Monthly Archives: August 2010

Items 1 to 10 of 16 total

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  • mirror talk

    back from a splendid hiking weekend that featured it all: sun, muscle pain, jogging in the morning and watching the sun rise and the cows steam on the pasture at 2200 meters above sea level, snow in the morning, falling from a grey sky yesterday.

    Some of you may have seen the picture on my facebook Tauer Perfumes site already. On the left you find it again: This is Sunday, 7.10 am, after 30 min jogging, a fantastic view over a little mountain lake, the surrounding mountains waking up and putting on some color to start their day.

    Since yesterday I am back, made a few samples since then and mailed my e-mails.  And for the rest of the week we will be in production mode with  a focus on open orders from perfumeries.

    Finally, I sketched a first view of the EAU D'ÉPICES, going from the four axes over to a web kind of view.
    I will continue to work on it, as I feel this is important and fun, thinking about how these lines might all be interconnected. And I learned that you like it, too. Although I am not sure whether I am really spreading the important message.

    Here is a line for your day: A perfume is a fragrant picture that each of us sees in a mirror made of memories.

    Actually, I like this line. Hmmm... having said that: One word, before leaving this blog, on Tonka beans. Tonka beans are the fruits of a tropical tree, originally from South America. They used to be used for cooking (you can make great desserts) but due to their natural coumarin content some countries banned the fruits for cooking. Tonka beans are full of coumarin (about 50% of natural tonka beans extract (resinoid)  is this single molecule COUMARIN), there exist different tonka extracts, such as the resinoid (creamy woody foody spicy) or the absolute. I like to work with coumarin directly, and "bend" it into the form I like to have it by adding other compounds. Coumarin is one of those wonder molecules that you find in about 50% of all perfumes out there. Like the natural extract, coumarin is quite affordable.

    One great advantage of using coumarin: You do not have to worry about the waxes of the resinoid that are very annoying when doing larger batches >1 liter, as these waxes tend to agglomerate and precipitate and give you all sorts of troubles in dilution.

    And now: back to production mode ... hmm: Here's a shorter version:

    "Perfume is a fragrant picture that we watch in a mirror made of memories."

  • serious hiking ahead

    Hurray! We shipped what we needed to ship this week and the last boxes are out of the house and out of the way. It felt like a maze the last few days, boxes piled up everywhere and flacons and paper and...cozy factor=zero.

    I will do some clean up, minimal though, because we (W.-factor and me) continue next week there where I stop today. after the clean up,  I will do some hopping in the woods to deserve my restaurant diner with lots of fries and then...

    ...then it's the weekend!

    And this weekend is a hiking weekend, with friends, like every year, arranged since eternities, we will stay in the Bernina Hospiz (no 5 stars hotels anymore since I live from perfumery...) and we will do some serious hiking! And enjoy the last summer flowers up there.

    I wish you a lovely weekend and look forward to continue discussing EAU D'ÉPICES next week.

    Today's picture: Malva sylvestris seen last weekend around the corner of our house.

  • snuggling coefficient

    If you want to snuggle and cuddle and huggle 2 Tera bites bytes, you are either crazy or you got a this freecom harddisk that comes in this protective  black rubber skin, that is so .... hmmm.... soft and feels like the skin I would give an android to make it more human. Snuggling coefficient = 100.

    I got it yesterday, 2 TB. How many bites bytes I actually have on this device you see in the picture. This means: A lot of space for photos and videos. Although I am sure: I will fill it up faster than I think. One of the paradoxes in life: The more space you have the more rubbish you collect. True for real and e-life.

    And, as I got a bit slowed down sometimes: I got my PC another 4GB RAM. Yep. Feels much better now. Another rule for life: Always good to have a good memory.

    Helps you to keep track on the rubbish you collect. True for real and e-life.

  • GT and the final part of artisan series


    We got another coverage. In Gay Times, GT, an online and print magazine, that "supplies every gay man with the information he needs" (copy from the GT website ; click her to visit and consider registering for their twitter feed.) Unfortunately, you will not find me online there, but  I allowed myself to put a little teaser online with today's post.... see the picture of today...Enjoy!

