Strolling down to Coal Harbour equipped with a cup of chai, I suddenly had the illusion of smelling rose petals inside. Which instantly turned into a perfume AND a tea blend idea. I watched an aquaplane take off and came back to the studio to start fleshing out this idea.
There are probably as many chai spice blends and recipes as there are people in India. Some are so simple - just a little grated fresh ginger and cardamom pods; others also include cinnamon and black pepper. And the most elaborate ones include many other spices - nutmeg, mace, cloves, allspice, star anise and sweet fennel seeds. Traveling to the west, it even took on some mulled wine and potpourri nuances, with the addition of orange peel or even vanilla beans.
I tried two versions, and my conclusion is that for a perfume accord to remind me of chai spice, the more complex the better. One version is with dominant cardamom and more ginger; the other is a little more balanced and has more star anise and fennel, which I find quite crucial for the mix: it smells like tea even without any tea absolute added. Now all I need is to figure out how to add the tea and the rose. And so tomorrow morning I will brew myself a cup of chai with a dried rosebud.