New Perfume Review Tauer Lonesome Rider- Lonestar Orris?

It has been ten years since most of the world became aware of independent perfumer Andy Tauer. The first perfume I tried was a little less than ten years ago called L’Air du Desert Marocain. At the time it was one of my first introductions to the potential of independent perfumery. L’Air du Desert Marocain showed a perfumer with a vision could find a wider market. The next two releases were a limited edition called Orris and a regular release, Lonestar Memories. Orris I think is one of the great masterpieces of all-time. Lonestar Memories was Hr. Tauer’s take on the American West full of sagebrush, campfire, and leather.  Now in 2016 as a thank you to those who have supported Hr. Tauer he has released Lonesome Rider.

In the post announcing Lonesome Rider Hr. Tauer mentions that it is meant to build upon Orris and Lonestar Memories. Early on in my wearing of Lonesome Rider I spent too much time trying to find those two perfumes leading to a mild disappointment. I had to walk away from it for a few days to stop thinking about that. If you go into Lonesome Rider thinking this is some mash-up of the two inspiration fragrances I think you will also be disappointed. When I returned to Lonesome Rider instead of seeing Hr. Tauer as some perfumed gene splicer I instead focused on what he said, “Lonesome Rider builds on Orris…..followed (by) Lonestar Memories.” The word I focused on was builds. I realized Hr. Tauer was not trying to create a throwback what he was attempting was to delight us all over again by returning to a style of perfume he hasn’t done much recently. On that score Lonesome Rider delivers spectacularly.

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Andy Tauer

This time I feel less like I am in the wide-open spaces. I am instead within my inner space as Lonesome Rider is a perfume of introspection. I found myself late in one of the days I wore it using it as a meditational focal point. There is a serenity throughout Lonesome Rider quite uncommon in most perfumes.

Lonesome Rider first arrives with grapefruit pierced with clove, coriander, and black pepper. What is nice about this is the way the spices surprisingly transform the citrus into something shaded by those notes. Instead of exuberance the grapefruit is more mannered because of the spices. The orris rises out of this retaining the spices as underpinning. This is an evolution of the cinnamon, frankincense, orris heart accord of Orris. The black pepper stands in for the metaliic quality of the frankincense and the clove is the counterpart to the cinnamon. Lonesome Rider finds the orris more contained, less effusive; which follows the more serene nature of this perfume. The leather comes next and this is a well-cared for leather garment, broken in with all of the rougher birch tar facets worn away over time. What I like best about Lonesome Rider is Hr. Tauer takes the smoky faux oud of Cypriol and uses it to provide a hint of that more animalic leather in an earlier day when it was a player. The base is sandalwood, vetiver, and cedar forming an old weathered wood accord.

Lonesome Rider has 14-16 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

As I mentioned above if you are reading Hr. Tauer’s words and expecting Lonestar Orris I suspect you won’t find it. If you actually take him at this word what you do get is a marker on the maturation of a precocious talent after ten years. Lonesome Rider is my favorite Tauer release since Une Rose Chypree; I think it is one of his very best.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tauerville Fruitchouli Flash- The Answer to Why?

There are a number of common experiences I have when people find out I am a perfume blogger. They will tell me what they wear; waiting for a reaction. Most of the time these are department store releases. If there is one thing department store fragrances have done is they have coalesced around a few popular bestselling styles. I usually talk with them about the perfumes which were the originators of whatever they are wearing. If the discussion goes further, I begin to talk about niche and why I think it is usually more interesting. Then when we get down to the cost the spell is usually broken. I have always believed if there was a similarly priced niche alternative there is a real chance to show the difference. Over the last 16 months independent perfumer Andy Tauer is helping me to see if that hypothesis has any weight.

Hr. Tauer has started a spin-off line called Tauerville where he is creating simple releases with a niche sensibility at a price similar to the department store bottles. The first four each highlighted a specific note. With the fifth release Fruitchouli Flash we might have the one which answers the question of why niche is more interesting than mainstream.

