Monthly Archives: April 2015

10 Item(s)

  • gated community

    I used the term "gated community" in a facebook comment this morning, where I made a serious comment in an otherwise happy post. The post was about a launch event; my brand, the complete line, will soon be available in Canada, Montreal, Quebec, at Etiket. This is wonderful!

    Back to the gated community: You know, it is like every couple of hours that I get a mail or facebook comment from residents of an EU country, asking me when this and that product comes to their country. Like Germany. Or Italy. Or the UK. And I always have to say: This needs time.

    So I said in this facebook comment "The border to the EU is , from a product export point of view, higher and further away than the US border. the EU is a closed, gated community." You, residents of the EU: Do not feel offended, please. Things are the way they are and I do not worry about them anymore. And you have your rules which is perfectly ok.

    But, when visiting the US recently and when talking to fellow perfumers there, with exciting products, produced and sold in the US, I realized this again: By putting up this high regulative barriers and by hiding behind them, in sort of a gated community, the EU makes it virtually impossible for the small brands, thriving at the west and east coast of the US to enter this market.

    And believe me: If taken seriously, and if you want to do it the legal way.... to get cosmetic products, such as perfume, imported legally into the EU from a non EU country takes thousands of Euro.  You need a lot of paperwork done, and you need people (consultant, distributors) who act as "responsible person" in the EU. And either you get the numbers (for the distribution model) to go through a distributor taking care of it all, or you pay annually, like 1000 -3000$ to the "responsible person" which usually is a consultant. Bottomline: The smaller you are as brand, the higher the barrier.

    This is why some of the most exciting new brands and fragrances that are out there, are not to be found in Europe.

    Of course, some of the hurdles affect small, micro, going to be brands inside the EU, too.

    Anyhow. What does this mean for Europe? It means a couple of things, in my opinion: It makes it more difficult for new indie ventures in the EU. You have higher barriers to start from scratch, yourself, without going through some companies in Grasse. Thus, maybe this is why most of the new brands coming from the EU these days are owned and started by somebody asking somebody else in Grasse to create something for them inspired by something.  It also means: It protects its people from dangerous products, maybe. It protects the EU markets from foreign imports by raising the entry barriers.( a side note: I am super curious how they will solve this cosmetics products issue in the free trade treaty between the US and the EU). It keeps a lot of administrative people busy. And, like in a greenhouse, it pampers the plants/brands sitting inside the greenhouse. The problem with plants growing in greenhouses: Put them out into the real world and they might fail to stand the sun and the rain.

    Today's picture:  Viola, growing and seen in a wild Swiss forests.


  • inspiration

    Yesterday, I was walking from here to there, for a couple of hours, through spring and forest land. Just wonderful. The green on the trees is still very delicate and does not cover the forest, yet. All the light get still down to the ground where it warms the moist mushroomy earth and caresses the mosses and baby trees.

    In about almost all interviews that I give  the question of the inspiration comes up, and I quite often end up talking about nature being a source of inspiration. Which is true and is not true at the same time. Nature is often a starting point. A point from where you move on, being carried away. Look at today's picture: There is a perfume in there. Not that I have written anything down in my big fat excel file harboring all formulas, but it is there, lingering. Can you see it?

    Ah, and yes, maybe one word about seasonal scents. The other day, I was on one of the perfume platforms where folks discuss scents. They discussed a perfume that sort of appeared recently and there was sort of a consensus that a launch of this perfume now does not make sense, as it is "for the cold season". And I go like "how wrong this is". It is so northern hemisphere centered. And so much centered around an idea that summer asks for light scents. I do not agree there. These days, we spend most of our time at plus/minus 20°C anyhow, AC conditions, like eternal spring for our delicate bodies. And what is the light cologne for one, might be the heady vintage for others. And then, what is our summer is the winter down there.

    Maybe I am wrong there, but when I am thinking about new fragrances, the season is completely 100% off the radar. I mean: I do not create a scent just for a season. In both senses of the word.



  • being busy here

    Good morning from Zurich on this bright Sunday after a busy week under a blue sky. The sun was basically shining every day, full power, since I got back from the US, every day it got a bit warmer, and hence I did my mails on the balcony, often and happily. There, blinking into the evening sun, I realized again that my roots are in Africa, like all human beings' roots: We are born, as species, in the Savannah, learned to walk in the high grass of bush land, and happily gathered food under a warm sun. For sure, we humans did not evolve in Switzerland, where you need a good portion of patience and warm clothes in winter.

    So, yes, I am not made for winter, and every year in spring, blinking into the sun, I realize again how much I missed the light and warmth.

    Maybe that's why most of my scents aren't refreshing really, but come with warmth and a cozy factor.

    Having said that, referring back to an earlier post or two about Calone and its intrinsic freshness: I smelled my "aqua fidelis" trials (that's the trials with tons of Calone in it, fresh, bright, aquatic and ... well. Calone dominated) this morning and do not know where I am heading there. Maybe I should stick to vanilla and patchouli.

