Andy Tauer Orris

I´m so stupefied by this fragrance that I´ve now written and deleted this entire post three times, so I´m going to give up and bloglift, with apologies, directly from Andy Tauer´s blog, in which he describes the ingredients for his non-released Orris fragrance experiment, which I was lucky enough to sample (he only made 40 samples.) My review follows his comments.

“In the body of the scent you find the notes: Ambergris, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Agarwood. In the formula this translates to: Ambroxan, Sandalore, Sandalwood from Australia, Sandalwood from Mysore, Vetiverol, Vetiver, Methylcedrylketon, Agarwood. The two qualities of Sandalwood are important, as the Australian Sandalwood adds to the spicyness and the Mysore quality brings in a flowery aspect. Sandalore allows to extend the note and lift it.

In the middle of the scent you find the notes: Frankincense, some smokeyness, and the extension of the Orris/rose from the head eventually with some cinnamon. In the formula this translates into: Birchtar (just a hint…) , a tiny winy little bit of cinnamon bark … just a touch because of Ifra and because it is very fast overpowering, Hydroxycinnamaldehye, and the best Frankincense on the market, which is from India…

In the head of the scent, extending into the middle you find the notes: Orris, rose, pepper, cinnamon (see above) and yellowish citrus. In the formula this translates into: Rose accord: Geraniol, Damascenone, Bulgarian Rose absolute, Phenylethylalcohol, Lemongrass, Linalool, Benzylsalicylate. With the Orris remaining a big mystery… the spicyness is black pepper and the citrus notes are grapefruit, white and Bergamot, of course with the lemongrass from the rose accord playing in, too. There are quite a few its and bits that rounden up the scent, brighten it a little bit, and a few mystery compounds…”

Okay, if you´re not drooling on your keyboard right now, you are dead, and thus there is no hope for you. From the stunning opening of Orris, with its spices and a mere hint of rose, through the smoky woods and incense, and into the dry, warm base of sandalwood, it never bores, and it never ceases to amaze me. Obviously, the orris itself is the star of this fragrance (and what an orris!), while the rose is a valued but minor player — a perfect foil for the almost medicinal aspect of the orris. I only get a hint of citrus, the effect being to magnify the pepper and spices rather than to assert itself. The agarwood arrives shortly thereafter and plays up the florals beautifully. But it is the sandalwood that is ultimately the source of a considerable amount of the fragrance’s magnetism. It gives Orris a more dry, meditative aspect. It is a “warm” orris fragrance, whereas (to me, anyway) Hermes Hiris is elegant but very cold, and Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist is rather cool. Orris is also quite tenacious, like Andy´s other fragrances, without ever becoming tiresome.

I tested it back-to-back with Iris Silver Mist – the gold standard of orris — and I am now going to commit Fragrance Heresy by declaring that, as stunning as ISM is, I prefer Andy´s creation. I have to be in exactly the right mood for ISM, or it´s just too much. Its bombast wears me out.

Orris has ISM´s potency, but it has a more buoyant, pellucid quality rather than ISM’s hazy density. While Orris shares a number of notes with ISM, to me ISM is a much earthier fragrance, with a cedar note that is omnipresent and (I admit it) can be a bit hard to take on the wrong day — as if I were standing in a cedar closet. There is only one ISM, but there is nothing else like Orris that I’m aware of, either. Certainly there is room for both in any fragrance-lover’s wardrobe. Can I mention the orris, agarwood, frankincense/sandalwood combo one more time? Ye gods, I could smell that every day.

Andy notes on his blog that Orris was tricky to produce and the ingredients were expensive, and he never intended to release it as part of his line. But he has heard all our begging on the fragrance boards, and he is planning to release it in a limited edition later this fall, in a smaller bottle to offset the expense of the ingredients (Andy – my apologies if I have misrepresented any of that). My little vial is almost empty, and I am looking forward with great anticipation to the release.


  • TheQueenMay says:

    I\’m drooling on my keyboard.
    I\’m alive!

  • March says:

    Eel — I’m hopeful he’ll offer samples of Orris when it’s released, so people can try it, but I have no idea. Given its expense, maybe not. I would still encourage you to buy unsniffed — it is outrageously beautiful, and if you like his other stuff you’re halfway there.

  • eelriverrose says:

    🙂 Thanks for the wonderful enhancement of your previous comments about Orris. It’s truly a lovely, evocative and informative review (and my hat is off to anyone who can use the word “pellucid” convincingly)! Orris is the only bottle I may end up buying unsniffed, based largely on Andy’s amazing track record and great descriptions like this.

  • March says:

    BBliss — I am surprised that more people aren’t put off by the sweetness. I suppose there’s so much else going on in there, it’s forgiven?