If there is any segment of mainstream perfumery which feels played out it is the fruity floral segment. Nevertheless, my desk is already full of boring wannabes for 2016. Even as the fruity floral train started to lose speed someone had the idea of adding in patchouli to give it more weight revitalizing it for cooler weather. Ever quick to jump on a trend there are now dozens of banal fruitchouli releases. Which is where Fruitchouli Flash comes in. The single note Flashes were good but you really need something similar to what they know to get them to try something different. Fruitchouli Flash might just be that perfume.

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Andy Tauer

Hr. Tauer keeps this approachable as he uses peach and apricot as his fruit notes. If you’ve tried peach in a mainstream fragrance in the past few years, you’re probably smelling gamma-decalactone. It has all the subtlety of a fuzzy jackhammer. In Fruitchouli Flash Hr. Tauer uses natural apricot extract to ripen the screechy aromachemical. In many ways this is the soul of independent perfumery on display. Taking the same ubiquitous aromachemical and finding a way to twist it with something new. By using the apricot extract it gives the peach a slightly pungent overripe quality. It is exactly what you can’t find at the mall. The note list names a few florals in the heart; I never noticed them because the patchouli is all that comes next. Again the aesthetic of indie perfumery is here as Hr. Tauer uses an assortment of musks to make the patchouli soft; removing the head shop vibe. This has an earthier feel to it which makes a fragrant still life of a very ripe peach which has fallen off the tree and embedded itself in the moist soil.

Fruitchouli Flash has 18-20 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

I have a very good friend who I have been trying to being over to the world of niche for a long time. Her favorite perfume is a fruitchouli. I can’t wait to show her Fruitchouli Flash. Which is the final point I would like to make about these Tauerville releases. Yes they are simple. They are not as complex as what Hr. Tauer does in his Tauer Perfumes line. I believe this is by design this is not perfume for those of us already converted. It is a perfume to help some of the adventuresome masses to take a look in the back room away from the bright lights of the fragrance counter. With that in mind I think Fruitchouli Flash is what they should find when they take that step.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tauerville Amber Flash- The Shallow End of the Indie Pool

As the independent perfume market has grown over the past ten years it has become difficult to tell someone where to start. The very essence of the indie perfumer is doing things a little different, sometimes a lot different. If a consumer new to this sector is adventurous just jumping in and letting your nose take you where it may, is best. For most they want to enter at the shallow end of the pool cautiously easing themselves in. One of the problems with that is there is a lot less indie perfumes in that shallow end of the pool. Which is why I am pleased with independent perfumer Andy Tauer’s brand Tauerville.

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Andy Tauer

Tauerville was created at the end of 2014 with the release of Rose Flash. Throughout 2015 three more releases were added; Vanilla Flash, Incense Flash and the latest Amber Flash. Tauerville was a place where Hr. Tauer wanted to “experiment”. He has certainly done that by taking some of his well-known effects from his main Tauer Perfumes line and tweaking them slightly. When I tried the first three Tauerville fragrances all at once it was that which I noticed first. Having had a few months to spend with them now I have realized that they are also very approachable examples of an independent perfumer’s aesthetic meant to entice you in to the indie perfumes pool at the shallow end. Amber Flash might be the introductory step leading into that metaphorical pool.

When I first smelled Amber Flash I was once again drawn to where I believe Hr. Tauer is tweaking something. In the case of Amber Flash I believe it is the spicy woody incense accord found in many Tauer Perfumes dubbed “Tauerade”. It is an olfactive signature for many of the perfumes in that line but it is strong. In Amber Flash it feels like Hr. Tauer has fashioned a low calorie version of Tauerade easier to experience and embrace.  It is surrounded by other notes which enhance the softer version of this signature.

Amber Flash opens with what is often used as a substitute for ambergris, labdanum. In this case it provides the less aggressive aspects of amber and allows the wearer to ease into the rest of the development. It fairly quickly deepens as patchouli combines with the labdanum leading to an earthy kind of feel to this part of Amber Flash. This is where in a different indie take on this concept something strong would seal the deal making it a different kind of earthy. Hr. Tauer instead just adds a bit of vanilla to keep it a little on the sweet end and much more approachable. Then we get to the Tauerade-lite base. In regular Tauerade there is a strength to that base which has so often provided the foundation to many of the Tauer Perfumes that I wait for it with delight. In Amber Flash that accord is modulated into something much softer only hinting at the strength of the full Tauerade. In Amber Flash sandalwood, cashemran, amber, and benzoin form this lighter weight version. It is the perfect way to finish Amber Flash because it displays an aesthetic without clobbering you over the head with it.

