L’Artisan Parfumeur has the distinction of being one of the first niche fragrance houses. Founded in 1976, L’Artisan has been creating unique and high quality perfumes for almost fifty years, many of which – such as Timbuktu, Voleur des Roses, Dzing!, Passage d’Enfer, or La Chasse Aux Papillons – are now rightly considered classics.
Tea For Two, first released in 2000, is one of the brand’s most iconic fragrances. But how does it stand up now, more than twenty years after it was launched?
L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two is a sweet, smoky, and spicy rhapsody on the theme of tea. It offers excellent performance, elegant presentation, and good value for money for the quality. Overall, Tea For Two is an excellent addition to any tea lover’s collection.
Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look at L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea For Two.
Top Notes: lapsang souchong tea, star anise, bergamot
Middle Notes: cinnamon, ginger, gingerbread
Base Notes: tobacco, honey, leather, vanilla
Tea For Two is very simply spicy, smoky, ever-so-slightly-sweet heaven.
I have a great deal of personal affection for this fragrance, as it was one of the first niche fragrances I ever tried, way back when I was just a newbie on my fragrance journey. I read somewhere that Tea For Two was very similar to Gucci’s Gucci Pour Homme II, a scent that I owned and loved back in my university days before I was into the whole perfume thing.
I discovered that Gucci Pour Homme II and Tea For Two are not all that similar. But I also discovered one of my first fragrance loves.
When I got my sample of Tea For Two, I was pretty challenged by it at first. The opening of the fragrance is extremely spicy and even somewhat sharp, and I still think it’s like that today.
The note of star anise, just as polarizing a smell as it is a polarizing taste, is very much present. The star anise, combined with all the other spices, tobacco, and the smoky, almost gunpowder-like lapsang souchong tea note, were a bit of a shock to my system.
About twenty minutes into a wearing of the fragrance, though, magic starts to happen. The smokiness and sharpness begin to subside, and Tea For Two becomes a lot more mellow. The vanilla and honey serve to soften the rough, harsh edges, taking some of the astringency out of the mix and making the experience a whole lot cozier. The spices and smoke never fully go away, but their frequencies lower and blend seamlessly with the other elements of the fragrance.
This really does smell like opening up a box or a tin of holiday spice tea bags, almost bang on. You can imagine this sort of smell wafting through the air as your tea is brewing in a thick, snowman-shaped mug (though the tea-brewing smell is not as authentically captured here as it is in Masque Milano’s Russian Tea), a plate of gingerbread cookies off to one side. However, by no means does this smell like a candle or holiday room spray.
The blending, like in all L’Artisan fragrances in my experience, is superb. If you look at the note list, you might imagine that Tea For Two is a dense, heavy sort of fragrance that might quickly become overbearing, but it’s really not that at all.
There is a light touch, a transparency here that reminds me of Ambre Narguilé from Hermès. That fragrance similarly features a lot of heavy notes like tobacco, cinnamon, incense, and dried fruits, but somehow manages to be airy and effortless at the same time. Tea For Two might open with a spicy, smoky fullisade, but the overall wearing experience is quite comfy and unobtrusive.
In short, Tea For Two is a spicy tea lover’s dream. If you are at all a fan of chai, lapsang souchong, rooibos, or any kind of spiced tea, you need to get your mitts on this one right here.
In a few words, L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two is: smoky, spicy, sweet, warm, cozy, and exotic.
As is the case for all L’Artisan fragrances, the presentation of Tea For Two is simple but chic.
The box of Tea For Two is simple black cardboard, with the name of the fragrance and the brand on it. If you have the older packaging like I do, the name of the fragrance is written vertically in a dark gold/orange box. If you have the newer packaging, the name of the fragrance is written horizontally on a white background in gold lettering. It’s pretty barebones, all things considered, but it gets the job done.
The bottle is the same design as other L’Artisan hexagonally shaped bottles. There is a difference, however, between the black capped newer bottles and the gold capped older bottles (which I own).
One difference is of course the color. The older bottles are transparent, have a black label instead of a white label, and of course have a gold colored cap rather than a black cap. The new bottles have darker, tinted glass, a white label, and a black cap.
No matter which one you get, though, the formula is pretty much the same, and L’Artisan bottles are exquisite no matter what. My bottle is made of thick, weighty glass that feels super sturdy. The cap is metal and really snaps into place with a satisfying clink. The whole thing feels like a great piece of craftsmanship that is going to stand up to whatever you throw at it.
Unique to my bottle of Tea For Two is a little emblem on the label, depicting what I believe are tea leaves. It’s a nice touch, and just goes to show you that while L’Artisan might not be a wild and flashy kind of brand, they define themselves by their attention to detail, both in relation to the packaging and to the fragrances.
Overall, the presentation of Tea For Two is streamlined and refined, with not a detail out of place.
The performance of Tea For Two is somewhat restrained, in typical L’Artisan fashion.
The longevity of Tea For Two is excellent.
Four to five sprays on my perfume-eating skin give me around eight to nine hours of longevity, and more on fabric.
No fragrance made by L’Artisan Parfumeur is a beast, especially since most are eaux de toilette, including Tea For Two. Don’t know what an eau de toilette is? Why not take a look here for more details?
Eight to nine hours is more than enough for my purposes, though, so I’m quite pleased with it. Of course, if you want greater longevity, you could always just spray more.
Projection & Sillage
The projection and sillage of Tea For Two are just about average.