    Anyhow: It was a busy week last week, with few posts here, but tons of stuff happening over there on facebook;  but there was time to work on another self portrait in oil, using a selfie of me, blinking into the sun, as model. Today's picture going with this post shows you what I was doing there. I like it; there is a good portion of scepticism in there, and I think this is perfectly ok.

  • rosemary

    My rosemary bush is in full bloom. Just lovely. In the background of today's picture, featuring the small bright blue rosemary flowers you may also see some tulips in bright sunlight. This season is simply amazing. Also amazing: The pollen load these days. But I won't complain! I haven't really used rosemary in many fragrances of mine: The Cologne du Maghreb had some in it, of course, for the herbal, classical cologne twist.

    The cologne, never sold on my site, for a couple of reasons, is soon going to fade out. It is still available from some retailers, but then, when it is gone, well... I think then it will be gone. The reason: The market is not really there for an all natural cologne. In order to continue producing it I would need to bring it into a new flacon (whatever kind) as I run out of the classical rectangular flacon. And the costs to create new labels and get them printed etc. well, it is not really paid. In the end, I look at these kind of decisions the longer the more in a down to earth way: What sells, sells, and what does not will fade away, independent of how good I feel the scent is. In the end, I can always keep a bottle for myself.

    I love the cologne myself. For me, it was/is perfect, after a shower, or when not really going for something heavy, lasting all day. But this quality, well, I guess, this quality is not really appreciated. Interesting!

  • back. and resurrection

    I got back yesterday from a great trip, one of the greatest trips to the US. Just wow! When home I took today's picture in the living room where I put some of my paintings. They sit there, not on the wall or so, and when entering the living room watching them I felt home again. Home means back to normal. Normal means also a bit chaotic creative life style, like the way I place my pictures there. They are not important, really, and just sit there, waiting for some sort of a decision what's next.

    The one with the two legs I call resurrection. To the right is a view of Los Angeles, there is a new one, Joshua Tree inspired, too. And a poodle is watching, too.

    So there we go: Resurrection. When I got up this morning I realized that I need to write this post today. I met so many perfumer friends in LA and SF, vibrant, full of energy, with great perfumes in their portfolio. You do not get them in Europe, for a couple of reasons. I guess, it is just not easy to export to Europe.  I had a wonderful talk with Yosh and we agreed that there is a great vibe out there, in the West, and exciting things are happening these days there, the Institute of Art and Olfaction being one of them. I was invited for the pre-award cocktail session of the IAO. Cool!

    You won't see these brands at Esxence or Pitti. When getting up this morning, I figured: Maybe niche is resurrecting there, in the West. I guess it is. For sure it won't happen in France, Grasse. And one of the reasons might simply be: It is easier there, less restrained, less regulated compared to EU land. And these guys and girls are authentic. So... We will see.

    In San Francisco, I was with Tigerlily and we did an event and interviews and more. Again: Wow. I did not know that I have such a following there. It was just.... amazing! We sold a lot, which is nice, but less important than meeting and hugging people.

    Here are a couple of links to video shots with me, shaking my hands way too much, but then: That's me :-) Many thanks go to Sebastian and Michael.



    Here, I am back to normal. Which means: Factory work, and getting this shipment out, flying west soon, making sure that we do not run out of flash scents. Vanilla flash runs fast these days...It is a huge success really. Again: Wow. I am just amazed.

  • off

    Hi there!  I am off and away, for a couple of days there will be no posts as I am sort of off the grid, too. Off from sickbay, too. The last two days were - to be honest- terrible: what  a perfect timing to get sick...but now I am up and running again. Sort of.  Bottomline: As I will be in the desert for a while, there will be no posts.

    And finally:  here's a thank you.  To the people at . It is them who pack and ship my US orders for tauerville. Without them, I would have been lost the last 48 hours.

    I am looking forward to talking to you soon again. Have a great time!




  • rich days

    Yesterday was a joyous day, rich and full. I was preparing the newsletter for the next scent in my tauerville collection, Vanilla flash. Today, right now, I pushed the bottom, with sweaty hand, sort of. One of the trial flacons that you see in today's picture, sitting on my bench, goes to the "launch it, forget it" corner.

    You can check the newsletter out here. I tried a new way of telling a story, short: Making an adobe voice video, integrated into the newsletter. I love story telling. You can watch it here (best is not to use Safari but chrome or firefox).

    I also filled Le Maroc pour elle into bottles because I was down to zero bottles and having zero bottles in stock before leaving for the US gives me sweaty hands, too. Thus, the first and the last fragrance at the same day: Makes you think and compare. It's been quite a ride from there to here. The bottomline for me was: tauerville is the next logical step. And Le maroc was the first logical (or should I say "emotional" ?) step.

    To make a long story short. One of the best qualities for me, about tauerville, is: I can pick and place my scents. Place them there where I think they fit best. Following my instinct, and playing my cards on a growing table. And: I can play in tauerville, a bit more than I can here, on tauer perfumes. Playing means: Trying out new esthetics, complementary to Tauer Perfumes.

