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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Review for Two: L'Artisan Tea for Two

Today Mr. Colombina and I celebrate our fifth anniversary (and they said it wouldn’t last!). To make today’s post a little bit special, we decided to review a scent together. So this is our Review for Two of Tea for Two. The review proves that in the Encyclopedia of Marriage, under the entry Opposites Attract, should be our picture.


Mr. Colombina:

Hell freezes over. And even then only if the fate of the free world depended on it … a gun was at my head … and Allah had 72 virgins waiting for me.

It’s way too “girlie” for me for one thing. And for another, it didn’t smell a thing like tea to me. Perhaps I was too locked in on anticipating REAL tea … Tetley, Red Rose, Lipton, PG Tips … you know … a “cuppa” … an “I’ll get the kettle on/cure-all” proper British cuppa tea!

I suppose I wouldn’t have been so disappointed if I had opened my mind and nostrils to the world of faux teas … IE herbal teas, green teas, fruit teas that never taste like fruit … and all those other “Oh aren’t we so posh” teas that nobody REALLY enjoys drinking but enjoys being SEEN drinking.

So you can keep your Earl Grays, Darjeeling’s, and your Raspberry Royale, and your I even think there’s one called “Camel Meal” … and bring me a proper cuppa. And while you are at it … a proper fragrance that smells like a proper cuppa.


Girlie? GIRLIE? Tea for Two has always seemed firmly unisex to me, with even perhaps just a tiny little hint of being on a masculine side, but OK. It is a shame though that Mr. Colombina disliked it so much…There I was, planning for both of us to wear it on our next holiday together…With it’s warm spices and the smoky, honeyed undertone, Tea For Two strikes me as a very autumnal fragrance. I would love to wear it during a romantic getaway in fall, in an old, small town, somewhere in Europe. Mr. C and I would walk the cobblestone streets, have fantastic meals in small taverns, and get very romantic at night…all the while wafting the double sillage of Tea For Two…But I guess, given his feelings towards this scent, this fantasy is not meant to come true…


Mr. Colombina:

Potpourri. Not that I have any clue what potpourri smells like, or is used for, or any intrinsic value it serves other than to demonstrate that women will spend their money on anything if it’s packaged well and their friends have also spent money on it.

So I say potpourri … which in French means, “over-priced basket of dead leaves” … in the sense of … well it has a (indefinable) smell alright but … so what.


Smoky, rubbery lapsang souchong with a dash of cinnamon and more than a dash of ginger. Warm, but not heavy, bracing, but not harsh, this is one of my most favorite tea scents, one of my favorite L’Artisan perfumes and an overall favorite…All of which makes me wonder, how many of the perfumes I adore and often wear smell disagreeable to Mr. Colombina. Since he has never once complained when I had worn Tea for Two, it means that a) he is reluctant to express his dislike in fear of emotional and other sorts of repercussions; b) the scent smells much better on me; or c) as I don’t ever overapply, he never notices what perfume I wear and is not interested enough to go out of his way and find out. Of the three scenarios, the third seems to be the most likely.


Mr. Colombina:

Something my mother would wear. Now I must state that although much different from my own, I recognize that my mother has her own sense of style. Then again, so does Rip Taylor.

There is something innately old-fashioned about this fragrance. I suppose it could come back, in a retro-way. But I would welcome that about as much as a Flock of Seagulls reunion tour.


Golden foliage, rich, ornamented fabrics, warm, exotic drinks, expensive cigars smoked in a library of an English mansion, crooked lanes of Krakow, Budapest and Oxford, cozy, loved-up days and passionate nights… Tea for Two to me is a perfect example of a truly “niche” perfume, elegantly exotic, off-beat, and very modern.


M. Colombina:

Who died?

Again, I was expecting TEA for two. If you brought me a cup of tea that smelled like this, it would be like bringing me a beer with a lemon wedge stuffed into the bottle. It’s just wrong!

Perfume makers, like tea makers and beer makers, ought to realize that sometimes they do get it right and should just leave well enough alone … rather than adding “complimentary” dashes of this or that.

I mean would the world end if suddenly cinnamon disappeared? It’s time to stop adding extracts of this and a hint of that and just bring me tea … with the bag still in the mug thank you … two sugars and a splash of milk … the way the world is supposed to be.


Who died?

