Monthly Archives: June 2015

Items 1 to 10 of 12 total

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  • hot 'n stuff

    It got hot here; and -quite normal in middle Europe-we do not have an air condition in the "factory". Thus, it is the time of the year where I get out of the house early, do my stuff in the factory before it is getting too hot in there, and leave the factory for the paper and office work in the afternoon. Blogging posts are considered office work.

    And "do my stuff" translates into: Polishing and labelling air du désert marocain bottles. 1000 bottles are waiting for that.

    And after that: 1000 flacons of Une rose de Kandahar and another 1000 flacons. Is is going to be a busy July. And probably a month with shorter blog posts.

    Like: Polishing! Why? Because the flacons are produced semi automatically and this means that all of them have a layer of something that needs to be removed.

  • shipping air du désert marocain

    I did not post a lot this week, but the last post  about some of the marketing mechanics found quite some interest: Great! I was not aware that talking about the rules of the game might find such an interest here. Again: Great!

    This week I was pretty busy with stocking up (Incense rosé) and getting some air du désert marocain out: Into my warehouse in the US; or better said: Onto the shelves of my shipper there, shipwire. Today's little picture shows you one step there. I wrap the packed air du désert marocain box in brown paper, stick a "Thank you" label on the back and then (not shown here) it goes into some bubble foil and inside a cardboard box that is then sealed with tape. And then I stick an SKU label on the back, with a barcode for shipwire. LDDMEDT50 (shown here): A simple sku code, that is unique and tells everybody, including me, immediately what's inside, the L'air Du Désert Marocain, in EDT, 50 ml. You know: You never know... one fine day there might be an other air du désert, another concentration, another volume. Not know, though, as I think LDDM is perfect the way it is.

    And, yes, I do all this and keep the wheels running (warehouse, an own company in the US, shipping stuff forth and back), because my online shop and my perfume loving fans buying air du désert marocain directly from me, there, is vital and an important part of my business and my fun when reaching out to clients there.

    I shipped these packed units Tuesday and they got delivered Thursday, after 30 hours travel time, including customs clearance and FDA clearance. Wow. That's fast. That's what I love about shipping stock to the US: It is so much easier than shipping to Italy, Poland, Croatia, Spain, and a few other EU countries. One fine day, I will draw a relative perfume shipping distance world map: the relative distance would be a mix of how long does it take, how much paper work, and how expensive is it. A side note: Greece would be like on the other side of the globe from here. The US would be as close as it gets to Switzerland. Germany, too.

    Anyhow, I had another shipment to the US early this week; stock and stuff and I made a mistake in the papers. A copy/paste mistake from the last shipment. Although it was a very small mistake in the text, and to my total amazement, the US customs realized that. So... cool: Actually someone reads what I write in these papers! And even cooler: When they learned that it was just a copy/paste error it was all cleared. No questions asked. That's what I call public service.

    Anyhow; what I actually wanted to tell you...when I heard about this mistake in the paperwork, I immediately blamed FedEx. I was triple checking the papers, did not see my mistake, and was 110% convinced that they or anybody else was to blame. But for sure not me. Ha!

    Shame on me. It was a "mea culpa" moment. And later, in a quiet hour, a moment of introspection: It is so easy to blame others and so dangerous to become mentally lazy and not look into the mirror with an open eye.

  • the color of luxury

    Today,  I googled for "luxury" in's picture section. You can do so, too: Click here to see what you get. Google might show you different pictures than what I get, as my googling and surfing preferences are different, though. But, as it was a first for me, and as I never searched for most of the luxury items presented through google: Chances are good that you will get more or less the same.

    Here's an interesting observation: Luxury comes with a color preference. Blue. Interesting! And dark (black). The later is what I have expected: I hate these luxury hotel breakfast rooms or luxury perfume departments that make you feel like sitting inside one of the famous super long Swiss tunnels.

    There is no green, it seems, no strong red, some yellow brown, hints of violet, but no crisp green.


