Sometimes a great review will make me revisit a fragrance I don't like. In the case of Tea Rose, I have to thank Bryan Ross for his excellent review in his blog From Pyrgos (which, by the way, is a damn good read that you should definitely check out - see the link at the bottom of the page). In it, he explains how Tea Rose is a classic that either men or women can wear comfortably. It was his review that caused me to reconsider Tea Rose as something that I could wear.
I've always loved rose fragrances. There's something so light, airy and transparent about the smell of rose that I love. Rose is a scent that smells sexy on a woman, but elegant and refined on a man. I tend to wear fragrances where the rose is blended with other notes, like patchouli or leather (e.g., Ungaro III, Moods Uomo). Tea Rose, by contrast, is a total rose fragrance. If you don't already like the smell of rose, you won't like this. There's no citrus or patchouli or woody notes here to temper the smell of rose in Tea Rose.
My wife has a bottle of this, and it smells great when she sprays it in her hair. However, I cannot stress enough how you must be careful in applying Tea Rose. Spray too much on, and it smells like a cheap-ass Renuzit air freshener. That's what it smelled like when I sprayed it on the back of my hand a few months ago, and I hated it. I thought there was no way I could ever wear this.
The From Pyrgos review, however, inspired me to try wearing it. Wow, what a difference! I found that just two small sprays is perfect for me - the smell of rose blooms in that wispy and breezy way that I'm crazy about, but I don't find it feminine smelling when I wear it. For some reason, my skin seems to react well with Tea Rose, because it never smells heady or cloying at all when I'm wearing it. It's like all my favorite masculine rose-based colognes I have, only without the extra woody or leathery notes. It also helps that the scent tends to darken a little bit over time, making it more mysterious, though I wouldn't call Tea Rose a dark fragrance.
I've owned and sampled a lot of rose perfumes - Black Aoud, Cabaret, Iquitos, Ungaro III, Moods Uomo, Cleopatra, etc.. I love all of them, but none of them are quite this good. Tea Rose has been touted by many as being the quintessential rose fragrance, and I agree. It gets a deserving perfect score from me.
MY RATING: 10/10
Fragrance House: Perfumer's Workshop