It’s almost two years since I got to know Andy Tauer and experience Tauer perfume. In that time I’ve run through many, many sample vials. Recently, my lovely friends bought me a full bottle of my favourite: the delicious and wonderful Tauer perfume, Carillon pour un Ange. What great friends I have, right?So my first full Tauer prompted me to give the range a more thorough going-over. In the past, I’d never worn a Tauer perfume two days in a row; I’d always sort of thought of them as Decision Perfumes; you know, the kind where you really have to Decide to Wear them, lovely as they are.
But now I thought: let’s see what happens when I do wear a different Tauer every day for a week.
A Week of Tauer! Here goes:
Tauer Perfume Carillon pour un Ange
This was one of the first Tauers I smelled, and boy, was my initial reaction ever negative! My notes read only: Green poison!! Poison! Ack!
And then, as so often happens with perfumes one has a very strong first reaction to, I kept having to smell it again. And quite soon, before I’d drained my first sample vial, I knew this was a big love.
I don’t have many associations with LOTV and functional perfumery – if any. I can’t remember ever having a, shower gel or detergent with an alleged LOTV smell, and air fresheners have never ever featured in my home, so I don’t have much reference for the scent – and no, I have never encountered the actual flower, either. (Since coming to love Carillon, I have bought some Crabtree and Evelyn LOTV soap which is absolutely fantastic.)
So: if this is what LOTV smells like, I have GOT to get me a plantation of it! Carillon is the greenest, sappiest dream fragrance, a fiercely zippy floral cloud of awesome. It’s like sitting up to your neck in greenery which has broken and crushed beneath you, releasing sap and chlorophyll, with quite a bit of flowers also in the mix. “A green choir of flowers,” says Andy Tauer, and that’s it exactly.
I really can’t isolate notes in this one, I can’t say oh yes, that’s the rose. I certainly can tell that I think the base is what makes this: the topnotes, even with the green sap cheer of them, would pall after a bit without this rich, ambery, wondrously strong and persistent base to centre them. I wouldn’t have guessed any leather notes, but reading it on the Tauer site I went yes! that’s what the softness is, something like suede.
When one over-sprays, which I’ve done a number of times to my own great joy but probably to colleagues’ dismay (this is also NOT a restaurant-friendly perfume), Carillon can be really quite sharp for the first few hours. But moderate spritzing (four max) gives a softer effect, with the basenotes, to me, coming out quicker. And this thing is persistent, I’d say giving twelve hours of strongly present wear, and probably 24 hours of scent in total. It will not be vanquished!
And people, that bottle. It is just perfection. The beautiful oval beads, the lovely rough wooden cap . . . my friends really hit the jackpot with this present! (Which is a bit of a hassle to procure, living as we do in South Africa with our oh-so-mediocre postal service and the vast distances to Europe.)
Tauer Perfume Une Rose Chyprée
Wow! This was my very first try of this stunner. I was expecting something more Paloma Picasso/Ungaro Diva/EL Knowing, you know, a mean 80s rose chypre, but no sir, this is a lovely, soft, herbal-green rose, with something that – I swear – strongly reminds me of rooibos tea. Much less smothering than Une Rose Vermeille, I vastly prefer this chypred/herbal rose.
At the very beginning, I got a few seconds of the cinnamon, but if you don’t like the idea of that, don’t be put off – it was fleeting in the extreme. My boyfriend, who has a VERY cautious/terrified relationship with Carillon pour un Ange, sniffed the first few seconds and said ‘there’s something of the broken green branch here, too’ – and yes, this is a Tauer, very recognisably. Une Rose Chyprée is enveloping and warm, but absolutely not cloying – but okay, I spritzed just three tiiiiny spritzes from a sample vial. (Aren’t the Tauer samples the best in the world? So solid.) Next time, I’ll wear more!
I think some find this ‘mature’ in the sense that an 18 year old might find this alien and too grownup, and yes, I can imagine my (lovely, fabulously scented and long-lamented) grandmother wearing this, but I can, too, and I’m only 30.
