Lord of the Perfumes: The Five Tauers

There’s a song in my head as I start this post: “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…” which should’ve called for a post heading like The Smell of Samples, but it’s hard to change the words to The Sound of Music and still have the original title referenced. Besides, Andy Tauer is the Lord of Perfumes (you know, if Sauron was a sweet, uber-talented Swiss chemist with two eyeballs).

My very first foray into online samples was Mr. Tauer. Not bad for a newbie, eh? And hoo boy, was his stuff a revelation after all my trips to the local Shopper’s Drug Mart to try mainstream fragrances. I think I got the last or second-last of his old-style perfume samplers, before he released them in those neat little tin containers to go with the gorgeous new bottles. Which means I’ve got a little cardboard box upstairs with a handwritten note and 8 2ml vials; I am never getting rid of that box. It smells amazing, plus I’m reminded whenever I pull it out how exciting it was to get it. I mean, c’mon…mail from Switzerland? How cool is that?

Five of the original 8 work very nicely on my skin, and it was a pleasure to revisit them.

  • Maroc pour Elle: The night my mail from Andy arrived, I carefully uncorked each vial to have a sniff; as this got recorked a couple of drops fell on my shirt. A couple of drops, that’s all. Within 15 minutes I was revisiting each vial to discover what heavenly thing was wafting up to me. Now I can recognize what that smell was: jasmine, lots of jasmine, with rose and amber and incense. It’s heady stuff, and very sweet, almost too much of a muchness; I’ve got to be feeling va-va-va-voom to wear it now. I can’t imagine the strength of this sprayed, as a tiny dab on the wrist is powerful stuff.
  • Incense Rosé: There’s a lot more citrus in here than I remember, which means my nose has actually gotten better these last two years at parsing out notes. The combo of incense and citrus at the top makes the beginning quite cold; it warms a bit when the rose and hint of spice kicks in but not much. Somehow this manages to pull off rich and austere at the same time.
  • Une Rose Chyprée: There’s a sparkliness in the beginning, almost an aldehydic feel, and again there’s citrus with the rose, but this time the combo goes greener. It’s a higher-pitched rose than Incense Rosé, but still rich compared to other citrus-y roses I’ve tried. An hour in the rose darkens and vanilla and labdanum sweeten the mix. This has a lovely, old-fashioned feel to it that I enjoy now more than I first tried it. I guess that means my taste has also changed in the last two years.
  • Incense Extrême: For some reason I thought this had citrus in the top, and nope, it doesn’t. I don’t know how Andy pulls it off, but this smells crisp and refreshing without any discernible green or citrus. This is full-on INCENSE. Not as full-bodied as Incense Rosé, but calmer. I did a wrist-to-wrist of this and IR a year ago, and at that time IR won. Now, IE is pulling ahead.
  • L’Air du Désert Marocain: I had heard so much about this it was a bit of a letdown when I first tried it. Spicy and dry, I found it more interesting than wearable. It turns out LADDM is a bit like Bach, not immediately likeable but if you put some work into it, the intricacy of it starts to shimmer; some beauty you just have to earn. When I tried LADDM today, it amazed me how different facets would pop out if I only concentrated on them. Herby and sage-like, and then all of a sudden labdanum reared its head, and then lemon, and then cedar and then… This thing is fractal. And despite how much is going on in here, it’s very airy. I finally understand what Tania was talking about when she spoke of desert sky.

When I sat down to write today, my mood was lighthearted, thinking this would be a fun little thing replete with pop culture references. Imagine my surprise to find T.S. Eliot here at the end demanding some attention:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive when we started
And know the place for the first time.

Mr. Tauer, I salute you.

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35 thoughts on “Lord of the Perfumes: The Five Tauers

  1. Gotta love Mr. Tauer! I used up the last of my Incense Rose vial earlier this week. 😦

    May I ask what were the three that did not work for you out of the 8 samples?

    1. The three that didn’t work were:
      1) Lonestar Memories, part of the I Don’t Think It’s Supposed to Smell That Way© category
      2) Reverie au Jardin is also IDTISTSTW©, very typical for florals at that particular pitch
      3)Vetiver Dance. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to like Vetiver Dance on anyone, and I typically LOVE vetivers on The Engineer.

