Tea and Sympathy: Scent Memories of Mum


Post by Anonymous


Hello APJ,

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.

Tea and Sympathy chezbeate pixabayPixabay

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

Masque Russian Tea FragranticaFragrantica

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.

Silver Mountain Water Creed FragranticaFragrantica

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.

Oolang Infini Atelier Cologne FragranticaFragrantica

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.

Eau Parfumee au The Vert Bvlgari  FragranticaFragrantica

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?

Tea for Two L`Artisan Parfumeur FragranticaFragrantica

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.

By Kilian Bamboo Harmony FragranticaFragrantica

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.

Yerbamate Lorenzo Villoresi FragranticaFragrantica

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.

17 thoughts on “Tea and Sympathy: Scent Memories of Mum

  1. I am so sad for your loss. Perfume holds such power. As time goes on, I find there are more and more anniversaries that mark the passing of loved ones and I find great comfort in wearing on those days a fragrance I associat with them. My thoughts are with you.


  2. Great post. Mums are hard to lose. Great way to remember her.
    My Mum memories are Shalimar, No 5, Joy, Samsara, Giorgio, Tweed and Byzance.
    Portia xx


  3. Such a poignant post, but lovely to have perfume to anchor your Mum’s memories.
    My mother is a chypre kind of gal, not that she wears perfume now…oh I never go anywhere…as if THAT’S an excuse!


  4. Lovely post. My mom also died on a Monday a few weeks ago. I will never again smell the real, European Nivea creme, lavender, 4711 or Eternity without thinking of her beautiful self.


  5. I am so sorry for your loss, and I think it’s wonderful how you are using fragrance to celebrate and remember your Mum, and soothe your sorrowing heart. My Mom didn’t wear perfume but my Grandma wore White Shoulders exclusively. I love tea and am inspired to try your tea fragrances.
    With warm aloha,


  6. Love, light and blessings. Thanks for the scent sendoff. I know what I was wearing last year the day my dad died.


  7. May her memory be for a blessing. Such an beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. There is one scent that reminds me of my Mom and that is vintage Opium. After she passed, I buried my nose in her clothes and could smell Opium on everything. I’m so grateful that there is something so tangible, yet ethereal, that reminds me of her. For you it will be the scent of teas.


  8. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories of your mother, she sounds absolutely wonderful. I am so sorry for your loss, but I am glad that these wonderful scents will always remind you of her.


  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. Mothers hold a special place in our hearts. It’s a wonderful fragrant tribute to wear tea scents in her honor. I hope you find peace in the happy memories you have of her.


  10. Bvlgari Eau Parfumee eau the vert extreme remains probably my favorite tea based scent and it was also one of the earliest acquisitions when I started collecting perfumes in 2001.


  11. I’m so sorry for your loss; my thoughts are with you. What a wonderful way to keep your memories of your Mum with you. Thank you for writing about it, and sharing it with us all.


  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories with us. It’s a lovely post which reminds me of some wonderful scents and some I have yet to try. Most of all it reminds me to spend more quality time with my old Mum. I hope you’ll find consolation in the thought that your Mum did not suffer. Stay strong.


  13. I’m so sorry for your loss, but also happy that you were able to find a way to celebrate your mother with family and scent memory! I enjoyed looking at your list of tea scents, and will be on the lookout to sample some. I love tea…for drinking and sniffing!


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