Press releases are cursed things; at least for me. When I read them, it causes me to anticipate what I will eventually experience. They can be particularly troublesome when it comes to fragrance. I can imagine what a list of ingredients might smell like given the inspiration. Which is why Tauer Les Annees 25 threw me with what was in the bottle.
Independent perfumer Andy Tauer wrote that Les Annees 25 was inspired by the “Golden Age of Humanity” represented by the 1920’s. That decade was also a time where the real foundations of modern perfumery were beginning to aspire to artistry. When I read that I thought to myself, “Oh goody! A Retro Nouveau perfume from Andy Tauer.” Then I found out it was a limited edition which means Hr. Tauer tends to employ higher quality and harder to source versions of the ingredients. I was expecting something amazing capturing the past and the present. Most of that sentence came true but for one part. This supposed Retro Nouveau perfume was all Nouveau.
I should’ve focused on the things which Hr. Tauer had separated from that era which inspired him; “the fundamental change towards liberalism” and the “optimism of an era”. Which means Les Annees 25 is one of our best independent perfumers creating his own path full of optimism.
The contemporary aspects appear right away with a combination of petitgrain, orange oil, and ginger. The citrus components are focused into a narrow beam of sunlight. The ginger provides energy. Ginger is spoken of as this kind of kinetic ingredient within perfumery. It most often is not. Not here. The ginger provides a near manic level of energy to the brilliant citrus. A swift floral intermezzo of rose and iris softly powders the overall effect. This leads to a mixture of benzoin and sandalwood. The benzoin pulls out the sweet facets of a modern sandalwood source. Oakmoss and ambergris provide contrast at the high and the low. It all ends on a comfort accord of vanilla, tonka, and patchouli.
Les Annees 25 has 10-12 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I may have thought I wanted a Tauer Retro Nouveau creation except I came to realize the Nouveau was all I needed in Les Annees 25.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
Independent perfumer Andy Tauer has been one of the more communicative artists out there. Right from the beginning he has written in his blog. A little over a year ago that evolved to a published magazine, Tauer Mag. Hr. Tauer is one of the few who has the ability to communicate complex perfumery concepts in easy to understand posts/stories. One of the early threads through his blog was his disdain for perfumes which claimed they contained “oud” but were actually accords of the genuine costly material. As he would receive requests for a Tauer oud perfume he resisted because he had decided he wouldn’t go the way of using an accord instead of the real thing.
In parallel to this stance science was working on a way to create a sustainable version of oud. Finding a way to accelerate the decay process of new agarwood trees has allowed for this to happen. Once Hr. Tauer found a sustainable plantation in Laos he decided it was the time to produce Tauer L’Oudh.
I have a little treasure box of almost 40 real oud oils. I spend lots of time comparing and contrasting the different sources. So far, the sustainable versions feel like oud but compared to the other ouds I have they also feel immature. One of the most common aspects of the sustainable ouds is a prominent gasoline aspect. This Laotian oud Hr. Tauer uses brings that along. What I really liked about L’Oudh is Hr. Tauer adds a set of ingredients to provide an aged oud feel to the overall effect.
It is that gasoline quality which hits me in the first moments. I like odd smells, this is surely that. As the fumes clear away a more typical medicinal, often compared to Band-Aids, scent moves forward. Hr. Tauer uses a trio of ingredients, cistus, castoreum, and vetiver to accomplish what I mentioned above. The catoreum adds in the skanky animalic. The cistus adds a decaying rot but not as much as you find in other ouds. The vetiver sharpens the frame as it enhances the earthier qualities. This is a tried and true technique when creating a soliflore and it works similarly with oud. Sandalwood provides a less obstreperous wood as the base note.
L’Oudh has 12-14 hour longevity and minimal sillage; it is a skin scent.
People are often spoken of as being “blunt objects” when they speak unvarnished truths. L’Oudh feels like Hr. Tauer beoming a blunt object as it refers to the use of real oud in perfume. If you want to experience all the quirky aggressive quality to be found in real oud, then L’Oudh is a good choice.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.
