Monthly Archives: August 2014

Items 1 to 10 of 16 total

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  • Diamond gloss

    Why I bought diamond gloss.

    I am pretty much convinced that the quality of your raw materials can make a difference when creating a perfume. On two levels.  I feel that this is true for naturals. But also for synthetics. For instance, I discussed a couple of years ago with one of my suppliers how it got more tricky to get good phenyl ethanol. This synthetic material is cheap. It is one of the main ingredients of natural rose absolute. It is always difficult to explain the bookkeeper that half of the bottle of rose absolute, our dearly bought Bulgarian or Moroccan treasure, is actually this phenyl ethanol that sits in drums at Sigma Aldrich Fluka where a kilo costs little bit more than your dinner in town, with red wine.

    Basically, this translates into: What really matters in rose absolute is twice the price you think. And what matters there? A complexity, hundreds on components, that surprise by an unmatched brilliance and intensity.

    So there you go: When using phenylethanol, although cheap, you still need to make sure that the quality is right. There is cheap and there is very cheap. And then there is beyond belief cheap. There in super cheap territory, however, somebody is paying a price, somewhere. Most of us would never work there where the cheapest of the cheap stuff is made. But that's another topic: How to save our souls for judgement day.

    So there 's phenyl ethanol. And then, there is rose absolute. And if you are using this material, you get a complexity and a perfume talking to you in a language that you cannot get when using phenyl ethanol to replace it. The difference will speak to you. Please keep in mind here: I did not say "better", I said different. The more  of the absolute the smiling perfumer puts in there, the more different. That's how I see it.

    In which perfume do you find this magical rose absolute, in an amount where it actually makes a difference? Well, ... good luck! The challenge is: The price tag won't tell you. These days, you might end up paying 500 Euro for a flacon from a brand, and there is no indication that the content is worth it. The price tag won't help you. You might consider using your nose. But that's not an easy task these days. Who can help you? Nobody, really. Your friendly sales rep will tell you that this particular bottle costs 500 Euro because of the ingredients and the flacons and whatever. Your friendly perfumer talking about his and her creation will never give you the formula, allowing you to judge for yourself. Your glossy media won't tell you either. Most of the stuff in there is paid for, and what isn't is not really helpful. Your friendly blogger won't tell you either. Mostly.

    So there you go: A big confusion.

    And with that we come to the highlight of today's post: Me shopping hair conditioner. See the picture of today. Being a man, being brave and going bald, and having stopped worrying about my hair days in my twenties, I was told by my watercolor painting teacher guru that the best for my brushes is  a nice nursing hair conditioner. Many of my brushes are made with and from dead animal's hair. Marten is one of them, some species of squirrel, ... yep: It's like that. You can get nice synthetic sports wear, shirts from poly-don't know-what. But the best: Merino wool. Anyhow.

    So there you go: I learned that my brushes need tender loving care. There, in the shop: The big confusion. How to decide? In the end, for me, it was "the brand", I went for a brand that I know and trust, and that has not gone to court with micro perfumers ; at least to my knowing, contrary to some French big brands, spending their innovation bucks in courtrooms to kill small competitors. Especially French micro competitors. Enough said. I picked a brand, and then the most ludicrous sales pitch.

    I went for Diamond Gloss, for medium to thick hair. With real diamond particles! You know: You just can't beat diamonds!

  • lounge radio

    The picture today shows you a snapshot from the Tauer "factory". Labelling Lonestar Memories flacons with the ipad on the side, tuned into , putting labels on the flacons, one after the other.  A couple of "why" here:

    Why Lonestar: Because we run out of bottles sitting on the shelves. Having focused a bit too much on Gardenia, it is time to stock up on others.

    Why labels, and not printing: Printing comes with the advantage of being nice (as long as the print sticks), and the disadvantage of being complex to keep up with the printed bottles stock logistics. With labels, you are on the safer side, and can swiftly upscale and downscale production of a flacon.

