It's funny - this was SO shocking when I first smelled it, but after 15 years of ouds and campfire perfumes, this is practically pastoral when smelled now.
It's basically a lavender/tonka fougere - a nice one, actually - with pie spices in the drydown and a pinch of musk as a tribute to classic fougeres like Jicky. There's a bit of lemon verbena in there, which gives the illusion of tea, and then there's a bit of that rubber note made famous by Bulgari Black.
I appreciate fumes4ever's comparison to SMN's Nostalgia - both that and Tea are actually very classic fougeres with bits of rubber added. If I didn't already have a bottle of Nostalgia, I'd definitely pick up a bottle of this. Well done! (and not nearly as shocking here and now)
As often happens with most of the Comme Des Garcons deliveries, Tea is a polarizing fragrance. Dreadful to some, amazing to others...almost no neutral feelings about it.
I'm surely among the "amazed". Tea opens with a strong smoky lapsang and tar combo that may bring to mind of animalic notes, petrol, bandages, plastic and industrial-chemical compounds. In this phase Tea is incredibly bitter and challenging, indeed. A sweet woody creamy base starts to lurk in the back remarking its prsence with subtle yet noticeable rose-y undertones. The fragrance evolves melting the smoky top notes with the sweet base to create a minimalistic yet misterious drydown that while being much more conventional than the opening, it's still intriguing and head and shoulders above the avrage quality available at these prices.
Overall Tea is definitely not a fragrance for everyone but, if you're not into crowdpleasers and feel like daring, this is one to take in consideration. Stock it before it's gone...
Moderate projection, reasonable lasting power (6-8 hrs).
I classify this scent with L'Artisan's Dzing! (and by extension also with Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia, which I'm not really fond of at all, as fun as it is to play around with for a few applications). Dzing!, with its new car/leather/vinyl sweetness eventually drives off into its ho hum vanillaville sunset which leaves a jade like me most definitely wanting something more. Tea on the other hand is a well finished work of art. The tea accord itself develops into a very natural and very seductive green tea ice cream accord - this is a great improvement over poor overworked vanilla. And then there's the smoke!! How delicious, complete with that amusing but seriously gorgeous plastic/pleather/new car/leather mystery accord which thank heaven sticks around :)
I tested Dzing! again recently wondering if I'd find that the year or so since I last did would find me finding it bottleworthy. It hasn't. Recently I fell for Tea, perceived the connection and so: to anyone who likes Dzing!, (particularly anybody who has not yet purchased it) I urge y'all to try these two side by side Sondheim!!
I hope I'll never ever be
*sans* Comme des Garcons Leaves Series 1: Tea !!!!
I'll tell ya somethin else there, silly
Ya better buy yourself some Lily!