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Monthly Archives: October 2012

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  • I am in the book. And a draw

    (The draw is closed: Thank you to all of you who participated)!
    Many, many years ago, when I was young(er), with little money but a dream to discover the world, I was exploring India.  I still have the same dream to explore the world today, not tremendously more money, but a few more years on my back. Thus, today, I am travelling with suitcases. Back then, we actually travelled to India twice, 23 years ago, with a big back pack, a thin purse, and an Indrail pass that allowed us to take every train in the subcontinent and so we did. We travelled north and west and east and south. We have seen a lot and experienced even more. It was a time when there was no internet on the go, when you had to queue for a telefone, and when India was just about to get ready to make a jump, a big jump forward.

    And we had a book (no tripadvisor.com, booking.com or alike): The Lonely Planet guide to India. Feel free to call it the bible. Everything was in there, with hints and no-go's and does and don'ts.

    Towards the end of the first journey, we decided to settle for a few days on the coast of Goa and so we did. Arriving in a town, without a name in my memory, there was a former military guy who ran a hotel. We knew him before getting there, and all about the simple hotel and how nice it was said to be: Thanks to the bible. Getting out of our means of transport to Goa, we got catapulted into a sea of people offering everything from food to rikscha transport to whatever. There he stood. He was tall and like the statue of liberty he raised the India travel bible into the sun. "I am in the book", he said, and we knew where we would enjoy the Indian ocean for the next few days. That was 23 years ago. I wonder whether he still stands there.

    These days, I am in the book.

    The book is: LE SNOB. PERFUME. By Dariush Alavi, published in 2012 by Hardie Grant Books. Available right now on Amazon in the UK, a German translation on the German Amazon site, and soon in the US. (ISBN 978-174270468-5).

    I am in the book, got a page where I speak a few "words from the wise" (flattering, I know....), and got two reviews for scents originating from my perfumery kitchen. Thus, I won't discuss the many perfume reviews that you find in the book. They are nice, concise and a perfect starting point to explore the wonders of perfumes these days. In a time where we are offered many, many scents on a daily basis, this book indeed opens the door by offering a selection of fragrances that are worth looking into. Of course, not everything is in there. But it for sure is a great starting point, and the selection is a good read for the connaisseur of fragrances, too. The book fits into your jacket pocket (almost), comes in a cool color, with a neat ribbon, a nice print quality and LOVELY illustrations, mostly of flacons, by Tonwen Jones. I particularly love these flacon illustrations.

    I ordered the book (it is quite affordable) and got an extra copy, and wanted to make this draw with my extra copy. But Dariush had a better idea. He, the author of this lovely guide, will actually personally sign an English copy for the winner of this draw. This is quite special and my heartfelt thanks to Dariush Alavi for this.  Thus, the winner gets a signed copy. The book will ship from the UK and I wish you all good luck.

    What do you have to do: Leave a comment here on this blog and tell me what is, in your humble opinion, the nicest, coolest, most memorable or just most adorable perfume flacon. (my flacons excluded)

    If you do not have a particular flacon you like: Just say hello.

    I will pick a happy winner by using random.org. , by November 4, and inform you , the winner of the prize, by email. Thus, make sure that your email is correct. A privacy statement to end this post: I will not collect, use, nor forward your data. You will not be entered in any newsletter or alike. I will only use your email to contact you if you won. By submitting your comment, you allow me using your email for this and only for this purpose.

    Good luck and happy reading.

    (5. November 2012: The draw is closed. The happy winner will be contacted by email by me. Thank you to all of you who participated).

  • after the draw is before the draw

    First things first: The draw for 3x a full bottle from my range of scents is closed and I will contact the three winners (one lucky winner was from the comments on Brian Pera's blog on Evelyn Avenue) by email today.

    I was amazed and so happy to read your thoughtful, detailed, elaborate comments. Wow. Thank you! This means a lot to me.

