Monthly Archives: February 2015

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  • my little lemontree

    My little lemon tree, sitting in the basement where it is cooler, waiting to be freed and to get outside when the days are warmer again, this little lemon tree has two lemons getting ready for harvest. And lots of flower buds that will open soon. Actually, the tree is not that little anymore and this spring it will get a spring gift: A new pot and more room for its roots. Its flowers, when open, are just amazingly scented. I think I remember the scent as a bit fresher than orange or clementine tree  flowers. A bit more sparkling, and a bit less indolic creamy.

    I think I remember the scent as being more towards the neroli side  and a bit less towards the absolute side. Neroli being the steam distilled essential oil from orange blossoms (think "$$$$", as the yield is so little). You find it in classical colognes (not the cheap ones, though and not the pseudo ones either). The absolute is the solvent extracted form, much more on the indolic (skunk alarm) side, with lots of woody and creamy notes.

    Anyhow, we need to wait patiently for the flowers now...

    But sometimes, the memory, the imagination is even better than the real thing. The real thing sits right next to the bedroom, separated by a door. As nice as citrus flowers are, after a while you get tired of getting up and the first sniff is citrus flower. LOTS of citrus blossom perfume.

    The flowers are creamy white. So I tried to come up with a watercolor illustration before using the easy-peasy Friday slomo towards the weekend in order to play a bit with ideas towards a lemon tree fragrance. White flowers are not easy. I mean: White can mean "empty" of watercolors. That's the challenge.

    Over the weekend, into Monday, I will be off. I need to think about a few other challenges.

  • small and simple

    Today it is going to be the perfect pre-spring day with the sun shining all day and temperatures going up a little bit. Nice. The picture for today's post  fits therefore. Snowdrops in watercolor. Little "medallions", trial pictures,  a bit smaller than postcard size, painted from a photo of live snowdrops that I took in the garden the other weekend.

    My teacher in the watercolor class always recommends doing these little studies first. Explore the motive, approach it and learn while doing so. The little format prevents going into details and helps to stay on the surface where you are supposed to focus on a couple of things. The dynamics of lines and shapes in the picture. The arrangement, the colors, the abstraction. And, yes, it helps.

    Everytime I do these, however, I learn that I need new glasses for that.

    So, yes,... you guessed right: In perfumery, it is very comparable, I learned, and one of the take home messages of my painting for my perfumery work is trying to keep things simpler, at least initially, when exploring new territory. A while ago, I had a friend visiting and we were exploring the hyacinth trials and the hyacinth base (among other things). And suddenly, we both sort of realized: Actually, as interesting the complex elaborated latest hyacinth trial versions were, with a complete bouquet of various things intended to reach out beyond the hyacinth, the base was better. The base, the was close to a finished perfume. We realized that this base might (you never know ...) only need a few dashes of this and that. So we realized that and I did a version of the hyacinth, with the base  nicely decorated with some musk, vanilla, cedarwood and sandalwood notes, a dash of bergamot, and not more. It was sitting there for 10 days and can and will go into dilution now, as trial and then we will see. It might be a bit "hyper hyacinth" like but then: Why not.

    Coming back to the watercolors. Yes, quite often, I feel that the medallions, the little simple pictures are better than the large scale versions. Funny, isn't it?


  • wild tomato

    Today's picture shows you my torture: waiting for the tomato seeds to do something. I got a couple of different breeds. I sewed one of them already, a "wild type from Peru", supposed to give very small but very aromatic tomatoes. I was told that it can take up to 4 weeks to germinate. Thus, I have to be patient, which is not my core competence.

    Another breed, called "Siberian early", will follow next, and yes, Vladimir: We are all very curious how the "Siberian early" will perform...

    Here, in the perfume house tauer, I  need to be patient, too. And at the same time, I am getting ready to sew for lat autumn "harvest". I will have to do the calculations for the production formulas for autumns next Tauer Perfume offering. I tend to push this aside, as it this calculation is the first step towards production and once you pop you can't stop. Autumn will see the next Sotto la luna fragrance, and - to be honest- I am a bit nervous there. In sense: Is it really right? Is the scent ready? Am I sure about it? It is always the same: There is always an uncertainty going with a new scent in the Tauer line. Another reason for Tauerville. There, I am more brave, and worry less. Anyhow: Somewhen these next days, I have to do the calculations for Tuberose sotto la luna.


