Welcome to Tynan Sinks' fragrance column, Smells Like Trouble. As Byrdie's resident fragrance connoisseur, Tynan will be sharing the scents that linger on in his mind, and nose, and clothes.
I often think of fragrance as a meditation. To me, it's a way to check in with and center yourself throughout the day. It can ground you, bring you to a place of calm, or remind you of a more tranquil moment before the day got away from you. Fragrance can be a meditation on the past and future, sometimes all at once.
Maison Margiela’s Replica collection is all about recreating through scent, whether it’s a walk on a beach or a lazy Sunday morning. Your sense of smell is so closely tied to memory, so their fragrances can not only conjure a scene, but your memories tied to it as well. This is an essential piece in bringing the scent to life. The scent draws the outline, but your mind paints the picture.
The New Scent
Maison Margiela’s new fragrance, Replica Matcha Meditation, is inspired by the meditative moments of your morning matcha. While some of Replica’s offerings are very literal, smelling almost exactly like the places they're inspired by, others are a bit more imaginative. Matcha Meditation falls is the latter.
This isn’t the first green tea fragrance to hit the market. Tea is a common note, as it can make a scent more herbaceous, earthy, or green. Just like different varietals of tea, there are many different kinds of green tea fragrances, like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Creed Asian Green Tea, Bvlgari Green Tea, even Demeter Green Tea. Green tea is often used to create freshness, so scents like these are floral, grassy, or even citrusy.
Matcha Meditation is perhaps more thoughtful than other scents in its category—and I have a feeling it’s going to delight everyone, regardless of fragrance taste. It follows a familiar structure in that there are citruses, florals, woods, and of course, tea. Replica is perfecting the green tea fragrance concept and creating something both referential and imaginative.
Matcha Meditation starts off with green tea (how many times can I say "green tea" in this article?) bergamot, and mandarin orange at the top. This doesn’t add a juicy sweetness in the way citrus often does, but a freshness that keeps the fragrance alive. It's more rind than pulp. At the heart, there is jasmine, orange blossom, and mate, another herbaceous tea note often found in fragrance. The base is made up of moss, cedar, and the unexpected addition of white chocolate.
The base notes are what hit this fragrance out of the park. The cedar note adds a dry, woody texture—a welcome addition to an otherwise green and airy scent. Moss also gives the rest something to cling to, without complicating it or feeling too heavy. White chocolate adds a soft, creamy, sweetness. Think matcha latte instead of traditional matcha tea. It doesn't take the fragrance into gourmand territory, but gives everything a soft, pillowy base to land on. I love the white chocolate note, but then again, I'm partial to any sweetness.
The Bottom Line
Matcha Meditation really evolves on the skin. It's not a "skin scent" by the traditional definition, with the inclusion of the iso e super molecule and all that. But as the definition of skin scents is evolving—to mean scents that sit close to the skin, aren't too heavy, and work as more of an accent rather than the star of the show— this would fall into that new category. Sort of floral, kind of green, a little sweet, but altogether more than the sum of its parts. It pulls in just enough florals, greens, and woods to make a fully realized scent, and the end result is perfectly balanced and a delight to wear.