creating scents

Items 21 to 30 of 109 total

  • early birds

    This morning I got up pretty early. Early enough to see the full moon and listening to the birds waking up, too. Today's picture is kind of proof. I need to head the factory early as later in the afternoon there's thunderstorms predicted; hard to believe when I watch the sky right now. But the radar tells me that the front is heading our way. The birds might know it, too; without radar but listening to their instincts.

    Talking about instincts: The regular readers might remember an earlier post where I was talking about Calone, me not really loving calone, and still me wanting to come up with a calone centric fragrance. Right now, I have two paper strips in front of me; two versions, one is lighter and more cologne citrus happy. And the other is a bit woodier, soapier. Tonight, lightened by flashes from the thunderstorm, I will sit in my "studio" and dilute the two of them, to bring them into a "wearable format".

    Now, to be honest, I do not trust my instinct there, totally. But here's what my instinct is telling me: Both of them might work. The lighter citrus thing might even do very well. I have to see what happens on skin. Later today.

    Now, to be honest, Calone sounds horribly unromantic. In my big fat excel the calone centric trials run under the label "aqua fidelis". It makes you wonder how much inspiration went into the trial bottles just because of this happy running name for this calone excel sheet. Anyhow: Here's a promise... although today's post features the moon: Aqua fidelis will never make it into the sotto la luna series. But it might be a cool flash scent. Why? Because it's fun.

  • rain drops

    Good morning to you and a happy Sunday to you all!

    Here, in Zurich, in the middle of what seems to be the Jetstream looping out south, we enjoy a couple of wet days. Warm wet days. Not that I really love the idea of jogging in rain or biking in rain to the factory, but warm wet rain early May is like a turbo booster for nature here. Right now I hope that the rivers here and there have still capacity to take all that water that comes down now.

    My urban farming thing (salads, radish, tomato, and soon cucumbers and more) thrives and especially the salad grows like crazy. Nice! As I put the salad on the roof of our little tool house it sits in snail safe territory, too. Actually, I planted the salad right into earth bags, like you buy them at home depot: I just cut little holes into the earth bag to put the seedlings in and two holes to water. Seems to work...

    Although last week was a bit too much, I managed to fiddle with scents. Well , I guess it is more BECAUSE it was so busy, I really needed the balancing ZEN of working with scents. In the focus last week was patch. For Patchouli. Patch is very versatile. I have a couple of different qualities for production and for experiments. There is one quality , enriched in Patchoulol, one of the ingredients of patchouli, that I love to use when the patchouli note is supposed to be somewhat modest, hiding in a way. Then there is one quality that is patchouli at its best, with its natural camphoric notes: These I do not appreciate that much. It is these camphorous notes that bring patchouli actually quite close to incense territory. I think it was Guy Robert, although I am not sure about that and did not double check this, who put patch and incense in the same family or olfactorial class.

    But there's more. I love the natural chocolate notes in patchouli. The dark side, with the woody lines remembering fine vetiver, the amber gris lines, the powdery aspects. It is all in there and when working with patchouli this is the challenge and the blessing. You can go in all directions. Add fruits and you got your fruitchouli. Add amber and you got your oriental. Add vetiver and you got your woody gent's dream.

    I guess I have the best job there is on planet earth: When things get rough I can procrastinate with scented matter. What else to ask for?

  • 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.



  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • traps and facebook $$$

    You know....when running a business, trying to cook, or being creative: There are traps, pitfalls, deceptions, and usually it is us deceiving us.

    When painting, there is this trap that a new color/paper/a new motif or new technique will change the name of the game. But the truth usually is: Just because you got this nice shiny new red, your rose won't get better. Yesterday, in my painting class, we were doing flowers in watercolor. Using wet in wet. This is soooo difficult. Today's picture gives you an idea. The difficulties are on various levels; the paper, the proper wetness, the color, the brush, the motif. You name it. How to master it? By doing it again, and again and again.

