ROSE Flash by Tauerville

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: rose

Comment: ROSE Flash is a limited edition release
With Andy Tauer's desire to launch a line of fragrances at a lower price structure, without the various pressures associated with the Tauer Perfumes brand, ROSE Flash is the first release from Tauerville. Pronouncing a 20% concentration, and proclaimed to be Andy's most luxurious rose creation, ROSE Flash is a more scaled back composition and "a perfume for my rose loving friends".

As previously mentioned, Andy seems to have a concerning fixation with florals, especially those heavily based on rose, and ROSE Flash is yet another example of this – following on from Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar, Une Rose Vermeille, Une Rose Chyprée and Incense Rosé. While it isn't at all surprising that a rose-based offering is the first release from this new venture, one would have been more enthusiastic if was a significant departure from his renowned olfactory style.

Commencing with a raspberry facet, reminiscent of Une Rose Vermeille, ROSE Flash mainly consists of a high concentration of rose otto, reinforced by some geranium and dorinia (a rose aroma chemical with musky, dewy and leafy green properties). The end result is a pleasantly soft, realistic and candy sweet rose soliflore. With a spicy peach-like astringency, a discreet base of woods and vanilla soon proceed to smooth out any bitterness, with this aspect becoming more discernible as the rose inevitably dissipates.

Compared to Andy's other rose fragrances, it's certainly not the richest or heaviest (that award still belongs to the original formulation of Une Rose Chyprée, which has since been noticeably diluted). But it's definitely rich, with regards to the amount of rose absolute used. In fact, one views ROSE Flash as a better alternative to the cloying shrillness of Une Rose Vermeille.

Lasting under six hours, with moderate projection, ROSE Flash won't silence Andy Tauer's detractors nor will it win over many new fans, but it will undoubtedly satisfy his core fan base. Also, for a parfum extrait, the price is extremely reasonable and Andy deserves some respect for that alone.


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Gardenia by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2014

Notes: spices, green notes, rose, jasmine, gardenia, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood

Comment: Gardenia is part of the Sotto la Luna Collection
Another new Tauer Perfumes release, yet another new collection. One is now beginning to lose track...

Gardenia is the first release from Andy Tauer's Sotto la Luna Collection – a floral-based line inspired by "white flowers blooming under the moon". Unfortunately, it's anything but a serene gardenia creation.

It opens up with spices, aldehydic subtleties and earthy mushroom undertones. But, although there are notable white floral trimmings, any gardenia is largely overwhelmed by the other notes. As a result of the emission of a waxy green coconut aroma, the composition also smells unpleasant in a musty, metallic and synthetic manner – suggestive of advanced floral and vegetal decay. It's only when the powdery sandalwood-infused base blooms that things start getting back on track.

With an olfactory nod towards Tableau de Parfums' Loretta, Gardenia simply doesn't work very well. Projection is moderate but its staying power is very good.


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Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, Bourbon geranium, Afghan rose, Bulgarian rose, tobacco leaves, tonka bean, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, ambergris, musk

Comment: Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar is part of the Collectibles Collection
Inspired by the roses produced in Nangarhar, an eastern province in Afghanistan, Phi – Une Rose de Kandahar contains of an extremely rare variety of Afgan rose essential oil.

It begins with a sparkling and creamy rose bouquet, which is surprisingly subdued in a spicy manner. However, within minutes, it has already stood down to allow the other notes a chance in the spotlight, thus ruling out any rose-prominent assumptions (the Collectibles Collection aims to use one rare ingredient for each olfactory idea, but these components won't necessarily be the star notes).

The bergamot enhances the buoyancy of the rose accords, and the apricot instils a mellow and yellowish-pink plumminess to the proceedings that, alongside the almond, briefly yields a gourmand-like flourish. With subtle hints of tobacco and geranium, the heart is even more restrained than the opening, and any rose influence has already been depleted. As things draw to a close, a musky Tauerade base produces ambery whispers.

Overall, it's probably Andy's most interesting effort in the last two or three years. It's smooth, well-constructed and possesses a dignified aura. However, its main drawbacks are its minimal sillage and below average staying power. Still, it's great to see glimmers of the old Andy Tauer at work.


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Noontide Petals by Tauer Perfumes

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, aldehydes, Bourbon geranium, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, iris, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver, frankincense, styrax, sandalwood

Comment: Noontide Petals is part of the Classics Collection
In reference to "a glittering age of perfumery", Noontide Petals is an aldehydic-floral "with a modern twist". Yet, while it's easily recognisable as an Andy Tauer creation, it's for all the wrong reasons.

From his other line, Tableau de Parfums, Miriam is the only offering that would be worthy of being added to the Tauer Perfumes range. But that seems to be Noontide Petals' purpose, as it's essentially a reworked version of Tableau de Parfums' first release. And although the florals in Noontide Petals are fleshed out more, with a more interesting woody-incense base, it's almost impossible to ignore the similarities between the two.

Furthermore, traces of Incense Rosé and Une Rose Chyprée also present themselves, at certain periods in its evolution, as well as evidence of a candied floral heart that comes dangerously close to the crass sweetness of Une Rose Vermeille. And like some of the aforementioned fragrances, the rose in Noontide Petals is dubious at best, smelling soapy and somewhat artificial.

With an animated bergamot and aldehydic opening, there's very little vetiver evident beyond the floral core. But, as to be expected, Andy's powdery woody-vanillic signature drydown is very much discernible. As for its overall performance, one definitely isn't disappointed, as it provides more than adequate sillage and lingers for at least seven hours on the skin.