    Thus, having finished that draw and continuing with our boring everyday life: Here's the announcement for the next draw. Tomorrow, if nothing goes wrong, I will do another draw and the prize will be something you cannot get in the shops, or better said: You can get it in shops, but not with this little extra.

    So....I hope I teased you enough to make sure that you all will come by tomorrow again and say hello.

    I will say hello to the factory now where piles of bottles wait for juice. See you tomorrow again!

    (today's picture is from about 2 weeks ago. Leaves and a tree in the woods in fall)

  • Luxepack

    So there we are again: Getting ready for the factory where I will work on bottles and handle boxes and more. Today, my bike ride towards the factory will be through winterland. We got about 15 cm snow on Sunday and it got quite cold for the season. The snow came early this year and I just hope that it will get out of my way as early in spring as it came in autumn. Snow comes with little fun factor for me in October, to be honest, and it seriously hampers biking and activities alike.

    Anyhow: I am back from Luxepack in Monaco. I think I never was in Monaco before. I tend to stay away from somewhat expensive places (Monaco is sort of expensive) and hence, it was nice to fill this gap. But: We stayed in Nice over night, and took the bus to Monaco. We needed to take the bus as the French trains were - like so very often- not running due to strike of (some of) the SNCF workers. No comment on this fact. Today's picture shows you Nice by night and in pouring rain.

    So Luxepack. Luxepack is about the best fair for packaging in cosmetics and perfumery there is. Luxepack sounds like you would only find the luxurious packaging solutions there, but this is not what Luxepack is all about. The fair covers it all. From the most simple paper bag, to the most expensive wooden lacquer box that you can think of, decorated with all sorts of blingbling things, like Swarovski glitters. Although, I feel, Swarovski is kind of from yesterday.  I wasn't really looking for the blingbling solutions, but I was looking for innovations in packaging, for labels, bottle labels, boxes, and caps. And I was there to talk to a couple of existing suppliers. I found a lot of potential suppliers, although, allow me this remark, I was amazed how some European companies had staff that was not interested in presenting their competencies, and how staff from some far east and US companies did all they could do to present their companies and portfolio. I feel there are a few European companies out there that have not realized yet that the world economy has gone global. One stand had the most amazing silk paper, it was a company with production in the US and in mainland China, and it was just amazing to see the quality of their print. Another stand of a company from Spain, had wonderful wooden caps, standard and according to your needs, in all sorts of woods and colors and of a quality that was outstanding. And then there were huge stands, where you could see the big names and their flacons, like Chanel, or Dior, and to be honest: I always get a little bit jealous as they can do it all, if they want, with their high numbers of bottles and boxes produced. But then, thinking about it, I usually realize that the small guys like me and others can do something else that them can't.

    What Luxepack proved to me, again, was the fact that it has become simpler and easier to enter the game. Low volume production (think 2-3000 bottles to start) or special editions have become quite easy to do. There is a shift happening with hurdles lowered. I guess the number of new brands and products making their appearance on the market these days is prove of this change. In a sense this is good. It brings diversity. In a sense, it is bad, as it has not become easier to make an outstanding fragrance.

    Luxepack was huge. Two days is just about enough time to see it all, and not to get completely exhausted.

  • Draw reminder and last chance

    This is the last and ultimate reminder that the draw is still open. Click here, enjoy the perfume spots, leave your comments (following the instructions, thanks!) and make sure to catch your chance to win one out of three perfumes, full bottle, from my entire range! Hurry up. The draw is about to end soon, October 29.

    Thank you for participating!

    I am back from Nice, where I saw this lovely decorated window of a sweets shop: Picture to the left. Sweets, and candied fruits à gogo. Hmmmmm! It made me think of Loretta. She would for sure be happy in there. ...Although I visited the LUXEPACK in Monaco, I wasn't really looking for the super luxurious packaging solution, but more for simplifications, for alternatives, and I was visiting to get in touch with exisiting suppliers. I feel this becomes very important, the longer the more, to have a network of partners and friends to collaborate with. At least for me. So I was there, and enjoyed Nice in the sun, and nice in pouring rain (think: POURING!) and I enjoyed Luxepack. Although: Two days at the fair, with rough travels in between due to the train strike, are sort of demanding. I need to tell you more about it. But first:
    You need to participate in the draw! And I have to unpack the suitcase and get a vague overview over the post and bills that dropped in the last few days!
    It is nice to be back and I wish you all a lovely weekend. Enjoy!

