Friday 18 October 2013

A Tauering oversight! - Tableau de Parfums Miriam and Noontide Petals reviews

Summertime by Ash Straker ~ Source:
Andy Tauer is one of the most accessible and 'interactive' perfumers in the niche sector. He reveals a lot about his work - and his life generally - through his blog, and is active on Facebook, engaging with readers and fans through posts, competitions and the odd polemic.  Here he is in his hotel room in Chicago, there he is catching a plane to Russia (I use the term 'Russia' loosely).  Although I have never met him, I've been several times to the bookshop in the Spiegelgasse in Zurich run by his friend and carrying his perfume range, and have ambled in streets with which he must be very familiar.  Yes, Andy Tauer feels almost 'hautnah' (literally 'skin near' in German, or perhaps 'up close and personal'), plus I know several people who have met him... Why, Freddie of Smellythoughts has had dinner with Andy Tauer and Vero Kern - at the same time no less! - while Sheila Eggenberger of The Alembicated Genie caught up with him at Pitti Fragranze in Florence last month.  Okay, so I haven't actually met Sheila either, but you know how it is...;-) Then of course I did once see a remarkable Doppelgaenger of Andy Tauer at a popular nightspot in Edinburgh.  And back in 2008, when my interest in perfume was relatively new, I won a sample set in an Advent giveaway, and I am sure I still have the handwritten card that came with it stashed away somewhere...

And maybe, in hindsight - or im Nachhinein, as the lovely German phrase goes - I had too much exposure to Andy Tauer's line too soon, before my taste had become robust/evolved enough to appreciate his work. For with the exception of the transcendental L'Air du Désert Marocain, that dusty-ambery-spicy rose scent inspired by an arid wind wafting the curtains of a Moroccan hotel in the early evening breeze, none of the early releases worked for me.  I found the 'Tauerade' base in most of them - to borrow March of Perfume Posse's amusing coinage for their signature drydown - too raspy and scratchy, in a wire wool-ish kind of a way.

Medieval, Andy Tauer's friend's bookshop in Zurich 

But over the years one or two of Tauer's later creations seemed exceptions to this - Carillon pour un Ange, for example, though even that scent had a distinctive metallic tang, in a clear case of 'galvanising the lily'.  I didn't mind Zeta either, which also had this metal facet that never tips over into abrasive Brillo pad territory. Orange Star, meanwhile, I struggled with on account of soap, not metal, and when I was in Paris in June with Undina, I dismissed Noontide Petals on similar grounds.

The next thing that happened was that Freddie gave me a sample of Tableau de Parfums Miriam to try and I was immediately smitten.

Notes: fresh citrus accord, geranium, violet blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang, violet leaf, lavender, vanilla, orris root, sandalwood


There is a slight sparkle of citrus and aldehydes in abundance in the opening, but they were ultra quiet, like the vibration of many tiny humming birds' wings, or bubbles of Prosecco streaming to the top of a flute.  And I am not talking about the violent fizzing of a cheapo bottle of Highland Spring here, but more along the lines of a delicate 'petillance'.  Or - if anyone has ever had physio delivered by one of those machines that massages your muscles with micro-pulses - it was the olfactory equivalent of that mildly buzzing sensation. Not unlike the polishing brush at the dentist, come to think of it - you know, the one with the insane tickle!  Yes, I found Miriam pin prickingly effervescent, elegant and feminine, and vintage / retro in feel.

I can best sum up the general style of Miriam as 'finely milled Chanel No 5' - or Le Dix perhaps, on account of the greater presence of violet.  It is more restrained than either of those, more dialled back, making it more wearable in my book.  And greener and earthier and more chypre-ish than those two.  Kind of 'murky' or 'muddy' to be honest, but not in a bad way.  Can you have aldehydic murk?  Clearly you can in my world, and on my wrist.  In fact the more times I tried it, the less citrus and fizz and the more of this earthy quality I got instead, as if the brightest of the aldehydes had actually risen to the top of the vial, and I was now sniffing the olfactory 'lees', which were still nice.  Oh, and in its final stages Miriam assumes a smooth yet powdery, snuffed out quality, which is also lovely.  In short, Miriam has all the good attributes of a vintage fragrance and none of the bad (aggressive aldehydes, aggressive galbanum, aggressive oakmoss or animalic notes etc).

Heartened by this unexpected epiphany, I decided to fish out my sample of Noontide Petals next, and before spraying it on I studied the notes.