And what a fabulous surprise, after a few hours the base peeks out and I’d swear there are some things in here that are also in L’Air de Rien – very similar, to my nose! Is that the vanilla/oakmoss combo? But Une Rose Chyprée is less skanky, for sure, less disturbing.
Tauer Perfume Orange Star
Ok. So this was a challenge. I knew going in that I would not be immediately enamoured – I’d tried a few spritzes from my sample vial before, and knew that this was no big love. But hey, I started out finding my precioussss Carillon very disturbing and almost repulsive, so I knew I had to stick it out at least one full day with Orange Star.
Right. So. Well. I think a big part of my problem with Orange Star is that I have a strong scent memory of my aunt’s bathroom in Paarl from when I was a child, and this is that smell – not a BAD smell, far from it, definitely very clean and hygienic – but do I look for hygiene in my perfumes? I do not, emphatically. Also there’s a ‘muddiness’ here, not muddy as in ‘like wet earth’ (if only, that’s the best smell ever), but muddy in that I can’t tell what’s going on. Citrus? Is it really? I… suppose so?
Now look, I also have an avowed dislike of lemon grass. Maybe that’s what’s causing the hold-up here. Nor is orange blossom a great favourite at all. Having smelled Gaultier Classique last night on a strip, as I often do while trying to decide if I could wear it, I detect a touch of similarity between it and Orange Star. Is that the orange blossom/vanilla/amber thing? And while we’re talking similarities, I do get a teensy hint here of the flinty oranginess of Terre d’Hermes, but it took reading The Non-Blonde’s review for me to smell that consciously.
Well, I’m just going to trust that the Tauer base is going to carry me through the day and that that is what people smell on me. ‘Cause we all know this base is boss. But . . . comments from friends, at topnotes-time: “Strong bathroom spray”. “Mr Min, orange flavour” (Mr Min is a sprayable furniture polish brand.)
To see if I’m way off base with this one, I went and read lots of online reviews. People speak of tartness and zest, and I mourn for my seemingly deficient nose. Online comments are overwhelmingly positive. Maybe it’s a South African thing: none of my test subjects like this much.
Mister Tauer, I love your work dearly, but Orange Star is not for me.
Tauer Perfume Incense Extrême
One of my first thoughts after spraying this today was: Hmm, I wonder if Andy Tauer and other let’s say art-perfumers don’t get ticked off when their scents are compared to commercial ones? But setting that scruple aside, though it does still bother me: This is a close but more refined and much more dangerous cousin to Terre d’Hermes. I mentioned Terre yesterday with Orange Star too, so there must be something in the Tauers that triggers that switch for me. Some online reviews (I see this later, after I’ve written) mention cedar – is that the link here?
Incense Extreme also smells strangely of the treatment room at my local beauty salon, maybe the hot wax… I see some people online mentioning rubber, and they mean it as an insult, but I love this effect.
Also, this ain’t as extreme as Avignon, I can tell you that, if by ‘extreme’ you were thinking ‘blast you out of the church’. My main impression, in the first half hour, is certainly not of incense (more on this to come), but rather of some kind of ravishing oily mineral. (Boyfriend at first minute: “Oil drill”. I think he meant it in a nice way.) Like if gasoline smelled as fascinating as it does, without also smelling like poison. Like if a really ancient rock were liquidised (so uhm, gasoline again, I guess). Like dry mud with some shavings of the most oil-producing, scented hallucinogenic plant on top. And hey, I guess all of that is sort of what frankincense resin is. I never knew!
See, I was thinking: Hmm, where’s the incense in this, then went and had a quick read about the fragrance, and realised that I don’t really know what frankincense smells of. I’m pretty sure the cheap health-store kind I’ve smelled is not up to scratch in terms of purity or quality. So this smell is frankincense? Man, then I want to burn some! I used to have some incense sticks made from Southern African plants, and now I think I must definitely look into more African incense; it doesn’t have that church vibe – which I adore, but one doesn’t always want it.