I have mentioned what an innovator independent perfumer Andy Tauer has been. In many ways the template for doing business as an indie was pioneered by Hr. Tauer. His perfumes have been equally adept at pushing at the fringes of what an independent perfume business can successfully cover. I have also mentioned that perhaps my greatest perfume regret was missing out on his limited edition of Tauer Orris when he first released it. He very politely explained to me it would never return because he used materials in small quantities he wasn’t sure he could replicate. There was one resolution I made to myself that if Hr. Tauer ever released a limited edition again I would not dilly dally a second time. Just a few weeks ago the release of Tauer Attar AT tested my resolve.
I had indirectly been hearing about Attar AT ever since early in the year when Hr. Tauer went on tour with a traveling selection of perfumes only available during his appearances. I heard from many that there was an “oud attar” he was showing which might or might not be released. I wanted to try this ever since, believing Hr. Tauer could do something special with the concept of an indie attar. When I received my first notification of Attar AT along with the mention it was a small-batch limited edition; I ordered a bottle.
Hr. Tauer was inspired by a trip to the Saudi Arabian desert where he got into a discussion of oud attars indigenous to that region. By the time he returned home to Switzerland that seed had grown into a compulsion to create his version of an attar. He began to assemble a grouping of some of the most precious materials to create his “modest” attar. What he has accomplished is a very close to the skin perfume oil which is an indie perspective on a classic attar.
It isn’t listed as a note but in his blog Hr. Tauer mentioned that he was gifted an authentic oud oil while on his Saudi Arabian trip. I suspect that it is in here but in a tiny quantity. The reason I feel confident of that assessment is the very first moments when I dab Attar AT on. There is what I call a “dirty socks and cheese” smell which my collection of straight oud oils has. In Attar AT that ghosts across the early going before a pungent birch tar appears. It has the effect of providing a sticky matrix for this pinch of oud to reside in. As the birch tar arises it becomes intensely rubbery in effect before a lush jasmine provides a floral juxtaposition. Traditional attars use rose but Hr. Tauer’s use of the jasmine works better as the indoles in the jasmine fall right in line with the pungency already here. Hr. Tauer then alleviates it with Mysore sandalwood, vetiver, and cistus. It turns the latter phase into a creamy woody comfort.
Attar AT has 8-10 hour longevity and very little sillage as it is a perfume oil.
If there is one thing I love about Orris it is the way Hr. Tauer altered the European tradition of perfumery by turning an indie eye upon it. By amplifying certain things while drawing back on others he created one of the best perfumes I have ever smelled. Attar AT is taking the Arabic tradition and filtering it through the same lens. I am still in my early days with Attar AT and I am not ready to say it is on the same level as Orris. What I am ready to say is Hr. Tauer has once again released an indie version of a classic architecture that only could have come from him.
Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle I purchased.
One of the most exotic women I met as child was a young woman named Patrice. Near our house in Miami there was a kind of commune which sprang up in 1970. I hesitate to say full-fledged because in hindsight I realized it was more a place for the erstwhile hippies of South Florida to congregate. It was in bicycle riding distance and I spent many weeks riding by with my eyes on this collection of unusual adults. They sure didn’t act like any of the adults who populated the rest of my life.
Hippies in Coconut Grove in 1970
One day while having my eyes turned towards the mise-en-scene within the park my bicycle came to a sudden stop. When I looked forward Patrice had grabbed my handlebars to keep me from running into her. Before I could focus my eyes the scent of patchouli washed over me. She let go of the handlebars. Then with a laugh she hugged me and said, “I’m Patrice.” I am sure it took me a moment or two to answer, “I’m Mark.” She said she had seen me ride by previously and asked if I wanted to come meet the others. At eleven years old my mind was awash with whether it was “bad” to talk to them while my curiosity was driving me towards going with her.
Five minutes later I would meet the women Patrice shared a tepee with. Even today forty-plus years removed from it the visual cues are a jumble. The way I was spoken to not as a kid but as someone worth talking to was amazing; but I don’t distinctly remember the conversation. But the smell? That found indelible purchase in my memory. All the women wore patchouli oil. This is that accord often referred to as “head shop” patchouli. I’ve always associated it with the smell of discovery. I haven’t thought about this in years until I tried the new Tauerville Patch Flash.
