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Monthly Archives: February 2013

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  • on ideas and what we do with them

    On Monday afternoon, I wanted to write a post about design and that design is everywhere. And how it influences us and so on. I got sort of inspired by a quick picture that I took while waiting for the dentist in the dentist chair with the most spectacular view over one of Zurich's growth hot spots: Zürich West. Quite amazing how many new buildings were and still are being built there. Another perspective in the dentist chair was the box with the tools: It was time to get rid of the last wisdom tooth. Modern chemistry be praised: nowadays, tooth extractions come without pain. But still. Something's missing afterwards, and  teeth do not really come out easily, thanks to a ingenious natural design, extracting them comes with some damage. Anyhow. About design: Teeth are great stuff from a design point of view.

    The next day (yesterday), when I got an example of a nice design delivered, I was considering writing about international shipping logistics. The new Tauer box arrived yesterday, and it is a big, big, big pile of boxes that I needed to move from here (ramp) to there (tauerville stock room). And after moving all the boxes my fingers and arm did not really feel like writing a post anymore. On the other hand, I was watching more or less live how a shipment with FEDEX made it to the US, from pick up to delivery in 30 hours: amazing. Fedex really, really is organized, and following this shipment was almost like being there. Anyhow: The box is here, and I will talk about it in more details when the last pieces that go with it are delivered, too. There is no need to hurry, as we still have the old design box in stock and the transition from old to new will take some time. But the new scent, NOONTIDE petals is going to be packed in new only. But, as I have said before, it is not really important; it is only packaging. I mean....

    The last urge to post came yesterday night, after a serious jog in the still very cold and mostly icy-white woods, and after going through the snail mail envelops of yesterday. I got letters from the  " Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property". Now, these folks there, they are really amazing and super helpful. In the letter, I was told that the mark "L'air du désert marocain" is now, after a few forth and back, registered and published in Switzerland. Uff. And the other letter came from WIPO, the "World Intellectual Property Organization", telling me that the mark "SOTTO LA LUNA" is registered and published in the EU. Uff. Now, it is about time to come up  with design there.... The W.-factor thinks that all the money that I spend for protection is about as useful as throwing it out of the window (almost). But I insist: I have seen too many blunt copies of names and ideas. I remember an other niche perfumer (that  I meet rarely but very openly) being close to tears when she realized that one of her ideas were copied, for instance. No way with me!

    Thus, all tired from jogging, but fresh at the same time,  I took a little selfie: Maybe looking a bit skeptical (one word: Italy), but I feel smiling like a Hollywood star into every camera is not always the right thing to do. Thus, Andy looking into the future.

    I guess, the bottom line is simple. What the hey!  The future is out there, it comes with all its changes, whether we like it or not,  and I prefer to shape it, or at least try to.

  • jumpy

    today's picture going with the blog post would work lovely with a couple of thoughts that jump forth and back in my mind.

    It is a picture of a bag of chips that I took (the picture not the chips) in the local supermarket over the weekend. Regular chips, not the children size optimized chips that you would find towards the bottom of the shelf. I cannot help it, but I feel being treated like a baby and pampered and advised like a child. Listen to the weather news and start wondering why she talks in baby language to us, and why half an inch of rain is a drama. Detergents, cars, food, insurances: presented on TV seemingly to a round of brainless weirdos.

    In the world of perfumes I see  similar twisted revelations that seem to address a perfume lover with zero brain volume rather than a thoughtful consumer, too. Start reading the PR texts that are published by magazines, blogs and discussed in boards and immerse into silly flowers that don't exist and bath in most expensive perfumes made from the most expensive oils from Laos, and if you feel like it, you might even loose yourself in a daily reverie about the art of perfumery presenting itself in every second bottle or installations around the block. Exuberance beyond healthy limits.

    To be honest: When I have time, I love to read the perfume related PR, and it makes me smile, mostly. Most of the PR is so twisted.

    I could use the jumpy picture to reflect on the end of February, too. As Ms. weather fairy told us the other night: It is about time that the bad, bad, bad winter weather makes room for the nice, nice, nice spring sun. So I join in here: I am about ready to jump into spring. And with it will come yet another round of ritual desk cleaning in the coming days. Time to get rid of some NOONTIDE petals experimental work and get the real thing out. And while I am getting ready to jump into spring: Time to get autumn organized.

     

  • Illustrating NOONTIDE PETALS

    Yesterday, I got the NOONTIDE petals labels for the flacon. The label that will sit on the shoulder (picture coming next week) is a bright yellow, not too loud, but bright. I picked a comparable color for an illustration that I finished this morning, during my first creative Friday hours. You can see the result in today's post picture.

    I got the idea while filling the first batch of samples, in front of the Cintiq, and I did a rough sketch, completely immersed in aldehydes, flower petals and bright woods. In a sense, Noontide petals refers back in time, let's say a good 85 years back.  That's why I sat there with my samples and saw an art déco inspired illustration for this perfume. Kind of "UFA" aesthetics. You can get an idea here, on Google's image selection for the images search term [art deco].