     

     

  • back from LA

    I guess I have used today's blog title a couple of times the last few years. I am back from LA, since yesterday morning. Yeah. It sure was a great week, and I come back fully (re) energized and a hundred ideas that I collected while hiking up and down the hills in Joshua Tree National Park, or while just being there. From time to time it is important to be, and not do.

    So I was in a to be mode for a while, and thought about a lot of things that happened to me the last few months in one way or another. Although I run this company, the scent selling enterprise Tauer Perfumes -and yeah: It is still pretty much a one man show!-  I consider myself sometimes and the longer the more a guy who creates than a guy who sells. I guess leaving from time to time for a few days allows me to keep this delicate balance: The constant dance on the needle's tip, trying to get a living out of what I do by offering my creations in an industry that runs havoc, and creating whatever comes through my mind.

    So I am back in Zurich, missing the bright light of southern California, and getting back to normal: Filling bottles (Vetiver dance today), shipping orders, and getting ready for the next adventure. As this dance on the needle's tip makes me think not only about new forms, inspirations and shapes and colors of scents, but also about how to offer my bottled creations optimally, we will do some more packaging loops. It is like an artist who lives by selling his illustrations: At some point it makes a difference in which gallery and how you present your paintings  Thus, after a few days with a lot of time to get inspired in the dry crisp and bright desert air of Joshua Tree, after meeting friends and perfume lovers at Luckyscent's scentbar, and coming up with ideas for the next year and Tableau de Parfums with Brian Pera in Los Angeles, I will hop into another airplane tomorrow, and head for Luxepack in Monaco. THE packaging fair for luxury items such as perfumes.

    So I had a few days to come up with new fragrant ideas and I am looking forward to sharing these with you. And I had a wonderful scent gathering at the Scentbar, where I presented LORETTA  ,the latest offering of Tableau de Parfums (by the way: A great new location! You can do a virtual tour here. Check it out!), and LYS DU DÉSERT, my contribution to Luckyscent's 10 year anniversary. I am looking forward to talking about this scent that I created specifically for Luckyscent, that is exclusively available there, and that was a secret project for more than a year now.

    FINALLY, I can talk about it. Uff!

    I guess I will do so in the coming day(s) and will do a draw for it. So stay tuned. And in case you have not participated yet: Do not miss your chance (three winners will be picked!) to win a full bottle of my range and to watch Brian Pera's perfume spot on my blog: Click here to get to the post.

    But first things first: Packing perfumes and a suitcase for Monaco. Let's go!

  • Loretta: Thoughts on the First Year and a Draw

    October 29 2012. This draw is closed. Winners will be informed October 30 2012. A warm thank you to all of you who commented and shared!
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    As there were some technical issues on Evelyn Avenue's blog page related to the draw there: We continue this draw with an extended deadline here while the problem on Evelyn Avenue is being resolved. All comments on the Evelyn Avenue blog page for the draw will automatically participate, so if you have already commented there, no need to do so again here: you are already entered into the draw.

    If you have not participated yet: please leave a comment here, following the instructions further down, and enjoy the perfume spots.

    We thank you for your comment and wish you good luck.