When I first smelled Tea for Two, the words “embalming fluid” swam up to the surface of my horrified mind. I wondered why on earth someone would want to make a perfume that smelled so vile and who on earth would wear it. Fast forward to about a year ago…I don’t know what changed, perhaps my nose has matured, perhaps my perfume-weirdness threshold has become much higher, to the point that hardly anything bar the most disgusting (waves to Secretions Magnifique!) repulses me anymore…but whereas before Tea for Two was nose-burningly sharp and had a disturbing medicinal undertone, these days it is one of my favorite comfort scents, rich, warm, slightly honeyed, gently smoky and enveloping.

My own past experience with Tea for Two makes me hope that one day Mr. Colombina will learn to appreciate it too and will love to wear it… There are also ways to speed the process. Those wily ways consist of lots of flattery, hints that The Scent really, really turns you on, lingering glances that seem to promise things of which he doesn’t dare to dream, lots of eyelash-batting, stockings, a couple of shots of tequila, repeat for a whole week, and voila! Instead of wrinkling his nose and grumbling about “potpourri” and “something burning”, the male suddenly finds himself strangely attracted to a previously disliked fragrance and is eager to wear it every single night. After liberally spraying himself with The Scent, he will linger next to you, making sure you notice that he is wearing The Scent. If your excitement is not apparent and no flattering comments are forthcoming, he will remark, in a very specific tone of voice, with his eyebrow doing that James-Bond-y thing that it does, that he is wearing The Scent. At which point you shrug your shoulders and say, good for you, honey!


Mr. Colombina


Switching to this from my usual favorites (Quorum, Stetson, and thanks to Colombina’s efforts – Yatagan) would be like trading in my Steve Young jersey for a flowery moo-moo.

This scent is to fragrances what REO Speedwagon was to rock ‘n’ roll. It has all the hipness of an “Up With People” concert.

It is in a word … testosternicide.


Warm, comforted, très sophisticated, slightly bohemian…


Mr. Colombina:

On this, the fifth anniversary of Colombina becoming my wife (and though waning, I still suspect she did so having lost a bet with her friends) … I am thankful and blessed and content. Colombina can lose herself in a world of scents that is her own, whilst I (her scentless husband) playfully mock it. But I respect not only her passion for fragrance but the right she has to have her space, her realm, separate from me. I think it’s one of the reason’s our marriage is strong … in that we’ve become one … without losing our senses of self.

Our love has been blessed and made perpetual, with the life we’ve created together … for ourselves … and the actual life we created together… our darling daughter (and future perfumista) T ... she is our “T for Two!”

Colombina … I love you!


Oh you, old mushy. Thank you for tolerating my obsession and for almost voluntarily playing along. I wouldn’t swap you for a bottle of Djedi. And trust me, that means more than “I love you”.


Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, happily ever after. ;D Loved the ending! My warmest congratulations to the two of you for having completed the first five years of your mutual enterprise. Here's to many more of those! Cheers!

11:40 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Mr C: I don't care for this one either. To literal, too Chai.

I was reading this thinking "Dude, you are so not getting any" (especially with the "smells like Mom" bit) But good for you, you pulled it out in the end. Kudos for the humor and for 5 years of wedded bliss. 50 more!

11:48 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrat's to the two of you! Hipphipphurray for another set of x years.
Wonderful post.... To glue the two of you even more, and to entertain all of us, you should "do more together"

12:37 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such a fun couple, and I love your mushy stuff. I'm all for mushy stuff. Many more years of happy togetherness!

1:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations on your anniversary!
Tea for Two to me seems like something Johny Depp would wear (and perhaps Kate Moss too, when they were still a couple), alond with his bad-hair (=greasy) days, unwashed clothes, and "I-smoke-40-a-day" aura. it actually smells like a cigarette, soaked in old green tea on me, and very similar, but somehow better (or more appropriate?) on my DH. none of us wears it, though. maybe some day. I admit that it's a very very special fragrance. :)

2:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*wipes tear from eye at last couple of paragraphs*

Happy anniversary, lovebirds!

Like you, M, I love Tea for Two. Love it. So there.

*wanders off to find testicles*

3:55 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, happy anniversary!!!!! You are a perfect couple!

As for Tea for Two--I have tried this several times, and each time wondered why I didn't like it more before: it's smoky, it's great, it's delicious--uh, oh, here comes the drydown and it's gone all sour. That's why. This is clearly a skin chemistry problem and it has been confirmed by several Independent Noses (who were T42 lovers). Sniff!

