Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tauer Perfumes L'air du desert marocain

One of these days I will get around to finishing my Frédéric Malle "week". In the meantime, with my Rêverie au jardin sample winging its way to me, I have decided to review Andy Tauer's second scent, L'air du desert marocain. I will preface my review with a disclaimer to any brave, sane, unscented reader who doesn't already know who Andy is, but is still checking in here just to see if they can understand a word I have written: I have corresponded with Andy, I follow his blog and I intend to write a review so fawning that even Paula Abdul would blush reading it.

A quick bio: Andy is a self-taught perfumer with a chemistry background who works from his home in Zurich, Switzerland. He has produced three fabulous scents, Le Maroc (2005), L'air du desert marocain (2005) and Lonestar Memories (2006) as well as a limited edition perfume, Orris (2006). Rêverie au jardin, his new lavender-based scent, will be available for purchase April 21st (see buying information below).

L'air is the only perfume I own that seems to trigger a full-body physiological response. You step out of an air-conditioned hotel in some exotic, baked country and your exposed skin tightens in the blast of dry heat - this is the effect created by L'air. Released in 2005, it contains coriander, cumin, petitgrain, lemon, bergamot, jasmin, cistus (rockrose), bourbon, geranium, cedar, vetiver, patchouli and ambergris. What that list of notes does not suggest is the level of dryness. This is a dry, dry, dry perfume, an ode to the spirit of the Maghreb desert, a scent that manages to be truly unisex and, well... very dry. For me, it conjures a sand-sweeping wind much more reliably than Serge Lutens' Chergui. A complex, stylized, romantic fragrance, Chergui was initially a bit of a disappointment to me; after the spiced hay of the opening burnt off, there was a very rich, buttery, sweet dessert heart that wasn't as hot or dry as I had expected. I've learned to really enjoy this stage of the perfume, but there is something about the middle of Andy's fragrance that makes Chergui seem very tame. Labeled as an "intense" eau de toilette, L'air is like no other EdT in existence. There are long stretches of time when it almost seems to be gaining in intensity on the skin. For sillage and lasting power,I can think of very few rivals: Angel, maybe, and that's it for the mainstream.

The opening of L'air is close to boozy - the bourbon? - with the coriander in the forefront. There is something up high, in an airy, almost floral register, which I cannot quite place. Very soon, the cedar begins to take center stage - a fresh and yet searing, almost minty or mentholated cedar that is still, of course, very dry. My husband says this stage smells like Jordan (candied wedding) almonds, and he is not quite crazy. I get no almonds, but there is almost a resemblance to the Indian candied digestive mixes you get after meals. I am thinking not just of saunf or candied anise/fennel and rock sugar, but also the paan or beeda mixes with cardamom, cloves and betel nut. (I actually like betel nut, but try and limit myself when I get the opportunity to have some, as I have so far managed to keep all my addictions non-carcinogenic.) The heart of L'air has that same spare, roasted, balsamic sweetness. Very gradually, this gives way to an ambered drydown, with touches of earthy and (dare I say it?) dry vetiver and patchouli. The whole is very seamless, and somehow both raw and comforting. It is one of the very few perfumes that smells "like me" and is my favourite so far from Andy's line. Lonestar Memories has a similar sense of space to it - a feeling of the distances, breezes and plenty of the wide-open outdoors - and is a close second for me. It is a shame that the word "masterpiece" has lost its currency from overuse, because that is precisely the word Andy's works bring to mind.

All of Andy's scents, with the exception of the sold-out Orris, are sold through luckyscent, luilei, first-in-fragrance and Andy's own website and distributor.


At 10:37 a.m., Anonymous AngelaS said...

I love how the scent almost seems to vibrate on my skin. Once I wore it to spend an emotional day at a small, decrepit Native American village on the Columbia River while I listened to elders talk about the old salmon fishing days. I'll always think of L'air and that day together.

Sadly for me, it is one of those scents that I adore but know doesn't suit my personality. I have a little to sniff now and then, though.

At 10:52 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Well, Angela, you know I'll always think of you while wearing this one. I wonder if the Chene will suit you? There's a similar dry, vibratory (?) quality to it. Hmmm.

In my younger days, I was briefly an assistant field biologist for a wild salmon preservation association. It sounds like you have had a very interesting and storied series of career experiences as well...

At 5:58 a.m., Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Oh, Angela.
I'm envisioning it. Wow.

Erin, beloved...
This scent is very personal to me.
It accesses the deeper aspects of my being, and every time I wear it, I feel so close to Lee and Andy.
It's almost as if they were in my skin.Eerie, but comforting, too.
SO intimate.

At 11:09 a.m., Blogger Erin said...

Chaya: It *is* intimate - that's a very good word. I really enjoy all of Andy's line, but this is still the one that suits me best.


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