    The following text is from my collaborator in Tableau de Parfums, Brian Pera, reflecting on the last year of Tableau - our intentions, our frustrations and hopes as perfume lovers and creators. I thank him very much for his insightful remarks on perfume and film and beyond:

    Most cynics are really crushed romantics: They’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive  -Jeff Bridges

    It’s easy to understand how anyone who loves perfume might be truly cynical at this point. There are more perfumes released each year than ever, and whereas in the past one could safely mark a line of division between niche/indie and mainstream perfumery and the sales tactics they employed, increasingly even niche and indie lines have started to market their fragrances with big, bold and piercingly loud bells and whistles. This would be fine, if the majority of these fragrances were as inventive as their marketing and buzz. More often, they aren’t. Worse, maybe, is the overall lack of regard for the preservation of classics people have grown to love. The commitment to the consumer of fragrance is pretty tenuous at this point, though the advertising says otherwise. Consumers know this, and respond with distrust. This makes things very difficult for those who want to create perfumes that don’t shortchange their wearers.

    A year or so ago, Andy Tauer and I started a perfume line called Tableau de Parfums. We were excited about creating links between our creative fields; perfumery in Andy’s case, filmmaking in mine. We wanted to see what happens when the brief for a perfume isn’t a lofty, overblown paragraph of purple prose but something more complex, the world of a film. We wanted to see how a perfume might influence a film, as well. How would that work? What might happen if a filmmaker and a perfumer engaged in an ongoing conversation about their work and interests? We weren’t interested very much in creating perfumes which represented the characters in these movies, but something more complex; we wanted to use the films and characters as springboards thematically and philosophically. We’ve seen the perfumes in the same way.

    The name of the film series these Tableau fragrances relate to is WOMAN’S PICTURE, and the stories in the series explore many things we’re interested in: through the stories and perfumes we remember some of the women in our lives and families, explore how perfume influences and infects memory, and in some way try to determine what a perfume is saying when it speaks to us. What does sadness and regret mean in a fragrance and a film? How is it expressed? What brings happiness, bittersweet or joyful? When you watch a film, or you smell a perfume, how is it speaking to you, and how is it that what one person hears or sees or smells is so different than the next? In developing the fragrance for MIRIAM, the first short in the series, Andy and I asked ourselves what the story was about. MIRIAM dealt with loss and the simultaneously ephemeral and durable nature of memory and our connections with other people. The corresponding fragrance, also called Miriam, was less about the title character played by Ann Magnuson than it was an exploration of how the past influences the present. The resulting fragrance, launched last year, looked at the past from the present, revisiting older perfumes from a distinctly modern point of view.  I suppose we were interested in how those two perspectives, past and present, might intertwine or interfere with each other, and what’s changed in the time between them.

    Tableau has no marketing team, no PR division, no bells and whistles department on staff. We’re an army of two. In packaging the films and perfumes together, Andy and I spend a lot of time experimenting and communicating what we might do, and what we maybe shouldn’t. For both of us, it was essential from the beginning, in an industry which often shortchanges its customer by presenting mediocrity as innovation, to make the presentation of these fragrances with as much integrity and ingenuity as possible. We wanted them to be gifts in every possible way for those who engaged with them. We take both sides of the collaboration seriously, and it’s been essential to us that they speak to each other. We package each perfume with its corresponding short film, both of which we regard, in this case, as forms of portraiture. We’re interested in what other people think these fragrances are saying, how they might be speaking to them.

    It’s ironic but probably inevitable that one of the primary challenges in our collaboration has been the now nearly-chronic cynicism of the perfume lover. It’s particularly challenging because, as perfume lovers ourselves, we understand, and empathize with, that cynicism first hand. It’s inevitable, for instance, that some people will regard the films as promotional tools for the perfumes, sort of glorified advertisements. We never intended for the films to be advertisements, nor did we intend that the people who buy these fragrances should see these characters – and nothing else – in them. What we hoped, I think, was that in putting as much quality and imagination and care into the perfumes and films as we possibly could we would demonstrate the purity of our exercise. We never kidded ourselves about this: We knew it was a tall order in the present cultural climate. We also felt strongly that it was worth giving it a shot.