    And we have another feature: Nathan finished the Tauer artisan series with his third article. Besides the fact that I like to read about me (...) I find his series (do not miss Mandy Aftel's coverage there) important and worth following. Here is one sentence and a reason why you might want to visit his site:
    "But it’s not like a perfumer ever stops creating, and much like the “publish or perish” mantra in the world of academia, it can be “launch or perish” in the world of the DIY perfumer. Yet continuous inspiration and creation (the hallmarks of a vibrant artist) can sometimes lead to a......"

    Thanks for visiting Nathan Branch's blog, clicking here.

    And while you do your reading, I will do my packing of the pallet and some other stuff...

  • palette day

    It is strange. You think about it, prepare for it, see it coming with eyes wide open . Yet, once it is here, you are amazed. Today, we continue making more samples for the Italian perfume exhibition Pitti Fragranze, and assembling everything for the two palettes that the truck is going to pick up tomorrow.  We work with Schenker and as these guys are reliable, we know that by 10 am the palettes need to be ready.

    Another amazing development, that I think about, see it coming with open eyes and that totally amazes me every year: Autumn is getting here. The light has changed, the mornings are different, the fruits ripening on the bushes and trees. EEEK! Summer is almost over. In a sense, it feels like Tauer's fruits will be ripe by Pitti. Let us hope they survive the transport.

    Talking berries and fruits. Here's another information bit on the EAU D'ÉPICES. One of the axis being spices, it features in one of is corners cinnamon (essential oil), being part of a spicy head notes bouquet. Cinnamon is strictly restricted and I stick to the recommendations there (as it is a sensitizer, sensitizing your skin). I use a couple of molecules to pump it up, one of them: ETHYLCINNAMATE. This molecule smells like cinnamon, red berries and is somewhat sweet. By its red berries tonality it softens the spices' harsh corners and it supports the cinnamon. You see... a lot of  strands to follow.

    I was talking about WEB corners, and AXES, and HEAD/HEART/BODY notes a lot. I will come back to these different ways of looking into a construction.  But not today!; today is palette day.

  • on axes and web corners

    Before we dig into the body and some notes of the EAU D'ÉPICES (with an educative goal: give you an idea on style): Here are the winners of the draw of last week (tataaaaa!):

    The consolation prize goes to Elena ( A discovery set is yours. And you pick the samples of your choice.
    Full bottle of Eau d'épices goes to Elisa (

    Congratulations to both of you. And to all readers who commented but did not win: Thank you, for sharing, and good luck with the next draw.

    And back to the developing story... I finished the newsletter draft, scheduled for release at September 15, after Pitti Frangranze, in order to send some impressions from Florence in the newsletter.  In 2.5 weeks we head south, through the Gotthard rail tunnel, finished in the early 1880, 15 km of tunnel, imagine! Back then, folks in Europe really were very entrepreneurial. And brave, taking a lot of risks.

    My risks are somewhat smaller. The biggest risk  for me in Florence might be to get into total exhaustion mode. It will be busy days with a lot of sniffing and talking. One of the objects of the sniffing and talking will be the EAU D'ÉPICES. We have discussed some aspects (not all!) of the spicy head notes and the orange floral heart in previous posts
    The MAIN AXES of the fragrance are: spices, orange blossom, incense, woods. Talking in axes is somewhat simplistic. Another picture might be a WEB. The corners of the web are: Spices, citrus, orange blossom,jasmine, orris root, incense, amber, wood, tonka beans. And all corners are connected and resonate.

    The orange blossom is a heart note, it does not stay forever, but leaves you after a while, given full room for the body notes.  Making the heart notes stay  longer is called fixation. One tool to fix heart notes is by using musk molecules. I do not use these musk molecules.  But there are other synthetic molecules that may act as fixation. Some of them are so potent, they are just like a glue, and are hard to dose, because they become obnoxious after a while. Others are truly pleasant, like some of the synthetic ambers, my favorite being AMBROXAN, a molecule that is somewhat costly, with a price of about 1300 $ US for the kg it is about three times the price of a good Incense essential oil: Ambroxan is a single molecule, but is smells very complex (amber, vibrant wood, floral tobacco) and not cheap like other synthetic ambers that you find in washing powder.

