Au Coeur du Désert by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: coriander, cumin, patchouli, resins, cedar, ambergris
Described as a metamorphosis of L'Air du Désert Marocain, but in parfum extrait concentration, Au Coeur du Désert hones in on the drydown of L'Air du Désert Marocain – accentuating "the sublime elegance and natural beauty of warm woody amber notes". More refined than its predecessor, and based on a revised formula, Andy doesn't consider Au Coeur du Désert to be a flanker but more of a creation in its own right.

Originally, the news came as a great surprise because, up until recently, Andy had always been very adamant that he wouldn't release a 'sequel' to L'Air du Désert Marocain. As for his real motivations behind launching Au Coeur du Désert, one can speculate until the cows come home. But, then again, this isn't the first niche house to do a complete u-turn and it certainly won't be the last.

As for Au Coeur du Désert, it's essentially a creamier, denser and smoother outing – exhibiting a silky ambery demeanour, as opposed to the resinous smokiness of L'Air du Désert Marocain. Significantly scaled back are the citruses and spices, with the woods (particularly the cedar) ramped up a couple of notches. As a result, Au Coeur du Désert isn't as dry as L'Air du Désert Marocain but airier, slightly sweeter and more compact. But the main downside of Au Coeur du Désert is that it possesses a hefty serving of ambroxan, which rather hampers one's enjoyment of its near linear progression.

Performance-wise, the difference in longevity between the two is practically negligible, with Au Coeur du Désert providing reduced sillage and largely remaining close to the skin. As a result, one feels that owning both would be pointless, unless layering is deemed an affordable option. But, for those who found L'Air du Désert Marocain too spicy, masculine or even boisterous, Au Coeur du Désert would be worth looking into.

Personally, one finds L'Air du Désert Marocain far more rewarding to wear. Furthermore, one is unable to justify paying over 40% more for an extrait that isn't superior, in every way, to the Eau de Toilette Intense version. But, if nothing else, Au Coeur du Désert is still better than Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's similarly revamped Ambre Précieux Ultime.

Overall, Au Coeur du Désert is a respectable reworking of Andy's bestseller, but better performance and a less synthetic woody-amber base would have resulted in a higher rating.


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Lonesome Rider by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: citrus, coriander, black pepper, clove, spices, rose, orris, frankincense, cypriol, cedar, vetiver, sandalwood, castoreum, ambergris
"I am running my Tauer Perfumes venture for more than 10 years now... With Lonesome Rider, I want to reach out to many of you and say thank you."

     ~ Andy Tauer

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Tauer Perfumes, Andy has released Lonesome Rider – a hybrid of two of his early compositions: Lonestar Memories and the long-discontinued Orris. Building on Orris, Andy wanted to incorporate a smoky leather note into the composition, resulting in Lonesome Rider acting as a bridge between these two early creations.

The first few seconds are surprisingly harsh, as a blast of alcohol precedes a juxtaposition of citrus and leather. The leather is a very smoky but also noticeably rubbery. As for the herbs and spices, they are less discernible, but the underlying presence of castoreum (albeit synthetic) is unmistakeable from the outset. And by the time the citrus has dissipated, the orris makes its way to the forefront.

Still possessing a smoky leather context, the slightly metallic orris weaves throughout with spicy nuances. The rose is both elegant and demure but, from time to time, one can just about make it out. With both frankincense and cedar supplementing the smoky leathery accord, with their resinous and woody properties, the vetiver adds a soft vibrant woodiness to the proceedings.

Throughout its duration, the florals never completely overwhelm and, instead, work side-by-side with the smoky leather. And when these two aspects start to fade, the vetiver and sandalwood subtly inject their creamy woody properties. With animalic musks in the base, the castoreum returns once more to provide considerable edge to an almost smoke-free woody drydown, while the ambergris exudes a salty mineral aura.

Ultimately, the rugged Lonesome Rider is a decent effort and a welcome return to Andy's roots. However, one does wonder if Andy would have done a better job had he created it back when he first started out – without all the business pressures, ingredient restrictions, fandom and other distractions that he has to contend with now. In other words, would being less self-conscious have made a difference? One can't be entirely sure but at least Andy gave it a respectable shot.

Both sillage and longevity are quite good, although its performance could have been better.


