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Monthly Archives: April 2014

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  • nothing better than planting tomato in end April rain

    Here, a couple of low pressure zones pass through and over Zurich. Grey, even more grey, wet and pretty chilly again. Brrr...

    There is nothing more cheerful theses days than planting tomato plants. Today's picture shows you what and how I try it this year: We have a lot of 25 liter empty ethanol cans. I get my ethanol delivered in these cans, tinplate cans.

    I cut the top off, bent the rim and use them as pots for tomatoes. In the end, after a season, we will have to recycle them in the metal recycling  container (as we do anyhow). By the end of the season, they will be too rusty to be used again, I'd guess, but for a season they should do fine.

    I love the plants in the silver cans, love tomatoes in summer, and I love to plant tomato plants on cold rainy days in spring: The perspective changes, and the mind wanders towards summer. I imagine how the plants get bigger and bigger, start blooming, getting fruits, all the way into October. Planting tomato is an antidepressant.

    Next: I am considering doing the same with Zucchini.

    The same is true for creating (perfumes for instance), building a company, sowing the seeds of ideas that might grow over the years, provided the sun comes out, from time to time.

     

     

  • EBITDA, or I sold my first picture or bookkeeping discussions

    Today's illustration shows you me, blinking into the sun.

    I started working on it April 18, after I took a quick photo with my phone in the morning, blinking into the sun. I used my digital drawing board starting with a 2 pixel pencil doing the contours and major areas and picked colors together with a larger brush afterwards. The colors just felt right. The captured moment, me looking into the sun, felt precious and full of joy, and for that I love the illustration:  I brings this moment back, to me. Here on the blog, the illustration comes with just 300 pixel width, in "reality" it is larger.

    I did and do most illustrations for myself. "creativity and creation for whom" might be tomorrow's blog post topic, too. If I say "most" illustrations: Here's the breach: I sold my first picture!

    Actually, it sold in Pascal's shop Medieval art &vie. There, in this shop, about 9 years ago, I sold my first fragrance. It was Pascal's idea, back then and still is true these days: "Why not sell it?"

    Here are two reasons why to sell creations (perfumes, pictures, marmelade):

    1) It makes money flow your way. Ha!

    2) It is the ultimate accolade for your creation and yourself as creator.

    Talk to creative folks and you will hear, quite often, phrases like "If they don't get it, and don't buy, then forget them." , which makes sense, as otherwise we would all still do our cavern drawings. On the other hand, if folks don't buy, it can be an invitation to think about why they don't.

    So I have sold this picture, and learned a lot. The picture was cool, I already miss it: a scanned red cabbage, photoshopped, printed on plexiglass, 20x30 cm. The place where it sold: not your average picture shop. Promotion: Not existing. Price: Well,well...  So there you go: The 4 P's, Picture, Place, Promotion, Price (kidding: It should say "Product", not "Picture"). Interested in McCarthy's 4 Ps? Here's the link to wikipedia. It is worth thinking in these terms from time to time. I guess I will have to come back to it again. Anyhow: I sold my first picture.

    And you know what: It made me so happy. When I learned about this fact, I had to call Pascal. All excited. It was exactly the same 9.5 years ago, when Pascal sold the first Le Maroc pour elle. Pure excitement.

    And the money for the picture: It went right onto the tauer perfumes sales account, which -actually- was a mistake as it does not belong there, but should be on another bank account. But then: Bookkeeping discussions are complicated already. Let's not add another dimension there. Here's an excerpt  from the discussion on Sunday morning with bookkeeping (I am so blessed: I have the best bookkeeper ever):

    Bookkeeper: Hey, great news:  you earned so and so much money so far in 2014!

    Andy: What do you mean?

    Bookkeeper: You are writing black figures...

    Andy: What's my EBITDA looking like?

    Bookkeeper: What?

    Andy: Earnings before interest and taxes, depreciation and amortisation.

    Bookkeeper:  hmmm...

    Andy: EBITDA, really, tells you a lot about our current operational profitability.

    Bookkeeper: you are such a bluffer!

    Andy: True! And now, I want to buy more bottles!

    Bookkeeping: Forget it!

     

     

  • waiting for the oregano to root

    today's picture: a very, very quick sketch of a couple of oregano sitting in a glass, left from a bunch of oregano stalks that I bought the other day for a pizza. I leave them in a glass of water, hoping that they will root. Sometimes, they do.

