N: We always bring each other a cup of tea in bed in the morning – whoever is up first.

D: You are a stickler for having the cup heated and not too much milk and the right cup etc. Tea can be so wrong when not brewed right.

N: If it’s not right, it is foul.

My parents have always had tea in bed, all their life – my dad is getting a bit shakier now, but still goes downstairs to make the tea in the morning and bring it upstairs to my mum with some gingernut biscuits. I think in Japan it would be seen as a bit slovenly and decadent to do this: here, you get up, go downstairs, and eat breakfast in the kitchen with the preferred beverage; not sprawled out deliciously in the sheets embroiled in the day’s newspaper.

D: My dad is the tea maker back home in Costessey. He also insists on piping hot tea – anything less, not worth drinking.

N: We both really like Ceylon, but I think you like it more than I do – I am just too traumatized by any kind of lukewarm ‘Assam/Kenyan/Ceylon English Breakfast blend’ type tea in a greasy mug with milk a la workman on tea break, which I just find overly malty and nauseating. I am super fussy when it comes to tea in a way I am not with coffee.

D: You are more into Earl Grey than I am. I like it occasionally but not as the staple. Ceylon is the boss.

N: Earl Grey works for me almost every time just because the bergamot cuts through and refreshes the brew and is delicious (and we have those fantastically cheap but really high quality Indian teabags from the supermarket that make a mockery of the need to always buy exorbitantly chichi French or English leaf from Seijo Ishii…..also, perchance a metaphor for the unnecessarily and ridiculously overexpensive niche perfume of these times: you really can get good quality without breaking the bank or going through the middle man). The Darjeeling from that import brand is really good too, but we only have that on occasion. It’s a special, once in a while, tea somehow, like Vietnamese lotus (trà sen).

D: I love that too.

N: For me, darjeeling has a very cool, austere, tannic refinement. I adore it when the moment is right – usually in the afternoon, for a moment of quiet mental refreshment (there is a comparative reticence to this tea; I have also always really loved the word, ‘darjeeling‘, for some reason.)

D: Darjeeling doesn’t work for me as a breakfast tea – it is too light.

N: I agree. Almost too dry and astringent after just waking up – although I suppose that is what makes it the ‘champagne of teas’.

In the late nineties I used to wear Bulgari Pour Homme, which had an ingeniously original light, guaiac/ darjeeling/ nutmeg flower accord at the top ; crisp as cotton sheets, laid over a clean and taut white musk; quite understatedly sensual, still really popular in Japan. Tea scents usually tend to focus on Japanese green tea- darjeeling is far less common. For that reason, Darjeeling Zero does feel very niche within niche.

What do you make of it? I love the aesthetics / packaging / the font on the label, and it is very interesting as a scent; almost coniferous/rosy for me, with woody accents and a strong twang of honeyed tannins up top. I don’t think it captures the sheer tranquillity of a good cup of darjeeling, but it certainly has bite. It reminds me a little of the Tea Tonique by Miller Harris you sometimes wear.

D: I agree – it has more bite than a cup of Darjeeling (the most simple but subtle of black teas), and there is something both moist and smoky at the same time in the opening – I know there are notes of bergamot and lapsang tea leaves – which would account for this. Overall, it’s woody but also clean and modern. I certainly like it a lot. It is different to the Pu’er Tea which I wear and which is my favourite of One Day’s intriguing tea range – that scent affords me a great sense of serenity. I think the ‘twang of tannins’ up top is a good way of capturing the opening effect of this one. (And yes the presentation is extremely pleasing. The font slays.)


Filed under Flowers

14 responses to “DARJEELING ZERO by ONE DAY (2023)

  1. Tea, glorious tea!
    I love tea, can’t handle coffee any more. One cup of coffee and you’ll be scraping me off the ceiling.
    Love my black Assamese chai South Asian style. Boiled with milk, spices, and served scalding and sweet. In winter the spices are fresh ground black pepper and 2 slices of raw ginger- clears the airways with gentle warmth. The rest of the year its a mix of cloves, cardamom, & cassia for restorative comfort and richness.
    Your Bulgari Pour Homme sounds delightful, shall have to search for it.
    Loving the modern minimalist aesthetic of Darjeeling Zero, will look for that one too!