    Having experienced this prevailing cynicism ourselves, we wanted to slow things down. So much is thrown out into the marketplace. All the bells and whistles shoot out first. Then it all dies down very quickly. Perfume hasn’t worked that way for either of us; nor for most of the people we know who love it as much as we do. Perfumes stay with you, and accrue meaning methodically over the course of time. We wanted to learn as we moved forward, to try as best we could to listen in between each fragrance – not just to what others were telling us but what we were trying to tell ourselves.

    We’re excited about the release of Loretta, the next step in our creative learning process – excited to hear what people have to say about the scent and its related story. Where Miriam dealt with history and relationships to the past, Loretta is a meditation on very different themes: sexuality, a tension between experience and innocence, what darkness means when coupled with naivete, and much more – for us, at least. The story is a complicated one, and quite different from Miriam. Together, these stories, all so different from one another, speak to the complexity not just of perfume but of relationships and people themselves. We hope that in ten years, this body of work will constitute a testament to the complicated depths of film and fragrance.

    We know that much has to be proven at this point to the discerning lover of fragrance. We don’t expect to do that overnight. We’ve watched others try to do that, and seen what happens the morning after. Trust takes time to build, and we’ve committed ourselves to that process. We know two people won’t turn anything around, won’t halt or reverse the prevailing trends of expediency and built-in obsolescence in the fragrance industry, but just as one good, honest fragrance can make a profound difference – reminding its wearer of all the wonderful things that brought him or her to fragrance in the first place, re-igniting some lost romance – we persist, slowly but surely, hoping to make exceptions of ourselves. With Loretta, we hope to put one more nail in the coffin of cynicism, which we believe, all things considered, has no place in the fragrance imagination.

    The Drawing: Three winners will be randomly selected from those who comment on this post. To be eligible, we ask that you answer the following: Which of the three perfume spots for Loretta do you prefer, and why; as well as what makes you cynical about fragrance at this point, and what seems like cause for optimism? Winners will be announced on Monday, October 29 and will receive a full bottle of fragrance from the extended Tauer line, including Tableau de Parfums, a DVD of the first three Woman’s Picture portraits (including INGRID, which will be released next Fall), and a vintage-inspired poster for Loretta. During the course of this draw, we are offering a free viewing of MIRIAM, LORETTA, and INGRID, the Woman’s Picture films which inspired the Tableau fragrances (below).

    DRAW IS CLOSED (October 29 2012)
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    This draw is closed now. The winners will be informed by email October 30. Congratulations to the winners and please stay tuned for more... .

  • perfume spots and a draw

    Fragrant greetings from 29 Palms!

    This post brings you a draw and three short perfume spots, created by Brian Pera, highly talented indie film maker from Memphis, father of Tableau de Parfums and a really smart writer. The draw happens on Evelyn Avenue's blog, and by clicking here you get there.

    There, three winners will be picked by Brian October 22. You can win a fragrance from my line of scents (including Tableau de Parfums) by watching the short films , -perfume spots-, commenting there and picking your favorite spot. All these three spots are mirroring Loretta, in a sense it is like the scent is reflected in the lense of the camera of the movie maker who created the underlining film Woman's Picture. Fun, and interesting!

     

    I turned off commenting here, not because I do not like your comments, but just to make sure that there is no misunderstanding where to comment.

     

    After 2 days here, in 29 Palsm, I will head for LA and our scent gathering Friday, October 19th, at the Luckycent Scentbar. See you there!

     

    And now: Enjoy the perfume spots and good luck in the draw!

  • on and off

    Tomorrow, I will hopp into my plane, flying west again. I did so many the last 12 months miles that I got into some sort of "you fly so often, you can get in the plane first" programme which is nice. So I will get into the plane fast, but the flight won't be faster, and I have not reached champagne status yet....

    The next few days will see me thinking in a peaceful environment, drawing and sketching and writing some things up. After the last few weeks with a lot of work: I am looking forward to this mini break. And to meeting perfume lovers in LA, October 19th at the Luckyscent scent bar, in the afternoon. I will see you there. Or here, in about a week's time.

    Fragrant greetings from behind the suitcase that gets always heavier than I think it should.

