Tauer Perfumes Incense Duo

I´ve been toying with Andy Tauer´s incense mods, Incense Extreme and Incense Rosé. I wrote him months ago, after Orris stole my heart, that I wished he´d do an incense fragrance. He said to me via email recently: “I remembered your earlier mail, about the frankincense, and basically you, together with the CO2 extract quality that I got my hands on, kick-started me on this. Now, I do not know whether you will like these two fragrances built around frankincense. But I will be delighted to send you a sample each. I will not touch the formula any more, I consider them finished.” He also gave me permission to blog on them.

Opening my international envelope of Incense Extreme and Incense Rosé, I caught a very Tauer-esque aroma – a ghost of his beloved limited run, Orris, which contained frankincense and orris. Andy´s fragrances tend to be strong – some stronger than others, but I can´t recall any particularly shrinking violets among them.

Anyway, the notes for Incense Extreme are coriander, orange leaves, orris, Texan cedarwood, frankincense, ambergris. Andy says: “I wanted to create an incense that is intense and clear. The result: a minimalist, copped interpretation of incense, a touch of spices, powdery orris, dry cedar wood and ambergris support the frankincense, that is rich, crisp, red and intense.” Savvy sniffers will note a slight resemblance to Orris (which had more orris and less frankincense, along with a much longer list of other notes). Lovers of Orris will be pleased to hear that Incense Extreme contains the same soaring, faintly sweet heart. The sweet-tart citrus of the orange leaves is prominent in the opening, and combined with the coriander it´s a dense, almost masculine scent. There´s a moment when the orange note fades and the coriander jumps forward. Then the frankincense opens up and begins to dominate. The cedar is quite mild to me, more of a general woodsy note, and I´m assuming the ambergris and coriander contribute to the faintly musky drydown. I´m going to quibble with Andy´s idea of “minimalist” – the list of notes is short, but the smell is quite complex. Yes, it´s clearly and absolutely about incense, but it doesn´t feel like an incense “soliflore” the way some other niche incense fragrances do. The orris, cedar and ambergris provide a strong, woods-metallic platform for the rest of the mechanics. The longevity (as with other Tauers) is excellent. Rich, crisp, red and intense – yeah, I´ll buy that. If Orris were the femme version, this somewhat related scent could be its masculine counterpart, although both of them are easily unisex, in my opinion.

I was less excited about sniffing and reviewing Incense Rosé, because as many of you know, I´m not a world-class rose fan. I´m nervous reviewing it, because … well … I like it so much I keep thinking there must be something wrong with it, frankly. The notes are clementine, bergamot, castor, Bulgarian rose absolute, orris, Texas cedarwood, frankincense, labdanum, myrrh, patchouli and ambergris. Andy says: “This rich and intense fragrance is at its base inspired by smoking frankincense, oriental woods and rich rose absolutes. I wanted to create a fragrance that breathes in the tradition of perfumery, and I wanted to capture the floral beauty that hides in frankincense.” Well, amen. Incense Rosé opens on a juicy clementine/bergamot, with the rest of the notes rushing in close behind, and the combination is a rich, macerated smell – you want to describe it with the same sort of adjectives you´d use for some smooth, aged cabernet. At this point it’s clear Andy hit the mark in his oenophile’s description — without smelling like wine, it has that liquid, nuanced depth, fragrance as palate-pleaser. The myrrh, patch and ambergris provide a medicinal, bitter counterpoint to the rose and orris, and it´s perfect – I keep coming back to the word smooth. Anyone looking for a soft rose soliflore, something sparkly and sunny, shouldn´t stop here (they´d be looking at the wrong perfumer, anyway.) This is an audacious, virile scent, practically striding through the woods in a brown velvet cloak. And yet … just about the time I applaud, I realize the scent´s changed into its red flamenco dress, a tart candied note lingering all around me. By the time I´d taken stock of that shift, we´d climbed back in the saddle and ridden off again. I love the duality — watching the masculine and feminine aspects of this fragrance tango together.