  • tauerville

    This is the second post today which is special and does not come often. But then, it is not often that I offer a new website with products either. I will not talk much about here, as it is a new story, sort of beta, complementary to tauer perfumes, work in progress, therefore you might want to register for the newsletter there, We are in for some bumps on the way ahead for sure. You can say: Another brand, another offering, a creative outlet. New rules, different rules. New products, different products. An invitation. Right now for the US and Switzerland only, with the plan to reach out further once we learned a couple of lessons.

    While working on it last year, I was super excited. Rose flash was the test ground. Now that tauerville is here, I am still excited, and curious what is going to happen next.

    I am sure that there's fun ahead, for all of us.

  • after this post

    After this post I will be biking down to the factory. I am looking forward to it, as this weekend was spectacularly work free. Which is rare.

    Or better said: What I did over the weekend did not feel like work really. I spent quite some time behind the easel with brushes, oil and watercolor, trying a couple of tricks and once I made my mind up I might be sharing this weekend's "oeuvres", but I am not sure yet. And I spent a good time in the office, in front of the computer screen, trying to figure out a couple of Magento stuff. Magento is an open source software, running behind many online shops out there. Open source means many things, it is free, and it is powerful. Compared to 10 years ago, when I started with Tauer Perfumes, this technology has advanced so fast and it always amazes me how this technology change changes everything we are doing here. And how easy it got these days. It feels like an invitation to start all over again.

    When working on the desk, that looks exactly like in today's picture (taken Sunday morning around 5 am), I was chatting with a fellow IT and perfume comrade, about this and that. This is what he said while we were chatting "...(I) believe that sophistication of customers is necessary. but current retail world is totally in mess."

    Yes. And no. Some retailers do a fantastic job and will (continue to) thrive.

    And you know what: I think there is a link here, between technology advancing so fast and this statement. I am convinced that we will see more sophistication of customers and more mess in the world of retailing. And technology will be part of it.


  • working conceptually

    I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

    Yesterday, after a long sunny early spring, late winter day here in Zurich, I took today's picture that I shared yesterday evening already on Facebook. I treated myself with some roses, as it was -like every Friday- rose day in the local flower shop. And when the sun went down spectacularly, I could not resist taking the picture of the sun, reaching the horizon, with the rose in front.

    Yesterday, well... yesterday I was working "conceptually". A phrase I always use when being lazy. Being lazy means: I did not pack perfume, but was painting, sniffing, and thinking about when to order what for which occasion.

    It is end February, and I am trying to come up with my autumn plans. Not easy. And a couple of more short term plans.

    I needed a break from the packing and shipping routine. Next week, we will continue there and have a couple of exciting news. But until then: More roses to enjoy in the house. And a couple of hours painting and sniffing. Just the perfect weekend.

  • aqua fidelis

    No sun for us here today; here = under the fog. Up there, over the fog, blue skies.

    Ah well. You can't have everything, right? A steaming factory and the blue sky are non compatible today. So I will go down there after this post is written and do what I always do: Try not to procrastinate too much. On my way back I will need to get a pot and some earth. For my little rooting lemongrass sapling. I have to be honest here: Last summer, I had a great lemongrass plant outside, growing and thriving. But unfortunately, I forget it when it got cold and - well- it died a fast and silent death.

    So back to field one: One lemongrass stick that was left and did not end in my my curries ended up in water and a few weeks later started to root and made me happy. A small beginning, but with the potential to grow big!

    I will also need to get some earth for seeding the tomatoes, next week. Can't wait. And with the global weirdness of the weather: My prophecy = early spring here in Zurich.

    So, there we go: Lemongrass. A treat to work with in perfumery, too; with the essential oil that is. It is basically citral and myrcene. Citral smells like the lemon you get in the cheap refreshing tissues that you come across in restaurants, and myrcene has an odor that is spicy, herbal, fresh and well, plastic like. Natural lemongrass essential oil comes with earthy tones, too. And I love to work with it, but (see lemon and refreshing tissues and other detergents): Tricky. It does not bring about memories of faraway places, but of the cleaning stuff corner. No good.

    But that's becoming more and more a problem anyhow in the world of scents: Scents are used so everywhere that we all end up with associations that are no good. Iso E and other stuff is used to scent the air in some shops; and suddenly your wonderful perfume inspired by a Sicilian landscape with the fresh scent of pine trees growing in the distance feels like shop xyz. Wrong.

    And having said that: Here's my personal calone update: Horrible. (see earlier posts for the context).

    Today's picture shows you my little lemongrass roots.