    There is something very radiant there, in Noontide. It feels a bit like light inside the scent, getting reflected on soft flower petals that glare as bright spots on a glamorous stage. Noontide petals is all about the light. In a sense. You get the idea.

    a quick sketch of Noontide petals illustration while filling samples.

    But ultimately fascinates me is the fact that I was looking for an illustration for ages and had no idea. But the very moment I started filling those samples it was there. Strange how the mind works.

    I wish you all a lovely weekend with much sun and bright light.

  • das kleine Buch der grossen Parfums

    Tania Sanchez' and Luca Turin's "Little book of Perfumes" is translated into German and Pascal, the shop owner of Medieval art&vie brought me a copy. This shop is the bookshop where everything Tauer began; at least when it comes to perfumes that are sold.

    Funny: in German the title of the book is literally "the little book of big perfumes". You see: in German, the translators added a "big" (= gross). That's kind of interesting and OK with me. But I guess it tells us something about German versus English. And - on a side note- I just realized that actually, I should be writing this post in German.

    Anyhow: I got the book and I learned again how eloquent and thoughtful the two write about perfumes. And how interesting some of their sidetracks are. Like Luca Turin's starting note about "Beyond Paradise (by Estée Lauder): "Parfümerie wird nur dann zur Kunst, wenn sie der Natur etwas hinzufügt." (Perfumery becomes art only when it adds something to nature). Nothing really spectacular about this statement, but so true. Perfumery is about abstraction. And much more, of course. And Luca Turin continues further down " Women have no business smelling like flowers". Again: So true. And, to add two bytes from my side: Women have no business smelling like fruits either.

    I really love this book: besides the fact that L'air du désert marocain gets a lovely review, it is full with witty thoughts and notes on the side that make you smile and think. I wished I could write like the two of them, especially when talking about my own creations. Not  my job, maybe.  The other day, I was trying to explain to a perfume lover what NOONTIDE petals is about. I ended up with "roaring twenties". On a serious note: I will get the labels for the samples in a day or two. And at the latest by then, I should start writing about  NOONTIDE petals. Maybe I will do it differently than what I have done in the past.

    I guess I will have time to think about it today: Job today -among other things- filling sample vials with NOONTIDE petals.

     

  • on a brown green orchid and a printer that fits

    It is the time of the year again. One of my unknown orchid blooms in the living room. It always does shortly before spring brings back the colors outside. The flowers are actually pretty small (1 cm) and pretty dull on the first look: kind of green-brown. But if you look at their details, it is all there and they are stunning. And there are lots of them. They are lovely with one exception: the scent. They are like so many orchids completely scentless.

    Talking brownish things: The same mellow brown yellow color has my new /old printer. I mentioned it yesterday... we were searching for a Laser printer that can actually print on 240 gr/m2 paper, with a rough surface, on small cards that should not get stuck or not transported somewhere in the middle of the printer's intestines. It looks as if the newest machines are not really good in this as the way the paper is moved does not really allow small cards to be picked and transported. But, lucky, lucky, lucky us, there was a super trooper formerly high end printer that was hardly ever used, has now 8 years on its back and that used to belong to the Swiss Federal Bank where I was obviously not used to print money.

    These days all federal banks are printing money like crazy. And, as everywhere in life, things that come in masses loose their value. Anyhow: That's another topic.

    Bottom line: the printer is perfect. It really does the job better than expected. And cheap. And the toner, ah well! Consumables business is the real business these days-everywhere.

    I now need to wait another week or two until I can get it.  And then I print cards with allergy information and more, happily and on 240 gr./m2 paper that looks nice and decent. Exactly what I wanted. I guess that's worth a smile!

  • structural elements

    I picked today's picture of a leave, taken against the sun, shining through it and revealing its structure, because it is a wonderful example for nature's way of building the most complex structures with (seemingly) simple elements and repetition of these structural elements.

    In a sense, things at tauerville got pretty complex, too. And I aim at reducing complexity, making packaging and labeling simpler for me, using the same structural elements, for different scents.

    Thus, I will visit a printer sales and supporting company this afternoon.  In search of the perfect laser printer.  It is the last thing we actually have to get: somewhat heavy paper cards, special paper for an extra luxurious touch, and yet still printable by mr. t. and a yet to decide upon laser printer.

    These days, I have a couple of scents, with changing lot numbers, a couple of retailers with different needs, and changing legal terms that make it difficult to produce large production runs for box labels.

    Thus, I decided that I want to be able to print the box labels myself, on cards that are "branded" (= come with some design and logo). The idea is to gain flexibility and speed: To adjust to local markets, changing needs by my retailers, and to adjust easily to new products. In a sense, one should have box labels for every single market. And I want to be able to do small scale experimental scents, too. And I want costs to be minimal, while the look and feel must be maximally nice. My designer guru was nice enough to pick heavy paper for the cards that we will put on the backside of the metal box -there is room there and the cards will stick onto the back of the new tin box- and I was evaluating lasers that allow printing of 220 gr/m2 (not many) and finally came up with a HP. This afternoon will see us testing it.

