To celebrate the launch of Jo Malone London’s Rare Tea collection, we chat to perfumer and mastermind behind the enchanting scents, Serge Majoullier.
How did you feel when Jo Malone approached you to develop this collection?
It was something completely new for me. While there are tea fragrances on the market, this pure kind of treatment was very different. One of my strengths is sourcing and working with natural ingredients, so it felt like a great fit. Jo Malone is very true to the natural ingredients it uses and I knew the company would approach tea in the same way I instinctively would.
Where did you look for inspiration?
I have discovered tea all around the world, from China to India. I like the way it is associated with strong local traditions, from the Japanese tea ceremony to the nuanced design of a teapot in China. We met tea masters all across Asia and tried a huge number of teas, each with its own unique provenance – their refinement and elegance made it hard to go back to commercial teas. I hope this collection opens up a new addictive world for the people who wear them.
You used a traditional infusion process. Can you tell us how this works?
Infusion is a traditional perfumery process not often used today. We thought it would be interesting to revisit it to create a highly modern collection of scents. We also liked the idea that the process is similar to brewing tea. You leave the tea leaves in alcohol, choosing an optimum amount of time. It’s both an art and a science with a bit of personal preference involved, too. The subtlety of the rare teas was completely preserved.
Tea is a very ancient commodity but this collection feels very modern – how did you capture this modernity?
This collection is modern in its clarity. It is pared back and elegant with depth. I didn’t want to replicate the teas exactly. There wouldn’t be much of an art in that. I wanted to create an interpretation, focusing on the most beautiful and surprising facets.
The Rare Tea Collection is available from Jo Malone London Britomart, Auckland, (09) 309 4418.