    Why Because music helps. And is a very little (niche) private venture of a guy, running his own lounge radio station. I think this is cool, makes a difference, is worth supporting, and if I do not like the music , then I switch to another internet channel. Easy going lounge keeps you moving, specially when doing somewhat repetitive stuff in the factory. Do I love to put labels on bottles? Not really. I do not mind doing it though. And as it is just a few hundred per batch, it is ok. But the plan for next year is to get some help.

    Next year means 2015. And next year, in January, means 10 years of Tauer Perfumes. In January 2005, I put Le Maroc pour elle onto the shelves of Medieval art&vie, the little bookshop in Zurich's medieval downtown. Amazing how fast time goes by.

    Also amazing: How long it takes to build a business from scratch, if you do not have millions to invest,  if you address a micro segment of the market, and amazing how long it takes to build a brand, an image, how long it takes to get known. Here, it took a couple of years to get out there.

    After 10 years, indeed, my perfume bottles and me got sort of known out there. And guess what: Being known and recognized as "brand" and person comes with a lot of aspects. Let's mention two aspects here:  It gets easier. I do not have to cry my lungs out to be heard. A lot of perfume lovers listen these days which is fantastic. Wonderful actually, and I am very grateful there. Another aspect;  Drolls and scribes are popping up -for  reasons that you cannot do anything against-, because you got onto their radar. That's why I have the anti-droll spray sitting next to me, all the time: One spritz and they are all gone, falling off my facebook walls like flies.

    10 years, almost, brought a couple of changes, you bet.

    Here's today's secret: On the blue wall in the factory, hangs a piece of paper. It says "in 10 years from now"...whenever an idea  pops up while listening to lounge-radio, where I want to be in 10 years from now, I write it down.

    I need to put up another piece of paper there, though: In 2015, I want to .... I really should start working on 2015.

  • picture in a picture

    something I learned in my first aquarelle class lesson: get to know your motive, and  do so by going small (picture size) and large (brush). Postcard size is about right. You work fast, and start by painting a frame. Then you search the lines, and shapes, and colors. And ideally, you identify what works and what doesn't. And you might want to think about thrilling elements that you might want to bring out. And you might want not to think too much, but feel the brush and the paper and color. Yeah.... quite a lot, really.

    This morning, I was trying this starting with a picture of an Alpine lake that I took about 2 years ago, in the late afternoon sun, mountains mirrored, no clouds, the mountains and surrounding area almost black, but a slope of the mountain reflecting the afternoon sun.

    Mountain lake  mirroring the mountains in dark afternoon sunlight Mountain lake mirroring the mountains in dark afternoon sunlight

    It is a nice and fast way indeed, great to test ideas. Starting with a picture is also helpful. You can easily measure distances, and proportions. Lesson learned, that goes far beyond painting a lake: Go small with your ideas, first.

    The other picture in this post, a blue rose, shows you what can happen starting with a life rose, without sketching the rose with a graphite pencil... it "fell" out of the frame.

    It was not planned like that, really.

    But here's the thing: These little mistakes can actually make all the difference. The rose, for instance, suddenly becomes a picture in a picture and the entire scene gets another meaning. I could continue there, bringing in a bright orange around the frame, further underlying the picture in a picture, using a mistake and turning it into something positive.

    So... what's the message here? I guess the message is that many mistakes aren't really mistakes. Jumping up, one floor higher, to see the total picture, many mistakes turn out to be pictures in a picture, leaving us with a positive note. Many, but not all. And finally, you have to try things out, right? Those who do not move make only one mistake: not moving. But that's a probably a very big mistake, and another topic.

    OK, you probably want to know one of my mistakes, right? There are many. I think one of my biggest mistakes was my pricing, initially. And sticking with standard bottles for too long. And then switching to a pentagonal packaging that looked great but was impractical like it came from hell. Not the bottle. That's one of the best ideas that I had. This bottle, it really sticks out everywhere. And whenever I see a perfume lover sharing her or his collection: I see my babies in a blink of an eye. This flacon really pops out.

    Anyhow: We are moving on here at tauerville. What's next? Putting Lonestar Memories into bottles. I can't go wrong there.

