Way back in 2006 (ten years? how is that even possible?), Andy Tauer sent out some samples of this thing called Orris, and the internet lost its mind. I was one of the lucky bloggers who scored a sample of this scent he had no intention of making in any quantities for sale, because it was some combo of too complicated to source/expensive/ridiculous, I don’t quite remember. I DO remember kicking into high-pitched toddler mode, where I am pretty sure I whined at him, publicly and privately, through various social media, that he reeeeally needed to put this into production. Which, in one of those small miracles that makes perfume so much fun, he did, eventually, as an LE. I laughed yesterday when I went back and looked – it cost the princely sum of $85 a bottle! Man, those were the days.
Now, ten years later, I’ve had a sample of Lonesome Rider sitting on my bedside table for weeks while I try to come up with something original to say. Or, really, anything to say besides squuueeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! As has been noted often and elsewhere, Lonesome Rider is something of a mashup of original Orris and the smoky, earthy Lonestar Memories, which I love, but more to sniff than to wear.
This new scent, though? It is perfection. What a genius move, Andy Tauer. You’ve taken the grounding heft of Lonestar and the soaring voice of Orris, and now the weirdly distracting power they had over my psyche, a sense of demanding attention that sometimes made them difficult to wear, is gone. It’s like they found each other and rode off into the sunset, with some of that great old-timey-western music playing in the background while the credits roll by on the screen and you’re dabbing your eyes and whatnot because it’s just too goddamn perfect.
I’ve never really accepted the idea of Lonestar Memories as this surprisingly perfect evocation of rugged southwestern desert Americana, courtesy of a charming, brainy Swiss dude. Lonestar does not, to me, evoke the southwest, the desert, the high desert, eau de cowboy, the American west, John Wayne, Alan Ladd (come back, Shane!), or the works of Remington (sculptures or firearms, you choose). Lonestar Memories is…. there must be a word for this, the paucity of American English can be so irritating – Lonestar Memories is a yearning recollection of an imaginary thing that cannot be experienced. It’s like me conjuring up my searing scent-memories of Paris in the 1920s. Lonestar is a wild, powerful kind of feeling, attached nominally to a place, and someday I’m going to get drunk with Andy and weasel the details out of him, because on this issue I refuse to be wrong.
If you’re ready to reach through the screen and poke me with an imaginary, mythical sharp cowboy-stick because get on with the description already, fine: Lonesome Rider has two halves. The top half is some very close formulation of the sweet-spicy divinity of LE Orris, the one fragrance I own that smells like the actual scent of iris blooms, a smell I adore, rather than the buttery, metallic decoction of rhizomes with which it shares its name. Over time that segues into a hint of Lonestar’s birchtar and something like parched earth (makes me think of mitti attar), but the orris never goes away. I mean, never. Like a lot of Andy’s scents, Lonesome Rider is there days later on my skin if I look for it. Sometimes, on humid evenings, I catch a lovely, brief waft of scent from the tiny stoppered vial on the other side of my room. How is this happening? I don’t know. I’m smiling, just thinking about it. In the last ten years, as the perfume-industrial complex has grown like kudzu, and there’s more than I can possibly keep up with, and it’s quantity over quality, Lonesome Rider is an exquisite reminder of why I still give a damn about perfume.