Top notes: bergamot, aldehydes, Bourbon geranium
Heart notes: rose, ylang, tuberose, jasmine
Base notes: patchouli, frankincense, vanilla, sandalwood, iris, with a hint of styrax and vetiver

Why, I thought, I absolutely should love this one, especially as we are talking just a 'hint' of styrax, and not the industrial quantities found in Yatagan or Amouage Tribute Attar.  So this time I decided to tough out the detergent stage and see what came next, which I had not had the patience to do at the time of my visit to Jovoy.  And was I glad I did!  For Noontide Petals gradually moved through into a phase which, while still soapy, was less detergenty so and more plain clean, cut with a bright lemony sherbet facet, like shafts of sunlight poking through a veil of cloud.

Or like Pez sweets, actually.  Does anyone remember collecting the different dispensers?  It may have been the ylang making its first appearance, as that has a zingy tang to it.  Whatever its origin, the cheerful sherbet note remained throughout the rest of the development, but the best was yet to come, for eventually the big white florals loomed into olfactory view, a veritable glowing orb of them, as the sun burnt through more of the soapy haze.  If I am honest, I would reduce the soapy quality in this if I could, but the florals are just about radiant enough to hold their own.

So I would be interested to know - how is your own hit rate with Tauer Perfumes?  

How do you get on with 'Tauerade', metal or soap - if you detect these elements indeed?

And have you - like me - had any late onset epiphanies with the range? 

Finally, here is Graeme, the Andy Tauer lookalike again - funnily enough, I am going back to that same venue tomorrow and will be sure to look out for him!


Tara said...

No Tauers for me. I got closest with Une Rose Chypree. I'm not good with soapy or metalic notes.

Love that collection of Pez dispensers in the pic! We get the Hello Kitty pez for Mia and I'm rather partial to those zingy lemon sherbert sweets inside.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Hmm, I sense Tauer is one of those Marmite perfume houses, as Undina's poll also indicated - the one about 'my brand' and 'not my brand'. I have taken quite a long time to get to this point of winkling out a few favourites, but Miriam in particular lacks all the usual tricky aspects.

I am glad Pez dispensers are still going strong - I was certainly a bit of a fan as a kid and must have had a dozen or so myself. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Through a perfumista pal, I found out about scentandsensibility website which 4 years ago was the only UK stockist of all things Tauer, & rapidly amassed samples of the entire Tauer output. I was also lucky enough to meet the wonderful man himself at the launch of Orange Star at the Canal Museum near Kings Cross. My favourite is Rose Vermeille. I also have Rose Chypre, & was lucky enough (like you!) to win a bottle of Carillon Pour Un Ange in an Advent giveaway on FB. Orange Star & Zeta do nothing for me - it could be the 'tauerade' whereas Rose Vermeille is beautiful, & so cozy & comforting. I revisited Vetiver Dance last week - smoky & lovely. Am I going to use the value of my john lewis vouchers on a bottle of L'Air du Desert etc ??? Holly

Vanessa said...

Hi Holly,

I will add you to the list of people who have met Andy Tauer! :-). I must revisit Rose Vermeille - I remember having issues with Tauerade in that one, but my recall is fuzzy. In every sense :-). If I had a full bottle of any of the line it would be the one you are contemplating buying - for L'Air du Desert Marocain really is a one off.

Lavanya said...

'Tauering oversight'- haha. love the pun! And seriously- that guy does look like Andy- lol.
I met Andy at the scent bar a while ago (I think 2007 or 2008) at the release of Reverie du Jardin. I had, just before then, won a sample of it and really liked it. It is still my favorite and I am kicking myself for not getting a bottle then as it was half the price that it is now..I should get a bottle sometime, though I haven't sniffed it in ages.

Vanessa said...

Hi Lavanya

I guess you could say that Graeme the lookalike had a 'towering oversight' of his own, because he was 6 ft four at least and stood head and shoulders above the crowd. I did look out for him at the weekend but didn't spot him this time.

And I will add you to the list of Andy Tauer meeters! What a shame that you missed the bottle you like when it was more affordable. I didn't realise that the prices had gone up. Hopefully not by as much as Roja Dove's line, which doubled since I bought my bottle.

Lavanya said...

It used to be around 70 and now it is around 130..though I have to say 130 is a fair price these days for niche perfume and Andy's is pretty high quality. Which of Roja Dove's do you own? They did seem expensive the last time I checked. I hope they are not much more.. I'm looking forward to sniffing his line - I've been a fan since pure distance m which I think is a perfect perfume..

Anonymous said...

"Marmite perfume house" - what a perfect term! Alas that Tauer is one such house for me, on the anti-Marmite side. Wouldn't mind trying one of his soaps, though. Neela Vermeire seems to be the other Marmite perfume house for me, albeit on a planet where I am the only person who does *not* love Marmite...AnnieA

Vanessa said...

Hi Lavanya,

The Roja Doves were £95 for 100ml in 2008 (which actually is not dissimilar to a designer fragrance like Prada, say, ml for ml). So he put the price up initially to £120 or so, then the next time I looked they were £195! I have Scandal, a big Fracas-esque white floral with an animalic base. I must say I don't reach for it much anymore. It was an early purchase and rather wears me.