  • new passport

    Tomorrow, I can fetch my new passport. I applied for it 10 days ago and wow! this was quite an experience. You start applying online, organize a date and time, pick your 15 minutes slot, go there, get a picture done -I am not sure whether they do an iris picture ,too - fingerprints and then you pay and after 5 minutes you are done and will get a new shiny Swiss passport, within about ten days. While the picture is done, in a little cabin, you can actually give your input, whether you like the look. I was seriously tempted to smile, but you are not allowed to show any teeth. I do not know why this is.

    Thus, early this morning, I was going through my wallet, searching for the piece of paper that proves that I paid. Today's picture shows you what I found in my wallet. It is a snapshot, with some insights. Like: I like gummy bears, travel to Paris a lot, go to the gym, have little cash, was once in Harrod's, and have health insurance. Everybody does in Switzerland, actually. Interesting.... I wonder what other people's wallet contents look like.

    I am looking forward to getting my new passport, and using it after landing in London, September 8, for an event September 9, at Les Senteurs. It will be the first time that I get analog feedback to my Gardenia, meeting face to face, nose to nose with perfume lovers and talking about the fragrance. I haven't decided yet what I want to say there. I always wonder what perfume lovers wish to know. Thus, wishing you a lovely start into your new week, I dare asking you.... what would you like to hear about Gardenia sotto la luna, if you went to London?

  • pipette guiding the way, and more gardenia...

    So I told you: It is a gardenia week. Yesterday, after my aquarell class that is unacademic but highly educative, no school environment, but inspiring  in a way that I am in heaven there, after this class I got home and my mail box blinked with happy news. So there we go: The first reviews of the Gardenia sotto la luna are out and I am very flattered, and share them here.Wonderful news, indeed.

    Riding a crescent moon, by the scented hound.

    I am gardenia when I am wearing this, on Fragrance Daily.

    this time the first gardenia fragrance that I have ever really liked and would wear, which for a gardenia-hater like me is quite extraordinary, on Fragrance Daily.
    (disclaimer: all reviews are based on samples that the reviewers bought or got through an external source. I have not shipped out samples to the press yet, with one exception)

    During the aquarell class hours, I had my ipad in the backpack and forgot to turn the sound off. It fetches mails automatically and makes "bing" when a new mail reaches me or rather: it. I got immune to the "bing" and try not to notice. "somebody got a lot of work when this class is over", the teacher said.

    Back home, I did not open the ipad, but finished the one picture that I sketched with a graphite thing before during class. No pencil, but a thick rough graphite mine. The main lesson for me during class: get of of the details closet. I was giving a brush, 1/4 the size of the picture's height. We were also recommended to draw a couple of little pictures, postcard size. So we are learning to let the brush take over, to let go, to leave the controlled area and get into uncharted territory of a brain full of ideas. Sort of.

    Here's the funny thing:  when it comes to perfumes, I learned this lesson. I let it flow, a lot, sometimes, it just happens. How much, I realized yesterday. For a particular reason I had to check the gardenia excel sheet where I wrote down all the different trials of the formula. YES: Tons of trials! I was looking into it and realized that something is happening in there that is beyond my event horizon. It is the pipette guiding the way.

    Picture today: An old scan of gardenia in bloom, colored in soft yellow tones that I think match perfectly.

  • more gardenia

    So there we go: I have been working for a while on a gardenia scent soap, for my "perfume in a soap" series of fragrant soaps that I do not sell normally, but offer as treat for friends and fans. Like ... in draws. The picture shows you the result sitting in the factory on the shelf, taken yesterday. 100 gr. of plush gardenia.

    I haven't totally decided what to do with it, or how to use it. It goes together with a piece of paper that 's going to sit on the blue "think about wall" in the factory, saying: "USING OFFERS ON FACEBOOK". In the end, I can do draws, or add it complementary to full bottle purchases or offer it as treat for anything else: that's a marketing decision, basically. And boring for you , probably.