    If they do: Oregano, fresh from the balcony, all summer long!  If they don't: Ah well, then I will just get a little plant and pay for it. But getting them to root is much more fun! I find it almost amazing how fast -in summer- you end up with a big plant, from a little stem and a little white root sprouting out. With every leave more there comes another root more, and another leave and so on. Social media, or us talking, sort of works the same way. Once an idea roots, it might grow, faster than you'd think, and soon a little idea got bigger and bigger and the bigger it gets the faster it gets bigger.

    But then, in a couple of months from now, there will be autumn and the oregano will die, especially if it is going to be a rough winter and if I do not take action to protect it. The same is true for social media, or us talking about something: We get bored and move on.

    The other day, I got super bored, on a platform, where I read an article about a new brand. The new brand (good luck to you! ) does not matter here and I try not to talk about other brave ventures on my blog. That would not be fair. And I do not want to talk about THIS particular platform.  You find similar articles on other sites, too. What I found disastrous was the writer's language,  and the missing reflection about the topic, being a new niche brand: It was a miserable piece of writing, like: really miserable, so over the top, so off, it was praising standard flacons -and other quite solid and standard approaches- as the ultimate in style and authenticity. The article continued to serve all clichés, like: Really ALL  of them. From artisanal, Grasse, concept, poetry, exceptional quality of raw materials, master perfumers, emotions, .... you name it.

    It was a pathetic blurb,  a summary of keywords of what we get everyday these days, like an assembly of metadata, perfume metadata. But then, I looked again, printed it out. I feel that there, within these lines, there is the truth about the industry, and the reason why niche dies faster than you'd think.

    When I came back from this particular article's metadata overkill, I said to myself: I really, really need to focus more again on myself, and my forces, and rely less on third parties. Some of them burn themselves, like the objects that they circle, faster than you'd think. Per fumum...

    OK, here's the ultimate truth about my oregano twist and its rooting: being a chemist, and a believer in the power of molecules, I got myself rooting hormone, (4-indol-3-yl-butyric acid) a while ago. Add a bit to the freshly cut stem and it sure helps. The same is true with ideas that need too root. A rooting hormone helps.

    The next few days this week see me in the "factory" a lot:  I need to stock up after a crazy week where we "stocked down". I will also have to prepare for end May's events. More about this later.

    And yes, I will think about rooting hormone analogs for my perfume venture. ....

    Fragrant greetings and a nice start into your week. Next post on this blog: Ebitda.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Lemon tree is out again

    Don't forget: The post Easter draw is soon over. Tomorrow, I will pick winners. If you haven't: Make sure to leave a comment there (click here).

    Yesterday, I put the lemon tree out again; out of the house, into the wild, with lots of sunshine and fresh air, and bees. It is a small tree, still, but gave us 5 lemons so far, which I find spectacular for Zurich. Right now, it is blooming again, and carrying it out of the basement was like carrying an opened bottle of neroli oil, with a whiff of bathroom, sort of. When visiting the perfumery perfumeshoppe in Scottsdale, meeting lovely Rebecca, and discussing jasmine, among other things, I said something like " you know: Jasmine blooms in the night and attracts flies. And you know: Flies don't go for clean nice flower scents. They are more fascinated by body fecal odors....". This, of course,was on the side, and it is -in front of clients in search of a beautiful scent, a no-go.

    Maybe better say: jasmine fascinates by how it hides its animalic vulgarity beneath an innocent white veil of sweet floral delicacy. Something like that.

    The same is true for lemon and other citrus flowers. I love them all. And, also fascinating: Citrus trees are really the source of more than just one essential oil. Imagine: One tree gives you: petit grain (extract from the leaves), essential oil from the zest of its fruits (like lime or bergamot oil), the flower absolute which concentrates the animalic vulgarity, and the neroli oil which is steam distilled blossom oil, super expensive and heaven on earth.

    Neroli is part of every classical cologne, like we use it since 200 years. Neroli is fresh, floral, and pure. It is a heart note but not really very long lasting. With its clean touch it is also perfect in men's fragrances. Of course, not in your average industry fragrance boredom outlet these days, neroli is just to expensive for that. I used neroli oil in my all natural/botanical cologne, and in Zeta-a linden blossom theme, together with lots of bergamot, lemon and orange oil, and orange absolute building like a cologne kick-off for the rose-linden combo. Sounds a bit like reading the McDonalds menu. Sorry. Describing perfumes is really tricky, especially when you composed them. Better to just say: Fresh and heaven on earth.

    so... the lemon tree is out of the house again, and attracts Zurich flies, and Andy Tauer.