Tauerville is the “simple” and/or “experimental” line of perfumes from independent perfumer Andy Tauer. It has been a year since the last release Tuberose Flash. Patch Flash falls into the “simple” side of the Tauerville equation.
Patch Flash is a mixture of 40% patchouli oil combined with a fraction of patchouli called patchoulol. The fractionating process as it exists with patchouli has produced some fascinating effects. Patchoulol is a huge sesquiterpene molecule found in the heart of patchouli. Through careful distillation it can be isolated. By itself it produces a hazy softer version of patchouli. Laid over a lot of patchouli oil it rises off it like heat shimmers off the tarmac in summer. The overall accord is patchouli but it is more like veiled memory then head shop. The patchouli is not all that is there Hr. Tauer mainly supports this with a lovely simple leather accord as hints of flowers and spices flit in and out like sprites.
Patch Flash has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I hadn’t thought about Patrice for years then with one spray of Patch Flash I was sitting on the ground listening to these women talk about things I barely understood. While their words didn’t make an impression the way they smelled clearly did. Patch Flash captures the patchouli, the flowers in their hair, and the leather of their moccasins. I didn’t know the term at the time but Patch Flash is the smell of an Earth Mother circa 1970.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauerville.
When you do anything, there are foundational elements which are necessary to build upon. When it comes to perfume, cologne would be one of those cornerstones. It is why almost every perfumer eventually releases their version. Independent perfumer Andy Tauer had released an all-natural version three years ago called Cologne du Maghreb. That was a very traditional architecture what stood out was doing it with an all-natural set of ingredients. Hr. Tauer has decided to take a second look at cologne with the latest release Tauer L’Eau.
The original cologne by Jean Marie Farina was the product of a walk in the mountains capturing the smells he encountered. For L’Eau Hr. Tauer didn’t go for a walk instead he sat on his Zurich veranda and breathed deep of the lemon tree in bloom. Just like M. Farina did in the beginning Hr. Tauer wanted L’Eau to be reflective of the moment in the morning where you step outside and inhale.
Unlike Cologne du Maghreb Hr. Tauer had his full arsenal of perfume ingredients to use for L’Eau. That allowed for him to make a Tauer-style cologne. What that becomes is the traditional citrus opening transitions through a richer floral into a unique, for cologne, ambergris-focused base accord.
L’Eau starts with a mixture of lemon, bergamot, and orange. It is a display of all the facets of citrus as all three ingredients harmonize in a reliable way. Then Hr. Tauer puts his imprint on the venerable form. It starts in the heart with lemon blossom bringing his tree next to the veranda to life. Then in a bit of inspiration he uses a powdery iris to go with that. The contrast of soft powder with transparent floral is compelling. The base accord is even more fascinating as ambergris is the core which Hr. Tauer surrounds with several white musks. This is another great choice as this forms an expansive version of ambergris which allows the lemon blossom and iris floral accord to float on the cloud it provides. Then very late on Hr. Tauer’s trademark Tauerade peeks out almost impishly.
L'Eau has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I really enjoyed Hr. Tauer’s Cologne du Maghreb but after wearing L’Eau it almost feels like that earlier fragrance was a primer on cologne composition. If that was the case Hr. Tauer came away with an inspiration to make a Tauer cologne which is as imaginative as it is invigorating. Much like a spring morning on a Swiss veranda.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauer Perfumes.
I have been an admirer of the Tauerville line ever since independent perfumer Andy Tauer started it two years ago. Hr. Tauer’s concept of simple “flash” fragrances highlighting a particular note or accord has been very successful through the first five releases. It has become something I look forward to because Hr. Tauer has used the opportunity of simpler architecture to take the titular notes to some different places. The newest release Tuberose Flash does this for one of the most boisterous ingredients in all of perfumery.
Tuberose is a raw material which can take over a composition. A perfumer must either let it have free rein or alternatively use other powerful notes to try and tame it. It is a tricky balance; too much freedom and things just become a miasmic haze. Leash it too much and domesticated tuberose can just lay flat. Hr. Tauer took a third approach which was to use specific notes to amplify and examine specific facets throughout the time Tuberose Flash spends on the skin. It reminded me of an investigator using a magnifying glass to look closely at a part of the flower before moving on.
