The release of Tableau de Parfums Miriam and Noontide Petals marked a definite turning point in my appreciation of Andy Tauer's work, most probably because these scents are in a quieter register. The aldehydic notes in both were playful and ticklish, while the soapy aspect of Noontide Petals was eclipsed ultimately by the tang of ylang-ylang and the radiant glow of other white florals. Now I know I haven't mentioned PHI Une Rose de Kandahar on Bonkers yet, but I made its acquaintance earlier this year thanks to a sample from Val the Cookie Queen, and was instantly smitten. In PHI Une Rose de Kandahar the nuzzling fizz of the aldehydes is accompanied by a photorealistic rose note of such rarity that fans of the scent will have to wait till the autumn for production to be resumed when that particular material is available again. PHI might well be my first full bottle purchase of a Tauer Perfume, which is testament to how far my taste has come - or to how far Andy Tauer's work happens to have veered up my congenially wispy alley!
|PHI Une Rose de Kandahar ~ Source: fragrantica.com|
And so to Cologne du Maghreb. An email from Jeffrey Dame, CEO of Hypoluxe, who distributes Tauer Perfumes in the USA, landed in my inbox the other day. He inquired whether I wished to sample Cologne du Maghreb, which - as I have just learnt - is a relaunch of a limited edition scent from 2011. If so, he would arrange for Andy to mail it out directly. Well, given the intensity of my attachment to PHI, I was indeed curious to try this unisex summer scent, and within what felt like a blink of an eye the package was here, accompanied by a handwritten card - thanks, both!
Well, off the bat I would like to say is how impressed I was with the thin flat box the sample came in - a perfect example of 'packaging commensurate to the size of its contents', which is what I like to see. A complete absence of ostentatious boxes, plinths, huge slabs of foam or extravagantly padded envelopes.
Next up, I thought to google Maghreb, as I felt I should clarify the geographical frame of reference for this latest addition to the Tauer stable. Well, it appears to be a region of North West Africa comprising Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania. Mauritania? Why, I thought that was a ship!
So the first thing I should say about Cologne du Maghreb - or rather, I will let Andy Tauer say it - is that it is an 'all-natural, all-botanical fragrance, a traditional cologne, light and not made to last'.
|A fulfilment operative at Tauer Towers|
I completely concur with that - and it is such a startling aspect of a Tauer scent - yet it is a fact that Cologne du Maghreb is noticeably fleeting on me. Or to be exact, after the stunningly bright, herbaceous opening - which reminds me very much of Guerlain Sous le Vent and also a little bit of the top notes of Mito EDP - Cologne du Maghreb quickly subsides into a very soft, ambery-vetivery hum covered in a light dusting of sherbet. There is rose in there I see, but I can't say I can pick it out, not that that means anything, for my nose is a blunt instrument at the best of times. Texturally, I'd describe the opening as granular - not in the bullshit bingo sense of 'granular', meaning 'detailed' or 'drilled down' (eep!) - but in the sense of actual granules pinging off your nasal receptors, like finely crushed ice.
I tested Cologne du Maghreb before learning about its all-botanical composition, but I can well believe that now. It was hyper-zesty, pleasantly tart without being acerbic. The herbal facet was nicely under control, and didn't tip the composition into more fougere-y or other astringent male territory. The citrus bouquet was sooo realistic that it was like sniffing a brace of neat aromatherapy oils simultaneously from the bottle. Or crushing the rinds of oranges and lemons in a pestle and releasing the sticky oil from the peel. (I used to work in the juice industry, would you believe, though even in 1985 we were a mite more automated in our juice extraction processes - on the one product not wholly made from concentrate, that is. ; -) ) Then conversely to the rose, I thought I picked up on petitgrain, but I see none listed. No matter - it was a bracing, refreshing hit like nothing else I have tried in the cologne genre, quite possibly because of its all-natural provenance.
In terms of the rationale / inspiration for Cologne du Maghreb - I refuse to say backstory, not even as two words - Andy Tauer wished to combine traditional cologne-making techniques with an oriental twist. Though, as he is careful to point out on his blog, not the sort of twist that involves 'synthetic oudh and cheap metallic damascenone'. No, we are talking lemon groves in Marrakech, cedar trees in Algeria's Atlas mountains, and rock roses in scrubby terrain pretty much anywhere in the region.
Notes: citrus accord, cistus, ambreine, cedarwood, Java vetiver oil, bergamot, lemon, neroli, orange blossom, lavender, rosemary, rose absolute, rose essential oil, clary sage
I really like Cologne due Maghreb, and the fact that you would have to reapply it quite often - not least to enjoy the revivifying rush of the opening again and again - would not bother me. Hey, I am always looking for ways to use up more perfume, and extreme tenacity is not necessarily a virtue in my book. Given how I struggled with the likes of Lonestar Memories, I feared it might be too butch, notwithstanding the unisex billing, but it really does sit smack in the middle of the gender divide (for anyone who believes there is such a thing, as I guess I still do). And readers mourning the recently discontinued Sous le Vent might be reassured to know that there is a worthy - if whisper quiet - substitute on offer.
And and in case you are curious, and not already familiar with its topography, here is a photo of Mauritania!
And here is the ship in question, which has a slightly different spelling after all, as Wikipedia put me straight: 'The ship's name was taken from Mauretania, an ancient Roman province on the northwest African coast, not the Modern Mauritania which is now to the south.'
But best of all, this very ship was renamed HMS Tuberose for a year... I don't make this stuff up, you know...!
|RMS Mauretania ~ Source: wikipedia.org|