    Today's illustration, reduced in size for the blog: Lemon tree blossom, in Zurich, 2014, ©tauer

  • Happy bunny post Easter draw

    (remark April 26 2014: This draw is closed. See below for the winners)

    I hope you all had a wonderful Easter break.

    Today's picture: A happy Easter bunny hopping into fragrant land...

    Now that the Easter bunny is happy again as its job is done and it can relax for a while: Here's the annual "Happy rabbit post Easter draw". Just leave a comment on this post (anything goes) and a valid email (allowing me to reach out to you if you win)  and you're in.

    You can win: 5 sample sets, your choice of 5 samples, in our tin box, 1.5 ml each, spray glass vials. And one winner gets an Explorer Set, 3 x 15 ml travel size spray vials, shipped in a tin box, through Fedex. Both are shipped from Zurich, Switzerland.

    For me, this year, Easter was quite busy, seeing me in the "factory" a bit. Factory, by the way, is not what you would think, really. It is two rooms. One for stock, one for  packing and getting shipments ready, and filling bottles. You know: Tauer Perfumes is basically "Andy" and every product that you get from my site or my business  partners  has gone through my hands.

    But Easter was also quite busy with fun stuff. I painted a lot. Including another self portrait that I love and consider publishing later. You know: Publishing self portraits is not comparable to putting a selfie up there. It is comparable to publishing a fragrance, launching it and presenting it to the world.Both are very much like making a statement about oneself.

    In this context: This is one of many differences when it comes to Tauer Perfumes. I create all my fragrances myself. And this is a big difference, this is all the difference: I am not GIVEN the freedom to create what fits into somebody's brands. I TAKE the freedom to create fragrances exactly how I want them. For myself first. And later for the world.

    Freedom is never something you are given. You have to take your freedom.

    Easter, like every year, is also a breaking point for me. It is the time of the year when I start actively planning for autumn: My appearance at the Florence fragrance fair, trips to talk about fragrances and perfumery in other parts of the world, sharing my passion, and trying to communicate that the world of perfumes is bigger than what you find in a duty free.

    This year, my post Easter time will see me prepare for the first fragrance from the Sotto la Luna line: Gardenia. Believe it or not: Autumn is around the corner.

    Until then: a happy and peaceful spring to you all! And good luck in the draw....

    A note on privacy:
    As always, I will pick the winners using random.org and will not use your data for anything else than contacting you if you won or shipping you what you won.
    This draw is open until the end of this week. The comment section will be closed when the draw is over. We will communicate the winners here on this post, using their name given in their comment.

    This draw is closed. The winners of a discovery set:
    Lisa Wordbird
    Lulu
    Kay
    Datura5750
    MattM

    Explorer Set winner:
    Phyto

  • Schlamassel can be said with a smile on the lips

    This morning, I was checking a word for its origins as I was not 100% sure, but pretty sure that "Schlamassel" is actually a German word of Hebrew origin. Right I was. I think, in English, however, it does not exist, contrary to "Massel" (En: mazzel, mazeltov). I love Schlamassel as word. Being in Schlamassel means being really in troubles, being in a mess. In my ears, there are tonalities to Schlamassel, too. For me, there is a tonality of self imposed troubles, there is a tonality of things that are very serious but still not about life and death.

    Schlamassel.

    Can be anything. Like the Japanese/Greek/Italian, (continue the list here _ _ _ )  depth troubles. Like Switzerland after a vote where a majority votes in a way that brings us into a Schlamassel. Or the Euro Schlamassel. Or the post financial crisis Schlamassel in the US. Or the niche perfume industry Schlamassel.

    Or my little Schlamassels when it comes to suppliers these days. My Schlamassel solution: Wherever I can... build a second supplier. Just to be sure. But I do not want to complain in this post. I just happen to love this word. Also because you can say it with a smile on your lips.

    Schlamassel.

    I guess in one way or the other, we are all a bit in a Schlamassel. At least from time to time. And from time to time, we have all have Massel.

    Here's to your day with lots of Massel! Mine started great, with the sun shining into the kitchen, where I am baking a pie for later today.

    Today's picture: a shot from the factory, where we are filling flacons like crazy. No Schlamassel there!