Vanessa said...

Hi AnnieA,

Glad you could relate to my Marmite analogy! I think there are people who don't get on with Neela Vermeire's range, but may feel that to post a contrary review to the many many positive posts might look out of step. I find Trayee too spicy for my taste, I must say, but I do like the other two. Bombay Bling in particular has grown on me lately - I wasn't sure about it initially on account of all the fruit.

Lavanya said...

That initial price sounds pretty reasonable..The 195 sounds like the price I 'clocked' (did I use the word right? you use it the way I use 'registered' right?) :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Lavanya,

That's the meaning of 'clocked', yes! 'Registered' or 'noted' or 'spotted' would be synonyms. :-)

Blacknall Allen said...

Oh how I wish your description of Miriam were not so enticing, I really love a bit of aldehydic sparkle, and seldom find what I want in perfumes ie- just enough for a nose tickle never enough for a sneeze! You know Bois des Isles may be the perfect example-Miriam isn't like that is it?
But so far I am one of the people who find Tauers marmite-ish. Simply have not loved a one of them yet.

Vanessa said...

Hi Blacknall,

Miriam is much more of a nose tickle than most of the Tauers - yes, it was very much a sparkle in the nose tickle register that I was trying to convey with my assorted imagery, so you might be all right with this one - it is even more quietly aldehydic than Bois des Iles, I would say. And curiously murky/earthy as I say, which is not normally a scent aspect I associate with aldehydic perfumes. I have been a Marmite Tauer person most of my perfumista time, so this is really a significant departure / success!

Lavanya said...

btw- I really like what they've done with the bottles in the Tableau perfumes- especially the Loretta bottle. I usually am not about the bottle but that one I really find myself wanting to own.

Lavanya said...

I just went back and looked at the bottles and apparently I need to be in a certain mood to 'lemm' those bottles..

Odiferess said...

Hi Vanessa, I adore Noontide Petals, your sherbet fizzy description is spot on and that frankincensey base.. ooh.. just extraordinary.
I also has a 'meh' attitude towards Tauer scents after I sniffed them all in one go (not the best way to sample). I'd love to have another go at L' Air again as it's beloved of so many perfumistas. I must say though that Pentachord Verdant is on my list of most offensive scents ever, I made the mistake of testing my sample before bedtime and slept in the dark land of powdery industrial waste.. eek! It upsets me because he seems to be such a thoroughly nice chap that I want to love everything he does..

Anonymous said...

Hi Vanessa, your comment to me a week ago tipped me over the edge........ a bottle of Andy Tauer's L'Air Du Deset Marocain' is on it's way to me. Thanks Holly

Vanessa said...

Hi Lavanya,

I do also like the shape of the Tableau bottles, especially the silver screwthread top. The black and yellow label on the Loretta one doesn't really do it for me, mind.

Great that 'to lemm' is a verb now!

Vanessa said...

Hi Odiferess,

Glad you liked Noontide Petals - some of the fizz was probably the frankincense - that can have a little prickle of its own sometimes, or maybe I am thinking of myrrh...;-) Yes, sampling too many Tauers at once could be the wrong MO, though it is one encouraged by a sample set, haha. I didn't really care for the Pentachords I must say, and I think Verdant was my least favourite of the three as well without being able to bring it clearly to mind.

Vanessa said...

Excellent news, Holly! I am sure you won't regret your splurge. Didn't Luca Turin give it five stars? That's if you even feel you need any more post-purchase arguments. ;-)

Lavanya said...

yes- when I went back to the pics I found the color scheme of Miriam more appealing..:)

Undina said...

Tauer Perfumes is definitely not my brand: I like a lot (and own a bottle of) Une Rose Vermeille. I kind of like (and own a bottle of) Zeta. I want to own L'Air du desert marocain and Lonestar Memories (though probably 15 ml bottles would be enough for me - but I still might go for a bottle). And that's it. Everything else really doesn't work for me. I'll have to try Noontide Petals on my skin before I pass the final judgement but from smelling it on paper the only thing I got was that it smelled to me really similar to Carillon pour un ange which smelled anything but lily-of-the-valley.

Vanessa said...

Definitely agree with you there!

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I was interested to hear your detailed take on your success rate with the Tauer brand. As that survey you did on your blog about 'me brands' and 'non-me brands' revealed, many people seem to have patchy luck with his line, though L'Air du Desert Marocain consistently gets a lot of love. I must say I was pleasantly surprised to revise my opinion of Noontide Petals, though I would still tone down the detergent aspect if I could. CpuA is an odd one, I agree. A very distinctive metallic facet was my main observation.