Monthly Archives: January 2016

8 Item(s)

  • sometimes it just happens

    Today's picture has nothing to do with the pre-spring feelings that we are treated with, here in Zurich. It just happened. I made it in oil, a little bit following the Bob Ross technique, wet in wet. If you wonder who Bob Ross was: Here's a picture in a newsweek article. After a crazy day in the factory, with felt hundred mails about shipments from here to there and the other way round, I hit the canvas and started with nothing and ended up with this.

    To me, it is the moon shining through heavy rain clouds over a rough sea.

    Anyway: I just wanted to share this with you because the picture just happened. At some point, I saw the clouds and the sea and followed the pattern and just finished it. The same is true in my business life. Sometimes, I am working there on a scent or an idea for a set or something else and suddenly, without me doing much, there's a line appearing, a thought, and suddenly I know what I have to do. Often, it does not work out, really, and while thinking it through the glorious plan shatters and falls apart because it is not feasible. Sometimes, I follow it to the end and have to inform my business partners about it.

    Quite often they do not like it, because it is different. Mostly, I have to argue like "I have the gut feeling that this is going to work". Because of this and because I just HAVE to do it, I'll do it and then we see what's gonna happen and if it fails we change.

    One of the plans for 2016 wants me to start selling in the US on Amazon. Here in Europe, there is something suspicious about selling on Amazon, although we all buy on Amazon: It feels a bit like real niche should not be sold on Amazon.

    But here's the thing: I often feel that many of my perfume loving friends are on Facebook where they meet friends, share some pictures on another platform or two where they find beauty and fun, and they are on Amazon where they shop. And I am convinced that the longer the more, the internet is for many this, and that the longer the more we all will not need to leave amazon and facebook etc. and that these platforms cover the internet and the 90% of the time we spend on the "internet".

    And, I think, one needs to be there where your clients are.

    And then: I have the gut feeling that this is going to work.


  • experience center

    While I am writing these lines, my partner is calling the Miele Experience Center. This is newspeak for hotline. For once, I like this newspeak. Nice. I want an experience center, too. We are surrounded by newspeak and usually I do not realize it because like most of us I am getting used to terms like Quantitative Easing, meaning desperate measures. The next measure there, in the world of $ and banks, would be "quantitative flying" when Mr. Dragi, head of the European Central Bank, sits in a helicopter and throws money out of in the air, hoping that somebody will actually take it and spend it.

    In an hour I will meet a friend for a quick sniffing round: What a nice way to start a busy week. Sinking into scents and forgetting the ups and downs of shipments and production, not worrying about anything for an hour.

    Then I will have to head for the factory and send parcels out of there.

    It is going to be a busy week with a couple of meetings. One of them is a meeting with my IT gurus. The Tauer Perfumes website is now almost 5 years old and it sucks out all the computing power of the shared servers; which means that my website adds a heavy load, more than necessary and basically it means that the Magento system is getting old and outdated and it is time to update and upgrade and change.

    That's probably going to be a project for 2016 and I am looking forward to it, too. Maybe I can get an "experience center" there, on instead of a good old contact page.

    And today's picture: A cowboy, a quick pencil sketch, done yesterday before jogging.

  • the classics

    I am attending a drawing course right now: drawing in the museum and the last two session took place in the archeological museum. There, a lot of classic  statues from Greece or Roman, in all sort of poses, most of them naked, many of them broken. Drawing from a 3 D object is not easy. But looking at these classical statues helps to see a couple of things. One aspect: The beauty that underlies them, the human body as beautiful object, in perfect proportion.  Today's picture, a broken torso, might have been Atlas, holding the sky. I was doing a couple of sketches, from various angles.

    Quite often, when thinking or dreaming about new perfumes, I am visiting the classics, too. We can learn from the fragrance classics and often, we do not need to go back too far. Just 30 years or 50 years from now. Like an older version of Fracas, a somewhat older Jicky version or a perfume "cuir de Russie" or a vintage version of Antheus, just to name a few. Here's the thing: I do not go downtown, to the mall, to visit what's out there. For sure not in order to learn or with an expectation to experience and enjoy what's out there. You cannot learn and find no inspiration there. I am personally totally convinced that industry has completely lost its way, and we are experiencing the same in "industrial niche" and this is the best that can happen to artisan perfumers. In that context:

    I allow myself to copy one statement here, found on persolaise's blog, part 1 (of 2) of an encounter with Luca Turin in London a couple of weeks ago. I recommend reading the interview and what Luca Turin has to say about perfumery and perfumes. ..." So, it's David and Goliath, really. And considering that, it's amazing that artisan perfumers can do good stuff. And it also makes you think that, perhaps, the big perfume houses have lost their way."

