has, on his travels, stepped into an exotic Indian tea emporium or warehouse. There’s an interesting sense of humidity in the scent which conjours up sacks of tea gently releasing their aroma on the warm air; notes of dried fruit, green notes, leathery notes, all mingling with, and carried by, the undercutting nuance of tea leaves.
Much of the base of the scent is given over to tones and nuances of dried fruit, there’s something sweet and raisin-like there, hints of the strawberry are still discernible and the vanilla gives a hint of a sort of paperiness lurking on the fringes which is very pleasant. Traces of nutmeg add a spicy, dry warmth too.
By the end of the wear of this perfume we couldn’t help but think that it was tea in a leather flagon rather than a china cup that the perfumer had in mind, and in turn we wondered if more than a bumbling Victorian adventurer, this might be more Lord of the Rings: a little wilder, a little less tame. Either way, we take ours with a little milk please.
The other stuff
Tea Shop is a rounded, smooth-smelling scent which does have a mellow and laid back feel about it. The downside of that is that its projection is very limited. It stays very close to the body and doesn’t project very far at all. Indeed, after even an hour or so it was mostly a skin-scent that only people who got very close to the wearer would be able to smell.
The longevity of the fragrance isn’t very significant either. We got a wear time of a couple of hours each time we tested it before we had to reapply or come to terms with the fact that it had mostly vanished. It seemed to linger for around the 2-4 hours mark although in a much decreased capacity towards the end of that.
We could see this scent appealing perhaps more towards the stereotypically masculine end of the spectrum slightly, although it could easily be worn by any and all genders.
Voronoi are a Russian brand, based in Moscow. Their name references the Voronoi diagram which is a method of dividing a plane into polygons using points. It’s also a really lovely word to say, it rolls out of the front of the mouth beautifully.
There’s a bit more about the brand and what the name might elude to on Bloom’s website.
You can buy Voronoi’s Tea Shop from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £98 for 50ml EdT. Voronoi’s online web boutique is currently under construction at the time of writing, but they do say you can email them to request to purchase internationally.
Bloom Perfumery very kindly provided us with a no-strings-attached sample of this scent. Thank you to them for their generosity.