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Néroli Outrenoir – Citrus and woody and textured – August 19, 2017

Photo: Courtesy Guerlain

My people are tea drinkers. Growing up, there was always a pot of tea on the go. Not just at my house, but at everybody’s house. My mother used to say that tea was the solution to everything.  Sad? Worried? Anxious? Have a hot cuppa. Got news? Gossip? A tale or two? Come on over and I’ll put the kettle on. Every family gathering for births, baptisms, engagements, marriages, deaths and more, included tea.

The thing is, I hate tea. I’d like to say that it’s because I’m a rebel – the nonconformist, the revolutionary, the maverick in the family - but I’m afraid I’m just not that interesting. Even after years of trying different teas and the cajoling, teasing and gentle bullying of friends and family, my stance hasn’t changed. I do not like the taste of tea. Period.

But, I do love the smell of it especially, in perfume form. From Two for Tea, Skive, NANBAN, to Bulgari Black and Eau du Fier – a note of tea, regardless of what kind, makes me want to deep-dive right into the bottle. And, today I’m adding Néroli Outrenoir to the list.

Launched in 2016 by Guerlain as part of their L'Art & la Matière collection, the ‘Outrenoir’, part of ‘Néroli Outrenoir’ comes from a term French artist Pierre Soulages, coined to describe his work. According to Wikipedia, ‘Soulages has said, "My instrument is not black but the light reflected from the black." Naming his own practice 'Outrenoir', (Beyond Black) the paintings he produces are known for their endless black depth, created by playing with the light reflected off of the texture of the paint.”

Similarly, Néroli Outrenoir goes beyond black tea, but let’s start at the beginning.

Néroli Outrenoir opens elegantly with a soft, floral note of petitgrain and citrusy, bitter, aromatic bergamot. But they’re just here to support the delicious note of smoked tea – smoky, dry and haylike – that’s there right at the very top. The use of bergamot here suggests Earl Gray tea to me, not a surprise really as Earl Gray is flavoured with bergamot. At the heart, neroli has a slight bitterness that echoes the bergamot, and paired with orange blossom, they add fresh sweetness that swirls through the smoky tea.

As it moves to the base, it gets musky and mossy from ambrette seed and oakmoss, balsamy and resinous from myrhh and smoky and woody from Guaiac wood. There is a slight bitterness and smokiness that runs right through to the base. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Guerlain fragrance if there wasn’t a detectable drop of vanilla in it.
It dries down to a tenacious skin scent that is woody, aromatic and gorgeous. The tea has depth and darkness and with the luminous citrus notes playing around it and going through Néroli Outrenoir has a layered texture and sense of movement that makes it a beautiful piece of work and a beautiful unisex fragrance to wear.

Néroli Outrenoir my cup of tea.

Néroli Outrenoir is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.