Before the Sybaritic Single discovered Champagne, he fell in love with exquisite tea blends created by luxury hotels (see the image above, at Salon Proust in Ritz Paris). In fact, today he possesses one of the most impressive tea collections, ranging from genuine Japanese leaves from Mandarin Oriental Tokyo to nuanced blends like èclair au chocolat oolong and raspberry macaron tea from Fauchon l’Hotel in Paris. Once upon a time, he even flew all the way to Singapore for a few hours to enjoy a cup of Singapore Sling – reimagined as a tea – at the Raffles Hotel.
In his opinion, every great hotel should have its own treasured tea blend. One of the Sybaritic Single’s favourite rituals is finishing a late Parisian night with Mélange Plaza at La Galerie at Hôtel Plaza Athénée – a much more delicious choice than any of the four signature tea blends served at the Ritz Paris. After all, who might possibly get too impressed by an Earl Grey manufactured by TWG?
And this leads to another rule of the ephemeral luxury game: keep your suppliers secret. It took the Sybaritic Single quite some time to discover that all Fauchon teas are, in fact, produced by Dammann Frères which retails them at its own boutiques for half the Fauchon price.
The most disappointing tea in his life, however, was at Le Louis XV at Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. After a dinner, a waiter pulled a trolley holding herbs to prepare fresh rosemary and thyme tea by the table. Wearing white gloves, he ceremoniously cut a few leaves with scissors and put them in a glass teapot. The Sybaritic Single found the infusion disappointingly weak, especially compared to the herbs from his own garden at home. To give it an extra kick, the 2006 vintage pu-erh was added, which made the concoction a complete fiasco.
Luckily, the Sybaritic Single prefers to travel with his own Lotusier tea humidor – the height of luxury – which keeps his favourite Montaigne blend of white tea, rose and jasmine by Christian Dior (a new name in the world of teas) in the ideal 65% RH condition regardless of the destination.