RANT OF THE DAY: The Mystery of Black Tea Rose
Black Tea Rose has caused quite a bit of controversy and intrigue amongst candle enthusiasts. Pictures of it starting appearing on social media whipping candlelovers into a frenzy. From the interesting name hinting at the possibility of newness to that sleek, mysterious, seductive black jar, it made everyone (myself included) very intrigued.
Then the wf bulbs appeared online along with the rest of WB Core collection. Surely the candle wouldn't be far behind...or so we thought. And so we waited...and waited...and waited. Eventually there was a rumor floating aboutsaying what we all assumed - BTR failed test phase and wasn't going wide. "How could that be" we thought, "there's a wf bulb online!" Spring Balsam and Spring Leaves and especially Mahogany Peach goes wide...but not BTR..WTF?!To further complicate matters and rile more feathers, there was a promotion pic on IG for 12.50 sale showing all of WB core candles...including BTR! Everyone, myself included, were utterly confused.
Although I had a feeling it was gonna make a very late and random appearance, part of me wasn't so sure and so, better to safe than sorry, I asked my gurl Jenn/@theshow78 to pick me up one while they were still in test stores and she did. Now I have one and BTR has started popping up in (WB) stores because of course. But they were no longer in that sleek sexy black tumbler anymore but in a dull smoky grey tumbler instead.
So awhile back, a candlebuddy of mine sent me a pic of the new grey BTR and it kinda annoyed me; BBW halted the nationwide release of this candle just to give it a new tumbler...why? Well I had a theory...so Mahogany Stankwood has a dark brown tumbler while the "High Intensity" one is black...maybe they didn't want another dark/black candle? If that's truly the reason, it's stupid..but that's par for the course with BBW.
So now BTR is slowly making appearances in stores and there was much rejoicing throughout the land though the candle still not without some controversy.
First of all, people seem to be divided based on the smell and are on either two different extremes - the side that loves it and the side that hates it with no middle ground. Those who love it enjoys it's uniqueness and sophistication and are enraptured by the blend of notes. Those who hate it complain about it's earthiness/dirtiness with one note (cedar) overpowering the others or that it's just "cologney". Well all I have to say is that is there is no accounting for taste; BTR is not for pussies and have to have a sensitive and sophisticated taste to appreciate it.
Also, those who have smelled both the black test version and the grey wide release version say that the grey version smells different, sweeter and missing some uumph. Now rewind back to last year; sometime in the fall there was a transitional collection of woodsy scents in wood grain tumblers and in that collection was a scent called "Golden Amber & Oak " (Golden Amber, Pink Peppercorn, Black Rose Petals)..which is very close to the notes of BTR. Tinadivalicious said in his review vid BTR was a repackage with a twist...though some argued that the two were similar but not a repcakage. However those same people are now suggesting that this new version of BTR smells more like Golden Amber Oak - that for the nationwide release, BBW repackaged GAO instead - perhaps this version was more palatable to the BBoA..who knows
At any rate, I am pleased as punch to have the old black BTR in my possession and look forward to the sniffing and buying the new version as I am in LOVE with this scent; in my opinion, it is the most unique, elegant, high end, sophisticated scent I've ever smelled from BBW. I think it's a little too high end for them; this is a scent I would expect at a high end boutique for 40 50 60 dollars a pop. Since it'll be awhile before I burn this (as I'm not ready for spring scents just yet) I'll do a brief cold sniff review.
So if you're expecting this to be a brewed tea (as rose black tea is a thing) beverage inspired scent a la London Calling, you will be disappointed. If you're expecting this to a pretty feminine girlygirly pink floral scent a la Winter Rose, you will be disappointed. Contrary to what the notes may suggest, BTR is very masculine, it's unisex cologney. The main dominant note is a dry unpolished cedar very similar to Winter Cedar/The Original. Now some people have complained that the cedar is too dominant but I wholeheartedly disagree; it's very well balanced in my opinion. Then you get a blend a fresh unbrewed tea leaves that adds a greeniness and astringency as well a dewy fresh off of the bush (tea) rose petals. I also get notes that aren't mentioned in the description such as sweet yet spicy/piquant pink peppercorn with maybe a touch a green cardamom as well as a hint of amber. Jenn/@theshow78 right an ridonkulously eloquent in depth review where she mentioned that BTR had a leathery "animalic" quality to which I agree; that said, I don't know if there is actual musk involved or if it's just the amber, cedar and tea leaves all playing againt each other giving that animalic effect. Whatever the case is, it works! It's lush, it's dark, it's sensual, it's regal; it also gives me kinduva British vibe like Boathouse Row did; I can imagine one of the Princes or one of the Buckingham Palace guards wearing a fragrance like this.
In conclusion, if you haven't seen BTR yet, just be patient and keep the faith; you'll get to sniff it soon enough. When you do see BTR in your local store, approach it with an open mind and no expectations because I guarantee it won't smell the way you think it will. If the initial cold sniff doesn't blow you away, walk away and then come back to it; give a few sniff before you make up your mind. And gawdsakes, do not buy it if you don't like it just so you can show off in social media; if you don't like it all, leave it on the shelf for someone else to buy and appreciate. And if you love it, pat yourself on the back for have outstandingly good taste.