Perfume Review: CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea
I miss home. I miss my mum, my dad and my grandma. I miss our kitchen, the heart of the house. I miss my mum’s cooking. I miss having tea with my family. The English are typically thought of as a tea-loving nation, and they truly are (something bad happened? - have a cuppa!), but the Russians worship at the altar of tea just as devoutly. In our family tea is drunk as many as three, sometimes four times a day; we take our tea black and strong, with a spoonful of sugar and a thin slice of lemon. Unsurprisingly, my ideal tea perfume is also “well-brewed”, just one step away from being truly pungent, it is a little sweet and has a citrus undertone. Unfortunately that perfect tea scent has yet to be found. The fragrances I have tried are either too spicy or too sweet or too heavy on citrus. Comme des Garcons Series 1 Leaves Tea is almost but not quite the scent I am looking for; it is a little too smoky and dark to be my Holy Grail Tea Scent. Russian Caravan Tea by Christopher Brosius is another almost perfect tea fragrance.
I must confess that growing up in Russia I have never heard about Russian Caravan Tea. And yet, according to EnjoyingTea.com, “historically, the Russian Caravan tea was the most important drink” in Russia (”after vodka”, that is). Apparently, in old times, chests of this tea would travel “on camelback from China to Moscow”, thus the name, “Caravan Tea”. According to the same source, the smoky smell of that tea was due to the fact that, during the journey, the tea would absorb the scent of the campfire. Distant, mythical past aside, Russian Caravan Tea that I see being sold in the US, is a dark, full-bodied tea with a somewhat smoky flavor. On some online stores, Russian Caravan Tea is a blend of Oolong and Ceylon teas, in others Lapsang Souchong is mixed with Assam black tea to achieve a smokier effect.
Christopher Brosius’s Russian Caravan Tea is a less smoky kind; I do not detect any Lapsang Souchong here, and that is one of the reasons I like it. It might be called “Caravan”, but it smells almost identical to the tea I used to drink at home, which, I can assure you, was not scented by the smoke of the campfire but was your regular black “Indian” tea found in your regular Russian grocery store. But I digress…CB Russian Caravan Tea is described by its creator as “smoked black Indian tea, bergamot and the hint of shelves full of old books”. The first sniff is amazingly true black tea scent, strong, robust and aromatic. Then a citrus note becomes apparent, and I love the fact that it is a very discreet note, just a mere hint to brighten the black brew. The scent has just the right amount of sweetness, which means that it is practically not sweet at all. I would have loved Russian Caravan Tea more were it not for a note there that keeps bothering me, some “foreign” accord that I cannot properly identify but that has no place in my ideal tea scent. It might be (cedar)wood of those “shelves full of old books”…whatever it is, I wish it were not there. Still, right now this scent is as close to my dream tea scent as I am likely to get.
Russian Caravan Tea is available at Cbhateperfume.com, $35.00-$45.00.
The painting is Russian Tea by Irving R. Wiles. The photo of Russian Caravan Tea bottle is from scent-systems.com.