So, Andy – once again, I tip my hat to you. You are full of surprises. As much as I admire the Incense Extreme, I have to admit … to my amazement, I prefer the Rosé.

I thought that he wouldn´t be releasing these as part of his line, but I believe I´m wrong and they´re coming out in January. I´m sure their release will be all over the blogs, so keep your eyes peeled.

Also … Andy lost his mom recently. He asked for prayers rather than emails. I whisper mine to the bees in the garden; maybe you could send some his way, too. If you visit his blog, his godchild drew a picture of his mother and sent it to him. His mom is an angel. Of course.

image: hikejapan.com

  • Gaia says:

    Very late to the party, I know. But since we’re talking Andy and his work, I feel compelled to chime in.

    There’s no other release that excites me like this. I’m going to buy both and I just know I will love them. I agree about the Tauer-ade and I think I also get some from Lonestar, when my husband is the one wearing it (it goes in a totally different -but wonderful- way on my skin). That base is probably what grabs me on the emotional level like no other fragrance. It’s just so completely me.

    I was this crazed and rabid fan even before I met Andy in person. I’m so glad to see how loved he is- he desrves every last bit of it.

  • JenniferR says:

    late to post, but I simply must.

    kerthunk! I am completely, totally, utterly overwhelmed. Incense is mine, dark roses are mine … I do not buy things unsniffed as a matter of principle, but I do believe that principle will fly out the window the moment I catch a whiff of these releases … Andy is such a genius. And from what I read on his blog, and others, such a darling. (On me, BTW, l’air du desert morocain lasts, well, forever. it’s still on the sweater I’m wearing today, and I last applied it to my skin over a month ago. It’s only getting lovelier, even on fabric.)

    • March says:

      Well, then these might be right up your alley!

      BTW I’ve never really looked at it, but I did see the word “samples” on his website when I was sticking the blog link in there. He may have samples of the rest of his line if you’ve not tried them.

  • Dusan says:

    Andy is a lovely, generous and talented man. I’m wearing L’eau d’épices today and thinking of him. It’s such a bright, sunny natural scent. Don’t tell anyone but I call it Baby Poison–wonder if anyone else got the same association.
    Ah! the Incenses. You make them sound majestic. I’ll be counting down the days to January fer sure. Have they got anything in common with my beloved L’Air?
    P.S. It seems my email to you has disappeared somewhere in the Net limbo??

    • March says:

      No way. Baby Poison?!?! You mean, it smells like Poison, a bit? I love Poison, that’s no bad thing. I *really* want to try Epices, I think it’ll be love.

      I think they’e all … sorta Taueresque, ya know? So similar densities, but not the same smell, exactly. Jardin is the only one that really doesn’t work for me.

      No, I’m just a really bad email correspondent.:”> I don’t know who might want to try Wet (is that your question?) Maybe you could swap it on Basenotes for something you liked better? Or email Patty and see if she’d swap something for it, I don’t think it’s on the Perfumed Court, maybe she’d trade for samps.

      • Dusan says:

        Did I write Poison? Oh dear, I meant Opium. Guess g-a-s-o-l-i-n-e does spell ‘water’ after all. Off to make another brew.
        Yep, if you take out the heavy amber from Opium, add plenty of oranges and amp up the woods, you’ll get LEdE. Um, that sounds nothing like Opium now, does it? 😀
        Yeah, Wet. Doesn’t have to be a swap, you know. No way am I going to use up the small bottle so I’d like to share. 🙂

        • March says:

          Well, luckily for you I like Opium even more. I was a bit surprised at Poison — a lot less surprised by Opium.

          I’m too lazy to swap. But MUA does swaps, don’t they?