  • insanity

    When with friends, working in different industries, when talking about what happens around us, being in our early fifties and coming from a non digital background, we regularly come to the conclusion that we live in a world that is totally insane. And the digital tools do not help us but make things worse. Details?  Well, here's one.

    I produce tauerville products in the US, mostly. The products are owned and shipped through my US company. When exporting goods with a value of more than 2500$, you need to file an EEI (electronic export information) to an AES (automated export system). Below 2500$ , there as exemption 30.37(a). The EEI filing needs to be done through AESdirect (here's the entry point . To do so, I needed to get an admin account through the US census bureau. And then an account for me as filler. And then I needed to go to "school" and do an online test (I failed twice) to get the permission to actually file the EEI. There, in AEs, we are talking about USPPI, SPPI, HTS numbers and and and. I am sort of proud that I managed to get it all done and actually file an EEI last year. Uff.

    Now, AESdirect is available in ACE! And yes, your AESdirect is going to be discontinued. And yes, you need to apply for ACE again, lose your template and everything. We all need to register again for ACE and registration with ACE is about as complicated as it was for AESdirect. The whole transition is the because of the "President’s Executive Order to streamline the Import and Export process for America’s businesses issued on February 19, 2014," which might be a nice idea, but I wonder how many small businesses spend hours or days now just to get their electronic export information files done right and in good legal standing. Because: You need to go through a filer certification process again.

    My status right now: I got an email with a link where I need to enter my "secret values". But I did not get secret values (yet) and maybe I'll get it through an administrator. If not: the email tells me to call an administrator for assistance, of course: without giving a phone number.

    My English is ok, but sentences like "The ACE AESDirect application is referred to as Refactored AESDirect" make me go "what?"

    This is not a shaming of the US census bureau. Here, in Europe, the same things happen. I have to file every year a survey telling the Swiss emperor how many people work with me and based on this information I have to pay some sort of pollution fees and and and.

    OK. I will continue waiting for my "secret values" for starting my registration process in ACE, prepare to pay the VOC (volatile organic compounds) fee when importing alcohol containing goods into Switzerland, and will say a thank you prayer that after a good week at the Australian customs a sample shipment was finally released and Australian customs finally believed me that I do not ship vitamins, but perfume goods (over all, I was on the phone with Fedex for about 2 hours, and on the computer for about 2 more hours, writing highly official papers together for this shipment release).


    Today's picture: me labelling in the factory when I am not filling in forms.

  • too much

    Here, winter is finally here, with some snow and icy temperatures. But the sun is shining and -my favorite saying in winter- you can already feel who the sun gains strength.

    The weekend was busy, with many things, like jogging in a little snow storm and an observation; The whitest snow flakes look actually black against a grey sky.

    hmm. I do not know what that means, but I like the observation. Everything is a matter of the perspective, maybe.

    I was also painting, working on a portrait in oil, maybe wanting too much too fast and sort of failing. But I think I can correct it.

    I was also working on a couple of perfume ideas, sniffing forth and back, and somewhat "losgelöst - German for "free floating" mixing a few ideas, wanting too much too fast and sort of failing. But I can correct it. On Sunday I did a quick pencil sketch (today's picture), practice work so to say, for the "drawing in the museum course" that I am attending. Here's the totally disturbing and disappointing experience from day one of the course, last week: Drawing a human figure, based on a 3D classical statue, with movement in the gesture, is soooooo difficult. Just to get the proportions right: Amazingly difficult. Because what we see is not what we draw, or maybe the other way round: Because what we draw is how we see and when seeing we do not pick up reality but focus on what's important to us or what draws our attention. And bang! You draw gigantic heads because you focused on the head. My first sketches in the museum were so pathetic.

    In perfumery: Totally the same thing. You are thinking about a nice little note and because you focus on it, it becomes overpowering and out of proportions. At least it often works like that for me.