    I find the idea of owning a yacht totally banal and most objects and concepts that I've seen in my google picture search are not what I long for. Maybe I am too poor to really get what a yacht is all about. Maybe I am too old and can see through the illusiveness of most of the objects and concepts presented as luxury: I have learned that my biggest luxury item is my time, it is super limited, it is not coming back.

    Anyhow: Tauer Perfumes landed a couple of years ago in some UK lists for luxury items producing companies. Which is ok, as tauer perfumes are rare, hard to get, top quality, hand made and actually really luxury. But the problem is: I am too poor to pay for being featured in Vogue.

    Being on this list, I get on a regular basis offers to be included in upcoming spring/holiday/marriage/whatever special section of Vogue or other glossy print media. So there 's one take home message for you: What you see in there is paid for, a lot at least. Editorial style does not mean it is written by editors. Many at least. The latest offer that I got started with (at a great discount):

    5cmx1cm for 500 $ US, taxes not included. 5 cm x 1 cm, for one picture and max. 40 words (that I would provide), reduced from 1500$ US. That's like the surface area of 2-3 stamps.

    Here's the thing: Imagine how much money a (perfume) brand must spend to be featured from time to time in there, in a format that is a touch larger than a stamp. And now imagine what the consequences are; how many bottles you must sell to just come up with the marketing expenses and what the consequences on the fragrance quality and the production costs must be. Yep. No way around it. (and, just to mention this: Bloggers start to work comparably. To get into some blogs, you are supposed to provide ... well, let's say: Some goodies)

    That's why you do not find tauer in the upcoming autumn edition of a not further specified glossy magazine. And that's why you won't find tauer in some blogs.

    But I still do not understand why there's not more lush green popping up for luxury.


  • uncertainty

    I planted, a while ago, red leaf beet (Mangold), and it sort of grows well, in a large box on the veranda. But I do not think it is leaf beet really; having discussed it with my neighbour who is very knowledged: We both came to the conclusion that it might be beetroot. Maybe it was not labelled correctly in the garden market? Maybe it still is red leaf beet but it does not grow well in boxes and decided to put all the energy into the ground bulbs and not the leaves?

    Well, I guess "you never know what you gonna get". I for my part love beetroot, but am the only one in the house, and I for my part feel that I know what we gonna get in Europe, with the Euro; a mess. Actually, we are there already in a messy swamp where everybody has an opinion from the financial and other experts to the politicians, and every opinion has a grain of truth, where a country is bankrupt and everybody knows it, and where a currency that was intended to be strong and stable got weak and the reason for many worries.

    Why I mention this here, on my perfumery blog: Because it is relevant if you run a business. You can feel this uncertainty everywhere. It adds to an already toxic mix of uncertainties that makes companies stop investments, consumers buy more carefully or not, and makes federal banks pump more money into flooded plains where it does not seem to do much. Maybe because the plains are sort of infertile?

    In all the uncertainties that linger there in the Eurozone: I stopped thinking about what happened and what should be done. But I really feel for the people in Greece, and other countries in Europe's south. It's more than rough there; for many it feels like a trip to Africa's shores and I am not talking about palms and cool drinks on the beaches but medication that got out of financial reach and malnutrition and youngsters without any perspective of getting any kind of job.

    In the end, it is all a big reminder that we are not entitled to prosperity and happiness. Citing from the US declaration of independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Pursuit. But no guarantee for happiness. And for sure no guarantee for wealth and money.

    So... I watch my beetroot/mangold growing and am really curious where we will end up in the next months.

  • Peach

    Here's a picture of a peach; the flat variety, delicate to transport, but much more aromatic than the round, ordinary peaches. The season started (south of Switzerland, not here as they do not grow well here) and I just couldn't resist publishing a quick camera picture here. Of course, peach is also a perfumery note, and I used peach as note in a scent or two, too. Reverie au jardin, for instance, features a tiny dash of a yummy peach note. I used peach in a couple, especially one pipeline scent. That's a scent that is not launched but sits in the Excel, waiting for its chance to get out into the material world.