    In perfumery, there is a similar trap. Sometimes, when formulas do not work, when envisioned effects aren't there, when a scent does not last or falls apart, you search for the easy way out. New molecules (or new naturals). The magic ingredient that will solve all the troubles that you face. Wrong! New ingredients that you did not use before (as perfumer) won't help, but rather add another level of complexity. You don't know how they'll behave. What's the solution? Do it again and again and again. Although, sometimes, a new ingredient can do the trick (after having done it again and again), like

    The longer the more I am convinced that actually, using a palette of ingredients that is limited but of high quality and diversity, that you know by heart and nose, might be the best you can do. I think it was Jean-Claude Ellena who mentioned once that there is no need for dozens of salicylates, for instance, but that two three different salicylates (molecules that render perfumes BIG and powdery and classy) are enough, that you /he can create whatever he wants to create with these few. I could not agree more.

    When it comes to running a business, selling things, there are comparable traps. Adding more products, more and more, or discounts,  more and more, just to stay up there and out there. Especially the discounting , me thinks, is a dangerous path to follow. Do it once and you'll do it forever. More's not always better, like: More newsletters won't get read better and more facebook posts won't get more readers, except you pay for exposure in facebook. But even there, more exposure and impressions won't do the trick. A sidenote: Facebook is very, very selective about who is going to see your posts and updates. If you run a company and want to go beyond facebook's few hundred views: You have to pay for it. $$$. Just to make sure that a page update is seen by your friends or people who liked your page or others. It is quite interesting to think about it: What we see in facebook, and I am not talking about paid ads, but about page updates and posts on business pages,  is not really entirely based on relevance and our interests and our preferences, but based on how much an entity running a facebook page is willing to pay.

    So... maybe adding more money into my facebook ad accoun (that runs on zero right now) might indeed do the trick, who knows? I do not pay for page impressions, getting the tauer perfumes facebook page out there more promiently , yet, but might one fine day test it.  We'll see.

    For the time being, I continue working on my rose watercolors (urghh) and my various perfume trials.

  • cheating and roses

    Today's picture shows you what we did the other day in my painting class, we were all invited to cheat: The goal was to learn seeing behind the complexity of things. BY....

    1. tracing the motive of a picture with a pencil through transparent paper. The original was a postcard size complex motif, like the Brooklyn bridge.

    2. putting the original picture away, and -using the traces on transparent paper- sketching freehand the motif, reducing its complexity further, by looking for simple lines and shapes and forms and contrasts.

    3. adding color and looking at the result.


    I have my rules when it comes to painting. One top rule is: No tracing, but you always paint free hand, to train my eye hand brain coordination.

    The same is, by the way, true for my way of creating perfumes. There are formulas that you can get, IFF, for instance, has demo formulas somewhere on their site. like this one here, for a gourmand accord, with 24% musk and 12 % Timbersilk, aka Iso E. Quote often, I get questions from perfume lovers who want to start composing, asking for formulas to learn. As tempting it is: I don't think it is a good way of finding your way in and out in perfumery. Not good for your nose-brain coordination, and benumbing your imagination.

    In the painting class, we only used the tracing as a trick to get around the complexity and learn to see through all the little cables and windows and complex patterns, learn to identify what matters and how to use it to compose a picture.

    A smart trick.

    I guess the same trick works in other fields. Like business, when it comes to complex marketing questions. Add a filter that blurs the data, that just lets the important stuff shine through, like "we make 50% of our turnover with one product" and move from there on. Or it might work in private life, or ...

    Thus, the bottomline of this post: Sometimes we are allowed to cheat. And maybe, maybe even looking at demo formulas in perfumery might be ok, just to see the bigger picture of how things are done.  Although I am not sure about that. The danger is imminent that you end up with a copy of a copy of what everybody else does. The same is true for using bases from industry, by the way, like rose bases where industry does the rose composition for you. Easy, but without little learning effect.

    Talking about roses and in order to finish this all up: Here's a link to a great piece of writing on Scenthurdle  about Andy's roses, in comparison and from an interesting perspective, without going into any details: Like my rose perfumes traced through transparent paper. I really liked that piece of writing.