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Tuberose by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: cinnamon, clove, galbanum, geranium, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, patchouli, ambergris

Comment: Tuberose is part of the Sotto la Luna Collection
As the second instalment in the Sotto la Luna Collection, Tuberose is much more approachable than Gardenia. However, consequently, Tuberose is just too safe for its own good.

Comparing the notes of both, they seem to share a very similar olfactory structure – light spices, green notes, a white floral core with some rose, and an unobtrusive woody base paired with either some vanilla, amber or a synthetic musk. In the case of Tuberose, some ylang-ylang has been incorporated to accentuate the tuberose. Personally, one couldn't detect a long-lasting presence from either of them.

Exhibiting fleeting glimpses of galbanum, in the opening, it's a pretty yet innocuous affair – and when compared to the often cited tuberose classics, even more so. With a Tauerade-infused drydown that's not too remote from the later stages of Gardenia, Tuberose is just another creamy white floral fragrance.

Sillage is moderate, with average longevity.


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Bois Bourbon by Decennial

*****
Year: 2012

Notes: cinnamon, saffron, lavender, black rose, heliotrope, cedar, birch, oakmoss

Comment: Bois Bourbon is a Luckyscent exclusive
To commemorate its tenth anniversary, Luckyscent launched four exclusive fragrances dedicated to the city of Los Angeles, with each one reflecting a different aspect of that city.

With the exception of Lys du Desert, this collection was conceived by Jerome Epinette. Bois Bourbon focuses on LA's rich literary history and is a sweet and spicy woody affair. It commences with a suggestive booziness, accentuated by spices and a discreet molasses-like sweetness. One doesn't really detect any florals, but the gradual emergence of cedar is unmistakeable.

Later exhibiting a subtle smokiness, once again, its performance on the skin is very underwhelming. For such an important milestone, one would have expected Luckyscent to really pull out the stops.


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Nuit Épicée by Decennial

*****
Year: 2012

Notes: rhubarb, cumin, violet, cistus, black amber, praline, almond, blond woods

Comment: Nuit Épicée is a Luckyscent exclusive
To commemorate its tenth anniversary, Luckyscent launched four exclusive fragrances dedicated to the city of Los Angeles, with each one reflecting a different aspect of that city.

Composed by Jerome Epinette, and inspired by the LA nightlife, Nuit Épicée is more of a woody-amber offering than a gourmand, interwoven with soft and creamy chocolate facets. Both the rhubarb and cumin are relatively subdued, but the violet is discernible from the offset. With a faint wheat-like milkiness, the almond comes more into play as the composition reveals its final act.

Like most of the Decennial fragrances, Nuit Épicée suffers from insubstantial sillage and below average staying power. It also suffers from smelling like a Nasomatto-lite clone.


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Lys du Desert by Decennial

*****
Year: 2012

Notes: bergamot, green lily, rose, iris root, cistrose, cedar, ambergris

Comment: Lys du Desert is a Luckyscent exclusive
To commemorate its tenth anniversary, Luckyscent launched four exclusive fragrances dedicated to the city of Los Angeles, with each one reflecting a different aspect of that city.

With Andy Tauer at the helm, Lys du Desert is an olfactory portrait of LA's rugged desert surroundings. Lys du Desert also shares a similar olfactory concept to L'Air du Désert Marocain, thus making Andy's involvement all the more logical. However, it ultimately comes across as a mishmash of recycled past achievements.

Opening with what could be best described as a mixture of orange syrup and root beer, Lys du Desert is pretty much a pared down version of either Incense Rosé or Une Rose Chyprée, with the woody-amber foundation of L'Air du Désert Marocain grafted on. To be frank, for such a momentous occasion in Luckyscent's history, one expected something a lot more daring and unique.

Unsurprisingly, it's dry, warm and woody, with a sweet floral core. The green lily imparts a soft verdency, during the top notes, and the ambery aspect is well-executed. Beyond that, there's just too much déjà vu – so much that it smells like a discarded prototype for an old fragrance idea. However, by comparison, one does prefer Lys du Desert over Incense Rosé (but not over the fuller and richer Une Rose Chyprée).

For its many shortcomings, Lys du Desert is still the best Decennial fragrance out of the four, which says more about Andy's skills as a perfumer than his sense of originality. Notably stronger than its siblings, both longevity and sillage still could have been a little better.