    Right now, the pipeline is filled and hence also clogged. As teasing it feels to me to launch and launch and launch: The balance of how many scents come when is important.  And then, right now, I am sort of busy here with PHI-une rose de Kandahar (that actually features another fruity note: Apricot. And that note is natural, from Robertet). I really, really, really need to bring back PHI une rose de Kandahar in September as I am saying no: Out of stock! for months now.

    That's why I am a bit silent recently on facebook etc. PHI, and Air, and more needs to get onto the shelves.

    Usually, peach is not natural, when mentioned as perfume note, but there are natural extracts that you can get from Robertet (here's the web page, but there are no details, really).

    How it smells? Well,... think: peach "schnapps". Good. But the natural apricot was better.


  • miniatures and orchestration

    Today's picture is a miniature watercolor illustration. I real life it is about 8x5 cm. In the watercolor class, we are supposed to try doing miniatures of a motive before we go full scale. The deal: Get to know your motive, try color schemes, play with the light and don't waste paper. Not because of ecological considerations but because good watercolor paper is expensive. The same, even more actually, is true for oil pastel  paper that is, in good Sennelier quality, really! expensive. To cut cost down there, I bought half a ton of large (100x60cm) sheets that I can cut into smaller pieces. That was last week's highlight, when the paper arrived, from France.

    Often, funny enough, these miniatures end up nicer than the larger pictures.

    When I create perfumes, I sort of do miniatures, too. Just a few ingredients to peel the "motive". And, yes, there too:  The miniatures are often nicer, at least in my nose, than full blown formulas. Don't ask me why. Maybe it is the simplicity; less distraction by side stories from a main theme. Maybe it is just me who likes simple things (sometimes). But then, trying to be honest with myself, I realize that these simple trials are "nice" but not much more. And there is enough "nice but not much more" out there.

    You know, when it comes to creation "nice" is not always a compliment. When the teacher said "nice" commenting about today's picture, he immediately also said: "really, I mean it. It is nice." You see: Nice can be the opposite of "interesting", "double bottom", "twist",...

    In the class we then started discussing, about nice, and about: Orchestration. We agreed that I should actually cut the little illustration out. Put it behind a passe-partout, and frame it, at least A4 (30x20 cm). Hang it on the wall (yeah and sell it for $$$, that's what I thought).

    In the end, that's about like putting together a nice little "eau" and put it into a golden flacon, with some Swarovski stones or other decorative elements, and orchestrate it in a campaign with snakes, or gold flakes inside or flowers and stuff, and then be loud about it. "the best fragrance in the world, perfume as an art, luxury perfume", anything goes basically. One important factor, though: Make it expensive.

    It is all about orchestration.

    This is one of the reasons, why -in perfumery- I just can't stand the term "art" anymore. It's been used so extensively, that -like niche as term- it has become obsolete. Especially when used in  a context where the objects of art are mass created by labs, like oil paintings made in China that you can get for a few $, like this one here.

  • tomato

    This post is somewhat not perfume related, but I share a little picture of my tomato plant. One of them is called "Siberian Early". I got the seeds from a specialized, organic seed cultivator that features a lot of specialities that you can't get anywhere else, Zollinger Samen, their webpage is here, but it is in German, based in Switzerland.  This tomato variety is said to be early, robust and not growing too high. Every bit is true. The are early, robust and grow very compact.

    And they started to bloom these days. Hurray!

    The scent of the leaves and stem: Powerful. And for those who want to know: It is 2-isobutylthiazole, mostly, being responsible for the tomato leaf scent. At least that's what the literature says.

    This and much more information about other plants and their scent and the molecules responsible for it you can find on this great, still growing web page, managed by Bo Jensen.

    And, after fighting for quite a while with myself: I ordered some of the isobutylthiazole today, as I have never smelled it and as I am curious to which extend it smells like tomato leaf. (For M. : No, no plans yet for a tomato leaf perfume.) I guess that's my good news for today, and a little present from Andy to Andy.

  • archetype and stereotype

    Today, unfortunately, my bike needs to go to bikeshop. The bike's chain broke. That's a first in my life and totally not exciting. It broke yesterday, and I had to walk home from town. But these transitions are fascinating on the other hand: you know... things work and from one moment to the next, for no particular reason, things break; and the world is a different world.

