Matcha Meditation Eau de Toilette by Maison Martin Margiela Review
Time for some Matcha Cogitation about Matcha Meditation, a fragrance of great Matcha Delectation. My Matcha Exaltation surpasses all Matcha Communication, such that I must take care to avoid a state of great Matcha Excitation.
Neroli, matcha, and white chocolate. In that order.
That’s what Maison Martin Margiela’s Matcha Meditation is.
Prior to ordering a sample of Matcha Meditation, I’ll admit I felt some Matcha Hesitation. A so-called matcha scent where the top accords are white floral and sweet? Really?
I tend to shy away from sweet perfumes generally. And, while I adore the smell of real-life lemon and orange blossoms, I don’t tend to actively seek out floral perfumes.
But I decided it all sounded too lovely to pass up, and I’m so glad I did.
Matcha Meditation opens with a very pure, impressively natural-feeling orange blossom or neroli note. It feels rather similar to neroli essential oil on my skin. It isn’t overwhelmingly indolic or challenging. It doesn’t feel jasmine-like or wild and almost animalic as such notes sometimes do. Some enchanted indoles are present, but they come out best at the end of the first hour as the initial floral firework starts to fade.
But in the opening this is a powerful fresh green neroli bouquet, a little like a real blooming orange tree, with strong fibrous dashes of green and hints of earthiness and sweetness. It makes me think of Diptyque’s Philosykos, which tries to convey the whole fig tree.
This orange blossom note conveys far more than I’d expected of the orange tree, with plenty of crushed green leaves tucked in between the flowers. Perhaps the bergamot and mandarin orange notes, subtly blended though they are, add some additional citrus freshness and bright green accents, while the tea blends in with earthiness and fiber.
After a moment, the two other layers of Matcha Meditation become prominent: matcha in the heart and white chocolate in the base. All three are clearly distinguishable from the ery beginning, weaving in and out of one another like delicate fingers on a harp.
That metaphor did not even remotely make sense, but whatever.
Now, there are other notes listed in Matcha Meditation. But orange blossom, matcha, and white chocolate is an adequate summary. Each note is impressively naturalistic and incredibly clear. It’s an unlikely combination, but it works, weaving together aromatic green earthiness, pretty white flowers, and a comforting gourmand base.
Perhaps that orange blossom is supported by a hint of jasmine. Perhaps that matcha green tea note is held up by yerba mate. And yes, I can even see where there might be a sparkle of fresh bergamot and mandarin orange in the opening and a hint of oakmoss and cedar in the drydown.
I’m gonna be real with you. For the most part, I don’t smell any of that. I just get orange blossom, matcha, and white chocolate. Clear as day. Elegantly and smoothly blended, with soft transitions, such that this doesn’t feel like a clumsy three-note drugstore body spray of some kind.
I trust the rest of those notes adorn this backbone, give it depth and dimension, add realism and sparkle to the opening. I can see them adding some fruit and leaves and dirt to the orange tree, some musky depth to the white chocolate.
But all of them rally around those simple yet uniquely combined three notes: orange blossom, matcha, and white chocolate.
When the citrus notes do break through and shine on my skin, the effect is one of a rich, bergamot-forward Earl Grey tea. Or perhaps it’s more like Lady Grey tea, which contains lemon and orange rinds in addition to bergamot. Regardless, the effect of this bergamot-mandarin accord is aromatic and tannin-like, more grounded and bitter and almost earthy than it is sparkly or bright.
Around two hours in the neroli is all but gone, leaving earthy green finely-ground matcha and warm, sweet, comforting white chocolate.
The combination brings to mind a matcha late the same way Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. brings to mind a lavender latte. Neither composition is actually overtly lactonic, but the combination of an aromatic herbal note with a sweet, soft, musky, almost milky dessert base makes it easy to visualize a hot, comforting frothy drink.
Like the orange blossom note, the matcha accord here is impressively realistic. It’s got that dry, dusty green sort of earthiness that poofs up at you when you open up a bag of loose ground matcha green tea and stick your nose in.
The inclusion of yerba mate in addition to green tea would make sense for lending some extra earthiness to the composition. The note is delicate while still carrying some grounded earthy tea heft. Not sour in the least as some tea notes can be, nor too much towards the clean, unrealistic, candle-like green tea scent used in perfumes like Liz Claiborne’s Curve Chill.
Nope. This is simple, realistic matcha.
