creating scents

Items 41 to 50 of 109 total

  • winter vegetable and seeds of love

    Here, I am listening to "Tears for Fears", because it is just perfect now. I picked it this morning in Zurich together with today's picture that shows you what sits next to my PC keyboard this early summer morning: Organic kales seeds. I will sow them right after this post (can't wait!), and -if they grow- plant them later in summer in aluminum cans that I re-use these days in some sort of urban farming attack here in the house of tauer.

    You remember: I planted a couple of tomatoes end April/early May in used 25 liter alcohol cans (here's the link to this post). In the mean time they got quite big and it is pure joy, every day, to visit them and touch them and see them growing. It will take a while until the first tomatoes are ripe, though. Since this was fun, and as  I had a couple of other cans and boxes  that I did not use, I expanded the planting and sowing to zucchini, herbs, cucumbers, and beans. The beans just sprouted, and do so in 12 liter aluminum cans that I used for perfume storage, cut up, and hung up on a wall next to the house. Andy's hanging garden, like the W.-factor said the other day (my partner), a bit worried about more pots and plants popping up on a daily basis.

    Right: More's to come (rucola!). The kale needs to grow in summer for a winter harvest (one of the few vegetables that you harvest after frost days in winter).

    I am happy with my plants growing, and I am happy these days with the world of perfume. I started sowing 24 months ago. My first formula for the Gardenia fragrance is dated May 12 2012. Now it is June 2014, the labels sit in a drawer and after the holiday weekend, the first bottles will get their gardenia decoration, the files list in my computer grows for the registration of the first scent of the sotto la luna® line in Italy, the trademark protection is done, the scent is done, the packaging is ready, in a few weeks the first emails go out to retailers, in a bit more than two months the first bottles can be bought, samples will go out.

    Wow. This is so exciting. I forgot how exciting this is! And I forgot how much work, the last mile is the hardest. Thus, I need to get into higher gears, now,... (kicking myself into high gear mode).

    And, guess what: Yes, I am sowing the fragrant seeds for 2015 and 2016 now. Although I am pretty much convinced that the markets, both perfume and financial, will have crashed by then. I guess I do it the Luther way: "If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today!" (more on that here...)

    Here's to a fragrant harvest.


  • bright light of summer and another rose

    Before leaving for Italy: A long post!

    Good morning from Zurich, where the roses are blooming, and where we still enjoy the bright light of late spring, like beatles coming out of the ground, spreading the wings and taking off into the sun. Today's picture shows you the sun breaking through trees, taken at 10 am the other day, when biking over the hill. Everything is green up there, but the multitude of spring greens still pervades the uniform summer green that will set in in a few weeks time.

    Before continuing talking about roses and asking you a question: Here, a few thoughts from a guy who planted tomatoes a while ago and reads in the newspaper that about 60% of all restaurants in Zurich do not operate with a profit.

    The last few days were nice and warm and I could watch the tomato plants growing on a daily basis. I planted the plants (urban farming like) into old ethanol cans, and am looking forward to eating locally produced red fruits one fine day: Provided mother nature is nice enough. Often, she isn't and is generous with everybody else, but us. So I read a book the other day, and realized that my planting, buying locally, buying small, (... other recent trends avoiding big business, add them here <....>) is in line with a societal pattern we see these days. People loosing trust; trust in corporate conglomerates, trust in government and its  institution, trust in previous peers and leaders, trust in money, but this lost trust in (paper) money will be the end game, really. So, what do people do: we all look for values that we can trust and find them locally, in small entities, products where we know what they are, where the come from....

    Bottom line: My tomato planting is also sign for a larger shift of trustworthiness taking place. cool. we are all part of it.

    The other day in a shop here in Zurich: "Who made your <your favorite product here>?" The same line of thought makes a lot of sense in perfumery: I will keep this in mind. Because when it comes to my produce, the answer is quite simple. Who made your fragrance? Andy Tauer, from A to Z. It would be cool to also provide where all the its and bits of packaging etc. come from.

