Post by Anonymous
She died in the early hours of a Monday morning. There was no pain, just hours of quiet ragged breathing interspersed by pauses until, finally, one pause became permanent.
My mother had always loved tea. In the last years of her life she hardly ever ate a full meal, but she was always up for a cuppa and a biscuit. She loved visitors and was always quick to offer a cuppa and a chat to anybody who dropped by.
Once she had left, I decided a good way to remember her would be to wear tea fragrances for a while. No great thinking lay behind this, just one of those things you reach for to help you deal with the news. It was a way of reminding myself of what she liked.
Tea and Sympathy: Scent Memories of Mum
On the day of her passing, I chose Masque Russian Tea. This is the most overt tea fragrance that I own, a real hit of lapsang souchong, almost exactly like breathing in the heady fumes of a stiff brew in one of mum’s fine china cups.
Tuesday was dreadfully hot, and I was in no mood to deal with that. Creed’s Silver Mountain Water was the right tea fragrance in the heat. This one is a crisp cup of white tea, not huge in flavour but elegant and refined. Like a lot of Creeds on me, this one didn’t stay long in the extreme heat, but I enjoyed it while it lasted.
My favourite style of tea is oolong, and I thought Atelier Oolang Infini would be a good one for me. Sad to report, it isn’t. I could barely tell that I had perfume on, even after applying it for a second time. Atelier have a few stars in the line-up, but this was a disappointment.
Green tea is another favourite, and Bvlgari Au The Vert was my pick as the classic green tea style in my collection. This never disappoints; a really nice scent that doesn’t impose itself on people and it can deal with the heat. A fairly linear bergamot and tea concoction; is this what Earl Grey would smell like with green tea instead of black?
L’Artisan’s Tea For Two takes a different direction, blending tea and tobacco notes for a rich, warming fragrance rounded out by spices and wood. This one is a winter fragrance for me, and didn’t work too well on this hot Friday, but it is one of my favourite tea scents, and I wasn’t going to leave it out.
I had my doubts about Saturday, the day of the funeral, and seriously considered not wearing any perfume at all, out of respect for the occasion. But this is not our way; funerals are sad occasions, sure, but they are also celebrations of a life lived, and a rare occasion where our far-flung extended family can get together. People came from interstate and all around the world to join us, and I decided that celebrating was the best way to think of the day.
I chose By Kilian Bamboo Harmony for the funeral. It might sound macabre, but there is something about the plush-lined black box that it comes in that seemed appropriate. This is another white tea and bergamot blend, like Silver Mountain Water, but it nods towards Asia rather than Europe. It’s discreet and long-lasting, and proved to be a good choice.
Sunday was worse than Saturday. An empty, numb feeling all day, now that something truly was missing. Brunch with the family, but I really didn’t feel like it. What I wanted was to be by myself at last, go for a long walk in the sunshine and listen to some music. I did all that later and my feeling was buoyed by the perfect tea scent for a bright sunny day – Lorenzo Villoresi’s Yerbamate.
From now on the scent of tea will unlock something in me that it never has before,
Thanks for reading.