      I haven’t tried any of the newer fragrances in his line, but he’s near the top of the sampling list.

      1. I’ve tried everything in his current main line except Eau d’Epices and L’Air du Desert Marocain, which I’ll get to eventually (more of a floral person than a spice person so I left them for later). I haven’t tried some of the discontinued or limited things like Orris and Hyacinth & Mechanic. Oh, and I haven’t tried Cologne du Maghreb but I plan to soon.

        My faves of the line are Orange Star, Reverie au Jardin, Carillon Pour un Ange, Une Rose Vermeille, and Miriam if you count that are all on my full bottle wishlist. I also greatly admire, but don’t HAVE to own, Incense Rose and Lonestar Memories.

        1. I’d love to smell Orris since I’m such an iris fangirl, but I’m not going out of my way for it. Searching out the rare and discontinued doesn’t interest me right now, since there’s still so much to sniff that’s readily available – like, for example, the rest of Andy’s line.

          Susan, I’m your opposite in some ways, since I’m more about the spices than the florals. Although I do love a spicy floral too.

      2. came back to add: I very much agree with you on Vetiver Dance… I don’t think I’m much of a vetiver person… 😦

  2. Reverie au Jardin was my first Tauer, and remains my favorite! I haven’t sampled too many… let’s see: Orange Star, Une Rose Vermeille, Carillion Pour Ange (IDTISTSTW©), and L’eau d’épices… which smelled so much like Orange Star, I think that the sample might have been mislabeled!

    I want a FB of RaJ, but I should probably sample my way through the rest of the line before I do so— Particularly, Maroc Pour Elle (and Rose Chypree.) And Incense Rose. 😉

    I love discovery sets!

    1. Other than RaJ, every Tauer you’ve tried is one that I haven’t. 😉 When I ordered the samples, those 8 were everything he’d done up to that point, so I am curious to try his newer stuff.

      And I’ll join you in praise of all discovery sets. They’re my version of an unsniffed buy…

  3. (Dee, I thought Eau d’Epices was very much like Orange Star, but it was missing that nameless baby-aspirin/Tang-dust back of the throat raspy thing that I keep running into in perfume, and hate every.single.time – so EdE worked for me, and OS really, really didn’t.)

  4. A package from Switzerland, with Andy’s handwritten note, is about as exciting as it gets!

    And I love my little sample box. SO cute. Mine holds Orange Star, URC, URV, Le Maroc pour Elle, and Incense Rose, all of which should have suited me well but not all did. I’ve also tried Zeta, Carillon, Eau d’Epices, and RaJ. As I’ve said before, either a Tauer really works for me or it is truly dreadful: olfactory Mordor, if you will. I SHOULD be willing to part with the samples that didn’t suit me, but then I’d have no reason to keep that clever little box, and I want to keep it… Sigh.

    The ones that work: URC, URV, Maroc, Carillon, Eau d’Epices. (And of course Miriam. And I’m betting that Loretta will be fabbo.) It still surprises that of those, the one I most want a bottle of is Carillon pour une Ange. I absolutely love the range in it, from happy topnotes to earthy base, all vibrating and sonorous.

    1. LOL at “olfactory Mordor!”

      Things like handwritten notes are one of the things I love about the indies, those personal touches. I do miss the lower prices Andy used to have, but those new bottles are so lovely and distinctive I can’t begrudge him that.

      I remember that you really enjoy both Carillon and Miriam, and your positive reviews have really perked my interest.

  5. Andy’s was my first online samples too! My favorites so far are URC, Zeta and Miriam, and I can’t wear URV and RaJ. Now I have great hopes for Dark Passage, the limited release you can get if you make a donation to Andys and Brian Peras next film project, although I think I’ll to wait for the pursespray until June…

    1. Why Eva, what excellent taste you had as a newbie! 😉

      That Dark Passage sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? It seems to me that Andy is continually challenging himself, trying new things and not resting on the laurels of his early work. Speaking as someone who likes my comfort zone, I respect that.