The close-up examination begins right away as the tuberose is in place from the first moments. Hr. Tauer then uses citrus and mint as the first magnifiers. What these notes in tandem do is to tease out the mentholated underpinning that tuberose has. It is obvious when tuberose is in high quantity. For Tuberose Flash Hr. Tauer didn’t want the tuberose to be that loud early on. By using the citrus and mint it draws attention to the mentholated nature without going all flowery. That is saved for the heart where two other white flowers, jasmine and orange blossom, bring out the typical tuberose most are familiar with. This is a typical white flower bouquet with indolic grace notes and narcotic floralcy. The base returns to using a note to magnify an aspect. In the late going it is patchouli attracting the indoles. They combine to form a slightly dirty patchouli. Amber and benzoin are also in the base and they are there to balance the indoles with more typical sweetness; not allowing Tuberose Flash to go too far into the darkness.
Tuberose Flash has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Tuberose Flash is an interesting companion piece to the perfume he did last year for his Tauer line called Sotto La Luna Tuberose. It also shares a very distinctive progression through the phases. What I found particularly interesting is that Hr. Tauer found two different explorations of tuberose within a year. I like Tuberose Flash more because that opening where the mentholated character is displayed stands apart from most tuberose fragrances. With Tuberose Flash Tauerville and Hr. Tauer have created a six-pack of excellent “simple” perfumes.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.
As I fell deep down the rabbit hole that continues to be my love affair with all things fragrance there were so many turning points. Most of us who were using the internet to bond together in our perfume love looked to find out as much as we can. One of the great discoveries was this blog by a Swiss perfumer by the name of Andy Tauer. For someone who wanted to know how perfume was made here was a perfumer explaining all of it. The beauty of this is Hr. Tauer continues to do this as he has blogged for over ten years now. He has continued to share his creative process with readers. A couple months ago he wrote a post which reminded me of the perfume which introduced me to him; L’Air du Desert Marocain. Released in 2005 it was one of the earliest examples of the difference between independent perfumery and the large brands. I consider it one of the modern masterpieces of perfumery; it is damn near perfect.
Hr. Tauer has decided to revisit the architecture of that perfume with his latest release; Au Couer du Desert. That translates to “heart of the desert” which also serves as a description of the perfume itself. Hr. Tauer’s first change is to make it an extrait formulation at 20% fragrance oil concentration. Right away this has the effect of blurring the edges making things softer. This desire to soften continues throughout the development as Hr. Tauer makes a sepia toned photograph of L’Air du Desert Marocain.
This softening effect comes right at the top as Hr. Tauer switches up the spices into a softer palette over a juicier citrus. Things get more defined as the next phase is frankincense framed by cedar even that is made softer than it would be due to concentration. The final base accord is where Au Coeur du Desert breaks with its inspiration. The mixture of patchouli, ambergris, and vanilla provide an opulent plushness to finish upon.
Au Coeur du Desert has 12-14 hour longevity and low sillage.
All memories tend to have a soft filter applied to them giving them some pliability. If Hr. Tauer had just upped the concentration across the board of L’Air du Desert Marocain I don’t think it would have worked. Instead he retools the fragrance in a way which brings back memories while also delivering new treats. While I was wearing this I thought of the old 1980’s song “Heartbreak Beat” by The Psychedelic Furs. There is a line which felt like an appropriate summary of the way I felt about Au Coeur du Desert, “and there’s a perfect kiss, somewhere out in the dark”. Au Coeur du Desert feels like that perfect soft kiss in the dark.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauer Perfumes.
It has been ten years since most of the world became aware of independent perfumer Andy Tauer. The first perfume I tried was a little less than ten years ago called L’Air du Desert Marocain. At the time it was one of my first introductions to the potential of independent perfumery. L’Air du Desert Marocain showed a perfumer with a vision could find a wider market. The next two releases were a limited edition called Orris and a regular release, Lonestar Memories. Orris I think is one of the great masterpieces of all-time. Lonestar Memories was Hr. Tauer’s take on the American West full of sagebrush, campfire, and leather. Now in 2016 as a thank you to those who have supported Hr. Tauer he has released Lonesome Rider.
