Absence of Irritation
In German tea stores - most likely in others as well - I sometimes encounter tea creations with constructed phantasy names like "Beautiful evening", "Elixir of Peace" or "My partner just left me, lemme get something hot for myself" (not really, of course). Why do I mock that? Because I get the occasional impression that lower quality ingredients are meant to be up'ped in value by a mouthful of a name. I should add that with my two dozens cup of teas per year, I'm rather clueless than expert. But as someone who enjoys smelling the non-watered ingredients and sampled Masala Chai in Nepal, Holy Tulsi in India or green Gyokuro in Japan, the erman aromatized mixtures sometimes come across to me as perfumed potpourris. Oh, I'm absolutely certain that there are equally precious discoveries to be made here as well, I just lack patience and test volume.
If Assam of India would have gotten such a marketing name, it would be a good-mood-tea like "Fresh Joy" or, if you would have to stick to its initials, maybe an "Absence of Irritations". Today, this appears to be in particularly fitting, as the Berdoues by its delightful delivery carried me patiently across an unnerving multi-hour IT struggle with my new laptop at work. Possibly this positive attitude coloured off the big grey animals on its flacon? ;)
Assam of India combines the sweet quirkiness of a fresh Summer punch with the lively transparence of a sparkling water. The first minutes reveal orange calippo - anyone knows that retro water ice candy with its fizzy white pieces? - before the scent outgrows its childhood and positions the lemony-sweet citron with such a delicious flavour that it brings the corner of your mouths up in a smile. Its progress into base note is smooth to follow, uncomplicated and harmoniously blended. "Indian Tea"? I don't know ... the Assam tea that I digged my nose into was of a (great!) dark smoky seriousness, which I can't detect here in the slightest. Bright and in light-footed dance the tea note joins our lemon, without vanishing into glaring airiness like some other (usually non-black) teas that I had sampled. What my beloved "Vanille Insensée" is for vanilla fragrances, the base note of this Grand Cru is for tea fragrances; both colognes are elating souls of happiness.
The sillage of about a meter comes closer during the day. Unlike several complaining voices among the German reviews, the scent stays with me well over a full office day. Maybe that's due to the season, as this January day can't bring much heat that would encourage both transpiration and vaporization. Surely this IS a classic water for Summer, however, in its cheerful clarity, I find it fitting throughout the year, given some sun and not too much humidity.
Consequently, after testing 50+ fragrances with diverse tea notes, Assam of India skyrockets into my personal Top Three for this category. If you're interested in others of my highlights, I invite you to try "Myrrhiad", " Yu S?n", "Armani Privé - Figuier Eden", "Paco", "Menthe Fraîche". In spite of many black teas in my test series, to my own surprise the fresher creations seem to have easier chances of winning me over. I react too sensitively to the smoky kinds and even the expensive Jo Malone series with its Rare Teas passed me without much passion.
Two small points for criticism remain: Next to the only moderately fitting name, it's - of all things! - the flacon with its cute elephants, not because of the design but because of its size. 100ml is simply to much for me. But that's hardly an argument against the fragrance, so I leave this with a warm ... no, fresh recommendation!