    Wish us luck!

  • experiments and checks and balances

    Today's picture shows you a quick shot, modified and rendered dramatic, of an aluminum bottle, 250 ml, with absolute of jasmine in it. I used it yesterday, when (hallelujah! ) I found the time to work in my creative scent room and do a couple of experimental runs. This particular bottle contains the last milliliters of a jasmine absolute batch that I used earlier for production. Usually, I buy my jasmine in 250 gram portions, and the bottles go to my production stock. Production stock means: All bottles there are used for production. And then, after a while, when the bottle is (almost) emptied, the bottle and the last milliliters of absolute go towards my experimental stock: Most of these are in the "creative" room, there where I mix experiments, but not organized like you would imagine. It is basically just bottles everywhere.

    Thus, Friday, following my rule of trying to be creative on Fridays, I turned on the balance and started weighing some experiments in the afternoon, after spending a morning writing up ideas  in Excel. Ideas that were there since a while, but needed to find their form in Excel first.

    That was nice. Think "white flowers". One of the experiments was actually a dilution of a double check mixture of the SOTTO LA LUNA "gardenia". I want to be on the very safe side and mixed a control mix, version 8.1.1.beta, a while ago. You know: Just making sure that the formula is tight and really works and is reproducible. After thorough maturation, I made dilutions of it yesterday, and will allow them to mature again. But things look great there. This is the next big thing that will keep me busy after NOONTIDE petals.

    So.... I wish you a lovely weekend, and send rich indolic greetings.

     

  • lonestar mixing day

    It's Lonestar Memories mixing day!

    Mixing day means: I first have to sit together with my PC, creating a new sheet for a new lot of the scent, and checking in another sheet whether I have all that I need.

    Then I need to put all the raw materials together, getting them from the fridge(s) where I store the sensitive citrus oils and from the cellar where I store the rest. For Lonestar Memories, this means 31 bottles. Each raw material gets a line in my formula excel where I write down the batch number of the raw material. This is kind of important in order to trace everything that I do. You tell me what lot of Lonestar you have, and I can tell you what lot of rose absolute went into it.

    And then I put on my latex gloves, play dirty perfumer, and weigh, pour and mix, in a 12 liter aluminum can. This can goes then into the cellar to wait for a couple of weeks before dilution, called maturation, but the regular readers of this blog know this by now. The gloves: You would not believe how sticky some of the raw materials are. I definitely do not want to smell for the rest of the day/week of birchtar. As much as I like it!

    Anyhow, once all is mixed: then I clean up, wash everything and put everything back to its place; and am usually exhausted. Not because it's heavy work, but because of the mental concentration that is necessary and that falls off.

    And then I dream of lonestar cowboys.

  • sugar

    Fragrant greetings from the factory, where I am about to fill samples a gogo and wait for truck drivers picking up boxes. Today's picture shows you a photo that I took in a sugar museum: a happy couple, woman serving hot beverages and offering a piece of sugar to man who sits a bit stiff, according to our standards. It looks pre war to me (WWI). Back then, sugar was the big thing and unlike today rather expensive.

    Overall, this scene looks to me (us) exotic and a bit strange. It is about as far from my daily event horizon as is the life of a Masai couple in Kenia. For them, 110 years ago, all was perfectly normal and the way it should be, including his moustache and her dramatic hair.

    They were conditioned that way, and the brain was trained to expect exactly this

    Imagine how very differently we are conditioned today.And guess what: We are also conditioned to perfume. I have myy doubts that Ms unknown, serving sugar 110 years ago, would wear a maltol bomb of today, or the raspberry rose combo of rose vermeille ... or: well, maybe she would!

  • tulips again and books for a season

    Here's another tulip centric picture, somewhat optimized and polished for publishing. Since a week or so we get snow on a daily basis, mostly during the night, and it got sort of cold. It's the time where we miss colors and hence a nice colored spot coming from the Netherlands makes all the difference!

    As soon as I am done with this post, I will have to do some paper work (excel), and getting some shipments ready for tomorrow which ends up in paperwork, too. Or rather: computer work, as the papers are created online and printed afterwards. And, ironically, the more forms and information handling moves for you from physical paper to online input, the more papers you end up printing. The shift towards paperless offices really hasn't happened, yet. Anyhow: I am looking forward to printing shipping papers soon: Commercial invoices, packing list, producer information, TSCA forms, and other informative papers.

    When back in the factory for another labeling and bottling marathon, I will try to think about a statement I heard the other day from the head of a large book (printing) company. He said something like "while books used to be printed with centuries in mind, books are produced for a season these days. And a season is about half a year. " I heard this while running forth and back in the house, and did not really pay much attention. But the longer the more, I think about it. Or rather: I come to the conclusion that the same is true for perfumes. And now I wonder what this tells us about us. I would have a few ideas for the next season.

    Cheers from Zurich!

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