    I was also biking up and down Zurich, under a bright sun, fetching some stuff that I need for the trip to the US. Like paper. To draw on, but also to visualize some creative perfume ideas that are lingering in the back of my head and that need some sorting out. The highlight of my trip to the US: Me meeting Antonia, running here Tigerlily store and boutique, for the first time, and many perfume loving friends in San Francisco, Saturday, April 18 at 5 pm. Can't wait really. This is a first, too. There will not be much time for sightseeing in SF, and it wasn't my goal. I basically just hop out of the plane on my way back to Zurich.

    Back in Zurich, I will hope for the pollen load to have vanished. Yesterday, biking through town, was like, well: Fully loaded with what makes your eyes watery, your nose clogged and your lung stiff. I am not really (very much) allergic, but this year seems different. But that's the yin and yang of spring.


  • this week's main topic

    ... will be shipping. And it will be an utterly busy week before I fly out of Zurich this Friday. Shipping in and out that is. I am awaiting a couple of deliveries. Bottles, more bottles, folding cardboard boxes. And lots of parcels need to get out of there, the little factory.

    And, as almost always, there are troubles. What should have arrived ten days ago gets here this week, because... well:

    - the wrong stuff was delivered first

    - stuff was shipped without papers through Europe, just to be shipped back, and reshipped with papers

    - general delays.

    Sometimes, it feels as if the logistics is the most troublesome issue when it comes to tauer perfumes. And sometimes, it feels like we are still stuck in mule carriage times. You know: These days, I do not see really -for instance- why I need to physically print 3x commercial invoices and packlists and all. The e-integration in international shipping is still missing to a big extend.

    Anyhow: Once the parcels and pallets get out of the factory.... Hurray! Finally some space to  move around again.

  • the moon at 5 am

    Today, Easter Mondays, is a holiday here, and things are quiet around here. Thus, no busy streets, no rush and no newspaper. But the perfect full moon this morning, and about a thousand birds singing under a dark sky, at 5 am. They ot up early and so did I. I could not help it and had to take a picture of the moon with the Nikon.

    One reason why I got up early, besides work that just needs to get done and out of my way: the drawing board and the mixing table. On the drawing board waits paper with (another) tuberose work. Mixed media (oil pastel and water color) and I had to stop there yesterday. A bit wild, but I like it that way.

    20150406-tub-m Tuberose, watercolor, oil pastel, not finished

    I want to finish the background but won't do much more. The picture is actually the last of a series that I did, slowly approaching towards an abstraction, trying to understand the form and essence.

    When starting this post, I did not think about it. But now I can see it: The moon and the tuberose are actually pointing towards tuberose sotto la luna. But that's another story, I guess, for September.

    And on the mixing table, I will do some dilutions of earlier mixing experiments. And, if I feel like it, do another base or two. I love mixing bases (and discarding them): Mixing bases does not come with the pretense of "this needs to turn into a perfume beyond the ordinary". There is a an element of lightness and relief. The same is true for trial vials where the only aim of the trial is to create for my private drawer. I actually have a couple of these, in the private drawer. Some of them get redone at some point, and they are like a repository for new ideas. Although, to be honest, they do not sit in a drawer, but on my bench. You can imagine them like waves of 30 ml vials, brown glass, flowing over the bench from the left (where the papers that need to go out sit) and the right (where the label printer sits). I just did a quick overview counting: Must be like 75 right now, in various states of completion or olfactif horror.

    There is a physical limit: The size of the bench. If the vials get too close to the keyboard, the ones that are not convincing go into a box or on another shelf. There they continue to sit for a while until they go to the trash.

    What base do I have in mind? Today, I feel like vetiver. Why would you need a base for vetiver, you might ask. There's more than enough vetiver around... yes, but you see: That's the nice thing about doing a base. No pretense going into that vial.

  • training and talking

    Today's picture is part of what we did in yesterday's watercolor class: still life with artichoke. From very detailed studies using pencils to going wild. Still lives are not easy, but a perfect training to see, and draw. I have to come back to artichoke, though...

    That was one highlight yesterday, the other was a get together with a student class, studying economics and stuff. Me: Talking about how to create a perfume, and many aspects that are relevant in the making and bringing of perfumes to the markets. And as always: I think I learned more than the students. Some of the questions were brilliant. One was about niche perfumers, like me, and why we do not have some sort of a inter-brand organization, why we do not pooling forces and try to communicate with one voice what niche is all about. Brilliant!  And one was about quality, as criteria, in perfumery. I could not really provide an answer. A tough one. What means quality in perfumery. So many parameter come to mind, like ingredients, the formula holding together, longevity, and so many subjective parameters that are hard to describe, like balance, transparency, delicacy, elegance, wearability (whatever that means).

    I do not like to give workshops about how to create a perfume, but I love to talk about everything perfume related, from individual notes, to the bigger picture with all the forces that have an impact. And every time that I do so I go home afterwards, with questions in my mind, and ideas. Like: Yes, the students are very right. There really should be something like an organization, where we, the very few who still provide high quality niche, talk to the world, and get the message out. Food for thoughts, indeed. Maybe something to talk about when meeting friends in the US.

10 Item(s)