Cof­fee, tea or a dab of per­fume?

Los Angeles Times - - IMAGE - By Denise Hamil­ton im­age@latimes.com

The pop­u­lar­ity of ar­ti­sanal cof­fees and teas has fil­tered into the per­fume world, where con­sumers are snap­ping up scents with notes of lap­sang sou­chong, Earl Grey and cap­puc­cino.

“The cof­fee cus­tomer is one that wants a pro­nounced scent… some­thing bold, but ap­proach­able, and the tea cus­tomer is one that seeks a lighter, fresher, laid-backa pproach to a scent,” says Franco Wright, co­founder of L.A.’s Scent Bar.

Tea hit the per­fume spotlight most no­tably with L’Ar­ti­san’s smoky Tea for Two in 2000. When the com­pany dis­con­tin­ued it, fans raised such a ruckus that it’s now back, com­pet­ing with dozens of tea scents from bud­get-con­scious Deme­ter to high-end Her­mès’ Os­man the Yun­nan.

Cof­fee woke up later, with Bond No. 9’s rich New Haar­lem in 2003, a nod to Man­hat­tan’s cof­fee-drink­ing Dutch im­mi­grants.

Wright says a hot seller is In­tense Cafe by Mon­tale, which blends cof­fee with am­ber and vanilla. The store even of­fers a cof­fee and mint body­wash.

The trend started in the niche and in­die per­fume mar­ket, where per­fumers hunt down in­trigu­ing new notes, like South Amer­ica’s yerba mate, whose leaves are steeped in tea. Ayala Moriel’s Gau­cho, Lorenzo Vil­loresi’s Yer­ba­mate and An­nick Goutal’s Duel all fea­ture this note. In­die online per­fumers Ava Luxe and Dawn Spencer Hur­witz of­fer per­fumes called Cafe Noir and depart­ment store brands from Thierry Mu­gler to Jo Malone have also tried their hand with cof­fee and tea, re­spec­tively. Bar­ney’s now pro­duces a branded per­fume called Bar­ney’s Route du Thé.

At per­fume-mak­ing work­shops hosted by L.A.’s In­sti­tute for Art and Ol­fac­tion, par­tic­i­pants of­ten ask for notes of ca­cao, cof­fee and black, green or camomile tea. “Tea has so many aro­matic com­po­nents, it’s a real scentscape and peo­ple are drawn to it,” founder Saskia Wil­son-Brown says.

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