If I have criteria when judging a new perfume, they are probably these:
a) does it smell good? does it smell beautiful ? (as highly subjective as talking about music)
b) is it well-made, with solid materials? (more objectively verifiable I would say)
c) does it say something? does it evoke something? is it original, unusual, idiosyncratic?
This perfume by Mona Di Orio (the second posthumous release by current in-house perfumer Jeroen Oude Sogtoen) does for me basically fulfill the above objectives; a shadowy, umbral, and emotional smoked tea fragrance based on the scent of bohea tea from the Wuyi mountains in China that takes me to another place.
There is something very melancholic, even elegiac (post-colonial guilt?) about this scent. I think it is perhaps it is the note of poplar buds – a very distinctive, medicinal smell that I and my father love to experience in Autumn: a peculiar, spiced, aromatic note that takes this blend beyond the usual confines of the niche mossed boisé.
Familiar, woody accords anchor the delicately pine-fumed tea leaves (oak, boxwood, juniper, sandalwood), while a greener, evocative accord of iris root, bergamot and chamomile then smother the cold mountain earth below with warmth; a smooth, radiating osmanthus and beeswax note at the centre of the scent that hugs the blend together with a distant, understated soulfulness.
Bohea Boheme is a perfume that would smell great on my brother. Greg, as sensitive a person as you are likely to meet, loves anything related to tea and tobacco leaves, bonfires, early twentieth century British, and though this scent doesn’t have much projection (part of its appeal), I am quite sure that it would hover about his person, should he choose to wear it as he goes about his London days, in a nostalgic, but unplaceable, aura of bygone elegance and longing.