    So let's talk about plush gardenia, the perfume in a soap. When pouring the glycerine soap yesterday, it was like "WOW!".. .total gardenia overdose. I made a prototype a couple of months ago. You know: I needed to test the scent and it's performance in soap. Does it bloom? Does it last? How's the jasmine concrète doing with some other ingredients (natural extract of J. grandiflorum, produced basically to isolate the absolute. Due to the high wax percentage in concrètes, they are perfect for soaps. I got mine from Egypt) ?

    Basically, I composed a scent for the soap, making sure to only use ingredients that survive the alkaline environment. I mixed it and poured 100 gr of a prototype soap, round and still sitting in the house. (Actually, I did so a couple of times as not every scent trial was performing as expected) Then, I let the soap sit for a month and started using it. It is an intense perfume experience. Think: Super luxurious. Quite amazing, actually. The fragrance contains 12 ingredients, one being the above mentioned jasmine concrète. There are two molecules that make up a small part of the gardenia HEADSPACE in the soap perfume, too. These are hexenyl tiglate and methyl benzoate. A very small percentage of the overall mixture consists of these, but they are super important. Other key ingredients: Salicylates (thing: Powdery), lactones (think white flower creaminess), and some other ingredients that provide lift, and add floral volume.

    For a soap: Quite a complex fragrance. While packing the soap, I wonder how this fragrance would actually do in ethanol. When making the next batch, I have to try this, too. Although, with Sotto la luna Gardenia, I have enough gardenia for the moment. I packed 49 of these. Ok, ... I ruined some packaging envelopes. 1 is not packed. It will sit in our bathroom.

  • scribbling

    today's picture is in real life a few cm wide, meaning it is small. The pen on the side was used to scribble it. I did so the other day when sitting together with my insurance guy, with the talking going from what can happen in life to all of us and what and how I have insurance to cover it. Like the insurance for the goods that we have in stock, or what happens if I break my arm or worse. So yes, the meeting was important, and my scribbling does not reflect that really.

    I often do quick sketches, laying out a big plan in a little sketch. Like for the gardenia, when working on it, a formula getting more and more complex, asking for clarifications. Actually, the gardenia is very complex, and the complexity makes it more than "just" a white flower. Of course, I say so in order to invite everybody to give it a try, even if you feel uncomfortable with white flowers. Never ever give up: There might be a white flower out there for you that you can fall in love with.

    Ah, and yes, this is true for him and her.

    But back to the scribbling. When I looked at it this morning, thinking about a picture going with this post, I remembered that since days I want to start putting pieces of paper on my wall in the factory. The one wall that I look at when packing or when filling bottles. I will be there soon, and have to hurry up as I am still behind the computer answering mails and doing other stuff.

    I want an empty piece of paper there, or several, on the blue wall. For ideas. Like: I  have an idea, I write it down there (or sketch a visual representation) and it will remind me every day.

    And I want pieces of papers there that remind me of the bigger plan. Like: In ten years from now, I want to be there. Where? That's the question.

  • more on poetry. To give notes or not to give.

    Today's picture shows you a  boxed gardenia fragrance sitting on a quick watercolor sketch that I did yesterday. It did not work out (the watercolor). But I did two rose illustrations that both worked well and that made me happy. So, yes, there was time yesterday to do a lot, to jog, to paint, to answer mails.

    20140818-3s Water color illustration of a rose, by Andy Tauer

    Here's the first rose.

    And here's the second.

    Another rose illustration, by Andy Tauer, watercolor Another rose illustration, by Andy Tauer, watercolor

    Talking about roses: "rose" is one of the very few specific notes that I indicate for the Gardenia. Other notes mentioned: vanilla, tonka, sandalwood, jasmine. But, for instance, I do not tell what "spices" you find in the fragrance head notes. Why not? There are individual spices in the top notes, of course, but telling there is -just to name one that might be in there or not- cinnamon gives the wrong direction. The fragrance top notes are not about cinnamon. It is a chorus of spices, complementing fresh floral elements.

    Hard to explain really.

    You need to try.