      1. Yes, I’ve made my donation already! The actual pursespray won’t be delivered until June I think. I hope they manage to raise all the money they need for the film.

  6. I won one of those cardboard box of samples in 2008 in an advent draw on Andy Tauer’s blog. He has been unstintingly generous with readers in that way Now I think I have mislaid the box (shame on me), or maybe I recycled it as swap packaging (possible), but I did at least keep the note! : – )

    Like you, the three you omitted from your review were no-nos. Indeed I am sorry to say that most of the line is too wire woolly on me (revenge of the famous “Tauerade”), though I love everything about the man and his whole M.O. How can you not be drawn to a perfumer who posts a picture of a chicken roasting in his oven on Facebook?

    Of the range, I do love LADDM, and agree with your airy / fractal assessment of it, and I don’t mind Incense Extreme, which wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting. Carillon pour un Ange is my next favourite, and then it starts to get tricky, sadly..

    1. Looking back, I feel it was pretty fortuitous that I tried Andy first, since the Tauerade does well on me. It was a revelation that incense and labdanum and their oriental friends worked well on my quirky skin chemistry, and it’s possible that if nothing from his line had, I might have thought it confirmation that “perfume simply doesn’t like me.” Hallelujah for serendipity.

      And yes, Andy is just lovely, isn’t he? Before I bought my sampler pack, I had a question that I e-mailed him, and he answered quickly and with grace. It’s like he stood at the opening of the rabbit hole and welcomed me with a big ol’ hug.

  7. I am intrigued by your review of Incense Rose – it matches my reaction exactly! It is so interesting reading your reviews. Tauer is one of the few lines I know really well – all because of those wonderful sample sets! RaJ is my ultimate fave, followed by LADM. Your Eliot quote is fabulous! Lovely post, thanks.

    1. Thank you so much, Anne-Marie. I’m still so new at this, it’s nice to know that I’m not just hot air. Everyone has been so welcoming it’s made it a lot easier to put my thoughts down on paper. I wish RaJ worked on me like it does on you; when I first got my sample set, I shared it with one of my high school piano students, and she smelled wonderful in RaJ. It’s lovely stuff, just not on me.

  8. Smiling because a little cardboard box of Tauer samples was one of my first ventures into niche. Reverie au Jardin and Une Rose Chypree are my favourites. The other blends, heavy on incense and smoke, are not happy on my skin. So I passed those samples on to a loving home.

    1. Welcome to BoTO, S&ST, is this your first time commenting? (Also, welcome to blogging :)) You can come over here with Eva and I in the We Were Precocious Newbies section.

  9. Andy Tauer is one of my favorite perfumers: I like his blog, I like how he treats his fans and his attention to details. Unfortunately, most of his perfumes do not work for me. I’ve tried 12 of his creations but so far only two worked for me (URV and Zeta). I’m still testing four of the rest and I still might change my mind about those.

    1. I think it’s very possible to respect a perfumer and their work, but just not have good luck with the perfume itself. Personally, I *really* wanted to love Parfums de Nicolai, but thus far only Le Temps d’une Fete is a match.

    1. Hi Portia! It sounds like there’s a few of us who started out with Andy, and it’s easy to feel loyal to him, as he’s such a lovely person. What are your favorites out of his line?

      1. Currently on the shelves I have Eau D’Epices and Auburn. The trilogy and Lonestar Memories are on their way via the Only Child fundraiser. Also there is a set of the first 5 in samples here too. I may stop at these for a while, I’m feeling a little stalkerish.
        Thank you for replying,
        Portia xx

        1. My pleasure, Portia. It’s a policy here at BoTO to respond to every comment, which was one of the reasons I first started commenting here before I was invited to contribute. (Actually it seems to be that way with most perfume blogs, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm in other parts of the blogosphere I’ve visited.) It’s always nice to feel acknowledged.

          I used to wonder if it was worth it to say something on a post if it was older, and if the author would even know I’d said something. Now that I’m the one who’s written posts, I can attest that it’s *never* too late to comment on a post, and that I receive notification anytime someone does.

          Your Tauer collection sounds lovely. 🙂

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