Collection Homme Thé Brun fragrance notes

  • Head

    • bergamot, pineapple, melon, cinnamon, cardamom, green notes, ozonic notes
  • Heart

    • lavender, violet, jasmine, orange blossom, lily of the valley
  • Base

    • orris, vetiver, sandalwood, rosewood, oakmoss, cumin, lapsang souchong, amber, vanilla, musk

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Collection Homme Thé Brun

You need to log in or register to add a review
The Brun is a rare example of a tea accord that is allowed to be front and center with its accompaniments in the periphery rather than vying for the spotlight. Pierre Bourdon (who we know as the mastermind behind Kouros, Cool Water, and the "ghost perfumer" for Creed) demonstrates a welcome restraint here, enhancing this tea with flourishes of almost soapy melon, a sheer orange blossom, and most notably a violet. This violet is what pushes the tea accord forward and fifteen minutes in, wins best supporting actor as it elevates the smoky aromatics of tea leaves.

As it mellows into its heart, its rendered into a wet, juicy, smoky fougere: here, we get a suggestion of that Bourdon's infamous signature pineapple, but it is an undercurrent, elevating the tea even further (tea is notoriously a note that can bury itself and get lost in fragrance compositions). If there was a black tea-scented Pre de Provence soap, I imagine it would smell like this. By the time it's dried down to a skin scent, the subtle smokiness lingers with amber tones and your-skin-but-better musk.

It is surely one of the better tea fragrances I've experienced, and I thoroughly enjoy wearing it.
19th October 2022
Straight out of the gate we have a very strong and obscure fragrance work from self-effacing perfume genius Pierre Bourdon, released in an equally-obscure collection, from a brand not known for men's fragrances at all. Without dipping too far into self-absorbed punditry on perfume, I need to mention that it is par for the course through much of Pierre's latter career to compete for and accept assignments like this, as he had already done most of what he set out to do in his time with firms like Roure, Quest, and Takasago before hitting the mid-2000's, and was inches away from retirement anyway. I'd also be remiss not to mention the long and sordid history he had selling or bartering works in progress and rejected formulae from briefs he did not win to Creed for nothing more than pittance, some of which ironically became his better-known perfumes, just not with him signed as their creator. Here however, in his twilight as career perfumer for a major oil house (Fragrance Resources by that point), Bourdon made one of his shockingly more challenging scents, arguably right up there with the love-or-hate Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent (1981). Collection Homme was a 3 piece set of men's fragrances released by Jean-Charles Brosseau, a designer perfume label most known for the singular Ombre Rose (1981), which was released the same year as the erstwhile Kouros. All 3 original 2005 scents were joined by a fourth in 2011, and all of them feature a different perfumer. Pierre Bourdon based Collection Homme Thé Brun by Jean-Charles Brosseau (2005) around the subject of lapsang suchong tea, a note that actually never appeared before in a mass-market fragrance until this one, and tended only to turn up in niche scents or obscure entries also like this one into the designer, celebrity, and direct sales markets Bourdon would still occasionally serve post-retirement.

There is just so much going on in this opening, that for the life of me I'd need two reviews to cover it all. Instead, I'll focus on the main parts, and you can go find a note pyramid if you need to see -everything- that's in here. Pierre is up to his old modernist tricks with calone-1951, dihydromyrcenol, and hedione, plus his aromachemical cocktail to produce the pineapple note that would eventually be wielded by his student in Creed Aventus (2010). Alongside all this fruitiness - which alone is enough to send any vintage purist running for a bottle of oakmoss absolute to dull the pain -we get a mix of smokiness and sweaty spice that really do not seem to match. I feel like Pierre had just run completely out of shits to give by the time he took on this assignment, mixing fresh and fruity with dirty and smoky bits, like a kid at 7-11 mixing Slurpee flavors together, and we're still only in the top notes! The heart is much more forgiving in its mix of florals, with lavender, jasmine, neroli, and violet playing with some muted white floral notes seemingly plucked right from Calvin Klein cK One (1994). Maybe this was Bourdon's more avant-garde take on that unisex grayed out wonder-juice of floral musks? All I know is the sweaty spice of the base, already mingling with the fruity top notes and vetiver, come further into focus by the dry down. You land on cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and a host of aromatics like various synthetic woody notes and finally, that tea. Yeah, the subject of Thé Brun really is dead-ass last in this manic race to the bottom, and once you finally get there, you're left wondering if that was really what this scent is about. Wear time is long, and this stuff is potent for what you could technically call a "freshie". but I wouldn't call it one. Best use is really any time you want, because this bizarre number will be a signature scent on you when worn; nobody else is using this, I promise you. Absolutely nobody is smelling like this but you, when you wear Thé Brun.

Considering that the other Collection Homme scents by Jean Charles Brosseau don't get nearly as much attention as this one does from collectors and hobbyists, I'd say Bourdon really outdid himself in the "perfume as art" category that we all love to pound on like a Pentecostal priest pounds on a bible at a sermon, but how wearable are the results? Well, if you like your Guerlain Vetiver (1961) and your Cartier Déclaration (1998) crossed with some Canali Men by Bruno Canali (2005), then layered over some of the aforementioned Calvin Klein ck One, you're about two-thirds of the way there to enjoying Thé Brun. Part of me thinks Thé Brun might have even been a submitted mod for the Canali Men brief due to how much they have in common, but the Canali commands ridiculous amounts of money after discontinuation (the brand blew up long after the scent itself died), while the also-discontinued Thé Brun only slowly trickles up in price as supply gets pulled out from the market when curious nibbles are taken at it by guys like me. Come a day this will be a $500 monster on eBay too, and when it does, people on forums and Instagram will sing its praises about being a long-lost Pierre Bourdon masterpiece, the hidden maestro behind Creed, the Godfather of the Aquatic, the aromachemical savior of us all. Ehh... I'm not quite ready for that yet, and I have a feeling Pierre probably isn't either, and only tells us as much about his work as we know now because all us nerds kept pestering him about it. As for Thé Brun, I can't 100% recommend this as a blind-buy for the casual fan whose experience of the perfumer tops out at Cool Water by Davidoff (1988), Montblanc Individuel (2003), and the various hyped Creeds he's done, nor the cloistered "boomer" fan of Kouros that uses statements like "shadow of its former self" unironically, but I can tell the adventurous and irreverent type to give Thé Brun a go. Maybe that's who it was meant for, after all? Thumbs up
21st January 2022

The opening is the oddest and most satisfying section of this fragrance's development. It eventually settles into a particularly well-done early 00s floral with a lovely tea note, like a more robust and off-kilter take on the theme explored by Masque Milano Russian Tea.
22nd April 2021
Opens up smokey, earthy and then sweetened by dried fruits. There's also something green like the hedges or plants around old or stately buildings, something I remember distinctly from visiting places like colonial Williamsburg or Mount Vernon.

It's not a bad smell at all, just something different and maybe odd. I do get the tea note throughout but it's not what grabs your attention. There's also a sweetness in the drydown that has me thinking about The Dreamer, must be the lavender.

Projection is better than average and the longevity is good, 8-9 hours on skin, all day on clothes.
29th March 2019
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.

5th 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.
17th May 2012
Show all 11 Reviews of Collection Homme Thé Brun by Jean-Charles Brosseau