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Bohea Bohème – Mona di Orio, the love continues – January 22, 2017


Tea Plantation, Bi Luochun, Dong Ting Lake, China, by Windbell - Wikipedia

When a perfume really connects with me, it’s permanent. I don’t fall out of love with the faves on my Five Star list. If anything, the love just gets stronger every time I spritz one of them.

The same goes for perfumers. There are a few special perfumers who have the ability to get right inside me with their aromatic vision. My admiration of their talent, and my passionate interest in whatever they create, continues to make my heart beat faster whenever I see their name on a page. Mona do Orio is one of those perfumers.

Mona had talent in spades. Mentored by the great Edmond Roudnitska, she developed her own signature style through the use of light and dark notes in a single fragrance, creating a “chiaroscuro” or shadowed effect that gives each one of her creations a very unusual beauty.  Mona established her own company, Mona di Orio Parfums, with partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen but she passed away suddenly and very tragically in 2011. Read our stories about Eau Absolue, Myrrh Casati, Amyitis, Cuir and Violet Fumee - these five fragrances are listed in our Decant Store so you can discover her creative brilliance for yourself.

Since her death, Jeroen has launched some of her “work-in-process” fragrances,  Eau Absolue for example, and he has also worked with young, new perfumers to create fragrances in the Monogram Collection, a collection designed to continue or re-interpret her distinctive aesthetic. Myrrh Casati by perfumer Melanie Leroux was the first in the collection, released in 2015, and the 2016 release, Bohea Bohème by the young Swedish nose, Fredrik Dalman, is the second.

Bohea Bohème is built around the smoky notes of black Wuyi tea. Wuyi tea, formerly known by the trade name "Bohea" in English, is a category of black and oolong teas grown in the Wuyi Mountains of northern FujianChina. Wuyi teas are generally dark, spanning the range between black teas and darker oolongs, …they are fired heavily as were most oolong teas historically, and have a characteristic smoky flavor with notes of stone fruit. Wikipedia


“Bohea Bohème captures the smoldering delicacy of the distinctive tea…the precious Bohea Tea, fumed with pinewood…Resins and precious woods… facets of fresh, sweet and earthy notes…bright and spicy accords of Bergamot and Sichuan Pepper…powdery elegance of Florentine Iris…fruity florals of Osmanthus Absolute…dry Hay and subtle green notes of Geranium ...

The warmth of the scent deepens and lingers as the sophisticated tea is steeped in nutty Amber, honeyed Poplar buds and an infusion of Balsams, Oakwood, and Gaiac…. a luxurious woody fragrance with a balsamic vibrato, unconventional and seductive.”

I’ve worn Bohea Bohème for the past week, and been swept away by its originality. Citrusy, resinous with pine and strong black pepper, the burning tea note is pungent and upfront for the first few minutes. It’s the scent of the black tea being cured, complex and powerful, but it softens and becomes smoky, vaporous, and unobtrusive in the heart, with the earthy iris and osmanthus and hay notes becoming the focus with a damp exotic delicate sweetness.

Green geranium adds a hazy sensuality, and the osmanthus takes on leathery and sweet tobacco aspects. Resinous tendrils of balsams, burning pine, and gaiac wood weave in and out, finally softening with creamy vanilla and nutty honeyed-amber woods, while shadowy wafts of smoky black tea float in the background. There is almost no sillage, the scent hugs the skin like a deep secret, the effect is melancholic and strangely exotic, yet quiet and calm.  

The Mona di Orio chiaroscuro effect of shadow and light is here in Bohea Bohème but this is definitely Mona’s signature technique seen through another artist. Jeroen Oud Sogtoen and Fredrik Dalman have changed Mona’s dynamic, subtly revealing another facet. In Bohea Bohème, the bright sparkles perceived in Mona’s personal creations have transformed into distant glowing candles, but the unique beauty of her style remains unchanged.

Bohea Bohème is unconventional and seductive, original and beautiful. My “Five Star” list just got longer.

Bohea Bohème is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.