    What helps: doing testing sketches, just a few scented lines, to get a feeling for the proportions. And , like in drawing, if you have done many of them, you can start painting without having to look at the object and then things start to fall into place. That's the hope at least.


  • in the mood

    This morning, for no particular reason besides the aspect that I was thinking about it for quite a while, I woke up with an idea. That's nice. An idea for a scent, or better said, a scent for an idea. Thus, first thing after the coffee: Opening up my excel file where I store all my formulas. There, in the excel file, I have more or less a sheet for every idea. Sometimes I have two three themes in one sheet. Sometimes there are just a few formulas in the sheet, sometimes douzens. Sometimes an idea was tried once and I gave up immediately.

    That's always the first step when composing a new scent/trial/liquid waste: Fill in the excel. I have columns how much should go in there, theoretically, and how much I actually put in there when mixing with the balance. The excel does a calculation step: I write down imaginary units, that sum up to 1000 unit for a complete trial, and the excel calculates how many milligrams   this corresponds to. Like 80 units are 1000 mgr. Thus, my final trial will be 12500 milligram.

    If you want to say so: The creative part happens before or while working in this excel sheet, where I start with fleeting top notes and end the list with the heavy basenotes, trying to group some themes. Grouping themes like writing the citrus notes one after the other, the herbaceous lavender and rosemary next to each other. The geranium, rose, citronellol and other rose notes in one block, the iris notes in one block, the vanilla/benzoin theme in one block, ending with ambergris/musk/cashmeran and stuff. It is a matter of personal taste, I think, but to me this is very helpful when rethinking about a formula: It is sort of easier to interpret and understand.

    Sometimes, I do truncated trials, too where I test a theme, a contrast, an overdosing. Just to see what happens. Overdosing is always exciting and usually a complete failure, but you never know....

    To be honest, mostly we all are pretty clueless.

  • about how to communicate or no attars for America

    Good morning from Zurich. I thank you all for your lovely wishes and lines on my last post. Her, I move forward again and jump back into my daily routines.

    Over the holidays, I was working on another portrait in oil of Mr. Trump. I like that one. I publish this in larger size on All my portrait works are based on pictures that I find on the internet, printed or on the tab, and I paint them without copying or tracing the outlines. Of course, tracing (or using a beamer) would help to get the proportions right, but I think it is a good exercise to draw and try to get it right. It is like buying pre-formulated bases in perfumery. They come in handy, their proportions are right and you can get the perfect rose by just opening a bottle and adding some musks.

    Drawing (composing) from scratch means looking closely. Very closely, and discovering what makes a face (or a rose) special and beautiful. And, believe it or not, every face has something beautiful. Also Mr. Trump's. And while I was working on the portrait, I was listening to some speeches by him, and I was watching him performing. And, well... here's the thing:. This guy is good in a very unique way. A child of twitter and facebook et al, he communicates in way that is in  line with the new media. Short, concise, no grey area, straight lines that can be forwarded, shared, liked without much thinking.

    I don't like the idea but this is where we are going with the social media.

    And now that this portrait is sort of finished and dries (oil paintings need quite some time to dry) I am looking back 10 years and see how the communication about everything has changed. And how it got more difficult to make an impact. Maybe there's a lesson we can learn from Mr. Trump when communicating, maybe not.

    A Trump way to talk about Tauer Perfumes and Tauerville might sound like: "Tauer-simply the best". Or "No attars for Amercia". Well. I am not sure whether I really like that.

    But I decided to communicate a bit differently for my next launch that I am working on, timeline still somewhat shaky but right now it looks like February. And this, this is super exciting.

  • commuting

    I haven't been on the blog for while. On facebook et al the show goes on as it must go on. Here, on my blog, I feel a bit more private. These days, I am commuting between a hospital where a dear friend is fighting her last fight without any chance of winning. We all do what we can do; being there, spending the nights there, and fighting with her. And I am commuting between the office and the factory, trying to keep things running; sleepy and out of frame.

    Here's the thing: The show must go on, but it is not easy. Thanks for your understanding.

    To finish this post with a bright side: Life is precious and wonderful. I cherish it every day, more and more. And I am glad that I am reminded how precious it is.

8 Item(s)