    • I love the idea of you in Bulgari Pour Homme actually. I smelled a woman in it (or something similar) the other day – the masculine elements are very androgynous; the crispness is for all – it is very fresh and has a really nice, subtle sillage.

      As for tea, I love the sound of these chais. With coffee, my nervous system is just too wound up these days and I also sometimes misjudge the day by having a coffee and end up with horrendous palpitations all day long: I have to be pretty much scraped off the ceiling as well but I LOVE coffee. You forget just how incredibly stimulating it really is though sometimes.

  2. This is a nice concept. I like Earl Grey as well, but with milk… otherwise I find teas too astringent. Tea Tonique was the one that stood out to me when I visited the colorful Miller Harris boutique in Covent Garden a few years ago.

    • Yes it is quite nice, although the base note is a bit generic fake sandalwood. To me it smells like Christmas trees and I like the revivifying qualities of it – Darjeeling is more interesting (but ‘difficult’ overall). Have you tried the Osmanthus Tea from One day, I can’t remember if you said you had or not.

      • I haven’t tried anything from One Day, but am always interested in trying osmanthus fragrances, although it turns out I’m quite picky about them. My favorite is Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite, which is tea-like and on the lighter side but not watery like some osmanthus perfumes are.

      • I think you should try this one! This isn’t watery at all – quite subtly luscious, actually.

  3. Tora

    I love the back-and-forth with you guys. I don’t drink tea, just a light roast Ethiopian brew, black. I am totally fussy about the way it is brewed. The brand One Day sounds worthy of a try. I agree with Duncan, the font slays.

    • You might like the Osmanthus Tea actually: a really rich, creamy apricot osmanthus over Chinese tea and a touch of leather. It’s quite gorgeous in a way, if a little simple.

  4. emmawoolf

    Tea, tea tea. I cannot live without it. I remember the importance of proper china when I stayed with you all those years ago. (You made me cup after cup when I was hysterial with jetlag and insommia). (We are heathens in comparison with our English breakfast or even some bog standard supermarket Gold Label. It is so important. Hugh and I have the same ritual as you and D. I’m usually up first during the week (classroom calling and all that), he at weekends. It often takes 2 cups to get me out of bed. Our tea consumption has grown exponentially in middle age (I remember laughing at my parents’ for their 7 cups a day habit, and now I’m the same, but switch to decaf in the afternoon. Loved the recollection of your parents. Mine too, but with Digestives. And they have a Teasmade. Does anyone else?) I remember the rather interesting Tea for Two from L’artisan parfumeur, and once spied an unopened box in TK Maxx, which is probably worth a bomb now. Apart from that I don’t think I know much about tea in fragrance. But probably should. I think I might like it. With eau de digestive or ginger nut on the side x

    • Definitely! I think you could probably carry off Tea For Two, actually – pity you didn’t snap it up, although there is a tobacco and dried fruits element to it in the middle that might have eventually got on your wick.

      Glad you are also a bed tea slobber like me. x

  5. I love tea, which I drink every day, however, on Sundays I make fresh Italian coffee.

  6. OnWingsofSaffron

    Oh yes: tea! It has been my companion for 40 odd years, and I still love tea, every single day—though never with milk—and yes, perhaps snobbishly so, always leaf. I especially like Earl Grey in the morning, and later an eclectic mix of other teas (mostly black or semi-oxidized): gentle black Yunnan; hearty wild oolong; every now and then in the afternoon, a cup of Lapsang Souchong. And then, I know it is utterly rococo, I also love violet-flavoured tea. Kusmi discontinued selling theirs (probably to fay for mass consumption), now I found Mariage Frères thé violette: and what can I say: je l’adore!
    With the exception of our communal morning tea, brewing and drinking tea—especially the fancier stuff—is a somewhat ritualised solo thing for me. I want the right tea pot and superb German porcelain (very important: best KPM Berlin or Bavarian Nymphenberg); the water temp must be correct; the brew must be hot, neither scalding, nor tepid. Probably a very neurotic-narcissistic moment, but then I don’t care, as I have to function along the lines of others at work all day long.

    • I adore your rarified tea reflections, and you might literally have me going up to Shinjuku to Mariage now to look for some violet tea. I also remember really liking Kusmi teas when I smelled them.

      Just the two words : ‘Bavarian Nymphenberg’ – divine!

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