It’s the sort of note I expect to be ephemeral, but somehow, miraculously, hints of matcha stick around in Matcha Meditation for hours, especially when a little bit of the perfume lands on hair or clothing rather than skin. It’s an easily noticeable component of the perfume for at least three to six hours, which exceeds my Matcha Expectations for such a delicately composed note by a mile.
Sure, I’d like them to be stronger, but I’m so pleased to feel those faint hints of earthy, dusty green tea sticking along as they do. If sprayed on clothing or skin, they stand out prominently all day. This makes Matcha Meditation one of those perfumes that is perhaps best enjoyed sprayed once to the neck and then covered by a cloth face mask. The fragrance wafts gently upwards towards your nose, and sticks to the mask and your clothing just enough to give the delicate fresh matcha note much more staying power.
From this point onwards, the matcha fades gradually, and the white chocolate accord expands to fill in the space.
White chocolate, as you probably know, is not, technically speaking, truly chocolate. It’s just cocoa butter mixed with milk and sugar and sometimes a little vanilla. And that’s exactly what it feels like here. It’s a comforting white and musky base, sweet but not too sweet, vanillic and almost lactonic.
A lot of the warmth of this white chocolate accord can be attributed to benzoin, that beautifully rich and smooth resin. The comforting note provides much of the body of the base notes here, and keeps things from getting entirely too edible.
Two to three hours in, Matcha Meditation is warm, just slightly earthy, and increasingly just a little vanillic. The matcha has lost its most definitive edge, and is being quickly eclipsed by white chocolate, but it’s still definitely in there somewhere.
Three hours in I get the definitive impression of a warm, resinous, Eau Duelle style aromatic vanilla. It’s comforting and sweet with a faint contrasting undercurrent. Only occasionally does it really come out clearly enough to tell, but there really is some oakmoss in the base after all.
Along with, allegedly, cedar. But I never seem to smell the base cedar, so I’m starting to assume I may just be pretty anosmic to cedar and you shouldn’t heed my opinions about it.
The name Matcha Meditation, of course, is some serious Matcha Affectation. This is not some particularly zen serene meditative scent. And honestly, trying to compose that kind of marketing around matcha is unoriginal, reductionist, and trite.
This isn’t a scent reminiscent of meditation or of some richly grounded cultural tea ceremony, and the habit of draping all tea perfumes in that terminology is kind of weird. The whole thing smacks of Orientalism to me. Not as much as something like Guerlain’s Shalimar, but questionable nonetheless.
The result is a worn-out name that leaves an impression both pedestrian and cheap. Matcha Meditation is a lovely original scent, and it deserves more original branding.
It also just doesn’t match the vibe of the perfume at all. This isn’t some kind of deep, rich, profound earthy matcha experience. It’s a little bit of matcha in a white chocolate latte. Nothing wrong with that.
After the first six hours or so, just about all that’s left is warm vanillic aromatic white chocolate, with the occasional tiny whiffs of earthy green matcha. Sometimes at around the six hour mark I can smell a definite undercurrent of something inky, dark green, and almost metallic. It’s oakmoss! I usually can’t smell it directly head-on in Matcha Meditation, but when it does come out it’s a delightful contrast to the soft and sweet vanilla of the white chocolate accord.
The oakmoss in the base of this perfume extends the life of the matcha, giving the tea accord long, lazy bitter tannin-laden legs. It’s so clever and smoothly blended that I didn’t really pick it out the first couple of times I wore Matcha Meditation.
But if you pay attention around hours six through eight, you can taste the bitter clanging signature of moss dipping elegantly in and out of a rich, buttery white chocolate.
Matcha Meditation sticks around impressively long for a Replica EdT. The faint white chocolate sweetness at the base sticks around for over twenty-four hours. I think that’s the longest performance I’ve gotten out of any MMM Replica line scent thus far.
It’s long enough for this perfume to actually get kind of annoying in my book, with its dull long white chocolate tail. After a full day, it starts causing me a bit of Matcha Irritation. Still, it’s comforting and cozy. I can’t be mad at it.
Matcha Meditation is no Matcha Ostentation. It isn’t a flashy, showy sort of thing. Instead, this is a quiet comfort, a soft pleasure not unlike a milky, musky matcha green tea latte.
Seven hours in, I came home to my boyfriend, who sniffed me and asked if I was wearing MMM’s By the Fireplace. I wasn’t, but the resinous warm billowy marshmallow-y almost-smoked sweet vanilla in the late dry down here really is quite similar. It’s not at all doughy, more dry and pillowy and resinous and warm. It seems to be a bit of a singature in the drydown of several Replica scents, including Whispers in the Library and Jazz Club.
