What an odd scent this is. At first, Thé Brun smells actually quite as a faithful, vibrant, extremely pleasant representation of some traditional Chinese tea (I thought of the Oolong, too). Genuine dark brown leaves out of the bag. Quite a complex and really vivid structure of earthy, pungent, dry nuances blended with an uplifting fruity-herbal-balsamic heart and some really mild sweet-vanillic-floral nuances. Now, the odd part is that to my nose there’s at least two other major accords which smell at the same time perfect, and completely random; a really bold, fairly cheap and almost acrid sort of musk-hedione base (sort of a damp, grassy, slightly milky and extremely musky accord with a hint of pungent fruitiness) and a greyish, ashy-rubbery note, quite synthetic as well, the same exact kind of ashy-mossy rubberiness found in Bulgari Black, or in several works by Rasquinet (notably the MiN NY line, or Bois d’ascèse). It’s a dark grey, dusty, salty yet slightly camphorous feel similar to ambergris (on fire), which for some reasons, goes just perfectly with the brighter earthy-herbal tea heart of the fragrance and the sort of “lactonic” musky-green accord - which is quite bold as well, with also nuances of tarragon and bamboo (and some woods too, but I can’t detect them in detail). I know it may be hard to imagine how Thé Brun smells overall, and in fact it’s quite a unique and complex blend – not necessarily a good thing (but well, it kind of is here).
So basically, for me Thé Brun smells initially and for quite a while, like a sort of intricated hybrid between something like O de Lancome pour Homme and something like Bulgari Black, both gravitating around a grey-brownish balsamic heart of woody-earthy dry tea leaves. Quite fascinating overall, honestly a bit screechy but for some reasons, with a really peculiar and overall fascinating feel of “something smells wrong, but I can’t stop sniffing it” (most surely it’s the fruity nuances meeting the rubbery-ashy ones causing that). It feels like a bizarre mosaic of diverse inspirations – the archaic heritage of Oriental tea, the smell of a moldy grass field under the rain, and a whole range of artificial smells of rubber, ash, dirt, damp wood, wet concrete. So well, now that I think of it, it may make sense to connect these inspirations and imagine a shabby suburban teahouse in some desolated Chinese metropolitan district. Somewhere you can still drink an excellent cup of tea, just not in a postcard setting, but rather sitting in front of a crippled window looking at uncultivated grass bushes erupting out of an abandoned parking lot. I’m not entirely sure whether Brosseau wanted to evoke such a forlorn post-communist atmosphere, but it’s still better than the usual Oriental clichés in perfumery.
Anyway, back to the actual smell: pretty linear for a while, until the grassy-herbal-tea heart progressively vanishes and on the other hand, the ashy-musky base becomes warmer, gentler, in a way absorbing the top notes as if the whole tea-herbal stuff evolves and disappears as a result of an “infusion” among the base notes. At this time some of the screechy “oddness” is gone, and Thé Brun gets surprisingly refined and soothing, with a discreet smoky-musky presence with a sprinkle of amber yet still a bit grassy and balsamic, lasting quite long and projecting just fine.
I’m not entirely sold, but this is surely quite worthy a sniff.
05th November, 2015 (last edited: 07th November, 2015)
Thé Brun by Jean-Charles Brosseau - Upon application, one is treated to a lovely, black tea accord. The smoky and full-bodied, lapsang souchong wafts about commingling with the orangey and subtly peppery bergamot, as well as wisps of vanilla and cinnamon. Transitioning to the heart, florals, namely, a tutti-frutti jasmine, the sweetly powdery woodiness of violet, and the sweetish citrus of orange blossom, brew with the aromatic tea. Segueing to the robust base, the fragrant tea is bouyed by Brazillian rosewood, with its spicy floral facets. A spicy sweetness, akin to anise, of cumin, with a whisper of sweat, couples with an exotic, floral and woody musk and a somewhat smoky and slightly powdery lavender to enhance the aromatics. An enticing drydown ensues. This wonderous, masculine composition is part of the Homme Collection, and has average projection, becoming a skin scent after a couple of hours, and average longevity. Its reasonable, price point only heightens its appeal.
This is strong and singular, a bit shocking. I get a leather impression from it. I have not smelled tea like this~ though I do drink Lapsang Souchong. I was unsure at first if I liked it. So I sprayed some on the shirts hanging in the man of the house's closet. That was good. Now I do like it. It's not an everyday. I like how unapologetic it is. It is dark. But not murky. It just means business.
Strong tea leaves and lemon. Almost minty. Rather bland otherwise.
The initial smoky tea note is quite nice, bearing some resemblance to CdG's Leaves-Tea and Annick Goutal's Fier, but in a matter of minutes it settles into a sweet, powdery and rather unimaginative drydown (just like the other two men's offerings by Brosseau, at least on my skin). Overall, too timid and generic.
This beauty - created by Pierre Bourdon - is part of the Collection Homme, the other two fragrances being Atlas Cedar and Fruit de Bois. True to its name, it recreates the scent of a pot of Russian tea, one with more than a dash of lapsang souchong. The smokiness is quite apparent but does not totally dominate the scent as it does in Tea for Two. It is more submerged and gives a very well rounded, very well composed fragrance. Very nice, indeed!