  • BBliss says:

    March – thanks for making me feel better, as I was starting to feel a little defective in this area! :”>

    Yep, the SL sweetness really undoes my stomach, and there’s something else in some of them…but not sure what it is – it defnitely is a common base or note…so maybe it’s the cedar, too. I’d rather waft than wear, too!

  • March says:

    dinazad — no lynching over Hiris. I love it, but it’s very cold. Not something I’d wear every day. That Orris makes me purr too.:”>

  • March says:

    BBliss — it’s okay. You can be honest with us. To tell you the truth, many SLs I admire rather than wear. Whatever they use for cedar tends to go wrong on me. And some of them are just too darn sweet — like syrup.

    I am counting the days until I can get my mitts on some more Orris.

  • dinazad says:

    I feel the need to add my two cents’ worth: yup, it’s gorgeous. And me, I generally don’t find iris that special (I think the much-lauded Hiris is rather trite. Go ahead, try to lynch me…). But Andy’s Orris is wonderful. Lovely. Gorgeous. Memorable. Stupendous. Makes me want to wag my tail, roll over on my back to have my tummy stroked, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, have my ears tugged, my chin scratched, my back rubbed, stretch out on the bed and look enigmatic, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….. (gosh, I seem to have a bad case of split personality, but the reactions, believe me, are all very, very good!)

  • BBliss says:

    Oh – I am so glad you reviewed Andy’s Orris. It is just sublime. It is so comforting and always smells “right” even if I’m having a day when I can’t tolerate any other fragrance. Lasts forever. I agree, warmer than other Iris perfumes- like Bois d’Iris. I can’t compare to the master ISM because (in a small voice) I’ve never smelled it on, and (even smaller voice) I just can’t tolerate Lutens on me. I adore my wax sample book, and he is very creative. But in liquid they clash on my skin and suffocate me or just sit there and do nothing. OK, True Confessions is over now.

    Anyway, this is just a masterpiece of a scent, and part of the genius I adore is the subtle changeability of the fragrance. This is my favorite kind to wear – it melds with your skin but, maintains its exotic character. So happy Andy decided to share more of this!

  • March says:

    Judith — hey, I’m sure it’s in there SOMEWHERE in your samples… mine are, of course, expertly organized… all over the house.;)

  • judith says:

    Oh, I loved my sample of Orris–and I have misplaced it!! I am so glad that he’s coming out with this in the regular line!

  • March says:

    Vi — it is just an amazing thing. Hopefully he will have samples available when it’s produced, but I’m not sure.

  • March says:

    P — we neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed this one….

    God, I need a 12-step program for stinkers. I’m wearing 2 different versions of the Kolnisch Juchten right now, I am in Smokehouse Heaven.

  • March says:

    Jenn — nononono… you should smell it, definitely. It sounds like the price will be fair. Frankly, whatever the price is, it’s worth it.:x

  • March says:

    Marina — iris is a tricky scent for me — it can be very metallic in a way I find off-putting. That’s part of what thrilled me about this one. Orchidee Blanche I’ve bought samples of 3 times. It smells so … wrong on me. I want it to love me. But it doesn’t. Iris Taizo does, though.:d

  • March says:

    Elle — cannot WAIT to get my mitts on some more of this\:d/

  • March says:

    Chaya — well, I’m not really that eloquent early in the morning.:”> I post the silly thing the night before, and then go to bed. It reveals itself at 3 a.m. I don’t know how many months we had that feature before Patty explained it to me… it’s nice for me because our service is sporadic, and I used to panic in the morning if I couldn’t get online.

  • violetnoir says:

    Well dang, sign me up for this one when it’s finally released. You’ve got me hooked already, and I haven’t even heard of or tried this fragrance. 🙂


  • Patty says:

    Totally co-sign on this. I put it on again this morning after reading this, and it’s one of the most stunning, warm, beautiful things I’ve smelled in a long while. I hope he considers adding this permanently to his line, no matter the cost. I’d pay it in a heartbeat!!

  • Jenn says:

    I’m tempted to never let this anywhere near my nose because it sounds too divine and would after become an immediate issue in life.

  • Marina says:

    Wait, I thought of one more…it’s very warm and practically all-iris one me…Zibeline by Weil.

  • Marina says:

    I absolutely agree that it is warm. There aren’t many iris/orris scents there are, that is why it is all the more special. The only other warm irises I can think of are Orchidee Blanche and Iris Taizo.

  • Elle says:

    No need to check my pulse – I really am drooling over the keyboard. Can’t wait for this to be released! You’re right – it’s a warm orris scent and is absolutely unique and absolutely essential in my fragrance wardrobe.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Good morning,my beauty !
    How eloquent you are, so early in the am…
    Perfect w/ B’s best coffee.
    Cannot wait to sink my proboscis into this gem.

    love to you and yours…