First of all please accept my apologies for this not-planned break. I’ve been having some major problems with internet but I hope the problem is now solved. I couldn’t even warn you…
Ever since discovering the Milan-based niche perfume house of Masque Fragranze (sometimes referred as Masque Milano) I thought that it was an interesting brand. I missed their first two perfumes from 2012 but I’m familiar with the new line that was introduced in 2013. Created by Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi. To some the brand might seem a bit eccentric and challenging but it’s worth exploring. During my first encounter with Masque Fragranze I especially liked Tango, a very erotic perfume. Last year a new fragrance was added to the line.
During my visit to Pitti Fragranze in September 2014, the stand of Masque Milano was attracting many people thanks to a big, glossy samovar. It’s golden and shiny surface, contrasting with the red velvet lining on the table, was reflecting the light in various directions. With this accesory the founders wanter to share the news with the world that they’re launching a new fragrance – its name – Russian Tea. The composition starts with rich and aromatic scent of black tea, possibly lapsang souchong. At first I have the impression of smelling the green notes but very shortly it changes and I smell this realistic black tea brew. It starts mild and gets more intensive with every minute on skin.
This perfume has been given some incredible depth and richness with the use of leather accord. It’s dense and dark, carrying a specific smell of tannins, it blends nicely with the tea note providing the impression like you were smelling something really black and strangely magical. After a while the smoky note is developed when birch tar joins the composition. It adds some woody elements but on my skin it’s mostly responsible for the feeling that reminds me of a campfire smoke, coming from burning pine cones and needles. Still Russian Tea smells rather comforting.
Later on the note of tea becomes milder and smoky leather is also not that strong. That’s when Masque Fragranze Russian Tea changes a bit and reveals this fantastic minty note. It’s so aromatic and so vibrant that you can almost feel the molecules vibrate in your nose. Mint introduces the element of freshness to the composition but it also has elements of smoky leather and incense mingling in the background. There is also some immortelle in the composition which nicely blends with incense. Immortelle also adds its typical, syrupy vibe, but it’s not strong.
At some point Russian Tea develops this transparent fruity aroma of raspberry. It’s very light and short-lasting but it provides this wonderful impression of hot tea sweetened with home-made raspberry marmelade. Like the one you can get in the mountain shelters or in a cafe during winter season. Black tea and raspberry are like total opposites of each other, but their marriage is fantastic, both when it comes to flavor and fragrance.
As the time flies the composition of the latest perfume from Masque Fragranze becomes warmer and more lightweight, even though the drydown phase contains some powerful ingredients, such as labdanum. This particular note can be noticed in Russian Tea as a balmy, balsamic vibe that feels cozy and comforting. Even though it’s not listed anywhere in the notes, I seem to smell this distinctive honey accord. There’s also a little bit more spiciness in the drydown, since there is some black pepper there. To me the perfume has a warm, kind of magical smell. It could melt down the snow. Inspired by cold Russian territories, it’s warmer than I expected.
Russian Tea from Masque Fragranze is a great perfume but it’s not exactly “my cup of tea” (if you know what I mean). It has a beautiful smell, great longevity and sillage, but I wish I felt more comfortable wearing it. As an obsessive tea drinker I prefer to smell tea from my mega mug rather than from the surface of my skin. Russian Tea was developed by Julien Rasquined and it’s available in 100ml bottles, eau de parfum concentration. It lasts for around 8 hours.