    • Vasily says:

      L’eau d’epices does indeed start out bright & sunny on me, but quickly takes me into some dark and mysterious places. Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote on Andy’s blog back in July:

      …There is something almost menacing about it; it is indeed fierce, dark, and sexy … There is also a sweetness that weaves in and out of the midnotes that is almost cloying … I found myself filled with a vague sense of nostalgia, a melancholy, after a while. … But underneath the nostalgia there is something … like a half-remembered memory of violence… on me the sweetness starts out rather light and floral, moves quickly into a sweetness like that of fresh citrus juice, then descends into a complexity and richness over time that becomes almost treacle-y. All within a symphony of spices and citrus. And yet, having tried this sample several times now, it doesn’t seem so sweet or so cloying as it did at first. I wonder how much of the sweetness for me is associational: spices plus citrus equals spice cake, and the holidays, and a note of treacle under everything…

  • Robin says:

    These sound so perfect — both of them! Hope they’ll be released soon.

  • grizzlesnort says:

    What does he mean by Texas cedar? As a former Austinite who suffered from “cedar fever” (allergies) not sure I want to go near anything that has Texas cedar in it. It’s actually a juniper that’s locally referred to by everyone as “cedar.” Hmmmm…

    • March says:

      That is an excellent point. I didn’t bug Andy because of circumstances, but you’re right — I’d forgotten that someone (Maria?) had commented somewhere that “texas cedar” = juniper. I hadn’t spent enough time in TX for the thought to occur, but certainly juniper is pervasive. I used to dread February in NM, the onset of juniper season. My juniper allergies were one of the reasons we left.

  • Marina says:

    I did not just read this. darn, they sound great!

  • Teri says:

    Can a nose salivate? If so, mine definitely is in anticipation of these two incense frags. I adore incense, the smokier and more mysterious the better. And I adore Andy and send prayers and warm thoughts his way to support him in his time of loss.

    My son teases me about my incense jones – calls me his ‘goth mom’. I tell him it’s more ‘Catholic school girl mom’. I still remember the Sisters speaking in ardent whispers as we filed into the church on high holy days. As the priest walked down the center aisle, swinging the censer, you really felt a part of the grand mysteries of the Church.

    • March says:

      Goth mom goth mom goth mom! I didn’t smell it in church, so it doesn’t have those associations for me, except that if you go to great cathedrals in Europe they tend to retain that wonderful smell. If anything, I think more people have commented that they don’t like incense *because* of their Catholic upbringing…/:)

  • Jennifer says:

    I believe “green with envy” is the proper description of me right now.

  • donanicola says:

    I’ve sent my prayer and will keep him in my thoughts even though all I really know of him are his wonderful scented creations.

    It took me a while but I finally fell for Orris over the weekend. Well at least I have a sample. My other favourite of his is Lonestar followed by the Maroc one which isn’t for elle. Unfortunately there was a piney something in RdJ which didn’t agree with me but as I love incense and dark rose scents I have a feeling I’ll feel like I’m in heaven when I sniff these. How lovely to have them to look forward to in the dark days of January.

    • March says:

      Orris. I had a little samp vial last year, he wasn’t going to release it. I think he made 40 samps, sent them out, and that was that. I took one whiff and thought, what do you MEAN I can’t have more of this?!?!? It was a semi-organized revolt, we whined and begged until he made some more.:”>

      Um … don’t tell anyone, but RdJ isn’t for me either. I get the same Pine-Sol thing it sounds like you do. Objectively it’s fine, but I can’t get past the association with clean bathrooms, and the love pretty much ends there…

  • Christine says:

    Poor Andy. I’ll keep him in my thoughts.

    In other news, would you believe I’ve never sniffed not one of his creations although honestly there hasn’t been one that didn’t sound appealing. I really need to hit the lotto so I can start sampling everything I would like.

    • March says:

      Christine — well, you’ll get to them! They’re very distinctive. They remind me a little of Ormond Jayne in their power and non-sweetness. They don’t smell like OJ but there’s that cohesiveness.