    I mean: Not that the world is really different because my bike chain broke, but I look at it as an allegory.

    Yesterday, in the factory, I was thinking about air du désert marocain, and archetypes and stereotypes. Stereotypes: Perfume and art and art editions, and snakes and sins and arabic nights and so on. And I realized that with air du désert marocain I  was actually very close to some of these stereotypes. It's a thin, very thin line there. From stereotype I moved over to archetype and was looking for pictures of dunes (yes, stereotype around the corner there, too) to paint, and then a picture of a Berber man (Berber tribe in the Maghreb) popped up on the ipad and I did a sketch of him. Men of the desert... archetype or stereotype?

    And then, before going to bed, I realized that actually, a bit of stereotype is necessary. It helps.



  • How to make perfume in two easy steps

    Today, I will tell you how to create a perfume in two easy steps. But before that: I wish you a great start into your week! Mine started perfectly. Today, I will finish labelling air du désert marocain flacons in the factory, and will start packing them. While doing so, I often get bored and very often end up playing with pencils and pick as motive what is around. The Tauer flacon is actually a good drawing exercise....

    The drawing exercises made me think about how to break down perfume creation and how to teach perfume creation.

    About drawing exercises: You probably know these books "how to draw a (horse, cat, face, dog,...) in 2 easy steps". For instance that easy two steps instruction for a face:

    Step 1: Start with an "8" and dissect following some rules for the eyes and nose and stuff.


    How to draw a face in two  easy steps. How to draw a face in two easy steps.

    Step 2: Add details

    Portrait of an anonymous man Portrait of an anonymous man

    ... and there you are.

    Thus, here's my two step instruction  how to create a perfect perfume in two easy steps.

    Step 1: Draw a triangle like in the picture below. Pick three adjectives that describe each stage of the perfume's development. Write them down.

    Step 2: Add details.

    How to create a perfume in two easy steps How to create a perfume in two easy steps

  • Article in Fluxmagazine

    There was a great article in the Flux Magazine, featuring luxury fragrances, the transformation in the market, and why niche is winning shares in some market segments. The article featured Tauer Perfumes, and two three other brands and I recommend reading it, here.

    This is seriously good press and nice.

    The article follows a couple of lines of thought. I would pick up one of them. The issue of growth. This morning, in the newspaper, there was another article about Europe's economy, falling into a trap of high unemployment, below potential growth, and a couple of other unfortunate no win holes. No doubt there: You can actually feel it and see it, and it is no good. (I leave the question aside whether the model of continuous growth is compatible with the real world and its limited resources) Looking at things through my little perfume focused reading help, I feel it is no good as, well, let's face it: When it comes to niche perfumes, the US is not the only main market where things happen. It is Europe where a lot of the sales action happens. Just the number of doors for niche tells you this. Let's be aware here, that designer brands are not niche. Your Bloomingdale's sales of xyz does not count as niche purchase. Sorry. Of course, there are other regions where there is a potential for niche fragrances sales growth but let's focus on Europe here.

    Stagnation ahead.

    What does this mean?

    It means that the cake won't get bigger in a time where new perfumes and brands are popping up on a weekly basis. This means, on average, less for everyone. And this means: Bye bye to many. Either you do better, become innovative, provide top notch quality, amazing service and be "real" or you're out.

    The "old model" (perfumer in Grasse, some $$ for packaging and bottle, 6 or more scents to start with, inspired by (pick your theme here: memories, cities,...) does not work anymore.

    Is this frightening to me, running a business and having fun in this field? No, it isn't. First, I do things in a different way. And then: I love the challenge. I think there is -irony ahead!- even an inspiration energy behind all this.

    I will have to head to the factory real soon, waiting for a pick-up. With me some papers and bottles: The papers are for price calculations, and a couple of other business things. The bottles are for sniffing and playing. And believe it or not: The two of them go well together.

Items 1 to 10 of 12 total

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