  • The full picture

    There we go... today's picture, shrinked to 300 pixels width for the blog from an A4 sized canvas (digital canvas, at 300 dpi), shows you another auto portrait.

    I got the question a couple of times ago: When I draw digitally, I do not start with a photo on which I paint on top. But I start with an empty canvas and start painting on the growing numbers of layers. What is nice about painting digitally: You can add a new layer and test ideas, and if you do not like them, you get rid of the layers and start again, without having destroyed what you did before. I wish sometimes it was like that when composing perfumes.

    The disadvantage of course: It is tempting, very tempting indeed, not to work seriously and not to reflect about what you are doing as it does not matter, really.

    When I compose fragrances, I do not check really what I did in previous fragrances, and what was successful and what not. this would be a futile venture. Thus, a couple of scents are quite different, one from the other. On the other hand, looking at some scents, I can see some sort of a ladder, how the creative path goes up (and down), following preferences developing, new ingredients that become part of the palette. For me, the fun when creating scents is coming up with new fragrances, that are new in my range of scents. I just love to move on. And I guess I am very lucky that my perfume loving friends moved with me, too.

    Shocking as it might be: A formula that I stopped working on is  forgotten  pretty soon (in the sense that I do not remember details anymore) and this allows me to start on a new layer, basically.

    Be it: This week is so busy that I do not have a lot of time to talk or paint, really. I have my nieces working in the factory, a bit, and need to prepare for their helpful presence.

    But if you have time: I have a video on youtube for you, about me (of course, sorry for always being so self focused here :-) ....). Geurenland. 17 minutes about Andy Tauer. How cool's that?

    Before you watch it. A few minor corrections: I was never married. If I was, then I have successfully deleted this memory.

    And I was not born and raised in Kansas, USA  (but Kaiserstuhl, Switzerland, which sounds similar, I guess). Here's the link to the youtube video by Geurenland.

    Have a great day!

  • hand nose coordination

    when drawing an object that sits in front of you, you need a special kind of hand-eye coordination. Besides learning (again) how to see properly, I think this coordination is something that needs training, to some extend. And to some extend, I guess, you just have it, like a gift.

    In my eye, when painting an object, it is critical however that you leave room for another dimension besides the 2,3 dimensions that you try to coordinate between your hand and eyes. Let's call this dimension the imaginary coordinate system. Painting is therefore a wonderful exercise, as it does not only teaches us to see the world with open eyes, and a focused eye, looking at an object for an extended time, but it teaches us also a lot about ourselves, and how we experience the world.

    I often say, creating perfumes is like painting, whereby you paint a fragrant object that develops in front of the observer's nose over time. This comparison seems the longer the more inadequate.

    For once, a fragrance is an object that develops once you set it free, and vanishes finally. It is like a painting would start flowing off the canvas once you hang it up your wall and disappears after a few hours.

    And from the perspective of the creator, hand-nose coordination is not comparable to hand-eye coordination. It is as if you would have to learn to paint and coordinate your hand again for every color that you use....

    A funny note on the side: what photo taking is in the world of objects is head space perfumery in the world of scents. A flower's head space analysis is like a digital image instruction pixel by pixel, and depending on the details (resolution) you get a vague idea or a complete high resolution flower scent.

    Interesting... also interesting and insightful: How many perfume lovers have sign the petition on Parfumo.de, and where they might be from. It is a well written petition, addressing the EU commission and upcoming changes of the EU cosmetics regulation. Here is the link: http://www.parfumo.net/petition/petition.html 

    I only see the total number of petitions submitted (900 per today) and the most recent submitters` nationality. A lot are actually non European submissions.

    I find it interesting, as the EU is a 500+Mio inhabitants region, that so far only a few hundred perfume lovers could be motivated to sign.

    To give you an idea: on parfumo.de, there are 42945 fragrances from 3540 brands uploaded in the database. I learned this a while ago: The number of perfume lovers who actually care for what has changed (changed formulas for instance) and what continues to change is smaller than you would think. My five scents...The same is true for a couple of other aspects when it comes to perfumes.

    Time to proof me wrong.

     

  • today's picture shows you the view from the motel where I usually stay in 29 Palms: the Harmony Motel. It faces the hills that overlook 29 Palms. I love sitting there, on the porch, and watching the hills turning on their lights in the evening, changing colors from bright greyish brown to dark red. I tried to capture one of these moments of changing lights, the first hints of orange on the hills, the shadows starting to carve out the contours.