5:39 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warmest congratulations for your fifth anniversary!! If it's any consolation, Mr.C, Mr. Em thought T42 was too feminine for him to wear. But, he thought it was too masculine for me. Thus, making T42 unisex. :-) Have a great anniversary celebration, you two.

6:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aww, the end rectified the entire review, during which I was scratching my head, wondering exactly which scent Mr. Colombina was smelling. Despite his "off" nose, you have a good man there, Marina! Happy Anniversary!!! May you have a lifetime of happiness!

7:30 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Oh, that was lovely! I'm glad you ended up loving Tea for Two, and you're right -- it *would* be a romantic just-us-two vacation scent.

But you must REALLY love the guy if you wouldn't swap him for a bottle of Djedi. Hmmmm, what if it was a really big bottle? What if it was an estate and included a bottle of Fol Arome and some other old stuff? Wait, wait -- I have it!!! What if it was a box of vintage DIORS!?!?! Tough call, huh?!? ;-P

7:38 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Happy Anniversary!! I am utterly mystified at Mr. C's take on my beloved Tea for Two. Wondering if I even dare ask DH for his opinion. Also doing a little mental calculating on which bottles of perfume I might trade him in for if he didn't make the fabulous save that Mr. C did at the end. :-)

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't like to drink Chai, but I think it makes a fabulous personal fragrance :-)

8:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, I don't know about EVER after just yet :-) I see someone below is offering to swap vintage Diors for Mr. C...I am weak, very weak, when it comes to vintage Diors :-)

8:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am starting to draw a comnclusion that men are less enamored with T42 than women are...
Thank you for your kind wishes!

8:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Andy,
Thank you so much for your kind words!

8:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It is Mr. C who is mushy. You'd never guess looking at his austere manly exterior, but he is mushy. He cried at our wedding you know. Yes, I realize that this can be understood in many different ways :-)

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!
And now i have to throw my bottle of T42. I can' t wear it now, it is forever associated in my mind with Kate Moss. Can't deal with that. I have a huge, irrational dislike of Ms. Moss.

8:56 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! And thank you for loving T4@ too. It is not girlie at all. I can't BELIEVE someone would see it as girlie! :-)

8:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much!

What a nice job it would be- an Independet Nose. Go shopping with people, sniff stuff on them and decide what does and does not smell good on them...:-)

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


Mr. is just wrong. Period :-)

Thank you!

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much!

What is it with these men? Too feminine? Huh.

8:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much! He is sweet, even if he dares to have opinions and tastes different from mine :-)

9:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

*screams* You can't do that! ...How big a box? Where should we meet up to make a swap?

9:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Better not ask, I guess :-)
But yeah, Mr. C is a keeper :-)

9:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much!!

9:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely. Congratulations.I wish happiness and... sense of humour.
You are a remarkable couple. I wish you all the best.

9:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Bol'shoe Spasibo!!

9:50 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Wishing you both a very happy anniversary :-)

10:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much, Robin! :-)

10:33 AM EDT  
Blogger fmd74 said...

That was hilarious! Just goes to show how different we are. It's just the way it's supposed to be. I like TFT a lot, but I was expecting it to more tea-y. Still, I think it's a wonderful autumn scent.

Congratulations on your 5 years together! I wish you many more years of mushiness! ;)

10:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree. Well, there certainly is tea, but it really is more about spices on me.

Thank you for your kind wishes!

10:59 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary :)

My DH and I both wear Tea for Two - it was love at first sniff, and also my first niche purchase.

11:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!

Ah, lucky you! :-)

11:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


I love T4-2. I think it's brilliant and I especially love it in warm weather. I remember wearing it to my brother's wedding in Atlanta, during the summer a couple of years ago. In the heat it turned very incensy and spicy. Sillage wasn't huge but decent and lasted all day. Wonderful scent. Not sure about the men vs. Tea for Two thing but maybe you are on to something. It's a possibility that I am just in the minority in so many ways!

11:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say keep him despite his not appreciating one of my all time favorites.

Happy anniversary and best wishes for many, many wonderful years together.


11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You have fabulous taste!I don't know what it is with some men. I find T42 to be ever so slightly on a masculine side of the unisex spectrum.

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much!
T42 is wonderful. I can't believe I could have ever think otherwise :-)

12:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

He is crafty, he is. To say nasty things about one of my favorite scents and then get mushy in the last paragraph :-)
Thank you for your kind wishes!

12:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!

So you think I should keep him then, eh? :-) March is tempting me with a box of vintage Diors. :-)))

12:22 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all : happy anniversary Colombina!

And yes, I'm one of those peculiar people which wear T4T. I like L'Artisan very much, their unisex scents - sometimes strange but never unpleasant. And you know what : originally I bought it for my husband, who rejected to wear it with a very resolute "definitely not, it's not for men!"...

12:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why it didn't take my name and made an anonym from me - it's me, l. jane grey...

12:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Lady Jane,
Thank you very much!
So your husband also thought it was too feminine? So funny. And I can't believe it smells that way to them. :-)

12:50 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Firstly to all readers who disagree with my part of the review ...

Taking what I have to say about fragrances would be like asking Colombina why the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive works better than the Ford Hybrid ... or to ask her to explain differences between the west coast offense of the Philadelphia Eagles compared to the west coast offense run by the Green Bay Packers.

My role on this blog ... as I understand it, is to air the views of the "Every Man" ... the 'man in the street' ... you know ... the uninformed types you see in interviews who can't name the current vice president or five US states. ... The kind of people who appeared destined for an appearance on the Jerry Springer show.

Perfume to me is like art. I don't know why I like or dislike something ... only that I do.

I guess that's why Heinz makes 57 flavours. Which come to think of it, might make for an interesting scent.

3:09 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Ina, Tom, Andy, Maria, Timam, Leopoldo, Lily, em, Patty, newproducts, March, Elle, Genia, Nowsmell, Flor, Kathy, Kelley, Bois, Anne, Eaumy, & Lady Jane,

Firstly, Thanks for the kind words and congrats.

The majority opinion seems to be that Colombina should keep me and I know she tends to keep me ... in line.

I am not sure if she thinks it's been five years of marriage so much as five years of training me. But whatever it has been ... it hasn't been boring.

You know her as a friend and fellow lover of perfumes. But if only you could know her as I do and then you'd see how REALLY wonderful, lovely (and drop-dead sexy) she is.

By the way, the traditional gift for the fifth anniversary is wood.

Needless to say, I refrained from putting a joke in the post - though if I had - it would've been something along the lines of my plans to give her some wood in the morning.

Anyway, I apologise to those who's pseudonyms-to-real-names are not in my memory banks. Unfortunately in this day and age, my limited memory is chocker with PINs, Passwords, Account Names etc. ... barely leaving enough room for the important stuff ... like sports stats for example.

I did remember my anniversary though so that's something.

All the best!
Mr. C.

3:26 PM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

I knew I'd forget one.

Faizanjax ... I don't want to smell like a pot of tea either.

Perhaps in layers well with the scents of biscuits? scones? or a Mr. Kipling sponge roll?

I'm getting peckish (hungry).

Mr. C.

3:28 PM EDT  
Blogger katiedid said...

The happiest of anniversaries to you both! Hope you will have time to treat yourselves to a special night painting the town red :)

8:11 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! I hope you are feeling better!
Gosh, I'd love to paint town read. Heck, even the palest of pastel pinks would do :-)

8:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and thanks for the many laughs.

8:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Cait! :-)

8:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there.... late to the party, again... but still, congratulations on your 5th anniversary.

im actually with Mr C on this one *jumps to avoid rotten tomatoes being pelleted at me right now by rabid perfumistas, including M*

i think it's too spicy and incensy on me. think the BF doesn't like it much either. :-)

4:17 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it okay with you guys if i model my search for a husband on your relationship? i love the way you work with and complement one another.

and, i love tea for two, as well - i went from not getting that initial blast to craving it at times.

thanks for the romantic reviews! - minette

4:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Kouros is actually a good idea, Mr. C will probably like it...and I will represent the other side :-)

4:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!
I agree, it is a spicy scent. It is more about spices than anything else on my skin.

4:28 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much and *high five* on Tea for Two!

4:29 PM EDT  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

An ingenius piece of writing! Congratulations both of you on your 5 year anniversary. You are exactly the type of couple I would enjoy hanging out with for hours - smart, funny, passionate and interesting! Oh, and Tea for Two isn't bad either. ;-)

4:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much, Tamara!!

4:32 PM EDT  
Blogger IrisLA said...

Happy Anniversary to a wonderful couple! And thank you for allowing your readers share in your happiness.

5:10 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Iris! :-)

5:14 PM EDT  

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