Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia (2011) {Perfume Review & Musings}


Green_Tea_Camellia_Arden_A.jpgGreen Tea Camellia was introduced last spring and is the latest variation on the celebrated Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden. As summertime wanes with a pinnacle of heat courtesy of the dog days of summer, you might still want to reach for a crisp and dry perfume to revive your senses before seriously thinking about updating your library of scents for the fall.

The charm of Green Tea Camellia is first of all that the new accord is ensconced in an old, familiar one. Green Tea the original, signed by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, was first launched in August 1999 precisely at this time of the year. It reprised the Calone-laden aquatic accord found in Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers introduced in 1993. It is also an Americanized version of Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert created by Jean-Claude Ellena and launched in 1993 in the way that it is a franker, crisper and cleaner rendition of the green-tea accord...

Its lastingness also reveals that it corresponds better to the busy North-American market which appreciates hedonistic gestures but has less time to indulge in spraying anew during the day. Finally its greater linear character is appreciated by those who think that a fragrance should hold no surprises from beginning to end but be transparently what it is from the start.

The addition of camellia this year does not change the fact that the perfume offers a reliable and upfront development. It however adds some more complex accents to it, in particular in the manner in which the aquatic floral fragrance becomes spicy and more exotic.

Notes are: sheer bergamot, yuzu, sparkling lemon, green tea vapors and ume plum. The heart unfolds on notes of green tea leaves, camellia sasanqua, white peony, Chinese magnolia, jasmine petals and mandarin tree blossom. The base notes are angelica musk - a vegetal musk - white birch, moss and touches of sweet spices.

The fragrance created by perfumer Rodrigo-Flores Roux opens on a very fresh accord quickly followed by spicier and plummier nuances. There is a slight bitter edge to the scent. It makes you think of a medicinal spice box, which is in keeping with the original wellness inspiration for the scent.

In the beginnings, Arden did not hesitate to mention antioxydants and the health properties of green tea to convey a sense of being in tune with consumers' expectations. This year, they also underscored that the "green tea vapors" accord is "therapeutic" and "revitalizing" releasing the refreshing scent of Camellia Sinensis leaves. This opening also reminded me of the dry, herbal and somewhat counterintuitive opening of the now defunct jasmine perfume Murmure by Van Cleef & Arpels.

55 Days at Peking_ok.jpgA lovely Chinese magnolia and camellia heart unfolds after a while offering light creamy, floral and tea-like facets. Sasanqua Camellia on which the composition rests is said to present variegated nuances. The floral scent was captured live by company Givaudan in Sri Lanka thanks to the Scent Trek technology, to be brough back and recreated in a perfumer's laboratory. According to Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Sasanqua Camellia offers a "delicate fragrance [which] combines peony, rose and mandarin tree blossom notes with a delicate tea nuance."

As Green Tea Camellia develops further, the scent brings out some of the woodier nuances in the ingredients used. The composition at that point becomes mellow and soft; Angelica musk is a vegetal musk with soft and sweetish aspects. The fact that the perfume eschewed using any animalic references, even synthetic ones, might appeal to Vegans.

The drydown is a bit rose-y and discreetly resinous. The aquatic accents of the beginning have become floatingly creamy. The original green tea accord is present.

I think that one of the main appeals of this fragrance is that it offers the consistent character of an Oriental perfume with its unmistakable, well-researched spicy and woody tea facets, yet paradoxically, it abandons any idea of feeling opulent, rich and heavy. If richness there is, it is to be found in the dry, spicy accents and the silken flowers, not in vanilla and amber. It is a perfume rich in delicate nuances, I would say, rather than straightforwardly rich.

If you want the intrigue of an exotic story line coupled with the lightness of a cup of tea, this is it. It will feel like watching 55 Days at Peking from the safety and quiet of an air-conditioned room, far far away from a war zone.

More information here.

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