    I love how the water colors work there and bring in another dimension.

    detail of water color painting detail of water color painting

    My day today will be less creative than usual, for a Friday: I have work to get done in the factory. Next week, I will get help, and need to prepare a couple of things for these additional hands (family, kids). But there is one thing that I will do, for sure: dilute a trial that I did before leaving, a while ago. Like the water colors above, flowing out of control, and yet being guided by the painter at the same time, the trial just happened, sort of floating up in Excel. Coming back to my thinking about vanilla, I ended up with three bases that exploit three circles around vanilla: Bourbon spices, bourbon geranium, and a rough base that is a Bourbon dark patchouli tobacco combo. You get the idea?

    The geranium lifts, the tobacco patchouli combo adds dark lines and the spices with a dash rose oil hold things together. I am pretty far off there from my original ideas, but who cares?

    It is a game. Fun time, play time.

    And if I learned a lesson then it is this: not everything that cooks in my lab needs to get onto the table. At least not tomorrow. Actually, in other fields, it's like that , too. Painters do not sell all the things they paint. Many of them at least. so... that's a relief in a sense. No worries there. Anyhow, time to get into the factory. Today's job: Air du désert marocain, filling bottles. What else?

  • back in town

    Fragrant greetings from Zurich, where I landed safely and where work waited for me. After a couple of days off and out of the stream it actually feels great to be back and have a mission. I show a few pictures in a second,  from my trip that was half business half tourism: a fact that is hard to explain to an  US immigration officer.

    Actually, I am falling probably into some sort of pattern, and the questions that I have to answer get more and more and more complicated when immigrating to the US. I am always honest when answering the immigration officer's questions. This time, I had to answer for a while the whereabouts of tauer perfumes llc. And how I do business and why I come so often. Ah well. I guess my travel pattern is just odd.

    The first picture shows you a pine branch, seen in "Pine City" in Joshua Tree NP. These pines are actually pretty, fragrant and found in higher, protected, altitudes in JT NP. They are the reasons for the strong amber note in my fragrance "Lys du désert", my contribution and gift to the Luckyscent decennial series, that you can get exclusively from Luckyscent.  (or from www.firstinfragrance.com, but unfortunately, right now out of stock there).

     

    Pines in Pine City in Joshua Tree NP Pines in Pine City in Joshua Tree NP

    My trip was partly business, as I was meeting business partners. Perfume business is people business... In a sense, it was also a very creative trip, allowing me to focus and think and feel for a few days. Being a creator, or a creative person, this is important. In a sense: being creative doesn't come for free and the sources of creativity need to replenish. Sort of.

    It wasn't business because I was out there to smell fragrances either, be it in malls or anywhere else. Let's call this a nose break. Actually, I was smelling a few things, when visiting a mall for my obligatory purchase of a pair of jeans: Let's just say... it is new on the shelves, it is highly praised and present in all media, small and big, and blogs and I bet a lot is sold these days, and it is vomit inducing, and a bad copy of what exists already. My mall sniffing comes to an end quite fast these days.

    But I smelled the real thing. The desert.And I can't get enough of it. It is nose and mind cleansing.

    To be honest: If I had no business at all, I would probably not fly over the ocean that often. It is not really sustainable. But then, nothing really is these days. So there we go: The desert.....I smelled the desert and enjoyed its sights and sounds for a few days. I was camping, in JT and in Organ Pipe Cactus NM; camping for me comes with the advantage of getting up early with the sun rising above the horizon, and immersing deeply into Lonestar Memories fragrant land in the evenings: Smoke and fire and earth and dust, and the yummie perfume of roasted meat.

    sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

    and here's another sunrise picture. I just love these sunrises ....

    sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

    The sunsets are spectacular. And so is the night in the desert, with the stars.

    night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

    and another one...

    night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

     

    And one of the best things, for me: No telephone, no internet.

    Again: Cleansing and refreshing.

    And the desert is a feast for the eye, with all the forms and figures and shapes.

    forms and shapes in the desert forms and shapes in the desert

    But now, I am back here, where the cherry trees are blooming and my tuberose bulbs of last year sprout again (Hurray!!!) in their pots and where a lot of bottles wait, impatiently, to be boxed and shipped over the oceans, and where a few trials mature in their little  flintstone flacons, having waited patiently for my return. I am looking forward to these, too.

    Have a great day!

     

     

     

10 Item(s)