  • materialization

    when I meet people who do not know me, doing the small talk thing,  I usually try not to mention what I do. I always say I am self employed, hoping for no further questions. Why? Well, because the conversation goes usually in a disillusioning direction. No, I do not sit in a perfumery room all day long in dim light, figuring out the magic formulas of flowers blossoming in flacons. No, my days are not filled with letting drops fall into mixing beakers. Yes, you only need a piece of paper to write down a perfume. And I do so rarely.

    The few lines on a piece of paper (or excel to be precise) define it. Provided you wrote it down specifically enough, the perfume is there in all its details and can be brought to life for decennials. The rest is "materialization" that depends on the matter, the rose extracts, the vanillin, the amber and musks. The qualities of these might change, but with some knowledge my perfume on a piece of paper can materialize in 200 years from now.

    I let my ideas materialize somewhat rarely, as I tend to think a lot first. And as there is no need. The pipeline of things is too big anyhow.

    My big fat Excel file sits there, waiting patiently, copied on a hard disk, and copied redundantly in a super safe cloud space, like all my important files. There, I am super super worried about losing bits and bytes.

    But sometimes, I do sit there and follow the lines, mixing stuff into flint glass bottles. Like this morning. Because, when I woke up I knew that this one little formula needs to be tried out. Now.

    It's like with my paintings. They start piling up there, and here, and over there, almost none of them hangs on my walls.

    Today's picture: An unfinished rose, painted very wet.

  • vetiver md and superglue on a bright Friday morning

    The other day, I was looking into the formula of Rose de Kandahar (PHI) again. I think I wanted to know again how much musk is in there (this rose being the first of my scents where I actually use a classical musk molecule); so I checked the formula and rediscovered that I use Vetiver MD in there. This is a special quality of natural vetiver that I discovered when visiting the Salon des Matières Premières a while ago in Paris. It is a vetiver that is sort of deprived of much of the rooty earthiness, the dirt and brown aspects. How does it smell? A bit like "Vetiver extraordinaire", hence a strong vetiverol note, green aspects, citrus. And: It lasts for ever. And: It is a perfect fixation ingredient. Great glue. And you can use it without getting this overtoning dirty earth note that might not fit with your ideas and the delicate background notes. Yet, it is more natural, richer, less boring than vetiverol, that smells like... well: like a couple of vetiver fragrances out there.

    Yes, unfortunately: Most perfume lovers would fear that their noses fall off when smelling the real thing. Especially the Java quality of vetiver. Amazing stuff. A dark, almost black oil. Rotten. Not washed. Fur. Timber. Public restroom in Mumbai. Wet leather gloves inside a summer house in August. It smells like the dark version of a old worn out leather jacket, that collected the fumes of the Paris Métro, a  dog peeing over a dead geranium plant sitting in rotten wet earth, and a few other things that make it so interesting. But for sure not an easy ingredient.

    Nothing of that in rose de Kandahar, but vetiver MD. And a couple of other fixation molecules and naturals. They do not only fix, of course, but are part of the story that I tell with PHI. Tobacco, patchouli, amber gris, vanilla, tonka, et al.  And a super glue: The magic of okoumal. Here's what Givaudan says about it ...superglue!

    Today's picture shows you a detail from my bench. There, next to the keyboard, I have all the trial vials (30 ml brown flint glass)  that I am working on or that I test these days. In most of them, you find a bit of superglue. It is just magic. You can call these flacons the pipeline. The pipeline is actually too full and the space on my desk is limited.

    Anyhow: PHI-une de Kandahar is here again. In Europe, it is in the stores already (many of them). In the US, it will be in the stores shortly. We will all start selling Nov. 25 there. I am very happy that it is finally there.

    But when we will be out of it one fine day (again)  and when it will be all gone, then I will be happy, too.

    A lot of work: Bottles, packing and answering mails.... like "why we do not ship". So here's the ultimate last sentence of this post: Yes, we do not ship to most places in Europe; due to shipment restrictions for perfumes, enforced strictly here in Switzerland, and no, we cannot make an exception, not even for you. And yes, rose de kandahar is limited, and no, we will not make a special version of it, not even for you;

    Oh, you are a rich oil princess? never mind. not even for you.


Items 21 to 30 of 109 total