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Santal Sacré by Decennial

*****
Year: 2012

Notes: elemi, ginger, frankincense, papyrus, Australian sandalwood, white musks

Comment: Santal Sacré is a Luckyscent exclusive
To commemorate its tenth anniversary, Luckyscent launched four exclusive fragrances dedicated to the city of Los Angeles, with each one reflecting a different aspect of that city.

Developed by Jerome Epinette, and based on LA's "contemplative culture of spiritual and physical health" (yes, seriously), Santal Sacré is a musky sandalwood effort, with light touches of ginger and frankincense. It's clean, soft, linear and a little creamy, with the papyrus adding a gentle moist woodiness to the proceedings. However, it hardly produces any sillage and disappears within four hours.

With the sandalwood becoming dryer, during the drydown phase, it's inoffensive but also unsatisfactory to wear. The high price tag doesn't help matters either.


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Grenadille d'Afrique by Aedes de Venustas

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: bergamot, juniper berry, lavender, violet, milky white tea accord, African blackwood, Haitian vetiver, cistus labdanum, musk
"Aedes de Venustas' seventh scent explores the age-old landscape of Africa in a tribute to ancient ebony..."

Also known as African blackwood, which is a member of the rosewood family (from the Dalbergia genus) and is no longer regarded as ebony (exclusively reserved for the Diospyros genus), Grenadille d'Afrique is categorised as a balsamic woody offering and was created by Alberto Morillas.

Compared to Alberto's previous fragrance for this house, Grenadille d'Afrique is a notable improvement over the synthetic woody-amber mire of Palissandre d'Or. While musky, powdery and subtle in its general demeanour, it exhibits a pleasant combination of creamy, woody, vegetal, balsamic and flint-like attributes.

With a lovely juniper-led opening, the star of the show is ultimately the Haitian vetiver, with its nutty earthiness weaving throughout the composition. Also, discreet traces of violet are occasionally discernible. Exuding a soft sweetness from the labdanum, the transition from beginning to end is relatively smooth.

Although Grenadille d'Afrique doesn't reach the heights of the first four frankincense-based releases, it's still an improvement on Aedes de Venustas' last two duds. However, what prevents an extra star from being awarded is its lack of presence on the skin, which is a pity as its low-key woodiness does possess some charm.


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Cierge Lune by Aedes de Venustas

*****
Year: 2016

Notes: crystalline accord, pink pepper, black pepper, ylang-ylang, Madagascan vanilla, frankincense, suede, amber, musk
"Inspired by the scent of the mysterious night blooming cereus, also known as the Queen of the Night..."

Supposedly a rendition of "the dark side of vanilla", Cierge de Lune was developed by Fabrice Pellegrin, who's also responsible for many of Diptyque's more recent offerings.

Overall, it's a highly synthetic vanilla scent, with a prominent waxiness, that's along the lines of a lesser version of Givenchy's Organza Indecence or even the ghastly Pi Eau de Parfum. With a floral core, its general aroma is very similar to low-quality benzoin, infused with hedione and some other harsh aroma chemicals.

Providing moderate sillage and reasonable longevity, it smells woefully artificial, cheap and nasty. Undoubtedly, it's the worst Aedes de Venustas release to date and is a complete scrubber.


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Palissandre d'Or by Aedes de Venustas

*****
Year: 2015

Notes: ambrette seed, coriander, pink pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, patchouli, Virginian cedar, Chinese cedar, Alaskan cedar, Copahu balsam, Sri Lankan sandalwood, ambroxan
"Palissandre d'Or is a journey into the quintessence of wood."

Palissandre d'Or is a stylistic departure for this house, not only due to the surprising omission of frankincense but also because of the composition's general aroma.

Composed by Alberto Morillas, it's a sweet, sharp and slightly fruity exploration into spices and woods. Where previous Aedes de Venustas offerings were variably airy, Palissandre d'Or is both darker and denser. Consisting of three different types of cedar, smoky tea-like nuances are discerned amongst an obscure woody sweetness. With the ambroxan ever increasing its presence, the creamy emergence of the sandalwood smooths out some of the rough edges.

Personally, one found it to be a bit of a disappointment, especially concerning the cedar and ambroxan cocktail (smelling sharper and more artificial as the drydown progresses). However, on a positive note, its staying power is admittedly excellent.


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