Interestingly, I learned on Wikipedia that frankincense is known as dhoop or dhoopan (the practice of burning it) in Ayurvedic medicine. In the household-name Lennon range of home remedies sold in South Africa, there’s a benzoin resin called Doepa, for burning to medicinally scent the air . . . and now I know where we got the name Doepa from! (Afrikaans has a close relationship with some Eastern languages.)
VERY very good, this Incense Extreme! I think probably I’d love it even more on a man than on myself. A male perfumista friend says it would be too sweet on a man, though. I dunno… all this cedar and woodiness. Perfect, I’d say.
Looking at the notes: Coriander and petit grain? I totally missed that. And I’m starting to think that what I get most intensely and long-lastingly in all the Tauers is the ambergris in the base. Is that correct, people who know more than I do? Where can I buy some of this base on its own?
(Side note: By the end of this week, I must admit, I am going to be craving, like, Harajuku Lovers Music or something equally ‘trashy’. Tauer sure is making me think about my smells.)
Full disclosure: the last three scents were reviewed while on a long weekend away, so they got a bit less attention.
Tauer Perfume Reverie au Jardin
Perfect holographic lavender! So so soothing and meditative, and quite linear to me, which I absolutely prefer in such a scent of peace. This was my early favourite in the Tauer line; my first sample set contained it and it was instant love, even though lavender is not at all favoured scent of mine.
But Reverie’s lavender isn’t sun-baked, nor musty-dusty like pot pourri, but lush and green and somewhat wet. The base must be doing a great job of adding interest; even though I really can only isolate the smell of lavender here, it obviously is being strengthened and made lushly interesting by the ambergris and whatnot. No, I lie: the fir balm is apparent, too, yes: it’s like a magical lavender bush in a cool pine forest.
I don’t have too much to say about this except that it is quiet, calm perfection. I need a gallon. And a very light concentration version to spray on my bedding.
Tauer Perfume Zeta
This is another one I’ve tried before and not quite got. It must be the quietest Tauer; after a good five, six sprays, it is still quite close to the skin – another Tauer would have been prowling the entire room, intent on violence.
On this wearing, Zeta is being very charming. I don’t know the smell of linden, so I can’t speak to nature-resemblance. What I smell is a tender but not innocent sprout of green, with something (though much lighter) of the toxic weird sappiness of Carillon. I love how this treatment of ‘light and clean’ flowers like LOTV and linden makes them something else altogether!
Zeta is perfect for a warm spring day like today, and certainly projects an aura of natural cleanliness, though it is absolutely un-juvenile and not in the least ‘fresh’ in the Glade sense. I believe my bottle of Calyx had already turned when I bought it, but the remnants of it contained something that I also smell in Zeta, a mildly raspy buzz that is the perfect antidote to Glade freshness.
Later: This made for an absolutely lovely, soft day of smelling myself as a powder-puff patch of mellow goodness. I want a bottle. Wow! I am falling in solid love with way too many of these. I see another sample set in my future.
Tauer Perfume Une Rose Vermeille
The last in my week of Tauer, it’s gone by so fast! So, as well as Une Rose Chyprée works for me, I can’t rock Vermeille. The fruity blast up top is not a problem (‘lychee’ said my boyfriend, coming into the room just after spraying). It is more the middle, which is really rather powdery and violety, not my favourite combo, the rose-violet. It reads a bit musty, a bit too sweet, just not me. And I hate to say this again, but as with Orange Star, I feel a little like I’m wearing a great quality bathroom spray. There must be some connection in my brain: wet citrus and floral notes = bathroom spray. Sorry, fans of Vermeille! But this is one of my least favourites in the line.
So what has my week of Tauer taught me? Firstly, that the line has so much variety that one can wear a totally different perfume every day for at least a week, even though the base of
ten is recognisable (and always lovely). Secondly, that over the long term there will be rather more than my current full bottle of Carillon pour un Ange in my Tauer collection, starting with, hmmmm… Let’s see, maybe Reverie first, then Une Rose Chyprée and Zeta (though I need to go through full samples of these two first).
And thirdly, that Andy Tauer really is a genius. Thank you, Mister Tauer, and for your great customer service especially!