    Profitability: Like the news anchor, I am smiling over my face, but try to make serious face announcing the next topic. Profitability. Of course, it is intrinsically linked to the points mentioned above.  When it comes to perfumes, low volume, selective, niche, you name it: many, many are not profitable, really. A lot of people life from these new brands entering the market: The perfumers, the bottle producers, printers, the ladies packing the perfumes in Vietnam or France, the packaging producer, maybe the retailers, too. But often, the brand owner does not really end up with a reasonable profit. It is like with the Zurich restaurants. There are too many, and too many thinking it was easy, too many are not realizing that the job is not done when the first 6 scents are produced and out on the market, or hidden in some sort of conceptual fog. It is then when the job actually starts.

    I mention this because, recently, I got so many questions from perfume lovers and going to be perfume brand owners that it is time to repeat here: I do NOT give advice nor do I consult. The last couple of weeks it was for sure a dozen "How do I find producers and other suppliers for my fragrances, what retailers to work with?, find out about the regulatory needs, how to pack perfumes, how talk to bloggers?". These days, everybody seems to either open a noodle shop or a perfume house. Tonight, I will go out, having dinner. Locally, right over the street. A profitable restaurant, because the did not start with the goal of getting rich and famous, but just wanted to cook good food and offer a nice place to stay for a while. But I bet: It took them a couple of years.

    And now, here's  a little question, thanking you that you continued reading all the way down:  I find summer to be a difficult time for perfume. I hardly wear perfume in summer, really.

    I have been working on a rose for a while, a complimentary scent in a way, complementary to my existing roses that are somewhat on the heavy side. I wanted a light, airy, rose for summer, staying close to the skin, wearable in the heat, like a refreshing rose water, with some lasting power, but not for a whole long day. A summer rose that feels like smelling one of these very fragrant roses that you find in old gardens, hints of spices, a citrus floral happiness with a dash of soapiness in the best sense of the word, oscillating between floral delicacy  and a musky skin.

    I find summer to be a difficult time for perfume, and as I am not an expert when it comes to wearing scents:

    What do you actually wear in summer?


  • The full picture

    There we go... today's picture, shrinked to 300 pixels width for the blog from an A4 sized canvas (digital canvas, at 300 dpi), shows you another auto portrait.

    I got the question a couple of times ago: When I draw digitally, I do not start with a photo on which I paint on top. But I start with an empty canvas and start painting on the growing numbers of layers. What is nice about painting digitally: You can add a new layer and test ideas, and if you do not like them, you get rid of the layers and start again, without having destroyed what you did before. I wish sometimes it was like that when composing perfumes.

    The disadvantage of course: It is tempting, very tempting indeed, not to work seriously and not to reflect about what you are doing as it does not matter, really.

    When I compose fragrances, I do not check really what I did in previous fragrances, and what was successful and what not. this would be a futile venture. Thus, a couple of scents are quite different, one from the other. On the other hand, looking at some scents, I can see some sort of a ladder, how the creative path goes up (and down), following preferences developing, new ingredients that become part of the palette. For me, the fun when creating scents is coming up with new fragrances, that are new in my range of scents. I just love to move on. And I guess I am very lucky that my perfume loving friends moved with me, too.

    Shocking as it might be: A formula that I stopped working on is  forgotten  pretty soon (in the sense that I do not remember details anymore) and this allows me to start on a new layer, basically.

    Be it: This week is so busy that I do not have a lot of time to talk or paint, really. I have my nieces working in the factory, a bit, and need to prepare for their helpful presence.

    But if you have time: I have a video on youtube for you, about me (of course, sorry for always being so self focused here :-) ....). Geurenland. 17 minutes about Andy Tauer. How cool's that?

    Before you watch it. A few minor corrections: I was never married. If I was, then I have successfully deleted this memory.