    And: It is a great fixation for flowers, without suffocating them. Thus, Ambroxan is there in the base of Eau d'épices, with its woody vibrancy it lifts the heart and fixes the blossom. And it acts like a bridge between floral heart and incense woody base. To render the ambroxan, to make it full, to add depth, I complement it with AMBREINE, a natural extract of Cistus ladaniferus that is ... well, very complex! It is a special quality material, like a cut out of cistus, leaving the woody, spicy vibrant side intact, but removing the sweetness. Imagine the fragrance of pineta in summer! It blends very well with ambroxan, and it grounds the INCENSE essential oil that I am using in the base. The incense is an essential oil from Boswellia carterii, steam distilled in France, collected resin in the wild in East Africa and the Arab peninsula, it is a different quality than the incense that I use in the Incense extrême. It is more airy, lighter, less woody, brighter if you want. These three, ambrein, incense essential oil and ambroxan, make up one major building block of the base of the fragrance. There are more building blocks in the base, adding to the complexity.

    Complexity is ultimately responsible for the many facets of a fragrance, of its brilliance and its roundness. You can get complexity quite easily by naturals, simply because naturals per se are very, very complex. Of course, you can not just put a drop of a natural oil into your kiloliters of perfume mixture. You must use them in substantial amounts. To give you an example: I use 2 parts Ambrein, 3 parts ambroxan, 4 parts incense essential. Together, these three ingredients make up about 1/5 of the perfume base.

  • bridges to the heart

    Before we take the retrospective scalpel again and do some EAU D'ÉPICES heart inspection: here is a note on an upcoming draw in our upcoming newsletter.

    Yesterday, after having boxed some 100 flacons of Orange Star, I managed to finish a draft version 1 of the newsletter 1 that I schedule for publication September 15, after Pitti. This newsletter is a bit a pet of mine these days, allowing me to communicate beyond the daily business as I do it on the blog. And maybe I will reach some readers who do not have time to read all my blog posts. I guess those might just have missed this post, though.

    Anyhow: I decided that I will make a DRAW among the subscribers of the newsletter, October 1 2010. I will pick two winners from the active subscribers list and they get a perfume,  a full bottle, boxed as we sell them, at their choice from my range. But it is only a draw for those having registered for the newsletter. If you haven't subscribed and want to join in: Here's the link to do so (click here). If you are subscribed already: No need to do anything.

    And we continue with a short inspection of the floral heart. We have discussed ORANGE BLOSSOM two days ago.  I used orange blossom absolute and jasmine absolute as flowers in the middle; and -by the way- orange blossom absolute IS expensive. Jasmine absolute is cheap in comparison. Anyhow. The challenge with floral hearts is: They do not last and need to be fixed. And you should announce them, building bridges from the initial head notes. Like a little red carpet telling folks that is worth picking up the camera and wait for the beauties appearing on their way to the stage where they would bloom for an hour or so.

    I used RED MANDARIN essential oil as a bridge into the floral heart,  also to soften the spices a bit. This essential citrus oil has excellent lasting quality and I broaden it up with Methylpamplemousse, a molecule that smells a little bit an effect like a GREEN SILVER CITRUS. It supports citrus oils, makes them last longer, and brings in a bit of a vibrancy and lightness. Mandarine is the only citrus that I use because I do not want to distract from the core axis: Spices, orange blossom, incense, woods.

    But wait, wait: There is another aspect...One thing that I changed two years ago from a previous version: I added a hint of a green leave, and a white flower note. If you want you can call it a green lily of the valley trace, but I would not go that far. Just call it a green spot, that sits there to set an ACCENT and a floral dress to highlight the orange blossom. Made of Undecavertol and Lilial and some Ionones (green leaves, flowers, lily of the valley, powdery floral sweetness) it is a spotlight that lets you see the star on the central stage. And the star shines a bit brigher and longer...

    Today's picture: an orange blossom and a lot of green.