Amber Flash has 16-18 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

One could arguably make the argument that the independent perfume explosion began with the Chandler Burr review of Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Desert Marocain. Which is why with the Tauerville line I am happy to see Hr. Tauer finding a new way to entice perfume lovers into the indie perfumer’s world. Amber Flash is a great place to begin for anyone considering that.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauerville.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur 2016 Hopes and Wishes

As we reach the last day of 2015 it is time to look forward to 2016. Here are some things I am anticipating and/or hoping for.

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Christine Nagel

The first fragrance from Christine Nagel for Hermes. This is a holdover from last year. I expected this to happen in 2015 but I will be very surprised if I am typing this for the third time at the end of next year. I firmly believe she is the right successor to Jean-Claude Ellena. I just want to see what she does first.

I want another great Guerlain. Over the last two years Guerlain has fallen into that pitfall of complacency. They have made solid perfume which has been so safe. It has been three years since the release of Rose Nacree du Desert, which was the last one to slay me. Surely when you are releasing over a dozen new releases per year there is a spot for something less safe and more different.

I still want that big crossover success for an independent perfumer. This has been a hope for as long as I’ve been blogging. It hasn’t quite come true yet. Although the move of Christi Meshell of House of Matriarch and Raymond Matts taking their perfumes into Nordstrom is one element that will be needed to make this come true.

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I want the inaugural edition of The Perfumed Plume to be a big success. For too long as a US writer I’ve been envious of my European colleagues who have yearly awards for their writing. Lyn Leigh and Mary Ellen Lapsansky have established The Perfumed Plume to be the American version. I think there is a lot of great writing happening in the fragrant blogosphere and I want to see it recognized appropriately.

I wish for new brands to start with no more than three to five debut releases. 2015 saw more new brands coming to the market with ten or more entries. This kind of business plan is unsustainable because the little boutiques which are the life blood for a new niche brand can’t just give over shelf space for ten new perfumes with no audience. If you have ten great ideas please pick your three best and build an audience; for the other seven.

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Vero Kern

I am hoping for a new Vero Kern release. After taking 2015 off I suspect that 2016 will bring us the follow-up to Rozy. Please don’t make me wait too long Vero.

I hope for the continued success of initiatives like Tauerville. Andy Tauer’s Tauerville line is a great introduction to independent perfumery at an attractive price point paired with perfumes which display that indie ethos. I would like to see some others make an effort to try something similar.

I ended last year’s column with this:

One non-perfume hope is for the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be the Star Wars movie I’ve been waiting thirty years for. I think JJ Abrams is the man who can actually pull that off.

Sometimes wishes do come true.

On this New Year’s Eve I convey to all the readers of Colognoisseur the Happiest of New Year’s wishes. May all of them come true in 2016.

Mark Behnke

Pierre and Andy’s Excellent Adventures- Pierre Guillaume Lumiere Fauve & Tauer Perfumes Dark Mysterious Woods

Even the scions of independent perfumery must bow a little bit to creating with an eye towards sales. The advantage is an independent perfumer has a much smaller bottom line than a conglomerate. Even so by the very nature of being outside of mainstream business forces you still have to keep the ship afloat. Two of the most successful independent perfumers are Pierre Guillaume and Andy Tauer they have made Parfumerie Generale and Tauer Perfumes the examples for those who have followed. Their success is because they provide a different fragrant experience to perfume lovers. But even they want to break free every once in a while and give in to a creative urge they feel might not be worth including in their brand offerings. M. Guillaume and Hr. Tauer have each made a recent one-off experimental fragrance. Both have in common a challenging nature asking the wearer to embrace the near un-embraceable.

Hyraceum

Hyraceum (Photo via africanaromatics.com)

M. Guillaume’s inspiration for Lumiere Fauve which he made in a small batch to giveaway at Pitti Fragranze 2015 was an online criticism. It was a short pointed comment saying, “Your perfume is shit.” This inspired M. Guillaume to actually make a shit perfume. More precisely a perfume based on hyraceum. Hyraceum is the solidified extract of urine and feces of a small South African mammal called the Hyrax. I can’t even begin to imagine who first thought this would be a good perfume ingredient. M. Guillaume allowed me to smell the unadulterated raw material and it smelled like what it looked like. I nearly gagged because I took in too deep a breath. Like other ingredients like indoles which at 100% also induces revulsion once it is reduced it becomes more palatable. M. Guillaume didn’t want to reduce the hyraceum to too low a level. He wanted a shit perfume wrapped up in beauty. In this case a floral bouquet wraps itself around the hyraceum making it more approachable. I love perfumes like this but even wearing this for a whole day was a bit of an experience. It reminded me of The Elephant Man as there is a fierce intelligence under a disfiguring surface.

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Painting by Andy Tauer to accompany Dark Mysterious Woods

Hr. Tauer I think wanted to live down his “nicest guy in perfumery” label with Dark Mysterious Woods. I think he left out an adjective, dangerous. When wearing Dark Mysterious Woods it made me edgy as if there was something out there in the moonlight. Hr. Tauer’s choice for these woods are none of the usual soothing choices like cedar or sandalwood. Nope this is all the villains of the woody end of the perfumer’s palette. Because there was no place for me to find a place of comfort I let the mystery sweep me away. It means Dark Mysterious Woods evokes emotions I probably don’t want provoked on a regular basis. The day I wore it I thought of the movie The Blair Witch Project as it felt like there were things out there in the dark. The more I tried to find them the more lost in the forest I became. Dark Mysterious Woods was unsettling in the most pleasant of ways like an olfactive haunted house.

I suspect we will never see either of these for sale as they are meant more as single experiences. I do think we will see some of the themes that each of these perfumes contains to be worked into a future release. I won’t be surprised if M. Guillaume takes his hyraceum and spins it into gold. Hr. Tauer might take the rougher dangerous woods and use them as contrasting foundation for a more traditional beautiful opening reminding us there is danger underneath the fairest of them all. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken on two such excellent adventures by Pierre and Andy.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples provided by Pierre Guillaume and Andy Tauer.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Tauer Sotto La Luna Tuberose- How Green is My Tuberose?

Tuberose is one of those components of perfumery which carries a boisterous reputation. It is a love it/ hate it kind of ingredient. Most of the reason for the dichotomy of response is because it dominates almost any construct it is used in. You just can’t easily overlook it. It also mainly presents itself as this uber-floral and rarely in any other form. Then over the last year I began to notice a shift as many of the perfumes which had tuberose listed had found a greener slightly less extroverted alternative.

Independent perfumer Andy Tauer must have also been intrigued by this greener version of tuberose because it is the focal point of the new Tauer Sotto La Luna Tuberose. Sotto La Luna means “under the moon” and in the case of the tuberose for this new release it almost acts as a way of using moonlight to wash out some of the intensity of tuberose as if viewed in the moonlight. The other thing about Sotto La Luna Tuberose is Hr. Tauer really attempts to discern just how green you can make the tuberose. The answer turns out to be the greener the better.

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Andy Tauer

Hr. Tauer starts Sotto La Luna Tuberose off with a mix of spice on top of a very green chord. The spices are cinnamon and mostly clove. The green comes from geranium and a very lively galbanum. The galbanum washes over the spices and the geranium in a swoosh of power. This sets the stage for the greener version of tuberose to arrive next. What I like so much about this greener version is the camphoraceous character inherent in tuberose is more easily discerned. The green facet in this version of tuberose is very similar to the green character you find in lily. The heart brings together the galbanum the green tuberose and a few other florals; ylang-ylang, jasmine and rose. The ylang-ylang provides an unctuous underpinning. Right here is that tuberose glittering in the moonlight. Because tuberose is a night blooming flower the base notes move towards the more familiar tuberose as if the moonlight has brought it to life. As the tuberose in the base takes hold the green fades to the background and an earthy patchouli along with ambergris ground the final phase in the moist earth.

Sotto La Luna Tuberose has 10-12 hour longevity and above average sillage.

I don’t think Sotto La Luna Tuberose will be the perfume to entice those in the “hate it” camp to come around. Mainly because over the last quarter of the time I wore it the transition to the base becomes a more typical tuberose. The beginning of the perfume with the depth galbanum provides to the green tuberose is where there is something different to consider. That is where those in the “love it” category will find something new to enjoy in a tuberose.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauer Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

Editor’s Note: For those in the New York City area Andy Tauer will be visiting Twisted Lily on Saturday November 7, 2015 from 1-4PM. Besides premiering Sotto La Luna Tuberose he will also be bringing along an experimental fragrance called “Dark Mysterious Woods”. If you live nearby please go say hello to one of the nicest guys in all of perfumery.

New(ish) Perfume Review Tauerville Rose Flash- Anticipation Rewarded

In the hustle and bustle of trying to cover all of the new perfume releases I frequently make decisions to leave something for later. Those kind of decisions seem to happen more frequently during the last few months of the year. I receive samples on a daily basis and for the ones which take some effort to track down I sometimes just say I’ll do it in the New Year. Last fall independent perfumer Andy Tauer began a new brand called Tauerville and its first release was Rose Flash. It has taken me a year to get around to trying it. Now that I have there is much to say about the perfume and the concept.

Tauerville came about because Hr. Tauer wanted a place to experiment. On the Tauerville website he says he wanted it be a place where he could “break the rules”. It is an interesting idea that one of the preeminent independent perfumers in the world needed a place to break the rules. Surely he could break down expectations in his established Tauer Perfumes line. Except once you have a reputation and a brand there is a loss of freedom to go too far out of the boundaries your previous releases have defined. With Tauerville Hr. Tauer had a clean slate; the opportunity to create without expectations. What was also great about this idea was it was also going to be modestly priced coming in about two-thirds the price of the regular line. The perfumes would be produced in limited runs with no guarantee or expectation they would be produced forever. It makes them sort of a limited edition although the truth is there have been three Tauerville releases and none of them have been unavailable for very long.

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Andy Tauer

I finally got the chance to experience all three Tauerville releases to-date at Pitti Fragranze 2015. Incense Flash is the most recent and was preceded by Vanilla Flash. Both of those are in eau de parfum strength and carry a delightful translucent quality. If I was looking for a place where Hr. Tauer was breaking some of his previous “rules” it would be that opaqueness in both Incense Flash and Vanilla Flash. There is a shimmering quality to both that has not appeared often in the original line. Rose Flash is something else again as Hr. Tauer made his first Tauerville release at parfum strength. Rose Flash does not shimmer it surrounds and envelops you in a rosy embrace.

Hr. Tauer has left those of us who will write about Rose Flash to be the ones to dissect it. His desire was for the wearer to just let it be without picking it apart. If you do that what you will experience is the smell of a living rose garden at its fragrant peak. I am pretty sure there are at least two sources of rose in here and maybe a third. Rose Flash is all of the rose: bloom, leaf, bush, soil, and thorn.

When I wear Rose Flash I smell a demure rose along the lines of Rose de Mai and a spicy rose like a Damascene version. As those reach my nose in the very early moments there is also sunlight as some citrus notes glint off of the petals. It eventually gives way to green with I suspect geranium providing the first hint of verdancy before more prominent green notes arrive. Underneath it all is a bit of the woodiness of the stem and the soil of the earth. The longer it dries down on my skin there is the piquant bit of thorniness some spices, cinnamon I think, add as they provide a contrast to the powdery rose source while complementing the spicy rose source.

Rose Flash has 16-18 hour longevity and low sillage. As it is at parfum strength it is a skin scent for the great majority of its development.

There was an old television commercial set to the song “Anticipation” by Carly Simon. It showed a child watching a slow moving ketchup on its way out of the bottle on to his hamburger. For a year I have been hearing Ms. Simon’s song in my head as I anticipated my opportunity to try the Tauerville releases. Upon that moment all of my anticipation was realized. Hr. Tauer has happily created a new perfumed sandbox for him to play in. We are all the beneficiary of the new constructs which arise there. All three are worth trying but if there is room for only one Rose Flash is the choice for me.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Tauerville at Pitti Fragranze 2015.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Reviews Richard Luscher Britos Terroir Perfumes (Part 2) 44oN03oE, 14oS48oE & 46oN08oE- The Magic of Pine

As I mentioned in Part 1 of my reviews of the Richard Luscher Britos Terroir Perfumes Collection two of the fragrances were really a family affair. The creative team of Malvin Richard, Lukas Luscher and Serena Britos wanted to let some other perfumers in on the idea of designing perfume with all-natural ingredients from a specific place. For 44oN03oE, 14oS48oE & 46oN08oE the creative team asked Andy Tauer, Vero Kern, and Jean-Claude Gigodot to interpret their version of perfume terroir.

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Andy Tauer

Andy Tauer takes us to the south of France in the Midi-Pyrenees to St. Rome de Cernon with 44oN03oE. This area of France is known for its wild mountain lavender. Hr. Tauer takes this mountain lavender and forms a singular lavender essential oil which carries with it all of the beautiful floralcy of lavender. There is also a bit of a citrus aspect and of course the herbal nature all of the best lavender essential oils have. This one has that herbaceous quality in abundance. Also growing around the lavender fields are majestic black pines and juniper. Hr. Tauer takes a fantastic pine resin and uses the very astringent juniper berry to create a craggy mountainside accord. The lavender has not fallen by the wayside as it still is present in and among the pines and juniper. This is one of the best lavender accords I have smelled in a very long time. There are times when I often think I am “over” a note. Thankfully talented perfumers like Hr. Tauer are there to show me new things. 44oN03oE finishes with smooth nutty sweetness courtesy of chestnut and vanilla. 44oN03oE is one of Hr. Tauer’s best compositions of the last few years and he has had a very good last few years so that is saying something. 44oN03oE lives up to exactly what the idea of Terroir Perfume should do by sweeping you to a mountainside in France via perfume.

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Vero Kern

Vero Kern whisks us away to the ylang-ylang plantations of Ambunja, Madagascar in 14oS48oE. Fr. Kern’s plantation is right on the edge of the tropical rainforest ringed by evergreens. By using those evergreens to blunt the usually extroverted ylang-ylang. It sets up a delightful tension between the woods and the flowers. As we move deeper in the forest pink peppercorn and mimosa add to the evergreen and ylang-ylang. As with the other perfumes in this collection there is a real moment in the heart of each which is breathtaking. The one which Fr. Kern has constructed for 14oS48oE is the most mesmerizing of all of them. Every time I’ve worn this about an hour and a half in it nearly stops me in my tracks with its beauty. The base evokes the harvest and distillation of vanilla and vetiver as they provide the foundation for this perfume. The press release mentions a roasted corn note but I have not found it to be present on my skin. The base is green acerbic vetiver leavened by rich vanilla. It is so rare to find a perfect accord which demands your attention but Fr. Kern has accomplished that and more with 14oS48oE.

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Jean-Claude Gigodot

Jean-Claude Gigodot takes us to 46oN08oE which is in the Parco Naturale dell’Alta Valle Antrona on the Italian-Swiss border just east of Zermatt. We find ourselves among the windswept pines on the Val d’Anniviers at 2000m of altitude. M. Gigodot has also found and sourced a fantastic pine essential oil to open 46oN08oE. All three of these perfumes I am reviewing today have significant coniferous contributions but the one M. Gigadot uses has the most depth and nuance to it. Because of that he lets it have the opening moments all to itself. Also because of the quality of this pine oil he wisely adds in only a few complementary notes. A bit of oakmoss to capture the lichems growing on these woody sentinels. A dollop of woodsmoke like a fireplace in the distance is hanging among the pines. M. Gigadot keeps this simple because all of his natural ingredients are so good they bring their own inherent complexity without needing extraneous notes to draw you to them. 46oN08oE is the most linear of the five Terroir Perfumes but it is also probably the single best ingredient of all five, too.

44oN03oE, 14oS48oE & 46oN08oE have 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

The three perfumes today show how the creative team at Richard Luscher Britos is ready to invite other perfumers into their family adventures. Like the best of guests on an adventure they only add to the story in extraordinary ways; Hr. Tauer, Fr. Kern, and M. Gigadot have advanced the concept of Terroir Perfume brilliantly.

Disclosure: This review was based on samples I purchased.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Pitti Fragranze 2014 Final Wrap-up Part 1-People, Trends, and Teases

Italy is blessed with two of the best perfume fairs in the world and Pitti Fragranze is the one which occurs in the fall. Ever since I knew about the existence of Pitti Fragranze in Florence, Italy I have wanted to attend; for the twelfth edition I finally made it. It was a wonderful experience for me as most first times are. I will split the final wrap-up into two parts talking about some of the people and trends along with some disguised teases of things I was given sneak previews of. Tomorrow in Part 2 I’ll call out the top 10 new perfumes I tried.

The first person I met in the first minutes of my first Pitti Fragranze was Andy Tauer. It was a special delight to have the opportunity to chat with him in person. I have always considered Hr. Tauer to be one of the founders of independent perfumery. After nearly ten years of doing this he still has a beguiling passion for creating perfume which comes through even more strongly in person. It was nearly the perfect way to start my experience.

One of those independent perfumers who has helped infuse independent perfumery with a signature style is Pierre Guillaume. He was another whom I never met in person before. When we started trying his new perfumes early on Saturday morning we had a great time laughing and discussing not only his latest but a couple of things he made just for the booth. It will be hard to wear a perfume by M. Guillaume from now on without hearing his laugh and sensing the joy in his creations.

Another person I was happy to meet was Georg Wuchsa of Aus Liebe zum Duft/First in Fragrance. He has been so supportive over the years in getting samples to me I was happy to have the chance to thank him even if it was a sort of hit-and-run encounter on the last day.

When it comes to new trends one stood out very vividly to me as I worked my way around the booths. Tuberose is the new Oud. It often felt like every other brand displayed a perfume to me containing noticeable levels of tuberose. One of the reasons for that is I think the perfumer’s palette has been expanded with new extractions of tuberose which allows for wider latitude in composing with a note which can be very intense. I smelled tuberose after tuberose but I barely smelled any new ouds. Even the Zarkoperfume Oud’ish seemed to be reluctant to display its oud outwardly.

Map of the Heart redMap of the Heart Red Heart v.3

Another trend is the unique bottle is back. The redesign of the new Mona di Orio bottles fit in my hand with a weight and presence. The Pierre Dinand designed bottles for Neela Vermeire Creations gives that entire collection an elegant container for the equally opulent contents. Pierre Dinand was also the man behind what has to be my favorite bottle of the whole fair. When I was making my first circuit of the floor I was stopped dead in my tracks by a set of three heart shaped bottles by the new brand Map of the Heart. That one of these hearts also contained one of the best new perfumes of Pitti just turned it into the complete package.

Finally I did get some confidential information that I am going to share as what are called “blind items”. These are teases with most of the identifying information about who and when disguised.

One perfume brand showed me two upcoming releases one of which will take the brand in a different direction.

One perfume brand showed me the very distinct architectural inspiration for their next release and just the visual has me excited for what is to come.

One perfume brand showed me the final version of a perfume I have long been waiting to smell. It surprised me at how it was realized but the tiny area of skin it was on might have been my most sniffed patch of skin throughout the entire exhibition.

One perfume brand is going to make their take on the cologne and it is one of the best I have smelled in the Nouveau Cologne category.

Come back tomorrow for my top 10 new perfumes from Pitti Fragranze 2014.

Here are links to the live recaps of Day1, Day2, and Day3.

Mark Behnke

Pitti Fragranze 2014 Day 1 Wrap-up- Old Friends, New Tricks, and a Mozart Ball

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Buongiorno Perfumistas!

Every perfume event I go to it seems like the first day is all about checking in with those who have become friends over the years. This began on the sidewalk outside the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, Italy the site of Pitti Fragranze 2014. Francois Duquesne emerged from his cab and I asked him if there were any new Aedes de Venustas fragrances coming. He pulled out a sample vial of Copal Azur the new release coming in the fall. This is composed by the man I call The High Priest of Resins, Bertrand Duchaufour. Copal Azur is one of the most resinous fragrances I have smelled in a long time and it is tuned expertly by a perfumer who seemingly can do this at will.

They finally let us inside and I began by walking the entire room to see what is here. After my reconnaissance was done and many hugs and handshakes exchanged I stopped to introduce myself to Andy Tauer who I met in person for the first time. We discussed the Sotto La Luna line and I asked what was next and he told me the formulas for the next two are finished. We have Sotto La Luna Hyacinth and Sotto La Luna Tuberose to look forward to. Based on our conversation I am particularly excited to see how Hyacinth is realized.

Next stop was with Jeroen Oude Sogtoen who was presenting the new bottle designs for Mona di Orio Perfumes. One thing I was delighted to see was Oud has been renamed Oudh Osmanthus. Mme di Orio used osmanthus as the perfect unusual floral foil to oud at a time when too many perfumes were just throwing it in to fragrances with no thought. Oudh Osmanthus showed there was a different, and better, way to go. The new bottles feel like they were designed to nestle in your hand perfectly. Finally I had the opportunity to try the new release Myrrh Casati by perfumer Melanie Leroux. Mme Leroux captures the shadow play Mme di Orio was known for and this looks to be a worthy continuation of the legacy. One last thing for those who were missing the original fragrances Lux and Nuit Noire are now both available again in the new packaging.

As I walked into the next room the team from Masque Milano were standing in front of a giant samovar. It will be no surprise to you that the fifth fragrance from Masque Milano is called Russian Tea. The perfumer is Julien Rasquinet who made this his last work as an independent perfumer before accepting a job at IFF. While I fully expect M. Rasquinet to produce more great fragrances Russian Tea was a great one to finish this phase of his life as a perfumer. It is smoky and it has a surprising grace note of mint which works surprisingly well. I kept returning to this strip throughout the day and the development and the way it evolved rewarded me every time. I am looking forward to wearing this on my return home.

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I then attended two presentations in the conference hall that were back to back. The first was from Mane all about their supercritical fluid extraction technique named Jungle Essence. This form of extraction gathers all a natural source has to give without having to be heated up. There is a video they used to show this process that I hope I can share with you in the future because it did the best job of showing how the process works. The best part was they passed around examples of raw materials captured via Jungle Essence and more traditional ways. It was striking how much more nuanced the Jungle Essences were, especially when comparing side by side. For me the most surprising was the difference between cardamom absolute and cardamom Jungle Essence. The absolute has a raw green quality which the Jungle Essence has but it is much softer.

The second presentation was by perfumer Maria Candida Gentile who presented the three fragrances in the “Il Volo del Calabrone” (The Flight of the Bumblebee) collection. Using three different versions of beeswax form three different countries she complemented each one with different notes. In Kitrea it is lemon. In Leuco it is tuberose. In Synconium it is fig. The different style of honey is apparent on first sniff, it really adds a dimension to a note which can be difficult to balance.

On my way down the hall I met the lovely Valerie “Cookie Queen” Sperrer. Now you would think I would say she gave me a cookie but she also had some new tricks to share and instead I got a Mozartkugel or as we call it in English a Mozart Ball. It was yummy after dinner tonight. Thanks Valerie.

Final stop of Day 1 was to meet the team at Grossmith and try the new Fortnum & Mason exclusive, Sylvan Song which is a fabulous floral fantasy as only Grossmith can do as they continue to create perfumes which feel like classics reinvigorated. I think I might have to arrange for someone to visit Fortnum & Mason for me as this is truly exclusive and will not be sold anywhere else.

It was off to dinner as I rode into a beautiful sunset over the Arno river.

I’ll be back tomorrow as I concentrate on the section of the exposition called Spring which has gathered a number of new brands.

Until then Ciao Perfumistas!

Mark Behnke