In the post announcing Lonesome Rider Hr. Tauer mentions that it is meant to build upon Orris and Lonestar Memories. Early on in my wearing of Lonesome Rider I spent too much time trying to find those two perfumes leading to a mild disappointment. I had to walk away from it for a few days to stop thinking about that. If you go into Lonesome Rider thinking this is some mash-up of the two inspiration fragrances I think you will also be disappointed. When I returned to Lonesome Rider instead of seeing Hr. Tauer as some perfumed gene splicer I instead focused on what he said, “Lonesome Rider builds on Orris…..followed (by) Lonestar Memories.” The word I focused on was builds. I realized Hr. Tauer was not trying to create a throwback what he was attempting was to delight us all over again by returning to a style of perfume he hasn’t done much recently. On that score Lonesome Rider delivers spectacularly.
This time I feel less like I am in the wide-open spaces. I am instead within my inner space as Lonesome Rider is a perfume of introspection. I found myself late in one of the days I wore it using it as a meditational focal point. There is a serenity throughout Lonesome Rider quite uncommon in most perfumes.
Lonesome Rider first arrives with grapefruit pierced with clove, coriander, and black pepper. What is nice about this is the way the spices surprisingly transform the citrus into something shaded by those notes. Instead of exuberance the grapefruit is more mannered because of the spices. The orris rises out of this retaining the spices as underpinning. This is an evolution of the cinnamon, frankincense, orris heart accord of Orris. The black pepper stands in for the metaliic quality of the frankincense and the clove is the counterpart to the cinnamon. Lonesome Rider finds the orris more contained, less effusive; which follows the more serene nature of this perfume. The leather comes next and this is a well-cared for leather garment, broken in with all of the rougher birch tar facets worn away over time. What I like best about Lonesome Rider is Hr. Tauer takes the smoky faux oud of Cypriol and uses it to provide a hint of that more animalic leather in an earlier day when it was a player. The base is sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar forming an old weathered wood accord.
Lonesome Rider has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
As I mentioned above if you are reading Hr. Tauer’s words and expecting Lonestar Orris I suspect you won’t find it. If you actually take him at this word what you do get is a marker on the maturation of a precocious talent after ten years. Lonesome Rider is my favorite Tauer release since Une Rose Chypree; I think it is one of his very best.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.
There are a number of common experiences I have when people find out I am a perfume blogger. They will tell me what they wear; waiting for a reaction. Most of the time these are department store releases. If there is one thing department store fragrances have done is they have coalesced around a few popular bestselling styles. I usually talk with them about the perfumes which were the originators of whatever they are wearing. If the discussion goes further, I begin to talk about niche and why I think it is usually more interesting. Then when we get down to the cost the spell is usually broken. I have always believed if there was a similarly priced niche alternative there is a real chance to show the difference. Over the last 16 months independent perfumer Andy Tauer is helping me to see if that hypothesis has any weight.
Hr. Tauer has started a spin-off line called Tauerville where he is creating simple releases with a niche sensibility at a price similar to the department store bottles. The first four each highlighted a specific note. With the fifth release Fruitchouli Flash we might have the one which answers the question of why niche is more interesting than mainstream.
If there is any segment of mainstream perfumery which feels played out it is the fruity floral segment. Nevertheless, my desk is already full of boring wannabes for 2016. Even as the fruity floral train started to lose speed someone had the idea of adding in patchouli to give it more weight revitalizing it for cooler weather. Ever quick to jump on a trend there are now dozens of banal fruitchouli releases. Which is where Fruitchouli Flash comes in. The single note Flashes were good but you really need something similar to what they know to get them to try something different. Fruitchouli Flash might just be that perfume.