  • spicy post

    Before we address some of the TECHNICAL DETAILS and the WHY: Here's the factual list of spices in EAU D'ÉPICES:

    Cardamom, coriander, clove  and cinnamon bark essential oil. Lemongrass, which is also on the ingredient's list, is not what I would consider a spice. And it fulfills a different role, too.

    As I am using synthetics and naturals: Some of the spices are pumped up...Coriander is pumped up with a bit of Linalool; this molecule is present in coriander essential oil anyhow at about 60-80% and by adding a bit of it directly you pronounce the coriander note.  It extends the woody line of coriander, softens it a bit and leads over to flowers, like giving a hand to the flowers and pointing in the direction of the woods with the other hand.

    The cinnamon bark essential oil is naturally mostly cinnamaldehyde ( about 60%), with some eugenol (about 5-10%) and cinnamylalcohol. These are all IFRA and EU Cosmetic law regulated substances. The limiting factor is cinnamaldehyde which is a dermal sensitizer, thus a molecule to be careful with. IFRA limits of cinnamaldehyde are 0.05% in the final mix. We are in EAU D'ÉPICES at 0.045%, thus making use of it at almost max. concentration. Here we have an example for the effects of regulation: I do not produce fragrances with higher cinnamon bark concentrations. The cinnamon essential oil is pumped up with cinnamylalcohol and a molecule called linalylcinnamate, which acts like an eye shadow, making the cinnamon bigger and a bit brighter.

    Why spices? Because the thing is called Eau d'épices. In this scent the spices are very dominant and present. The spices are together one of the main axis of this particular perfume. They are like an entire book volume of about 4 volumes being: Spices, Flowers, Incense, Woods.

    On a more general base: I use a lot of spices in my scents because spices do the same thing like aldehydes. When used in small amounts they amplify other notes, set accents and bring in light. A hint of cinnamon bark lifts a rose bouquet, for instance, and makes the rose shine and last. In a sense, spices are magnifying glasses.

    The picture shows you a mix of spices in a pan that I use when making my own curry from scratch.

    And do not forget: if you want to win an Eau d'épices: comment over there (click here).

  • turning on mating instincts

    From Ape to Gentleman has a nice clipping and reviews on Tauer. Thus, I am doing it for the second time this week: Enjoy Chris' writing on Tauer... by clicking here you get to the "Ape to Gentleman" page.

    A great name for a website: Ape to Gentleman...

    Now, a few lines on the EAU D'É is the second day in a row with EAU D'ÉPICES (wearing it over night). This perfume  features as one (key) ingredient: Orange blossom, from Egypt. I am using the orange blossom absolute. Maybe you have never smelled this ingredient in its pure form: It is like sniffing the flower, but with the natural indole content pumped up, concentrated, with the woody and natural musk lines amplified. Actually, pure orange blossom absolute is somewhat disturbingly dirty and much less citrus than you'd expect. Neroli, which is the steam distilled orange flower concentrate, if you want, captures the nice and shiny aspect of orange flowers. The absolute, which is an organic solvent based concentrate, captures the animalic, love potion side.

    Maybe, in a sense, orange blossom absolute is the "male jasmine". I turns on mating instincts and transforms the gentleman back to ape in about 30 seconds.

    OK, maybe a bit exaggerated. It takes 60 seconds.

    Like most flower extracts it is a middle, heart, note and doesn't last too long on skin. To fix it and to prevent it entering into foully territory is one of the challenges when working with this real stuff. And you need to hide the indole a bit. Please, do not ask me why you find jasmine absolute in the formula, too. I guess it is for the ladies...

  • Jo says

    Jo says: ".... the world is divided into those who love smoky scents, and those who really seriously don’t....."

    I guess I go for the smoky stuff. Can't get enough actually.

    Read Jo Fairley's review of a smoky scent (No 3 Lonestar Memories) here and follow her thoughts on how to divide the universe of perfumes. Love it!  And for those who do not really go for smoke: Here's a non smoky treat. A little cut-out of the Lonestar Memories cowboy picture. One day, one day... I need to make T-shirts with that guy printed on them.

    And please: do not forget to comment yesterday's post to join in the draw.

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