    And I think you might want to forget what you know about gardenia, or no: better said... you might want to get ready to explore details, facets of gardenia that you have not explored yet.

    Actually a lot of my perfume loving friends do so right now, and I am busy packing sample orders.

    Thank you for that.

  • Liquid poetry. Gardenia from Sotto la luna.

    My Gardenia is finally online. Samples ship today, full bottles are available with shipment early September.


    And I love it. Enjoy and have a great Friday!

    I sure do.


    "Sotto la luna" means under the moon. I see the solitude of flowers, blooming under a bright moon, secluded from the busy day world under the sun. It is a world that is secluded, private in a sense. The world is sleeping. The busy human world has come to a rest. Flower pods open, alluring the creatures of the night. I see flowers blooming in the light of a celestial body that does not shine itself, but reflects the sun. It is a reminder of the day, a gentle light pouring down from a cold round rock in a frozen galaxy. The moonlight feels like a luminescent fluid poured over a shadow land. The shadows are long and dark.

    I see this moment of beauty in an universe that is endless space, expanding into nothingness, indifferent. I see this glimpse of beauty resisting the vortex into nothingness, standing against the blind titans that push our universe.

    Sotto la luna is joyful and sentimental at the same time.

    With Gardenia as first fragrance in this line, I wanted to capture these images.


    When working on the gardenia fragrance, I bought a plant and smelled the flowers, observing their development, realizing how beautifully complex this natural perfume is. When sitting next to my gardenia plant, smelling, making notes, I learned that the gardenia fragrance is different every day. Its notes are the most beautiful during the night, with notes of fresh spices, of roasted coffee beans, of mushrooms in wet moss, creamy sweetness of jasmine, narcotic beauty and the gentle perfume of rose buds, with vibrant woods and balsamic sweetness.

    Thus, my gardenia perfume flowers out with a spicy freshness, it matures into a round, gentle green floral perfume reminiscent of a hundred different flowers, it closes with powdery mosses and a creamy floral woodiness that disappears into the night.


  • room for new stuff

    Today's picture shows you an ad in front of the local apothecary, that sells perfumes and other stuff, saying "We need room for new stuff: Scents 50% off!".

    Quite honest and typical for the situation these days. The (niche) perfume market is marked these days by an abundance of products and a consumer in retreat.

    I was watching "into the wild" yesterday and, having read the book years ago, I was a bit disappointed. But still, the message was there. Before watching the movie, there was time to get annoyed about the storm we faced yesterday, gusty winds, breaking branches of bushes in flowers and shaking trees full of fruits, to the point where the fruits fell off and are wasp food now. It was a bit sad to see the damage, although the damage was very limited as the storm was not too heavy.

    Before going to bed, it all fell together. Mother nature is not nice, and we humans are in a constant fight with forces of nature. We shield ourselves by living in houses, cities, by inventing energy slaves, like machines and cars, that protect and nourish us. We build islands of comfort in a hostile environment. And although human beings don't life peaceful together, not all the time, the network of humans organized in complex structures is our answer to natures storms and indifference. Yet, our society works  like nature. You have storms ravaging through economies and societies and only the strong branches will survive.

    In perfumery it means: What is not selling, will fall off the shelves.

    Before the storm, I prepared my website for tomorrow, when I -together with many of my retailing partners- will start offering samples of the Gardenia from Sotto la luna. Full size product will be on pre-sales, but as always, I recommend to never ever buy un-sniffed. So there you go: Another scent on the shelves. It will have to proof itself. Perfumery is a business like every business: You have to sell, to compete, to thrive to be better, nicer, bigger, faster. And it is like no other business, with products that can be more than what the eye sees and the nose tells.

    So there we go; happy we are, and anxious, and in a certain way indifferent. There is not much that I can do right now anymore. The product is uploaded with pictures in the online shop and I only have to turn the switch from "disabled" to "enabled".  The Gardenia has to find its place and proof itself.

    And I have to come up with the newsletter, probably over the weekend.

Items 1 to 10 of 16 total

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