  • so tired of perfume as an art

    Sundays, I always go for my half marathon jogging, not really ambitiously running for any time goal, but happily enjoying the fact that it still works and that I'll get it done.  In the second part of the run, the way the mind works sort of changes; maybe it is oxygen, maybe it is endorphins and other hormones: It gets sharper. During these last miles, I usually think about all that happened the last few days, mails that I got or did not, articles and posts that I read or did not, invitations that I got and did not answer, perfumes that I did not create and perfumes that I want to create. And I cut through most of these thoughts with a icecold knife.

    Like me telling the sales rep in the Zurich department store's niche hacienda what I really think about art in perfumery and why I could not care less about art in perfumery these days. Or me talking to a couple of trolls out there, cutting their egos down to the size of their brains.

    You get the idea: Towards the end of the jogging you get a bit bitter, also with yourself.

    Thus, as I mostly do not like what I have created during the week, I come up with plans to do better: Get a better hyacinth picture done that pays real tribute to what the flower is all about.

    Or redoing the hyacinth base because it is not what I really wanted. Actually, this I did Saturday. I simplified, switched the balance of a couple of ingredients and went brave with benzyl acetate. Benzyl acetate means: Sweet! Heady! Alarms ringing! Crazy flower!

    The base I was talking about last week missed the point. Missed my point. Not that the base is not good. Trust me: It could easily be bottled, and sold under big  letters declaring this perfume as an art. So you see: I am so tired of perfume as art; I guess this is my starting point for a scented week with a lot of joy and smiles ahead: Forget about perfume as an art, don't look for it in department stores, it will never make it there,  but look out for joy, here and there. Not more not less.

    Towards the very end of the run, you're meeting paradise. All the troubles seem gone, and there is the happy little post-it note in your brain telling you that it is all over son. And that the new hyacinth base might be alright in the end.

  • give off a strong odour

    I cannot help it: When I have hyacinths in the house, I need to talk about them. ....

    "Hyacinth flowers give off a strong floral, narcotic, green-fatty odour, which also contains earthy, spicy, animalic aspects." , say E.-J. Brunke, F.-J. Hammerschmidt and G. Schmaus, in their article in the FLAVOUR AND FRAGRANCE JOURNAL, VOL. 9. 59-69 (1994), titled Headspace Analysis of Hyacinth Flowers.

    So there you go: a strong floral, narcotic (whatever narcotic really means) odour.

    Hyacinth in bloom is indeed a touch too much. And this morning, early, as I have to run down to the factory soon packing and getting shipments ready, early in the morning when fiddling with a hyacinth base I wondered "who wants to smell like hyacinth really?". I mean: Would you want to stand in a room with a human sized hyacinth in bloom? Nope. You don't want to.

    It is not only the narcotic aspect, this "oh my god, I get a headache" thing, but also this odd combination of earthy, spicy, animalic aspects, that render hyacinth so ... "special". The animalic aspect is somewhat tame, though. The headspace analysis (says the article cited above) brings up indoles, but in my nose, hyacinth is mostly spicy. Metallic sharp. A hint earthiness, maybe. Green, yes. But spicy.  Uncomfortable spicy, and yet: Beautiful.

    I guess that's the magic of flowers, of some of them, how they can be repulsive and welcoming at the same time.

    My base work, somewhat complex, aims at breaking hyacinth down; it is like putting a filter over a complex picture, a reduction, and an enhancement at the same time. And in there, there's also an inspirational aspect; looking at the flow of colors, the waves of bright and dark, and letting go, placing the flower there, into one's own imaginary spring garden.

    The base sits next to me while I am writing this post. It feels a bit vintage. That's nice. What's next? The base is very complex (17 ingredients), thus things should not get too complicated from here. I see a need to cover up some of the top notes, maybe an aldehydic fresh bergamot-citrus chord (would underline the vintage aspect), and I see a musky ambergris base, with some fixation by sandalwood that should blend in gently without destroying the flower giving off a strong odour.

    We will see.

    Today's picture: My watercolor lunchbreak yesterday. Hyacinth, of course!

  • spring in the house

    Today's a busy day and I have to run, leaving the house soon; in the house: spring.

    Hyacinths in bloom, pink, white, blue. Although, to be honest, only the blue one smells really strong. One reason why I am running out of the house soon: To be back earlier. That's the plan at least. To get back to the blue hyacinth, revisiting the picture of today that is not finished and revisiting the blue one's perfume. I always fall in love again with hyacinth, even if it can be too much pretty fast. And even it I mostly fail when composing and putting scented building blocks around it.

    Ah, and for those who visit this blog since years.... no: no hyacinth and a mechanic ;-)

    Have a great day!

Items 1 to 10 of 15 total

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