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 love being surprised and on the second day of Sniffapalooza Spring Fling I got a surprise when I stopped at MiN New York. Mindy Yang the co-owner of the apothecary asked me what I thought of the new DeadofNight. I admitted I didn’t know what that was and she handed me a roll-on to test it out with. I rolled it on my wrist and for the next twenty-four hours I rekindled my love of oud. I also spent that time learning about the entity behind DeadofNight, ERH1012.
ERH1012 is a collaboration of Elizabeth Gaynes the founder of Gaia One. Gaia One is a company devoted to developing sustainable plantations to supply the flavors and fragrance industries. Borneo’s Balung River Plantation is the first of the Gaia One farms. From that farm the key ingredient of DeadofNight was harvested; a sustainable oud from planted agarwood trees. The harvesting of the oud will be like harvesting grapes at a vineyard as each year’s climatic conditions will lead to variations and will make for its use in each year’s small batch an evolving enterprise all around. The creative director for ERH1012 is supermodel Helena Christensen. Her friendship with Ms. Gaynes, her 20-year fashion career, and her work as photographer for Oxfam makes her ideal to guide the creation of DeadofNight. The perfumer she would be working with is Christophe Laudamiel. M. Laudamiel is one of the elite perfumers working today and can straddle the commercial and the artistic simultaneously. This is a team dedicated to making this inaugural fragrance something special and they do. (UPDATE: In an e-mail from Ms. Gaynes she let me know that perfumer Jacques Cavallier first worked with this oud oil and created the first mods for DeadofNight. M. Laudamiel used these as his starting point and attributes this as a co-creation of both perfumers.)
First choice was to make DeadofNight a perfume oil, very concentrated, and for this fragrance it is completely appropriate as a drop at a pulse point is all you want. DeadofNight is a personal olfactory journey and only those who are allowed close will share it with you. M. Laudamiel takes this new source of oud and combines the chill of violet leaf, a mere hint of floral notes and a woody musky amber at the base. Throughout the new oud preens like a precocious child.
DeadofNight opens with the oud displaying its wares. As this is a new source of oud this has a less prickly quality as more aged versions of oud have. The oud oil used here was distilled multiple times to end up with a very concentrated fraction and that gives it power without the rough edges. M. Laudamiel uses the green character of violet leaf to pull at the rawer woody facets of oud. Early on in its development this has a plushness to it that I have rarely experienced in an oud-centric fragrance. As many of you know rose is oud’s natural partner and usually it is used as an equal in composition containing both of these. In DeadofNight M. Laudamiel hints at that as very modest applications of rose and jasmine whisper across the face of the oud. Some of my favorite oud oils have a latent floral character and this oud also has it and by using jasmine and rose as genteel complementary notes that floralcy is allowed to bloom. This phase of DeadofNight has an almost heartbreaking fragility that lasts for hours on my skin. It feels so tenuous that at any moment it will disappear but it lingers enticing me to pull my wrist to my nose again and again. Many hours after first applying DeadofNight the creamy woodiness of sandalwood signals a languid pace of development into the base as amber and white musk mix to form a sedately beautiful coda to a full day’s olfactory pleasure.
DeadofNight has 24-hour longevity and is a skin scent with no appreciable sillage.
The combination of new source of oud and master perfumer with Ms. Chrtistensen’s innate sense of style have all combined to create a singular beauty. DeadofNight exhibits beauty from head-to-toe much like Ms. Christensen continues to do. DeadofNight is oud as only M. Laudamiel can do it which means it is among the very best oud scents you can find anywhere.
Disclosure: This review was based on a bottle of DeadofNight I purchased.
DeadofNight can be purchased exclusively at MiN New York or via the ERH1012 website.