Matcha Meditation is a great daily, versatile, don’t-even-think-about-it sort of perfume. It’s a nice simple yet unusual well of casual comfort. Unexpectedly, it’s become one of my favorites from the Replica line.
This is a nice grab-and-go, “dumb reach” daily sort of scent. I first sampled Matcha Meditation as an offhand last-second choice before leaving for work. I then proceeded to wear it for the next five days straight.
It’s just such a lovely simple choice of fragrance. Not some divine masterwork. Not any sort of good-for-you-like-vegetables challenging think piece of a scent. It’s just a pleasant perfume. You don’t have to think about it.
Matcha Meditation found me at the perfect time. I’ve been trying to let go of some of the stress and uncertainty I feel around wearing perfume. Running this blog, whenever I throw on a new scent, my brain instantly goes into vigilantly-taking-notes mode. It’s a joy, but it also becomes a bit of a “work” activity. What should be a Matcha Exploration of Matcha Sensations quickly becomes a practice in Matcha Intellectualisation.
I’ve been trying to let some of that go. And Matcha Meditation just happened to be a perfect perfume for the job. I wear it not rooting around for those citrus and cedar notes, not taking meticulous constant notes on the shifting evolution of its accords, but simply trying to enjoy the pleasure of it as part of my day.
It’s taking time, but I’m learning, and this has been the perfect simple everyday sort of perfume to wear as I learn.
I’ve never really been one for gourmands — they’re nice in theory, but in practice I often find them cloying, nauseating, tiring, and, after a point, dull. I adore tea notes, but the matcha note, while lovely, really isn’t as loud, earthy, and dominant as I might desire in my perfect tea perfume. And while I can appreciate a good floral, I never end up gravitating towards them for myself.
But maybe that tempered, soft dose of white chocolate sweetness, fresh white orange blossoms, and powdered green tea is just what I need right now. I literally might wear it again today.
In that way, I suppose Matcha Meditation has been a bit of a meditative experience for me after all. Or, rather, perhaps this is more of a Matcha Implementation: putting the idea of just sitting with pleasure in perfume into effective practice.
Also, a thought: The warm vanilla and earthiness of Matcha Meditation plus the warm spicy wood, coriander, and lime of Under the Lemon Tree equals Atelier Cologne’s Vanille Insensée. I have nothing more to say about this Matcha Observation, save that if you like two of the perfumes in this triangle you might do well to sample the third.
So far, I’ve enjoyed sampling the Replica line, but I don’t know that many of them have really and truly spoken to me. I quite liked Under the Lemon Tree, but it’s not one I reach for often.
By the Fireplace I wear occasionally and have matched to several friends that love it — I just bought a decant for my little brother, shhhh, don’t tell him — but I’m struck more by an awe for the photorealistic craftsmanship than a true personal connection.
Soul of the Forest I consider the most interesting and niche of the bunch so far, but its performance is positively insulting, especially as an Eau de Parfum.
But Matcha Meditation just might be the one that drives me to get another little decant for myself when I finish my sample. Which I sort of hadn’t expected: the kind of sweet, kind of vanillic gourmand thing with the white floral opening? The simple chocolate-blossom-tea perfume? Really? That’s the Replica scent that’s gonna hit close to home?
I can’t explain some intellectual reason Matcha Meditation is good. I’ll admit it is no deep, profound meditative tea scent. I just enjoy its simple, uncomplicated pleasure. At the pace I’m going, I should probably go ahead and order a decant now.
So, if I’ve piqued your interest, why not heed my Matcha Exhortation? With some Matcha Decantation and some Matcha Exportation, followed by a spritz of Matcha Atomization, you’ll be well on your way to your own Matcha Experimentation. I can only hope this scent meets your Matcha Expectations.
If it does, please do accept my Matcha Felicitations as you enjoy the Matcha Sensations.
This concludes my Matcha Excogitation and brings my review to its Matcha Cessation.
Sending you all my warmest Matcha Salutations.
Where to Find Matcha Meditation Eau de Toilette by Maison Martin Margiela
I’ve heard rumors of Matcha Meditation’s Matcha Discontinuation. If you’d like to try it, you should do so without Matcha Hesitation.
You can find samples and decants of Matcha Meditation EdT at Scent Split.
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