Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Barneys Route du Thé

I've seen on the internet my current favorite perfume, Mâitre Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois (formerly Eau de Camélia Chinois, 1997) and Barneys Route du Thé (1986) being compared, so I wanted to elaborate on that from my own perspective. Both are green and sharp Florals built on tea accords. Both of these can be described as soapy clean, aqueous type scents. Where they differ is in the level of musk I detect, and Route du Thé to my nose is the muskier of the two.

This translates to me as Camélia Chinois being the more traditional, or classical Floral, and Route du Thé being a sportier aquatic tea floral floating on white musk, a rather sweet yet salty (one might say "beachy") transparent "skin scent" floral, full in the heart notes but sparse compositionally and less powdery overall. Although these elements bring to mind the makeup of Bath and Body Works Sea Island Cotton, Route du Thé smells of a borderline Chypre along the lines of the verdant and elegant, aldehydic Pierre Balmain Ivoire (1979), with the bracingly smart, slightly weedy touch of Guerlain Vetiver.

While it holds onto the retro green accord of a decade past, it seems to echo a future green tea breakthrough scent, Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (Bulgari Green Tea, 1993), a sharp citric aromatic Chypre for Men and Women, a modern aqueous composition of the bold, non-powdery and potently unsweet variety. In its dry down, its closest kinship is to a yet more futuristic generation of musky florals a la Elizabeth Arden Splendor (1998) and the woody-musky-sweet soap powder, Lise Watier Neiges (1999).

Born in the same year as Deneuve by Catherine Deneuve and equally rebellious, Route du Thé proved that sometimes, refusing to follow the on-going trend and not really fitting in anywhere can be what makes you ahead of your time.