  • flowers under the moon

    It is quite busy here. I need to get a lot of stuff done before I can leave over the weekend for LA.

    So, I will keep this post short and tidy. One of the few things that I did that are truly interesting for me, as it is like driving a nail into something that was fluffy and optional so far: I registered SOTTO LA LUNA in Switzerland, and will use this registration to apply for protection in other countries.

    So this is sort of good. What made me register and protect the idea: The gardenia scent is finished and those few who sniffed it gave it a thumbs up. And I am optimistic that other (white) flowers will follow. And second, I realized that I really love the idea. Flowers in moonshine. White flowers. I think it is a great idea. What was an idea only at first, gardenia trials later, this has morphed into an invoice flying in soon, more flowers in excel to come, and overall it is just incredibly exciting.

    Timeline. Think "2013". I guess, that's about a year from now.

    And with this and a little sketch of a ideal white flower bud, I go back to the factory and do my stuff that needs to get done.

     

     

     

  • like photoshop layers

    So you see: another Fall related picture today. Colorful October leaves. Right now, it would be difficult to come up with the same picture, as it pours. It does so since hours, and although I am blessed with GoreTex layered trousers and shoes and jackets and more: It does not feel like the right weather to hopp onto the bike and ride to the little two room tauerville factory. So I sit here, wait for the ethanol getting delivered (it comes by truck and is scheduled for now), optimize the picture of today's post with photoshop and answer interview questions and think about text about me.

    Photoshop is nice. You can do everything, almost. And once you do photoshop pictures yourself, you stop trusting every picture that you see. In photoshop you work with layers: it is a bit like filters. You can for instance put a contrast layer on top of a picture that is a bit dull and thus, you get a higher contrast. You can put layer over layer and optimize colors, sharpness, brightness and more. A normal picture with reddish leaves turns into a magnificent unearthly allegory of autumn.

    In perfumes, you can do comparable: Adding a layer that reaches out and in, through the entire development of a fragrance. This layer comes with an "optimizing" effect.  One of the well known molecules that you can use to add a layer is iso E Super. Many hate it, because they associate it with a particular type of perfumery (I think), some know its scent from the single molecule series, iso E super is No. 01, but mostly it is actually there, in the fragrance, where you do not really smell it but where it acts like a layer in photoshop.

    It adds lift, and it soften all notes, and it brings out contrasts and optimizes a fragrance in quite a spectacular way. In a sense it is present by its effect, and less by its scent. It is not by chance that you find iso E Super in so many scents these days. Actually, the analogy to a photoshop layer is not so bad.

    Aldehydes have a comparable effect, but are more present with their specific bright smell, their tonality. And they last a touch less than an iso E super layer that last throughout a fragrance. I haven't used many aldehydes, for sure not as a really important, dominant and present, note, in any of my scents before Miriam, the first fragrance from the Tableau de Parfums series. For Miriam, I reached out for the aldehydes, as I wanted to refer to vintage fragrances, heady aldehydic vintage fragrances of the thirties. Whenever I saw the movie Miriam, with Ann Magnuson in her life that falls apart, I felt a bit sad, with a bright note on top, a bright note of life moving on, of new doors opening. For me, matching notes in Miriam were violett leaves, aldehydes, a bit of anisic fennel (think "bitter sweet memories"), roses, and a violet flower, promise of spring.

    As always: Notes and ingredients are only one part of a fragrant picture. I find perfumes difficult to explain by looking at ingredients, and I think others are much better in explaining scents and notes,and still: Notes are relevant, also for me, when I think about a scent, I think in notes, too (besides patterns and shape, light , color, and texture). If you are interested in an outside view of Miriam,  you find it here, for instance, on the smellythoughts-blog. I loved this review and was puzzled by how well it described some patterns.

    And if you are interested in a some details on fennel: Here is a nice piece on fennel on Fragrantica, writen by Naheed Shoukat Ali, with an extra by myself. Enjoy!

     

     

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