  • The Incense Rose sounds absolutely magical. Orris was, so to hear that the Incense contains even a slight resemblance to it is so exciting! I’ve been following these on his blog and can’t wait until they are released. On his blog a few days ago, he mentioned champagne, and I thought,” if there is one person who can truly capture champagne, it would be Andy Tauer.”

    Continuing to send prayers to Andy.

    • March says:

      Ooooh, champagne!!! And I am also very much looking forward to his spice one, L’eau d’Epices, which sounds right up my alley.

  • Nina says:

    March, all those mentions of Orris are making me weak at the knees. I love Andy’s complex, powerful scents…and Orris is a masterpiece. Perhaps, for once, I will love a rose scent… Andy’s Mum must have been very proud of him; I include her in my prayers.

    • March says:

      Nina, regarding rose — if it happened to me, it could happen to you.;) I predict great success for Rose, let’s see if I’m right.

  • Kelley says:

    March, excellent reviews. I wasn’t crazy about Orris but I am very much looking forward to these. My skin destroys rose and orris notes almost instantly. However, incense is another story. Wearing frankincense will be as close to church as I will get (being the biggest heathen around).

    • March says:

      Maybe these will work for you. Orris was bad on Louise, but Extreme didn’t go kerflooey on her. The Rose one I’m less confident about, but what do I know?/:) It could be “you.”

  • Judith says:

    Oh, these sound wonderful! I am turning a bright shade of green in envy! I can’t WAIT until they are released (especially the Rose, both because of your review, and b/c I’m a dark rose addict to begin with).

    Sympathy, love, and prayers to Andy.

    • March says:

      J — if you liked Andy’s other scents (and I think in general you do?) you will be smitten with Rose. I’m looking forward to other folks’ reactions. BTW sorry to be so vague on the release information, but I didn’t want to bug Andy to ask.

  • chayaruchama says:

    I look forward to these two- particularly, the Incense Rose.

    I think Andy is feeling ‘buffeted’ by all our support-
    In the end, however, grief is such a private and powerful thing.
    May he heal.

  • Louise says:

    Thanks for a lovely review, March. I can’t wait to get my paws wrapped around both fragrances-and since I am suddenly now drawn to rose, hoping the Rose one works on me. I have been wearing le Maroc pour Elle a great deal lately.

    My heart goes out to Andy. It is such a painful time losing a parent, in some measure made a little easier if the relationship was rich and happy. Perhaps the memories of the time together are just that much sweeter and comforting. That is what I wish for Andy-and for him to receive all the love sent his way.

    • March says:

      Louise — well, we tried Extreme on you, and it didn’t do that nasty thing Orris did on your skin.b-( Did we not try Rose? Maybe I didn’t push it because it’s so strong… you must love the Tauers, I bet they stick around a full two hours on your skin.<:-p I think Andy knows all the love everyone is sending him. @};-

      • Louise says:

        I recall liking the incense, but was so covered in other scents (what did we do that day, maybe 8 at once?) that I don’t remember the details. I stupidly refused the Rose, thinking “I just don’t do that flower”-only to convert a week later to love of dark roses (thanks, Nancy!). So-now I’m really curious. And nanny-nanny-poo-poo, Le Maroc stays about 4 hours on me.

        • March says:

          ;)) Maroc stays, oh, I don’t know … forever? Next time we get together I’ll bring my leetle vile of Rose. I am assuming you tried SL Rose de Nuit, that glorious rose skankfest? And there’s that L’Artisan one I can’t even bring myself to smell. Also I think OJ Ta’if would smell magnificent on you. Okay, shutting up now.

        • Maria says:

          Louise, I must know what rose perfumes you’ve been trying and loving! [-o< I love Le Maroc. Rosine Ecume de Rose is beautiful and it lasts on me, but I don't think that's the kind of rose you're talking about. I loooove Caron Or et Noir, but it doesn't last :(( unlike Carons in general. I did try SL Rose de Nuit and was left doubtful, but maybe the weather was too warm. I can't do Malle Une Rose; it makes me sneeze.