Four to five sprays on my perfume-eating skin gives me around an hour or two of consistent, but soft projection and arm’s length sillage.
In that sense, Tea For Two behaves exactly as an eau de toilette should.
Like almost all L’Artisan fragrances, Tea For Two is more of a personal experience, an aura, a scented mood, rather than something you wear to fish for compliments.
That being said, I have gotten compliments wearing Tea For Two, though usually just when someone gets pretty close to me. Being an eau de toilette, however, it does have greater projection and sillage than something like Noir Exquis, another L’Artisan creation which I reviewed here.
Overall, I would rate the performance of Tea For Two as solid. It’s not a nuclear bomb of a scent, but it certainly gets the job done.
Value For Money
The value for money for Tea For Two, and for pretty much all L’Artisan fragrances, is quite good.
A 3.4 oz (100ml) bottle of Tea For Two retails for $170. That’s $1.70/ml.
That is fairly standard pricing for a niche fragrance. However, L’Artisan often runs sales on their products, and so it’s entirely possible to get Tea For Two on a discount. Sometimes, a 1.7 oz (50ml) bottle will also be available, so you might be able to get one of those for a lesser price.
Tea For Two is also widely available on discount websites like FragranceNet or FragranceX, however it’s availability is spotty – since it’s such a popular fragrance, it does tend to sell out pretty often.
There’s another fly in the ointment, too: Tea For Two is often discontinued. In fact, I believe it’s already been discontinued twice, but was brought back by popular demand.
I also heard from a little bird that Tea For Two was recently discontinued again (even though it’s still available on L’Artisan’s website), so if you are interested in it, now might be the time to pounce before it’s too late. Or not; who knows, they might just bring it back again.
Who can say why they are so cavalier about discontinuing Tea For Two. But after all’s said and done, I think Tea For Two offers good value for money considering its unique and high quality scent character, decent performance, presentation, and the availability of discounts.
When To Wear It
Tea For Two is 100% a fall and winter scent, perfectly engineered to be worn on those cold, dark days when all you want to do is put on a cozy sweater and cuddle up in front of the fire with a good book and a cup of your favorite tea.
This is actually a pretty versatile fragrance given that it’s not very loud and not at all challenging or offensive beyond the spicy opening. I could imagine this being worn anytime and anywhere, and I have worn it in basically every situation except for a date or a black tie affair.
You can wear it anytime that you want to feel comfy and warm inside, and when it’s cold out, though I would say that if you experience a really cold winter this one might not be able to survive all that long.
Who Would Like It
Tea For Two is definitely not for everybody. The spicy, smoky character of the scent along with its more quiet nature makes it something of an acquired taste. When I first tried it, I was new to the fragrance game, and it took more than a handful of tries for me to begin to appreciate it.
However, for the right person, Tea For Two could well be considered heavenly. I think it kind of goes without saying that people who like spicy fragrances, incense-based scents, or tea scents will find a lot to love here.
I think people who are more “artsy” will enjoy Tea For Two, i.e. people who read a lot of old books, shop at thrift stores, have a record player, and wear Dr. Martens everyday.
Hey, I’m not hating, I fall into that genre myself.
By that I mean that this is the kind of scent that people looking for a more atmospheric, artistic experience, rather than a “club” experience, will gravitate towards. This would be the perfect kind of scent to wear to an art exhibition, for example.
Naturally I think that it would suit more mature wearers, say twenty-five and older, though I started wearing it when I was twenty-two and had no problems whatsoever. The smokiness and spiciness might lead you to believe that it veers towards the masculine edge of the spectrum, but Tea For Two is 100% unisex.
There are a few fragrances similar to Tea For Two, though none are quite bang on the money.
As I mentioned before, it’s often compared to Gucci Pour Homme II, but personally I don’t think they’re all that close. Nor do I think that it is at all related to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, the most upvoted similar fragrance to Tea For Two on Fragrantica.
Serge Lutens’ Five O’Clock Au Gingembre offers a similar tea-infused spicy gingerbread experience, and it is indeed a nice fragrance, but I found it to be a lot sweeter than Tea For Two (in typical Lutens style), with a major emphasis on zingy, candied ginger. Still, they’re in the same ballpark.
Pierre Guillaume’s Une Crime Exotique is probably the closest I’ve ever smelled to Tea For Two, but again, I feel that it is sweeter and more gourmand. Still, it’s probably the best bet you have if you want a tea and gingerbread experience similar to Tea For Two.
Overall, Tea For Two is a unique scent. While there are many in the same vein, none that I’ve tried really scratch the same itch for me.
Pros & Cons
- Unique, high quality scent
- Solid performance
- Good presentation and price point for a niche fragrance with numerous deals available
- The spicy and smoky scent character might turn some off
- Has good longevity, but projection and sillage are on the quiet side
- Has been discontinued twice already and might have been discontinued again; spotty availability
The Final Word
Overall, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea For Two is a unique, smoky, spicy tea masterpiece (at least to me) that is rightly considered a classic. There is nothing quite like its impeccable blend of smoky lapsang souchong tea, gingerbread, spice, tobacco, and honey. Not only that, but it offers pretty solid, if somewhat light, performance, great presentation, and decent value for money if you can find it at a discount.
Tea For Two is one of my absolute favorite fragrances, and I wear the bejesus out of it in fall and winter. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. And so I will award L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Tea For Two a rock-solid:
★★★★★ 5 stars out of 5