Hr. Tauer keeps this approachable as he uses peach and apricot as his fruit notes. If you’ve tried peach in a mainstream fragrance in the past few years, you’re probably smelling gamma-decalactone. It has all the subtlety of a fuzzy jackhammer. In Fruitchouli Flash Hr. Tauer uses natural apricot extract to ripen the screechy aromachemical. In many ways this is the soul of independent perfumery on display. Taking the same ubiquitous aromachemical and finding a way to twist it with something new. By using the apricot extract it gives the peach a slightly pungent overripe quality. It is exactly what you can’t find at the mall. The note list names a few florals in the heart; I never noticed them because the patchouli is all that comes next. Again the aesthetic of indie perfumery is here as Hr. Tauer uses an assortment of musks to make the patchouli soft; removing the head shop vibe. This has an earthier feel to it which makes a fragrant still life of a very ripe peach which has fallen off the tree and embedded itself in the moist soil.
Fruitchouli Flash has 18-20 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
I have a very good friend who I have been trying to being over to the world of niche for a long time. Her favorite perfume is a fruitchouli. I can’t wait to show her Fruitchouli Flash. Which is the final point I would like to make about these Tauerville releases. Yes they are simple. They are not as complex as what Hr. Tauer does in his Tauer Perfumes line. I believe this is by design this is not perfume for those of us already converted. It is a perfume to help some of the adventuresome masses to take a look in the back room away from the bright lights of the fragrance counter. With that in mind I think Fruitchouli Flash is what they should find when they take that step.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.
As the independent perfume market has grown over the past ten years it has become difficult to tell someone where to start. The very essence of the indie perfumer is doing things a little different, sometimes a lot different. If a consumer new to this sector is adventurous just jumping in and letting your nose take you where it may, is best. For most they want to enter at the shallow end of the pool cautiously easing themselves in. One of the problems with that is there is a lot less indie perfumes in that shallow end of the pool. Which is why I am pleased with independent perfumer Andy Tauer’s brand Tauerville.
Tauerville was created at the end of 2014 with the release of Rose Flash. Throughout 2015 three more releases were added; Vanilla Flash, Incense Flash and the latest Amber Flash. Tauerville was a place where Hr. Tauer wanted to “experiment”. He has certainly done that by taking some of his well-known effects from his main Tauer Perfumes line and tweaking them slightly. When I tried the first three Tauerville fragrances all at once it was that which I noticed first. Having had a few months to spend with them now I have realized that they are also very approachable examples of an independent perfumer’s aesthetic meant to entice you in to the indie perfumes pool at the shallow end. Amber Flash might be the introductory step leading into that metaphorical pool.
When I first smelled Amber Flash I was once again drawn to where I believe Hr. Tauer is tweaking something. In the case of Amber Flash I believe it is the spicy woody incense accord found in many Tauer Perfumes dubbed “Tauerade”. It is an olfactive signature for many of the perfumes in that line but it is strong. In Amber Flash it feels like Hr. Tauer has fashioned a low calorie version of Tauerade easier to experience and embrace. It is surrounded by other notes which enhance the softer version of this signature.
Amber Flash opens with what is often used as a substitute for ambergris, labdanum. In this case it provides the less aggressive aspects of amber and allows the wearer to ease into the rest of the development. It fairly quickly deepens as patchouli combines with the labdanum leading to an earthy kind of feel to this part of Amber Flash. This is where in a different indie take on this concept something strong would seal the deal making it a different kind of earthy. Hr. Tauer instead just adds a bit of vanilla to keep it a little on the sweet end and much more approachable. Then we get to the Tauerade-lite base. In regular Tauerade there is a strength to that base which has so often provided the foundation to many of the Tauer Perfumes that I wait for it with delight. In Amber Flash that accord is modulated into something much softer only hinting at the strength of the full Tauerade. In Amber Flash sandalwood, cashemran, amber, and benzoin form this lighter weight version. It is the perfect way to finish Amber Flash because it displays an aesthetic without clobbering you over the head with it.
Amber Flash has 16-18 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
One could arguably make the argument that the independent perfume explosion began with the Chandler Burr review of Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Desert Marocain. Which is why with the Tauerville line I am happy to see Hr. Tauer finding a new way to entice perfume lovers into the indie perfumer’s world. Amber Flash is a great place to begin for anyone considering that.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauerville.