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Here’s your chance to help support the arts. And a fellow perfumista. And get the chance to try another Tableau de Parfums scent by Andy Tauer. What’s not to love?

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Categories: Blog housecleaning, Tauer Perfumes, Tags: , ,

Many of you already know Brian Pera, who writes for the perfume blog I Smell Therefore I Am and is a filmmaker.  He’s been involved with the Woman’s Picture Project for some time now and I’ve been lucky enough to see some of his work.  I love his writing and how it gets down to the emotions we feel – how we show, or don’t show, them, in particular. 

Go check out Evelyn Avenue for more on the project; see clips and read the film blog there.  You won’t be sorry.  I have really been moved by the short film DVD that came packaged with my bottle of Tableau de Parfums Miriam, which I adore (thankyouAndyandBrian!)

Right now, Brian’s raising money to film the next piece of Woman’s Picture, and you can pledge support for it now, here at this Kickstarter page.  Be sure to read down the incentives on the right side of the page, because some of the perks on offer include fragrances or soaps by Andy Tauer. 

Dark Passage, a very limited edition fragrance only available for the next few weeks, is a fragrance inspired by film noir, incorporating notes of patchouli, cacao, birch tar and iris.  If this sounds like your sort of thing, go grab it now because once it’s gone, it’s gone.  

Lola Montez, L'Enchantresse Espagnole (source fembio.com)

It doesn’t sound like my sort of thing, frankly, but luckily for me, the fragrance Loretta, based on a character from the Only Child film segment, is tuberose-based.  Here’s what Brian has to say about it, via ISTIA:

To say that Loretta is a tuberose fragrance is to me like calling Notre Dame a building. It isn’t that it’s a large fragrance particularly. In some ways, it’s quite soft. I wouldn’t say it’s grand in the way, say, Miriam might be. Like Cinnabar, for instance, Loretta has a smoldering, fuzzy warmth to it. The tuberose is laid out on a bed of woods and spices, and has a dreamy, moody quality. Like Loretta the character, it’s wrapped up in its own fantasies. Andy has called Loretta sensual, and it is that. I would say voluptuous. It has some of Loretta the character’s sweetness and childlike qualities – a bit of fruitiness throughout. But the sensuous aspects make it feel very adult and mysterious, and the plum note feels decidedly forbidden.

I’m a fan of tuberose, but this is no Fracas or Carnal Flower. Those scents, for me, are principally bright, however creamy the former, however rich and complex the latter. Loretta is a different kind of sensuality and a different kind of tuberose, like nothing I’ve smelled before. It’s the first tuberose I’ve smelled that truly takes things in the direction of dark mystery. I’m hopelessly biased when it comes to Andy, of course, but can tell you this is not only a different tuberose but a different Tauer. It’s one of my top five fragrances of all time, for reasons I’m probably just as hopelessly unable to describe.

Loretta includes notes of “ripe dark fruit, velvet rose, spicy tuberose, orange blossom,  patchouli, woody notes, ambergris, leather, and sweetened orris,” and will become available to the general public in September of this year. There’s also a tuberose soap created by Andy that I’m sure will be wonderful.  Andy discusses the tuberose and other floral aspects in Loretta here on his blog, and it’s fascinating reading.  I love seeing a perfumer’s mind at work – what effects he’s going for, what materials he uses to get them.

Go check it out.

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Perfume Review: Tableau de Parfums Miriam

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Categories: aldehydic floral, Perfume review, Tauer Perfumes, Tags: , , ,

I’ve been looking forward to this one for months now. I’ve been a fan of Brian Pera’s writings on I Smell Therefore I Am for a couple of years now. I’m a fan of Tauer Perfumes, too. As I’ve said before, the scents either don’t work at all for me, or they work beautifully and make me feel a little like I’m flying. Even the Tauers I don’t enjoy are well-made and solid and have distinctive personalities of their own. Furthermore, I am a big fan of aldehydic florals, so when I heard that Brian’s A Woman’s Picture project (see Evelyn Avenue website) would include a collaboration with Andy Tauer, and that one of the associated fragrances would be an aldehydic floral, I was thrilled.

Thanks to a very generous giveaway instigated by Andy Tauer and A Woman’s Picture, and hosted by Now Smell This, I won a full bottle of Miriam.  Miriam is now available at Lucky Scent, at $160 for 50ml plus a copy of the Miriam segment of the film and some other goodies.  I’ll just say now, I have rarely been so pleased to receive a box of perfume in the mail! Just look at this gorgeous packaging, will you?

Look at all these goodies! Complete with handwritten note from Andy Tauer, too.

I admit to enjoying a nice bottle, but I have never bought a bottle simply because it’s pretty. (Hey, if that’s what you like, more power to you. I’m not judging.) But I squealed like an excited little girl, opening Miriam last week. The pretty box holds an insert with a lovely jacquard-like pattern, die-cut to fit the Miriam bottle, as well as a DVD of a portion of the film and a notepad  the Miriam booklet (duh, I hadn’t gotten the chance to open it yet). There are silver strings and a frosted glass cap, and pretty pink stickers, and a simulacrum of an old-fashioned cut-paper silhouette, and the whole thing is so intricate and adorable that it could have been any Christmas present hand-wrapped personally for me by my artist sister, for whom such things are Serious Business.  Also, the liquid is a very soft yellow-green, one of my favorite colors.

I have not yet viewed the entire DVD. I have seen clips from the Miram segment, and also from some of the other segments that make up the ongoing A Woman’s Picture project, and they have all been moving, thoughtful pieces. Briefly, though, the Miriam segment focuses on Miriam Masterson, a middle-aged woman whose career is in jeopardy, whose relationship with her layabout boyfriend is deteriorating, and whose mother, with whom she has a complicated and painful relationship, is in a nursing home as her mind and health fails. All of Miriam’s anchors have been lost, and a storm is approaching.

What drew me to the fragrance, in particular, was the notes. Regular readers know that I lurve me some aldehydes, and when someone as talented as Andy Tauer does a vintage-inspired aldehydic floral – well, I wanna smell it. The official notes list for Miriam includes aldehydes, bergamot, sweet orange, violet blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, violet leaf, vanilla, orris root, sandalwood and Ambrox.  From the Evelyn Avenue website, here is the inspiration for Miriam:

The dream of a hug, the vivid bitter sweet memory of her perfume,
her hair shining golden in the morning sun, so fine,
the violets from the garden in her hand,
freshly picked with the dew pearls dropping one after the other,
the green May roses on the table, lasting forever.
It is a dream of days long gone, with a smile on my lips.

Miriam is undoubtedly a Tauer fragrance, despite its being something of a departure from Andy’s usual style. The Ambrox (something of a signature note for Andy) is definitely noticeable in the first few minutes, and although it’s more muted than you might expect, it’s a little thread of Andy running through the composition, with its sweet-salty-rich chord. Up top, there are the aldehydes and a light-hearted citrus note. I’ll make a prediction that if you don’t like aldehydes, you certainly won’t like Miriam; the aldehydes are sweet, and both powdery and candle-smoke-y. Soon I notice the beautiful rose and jasmine heart, very classic and reminiscent of 1940s feminine perfumes, and the violet flower seems to drift in and out. As the fragrance develops, the sandalwood and vanilla become prominent. I don’t smell iris on its own, but I often notice that orris root seems to disappear into rich floral scents, contributing mostly a satiny texture and keeping sweeter elements like vanilla or amber from being too sweet, in much the same way that adding a small amount of salt to batter makes the flavors blend well. The sandalwood in this, according to Andy’s blog, is a mixture of real Mysore and Australian, and it is the most delightful part of the fragrance for me.

Andy Tauer has been quoted as suggesting that Miriam is “slightly provocative,” and “not naughty, but bold,” a fragrance in the tradition of the grand parfums of the 1940s and ’50s.  I don’t find it bold or provocative in the least – rather, it strikes me as being very soft and cloudlike.

Miriam lasts quite well on me, typically about five hours with a very gentle waft. It is recognizably perfumey in that “Mmm, somebody’s wearing nice perfume” sort of way, as opposed to the “Something smells nice” sort of way that has drifted in and out of fashion since the stripped-down, anti-perfume perfumes of the early 1990. I like that. The CEO likes it too, and mentioned that smelling it reminds him of his college years, going to the department store to pick out Christmas fragrance gifts for his then-girlfriends (none of whom were me). It didn’t remind him of any scent in particular, but the general perfumeyness of Miriam resembled the air in the department store, and recalled for him the pleasant excitement of good, “feminine” smells.

I will admit to being surprised that there isn’t any oakmoss in Miriam, not even a little bit, because Miriam’s mother’s fragrance purportedly contains it. But it seems that Miriam, the fragrance, is more based on Miriam, the character: it is nostalgic, soft and powdery atop a strong, comforting base. It is on the sweet side, with the aldehydes, sandalwood and vanilla contributing to that facet, but it’s a rich woody sweetness rather than a sugary overdose. There seems always to be a gentle wistfulness about rose-and-violet scents, and Miriam is very wistful.

The mother of a young friend of mine died suddenly about six months ago, and there is a certain stricken wistfulness I’ve seen on his face at unguarded moments, particularly if I’ve been playing with my younger son in the friend’s presence. Taz loves to roughhouse and be physical; it’s a primary avenue of affection for him, and I try to indulge it. Taz won’t always be eleven, asking for “mommy hugs.” I keep wishing I could offer that kind of affection to my young friend, and I hope that sometime soon he’ll feel able to accept it.

Miriam the fragrance conjures images of motherhood for me – partly due to the film, partly due to the fact that my own mother, with whom I have a good relationship, has frequently been so comfortable in aldehydic scents, and partly due to the wistfulness in my young friend’s face over the past few weeks. Wearing Miriam feels bittersweet and emotional, tender and wrenching and beautiful. It smells like a memory of love to me, and I will cherish it.

A few other reviews of Miriam: Carol at WAFTThe Non-BlondeMarina at Perfume-Smellin’ Things,  Perfume Shrine.  Here’s a post from Andy’s blog, with some of his thoughts concerning Miriam, too. 

And one more thing:  I also won a sample of Miriam via the drawing at The Non-Blonde, but wasn’t able to get hold of Gaia to request her to consider redrawing for it, so I’ll offer a draw here to one commenter, and my immense thanks to Gaia.  Draw will be open, as the original was, to US residents, from the time of posting until midnight Eastern Standard Time Friday, November 4, 2011  Draw is now closed. 

(I will post the winner of the Pandora sample on Wednesday.)  All photos mine.

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