  • Maria says:

    March, Incense Rose is perfect. It’s the one my DH and I fell madly for. Extreme is beautiful too, and I’ll wear it and admire it. But the one I’d do something extreme for is the Rose.

    I felt so much for Andy and did say several prayers–one of thanks to his mother for giving us Andy.

    And thank you, March, for giving him the idea to create a perfume with frankincense.

    • March says:

      That’s funny — I remember reading your review, thinking, yeah, that’s great she got *all that* (sulk) but I won’t. And then … I did! I’m not sure what alchemy he’s working with the Rose, but wow. It takes a light hand (on me anyway, probably not on you) 😉 but I think it’s the sort of thing people would stop you and say, what wonderful fragrance are you wearing?

  • Lee says:

    Like you all, I felt for Andy and didn’t email him. He’s a special man.

    Now, me and incense. I’ve smelled a version of one of these (I think..) and loved it, though personally the only incense I can wear is Encens et Lavande… The others seem to suffocate me, for some reason (no comments about sin, thanks very much). What do you think that’s all about?:-?

    • Maria says:

      But, Lee, dear, what about Avignon? Surely you wear Avignon.

    • March says:

      Beaten by a nun? Groped by a priest? Stopping now. Well … incense is a very intense note. Maybe you feel about incense like some people feel about, say, cedar — it dominates to the point of making you feel like there’s no oxygen…. FWIW Patty and others say cedar fragrances smell perfectly normal on me — It’s MY nose that makes them smell wretched, I guess.

      Although, if you can wear Avignon, there goes my cockamamie theory. EetL belongs in its own category of one. There’s something in that relationship with lavender that morphs it into a whole new smell.^:)^

  • Flora says:

    I am thinking of Andy, of course. I hope he takes some comfort in knowing how many people care about him at this time.

    I am almost afraid to even think of these two being released – especially the Incense Rose'(though the other is just s good I am sure). Your description makes me want to curl up in the the fetal position with a bottle of this stuff and not let anyone else touch the precioussss. MINE, all mine! I must HAFF EET!

    • March says:

      Flora – I’ll be surprised if you don’t fall for the Rose.@};- Andy’s a sillage master anyway, but the sillage on that one is delightful.

  • Gina says:

    I’m in heaven. The two last blogs written were about two of my favorite perfumers in the world, Sheldrake for Lutens, and the amazingly talented Andy Tauer. I buy everything Andy makes, I love them all. I’m SO excited about these two, incense perfumes being my favorite. Thank you so much for reviewing them! I’m drooling!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to January.

    I’m really not a “pray-er” either…I looked up the gorgeous clear blue sky the day I read about his mom and felt sadness for Andy. Losing your mom is beyond words. I wished him peace during his grieving.

    • March says:

      If you feel that way about Andy’s other fragrances, I think you’ll be pleased. It will be interesting to see of the two whether people take up favorites. Maria (comment below) who also smelled it was clearly smitten with the Rose like I was.

  • Tigs / Erin says:

    These sound just thrilling. Andy’s releases are the scents I most look forward to, and now I’ll be in an agony until January.

    I do not pray, exactly, but I appreciate and I appreciate hard. Since I learned of Andy’s mom’s passing, I have thanked her a number of times for Andy.

    • March says:

      E — I think anyone who likes Andy’s other stuff will feel the same way about these. I am also beginning to think there may be a Tauer-ade. With the exception of Lonestar Memories, there’s a similar aspect to them.

  • tmp00 says:

    I am so jealous I could pee! :((

    I did read about Andy’s loss, and true to his wishes i did not email him. I did say a prayer in my fashion, and it pleasures me to think that he had so many wonderful years with her and she was witness to his acheivments. I’m sure she was terribly proud.

    • March says:

      Dude. Reading about your jaunts up and down Wilshire make me feel the same way. And I have a similar relationship with the movies — I go to get away from the heat, mostly. Ask me in January to go see a flick and I’ll look at you, puzzled, and say … but why?