Over the last six years or so, one has been brutally disappointed by most of Andy's offerings, largely due to his constant need to revisit old themes or concepts with diminishing results. While some would argue that working with florals is Andy's main strength, one would like see him explore some uncharted territory.

One can only live in hope...


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Ingrid by Tableau de Parfums

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, lemon, orange, cinnamon, clove, lily of the valley, rose, frangipani, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver, labdanum, styrax, Tolu balsam, sandalwood
As the third, and final, instalment to the olfactory movie, 'Woman's Picture', with Brian Pera, Ingrid ends things with a disappointing whimper.

Commencing with abrasive citrus accords, it overlooks the spices and quickly shifts to a soft dusty floral core. However, by this point, one is already able to discern both the styrax and Tolu balsam in the background. Now, while that's not usually a bad thing, these two chords become so dominant that they soon make it very difficult to follow the evolution of the rest of the composition.

And that's the problem with it – its development is too hurried, with many of the components coming across as either too whimsical or stifled by the balsamic aspect. With the exception of the zesty opening, there's nothing much there besides a Tolu balsam overload, with some sandalwood adding an extra buttery dimension.

The first Tableau de Parfums offering, Miriam, provided some promise, but both quality and creativity have since been in decline with each subsequent release. As a result, Ingrid is the least satisfying of the three fragrances, as one expected a lot more than something close to a one note samba beyond the top notes.

Both longevity and sillage are acceptable.


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Loretta by Tableau de Parfums

*****
Year: 2012

Notes: fruits, coriander, cinnamon, clove, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, tuberose, orris root, vanilla, patchouli, vetiver, leather, ambergris
Loretta is the second contribution to the collaborative olfactory movie, 'Woman's Picture', with film-maker Brian Pera. But this is merely a variation of what Andy Tauer previously offered in the past.

Opening with a rich, dense and plummy fruitiness, which later gives way to a spicy and dusty bouquet of rose and white florals, one is perturbed by a strong sense of déjà vu. It's not so much that there's a vague similarity to Christian Dior's Poison but more the fact that, beneath all that spicy fruitiness, Loretta is basically Le Maroc pour Elle redux (with the same dissonant demeanour).

As an exploration of tuberose, the spicy tuberose gleams amidst a purple olfactory haze. However, that starch or wafer-like aroma still emits, alongside the subtleties of rotting fruit. By the time it reaches the heart, both the orris and vanilla help in pulling the composition together, as it exudes a powdery fruity-floral shimmer. As a trite woody leathery base looms, an unexpected animalic nuance peeks through intermittently.

While the succulent opening was promising, it was sadly not to be. And although it's a world away from Robert Piguet's Fracas, it also lacks the suave femme fatale broodiness of the iconic Poison.

Both staying power and projection are above average.


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Mr. Aoud by Montale

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: lemon, citrus, black pepper, cinnamon, galbanum, violet, flowers, oud, labdanum, amber, vanilla, woods

Comment: Mr. Aoud is an exclusive to the Arab Gulf states
Mr. Aoud is an unremarkably soft oud creation, with a paradoxical feminine sweetness.

With a brisk citrus opening, the spices quickly meld with the florals. This stage is rather uplifting, yet one soon foresees a bland woody-oriental base on the horizon. Possessing a sweet resinous underlining, the oud is also surprisingly discreet.

All in all, it's a reasonable effort but that's not really saying much. Lasting power is below average.


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Aoud Legacy by Montale

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, lemon, pepper, nutmeg, saffron, oud, sandalwood, musk

Comment: Aoud Legacy is an exclusive to the Arab Gulf states
Over the years, Montale has issued many 'aromatic' scents, with the marine aspect being either full-on (Vetiver des Sables, Embruns d'Essaouira, Sandflowers and Fougères Marines) or subdued (Boisé Fruité, Black Musk, Aoud Forest and Santal Wood). Aoud Legacy is the latest addition to the latter.

Opening with a spicy-citrus blast, its 'aromatic' aura is subtle but still discernible. After the top notes dissipate, all that remains is a saffron-infused oud accord, with a soft aquatic nuance. However, performance-wise, there's a grave deficit in both tenacity and sillage, when compared to the Western Montales offerings.

While it's a pleasantly fresh woody-aromatic, it's no different to a fresh designer sport fragrance. In other words, generic and highly disposable.


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Aoud Heritage by Montale

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: bergamot, orange, oud, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, deer musk, ambergris

Comment: Aoud Heritage is an exclusive to the Arab Gulf states
With such an enticing array of notes, one was expecting Aoud Heritage to be a winner. But, alas, no.

Not only is the animalic musk overwhelmed by dark smoky woody accords, but everything about it smells very synthetic. Also, if it contains any real ambergris, it's pretty minuscule. When some vanilla eventually emerges, it only temporarily tampers the dry edginess of the oud.

After smelling some of the exclusives, one has to point out just how restrained they are, when compared to the Montales available outside of the Arab Gulf states, and Aoud Heritage is no exception.


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Aoud Mayyas by Montale

*****
Year: 2013

Notes: orange, oud, cedar

Comment: Aoud Mayyas is an exclusive to the Arab Gulf states
With so few notes, one wasn't expecting much from Aoud Mayyas.

Regardless of the oud, it's more of a cedar (or is that Iso E Super?) based creation, with the oud only playing a supporting complementary role. The fleeting orange note doesn't reveal itself straight away but, when it does, it briefly exudes a pulpy sweetness.

Overall, it's mostly linear, provides minimal sillage and has really poor staying power. Compared to the Western Montales, it's severely lacking.


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