    And I was not born and raised in Kansas, USA  (but Kaiserstuhl, Switzerland, which sounds similar, I guess). Here's the link to the youtube video by Geurenland.

    Have a great day!

  • Taucherli

    Today's painting (digital, done with ps) shows you what we call "Taucherli". Swiss German often uses diminutives for a lot from dog (= Hund, Swiss German Hündli) to house (Haus, Huus=>Huesli) and well, "Taucherli" from the verb tauchen= dive. Little black water birds that dive for food. They crossed my way, sort of, when I was  riding home with the bike after a factory afternoon. Every day, I pass over the river Limmat and as the sun was going down, the houses reflected in wonderful colors in the river and the Taucherli were  right in the middle between the reflections from the river's banks in gold and the greyish-blueish water.

    A wonderful moment that I tried to capture with the phone (did not work really) and captured in digital paint this morning.

    Of course, as it is spring, we have two Taucherli there. These days, ducks et al are super busy defending their territory and trying to find a mate. What an effort for a short moment of joy...

    When painting, less is often more and one -I think- should try to leave things out, like the undefined right bottom corner in the illustration; stop before you plastered it all with colors and lines.  On the other hand, towards the "end" -whatever this means in painting- every line added more sometimes helps to provide depth and contrast and brings out the scene or picture.

    A contradiction, right?

    In perfumery: Same thing. When to stop?

    Like: Place a brave dark line with cistus. And let it sit there, not covering up, not fading it out, not rendering. Just have this line in the base and leave "white fragrant space around it". And then, contradictory, to what you just did: Work on other central lines by adding more, finest hints, like traces of aldehydes, a whiff spices, a hint of this and a dash of that. They all add up, like fine lines on a painting, and might make all the difference.

    This came to my mind this morning, remembering me checking the Vetiver Dance formula yesterday, as I need another batch, in some time. I haven't checked the formula for quite a while. The head of this scent is amazingly complex. A lot! of fine lines. Don't ask me whether they are all needed, and whether I might do Vetiver Dance the same way today. I think not. I feel that I tend to leave a little bit more room in my scents these days.

    Having said that: No progress on a couple of trials (vanilla scentric) so far. ... when to stop, that's the question. But there is time. Have a great day!



  • an old fashioned flask

    You know: It is odd. When creating fragrances, sometimes, rarely though, things fall in place like a magic hand leads you through your excel layout of a formula and later mixing of the written formula. Most of the lines, notes, ingredients just seem to snuggle perfectly, like a large tetris assembly where things just fit. Maybe a few changes might be needed, but the overall structure is just there and feels fine.

    Sometimes this happens. And, for reasons that are beyond my comprehension, there seem to be phases where this happens repetitively.

    And then, there are phases, or ideas, that just won't happen. Usually, when I start working on a new theme, I circle my ideas, my vision, by making large iterations, checking out the territory and later narrowing one particular circle, adjusting what is not right. But sometimes, things just don't work. It is like the big circles of experiments are drawn on wrong premises. Something's fundamentally wrong.

    Thus, I was mixing for quite a while and still feel like having gained nothing, on an idea centered around vanilla.

    When painting, this happens too. And I learned that it is often better to start from scratch again than trying to safe an oeuvre that is wrong.

    On another note: I have a chemistry background, studied bio-organic chemistry, did lab work, synthesized molecules and isolated proteins later and did DNA work. The usual stuff. I loved the lab work. The more obscure and the more alchemy like, the better. I remember night shifts in the cellar of the university, with my reaction going on in flasks, and needing my hourly attention, adding drops of catalysts, fuming bottles, bubbling liquids inside complicated glassware. I loved to work with glassware, but spent a fortune on broken glass thermometers that were always super delicate and in constant urge to proof to me that gravity exists.

    When I ordered some lab material the other day, I came upon 50 ml glass flasks (see the picture going with this post), brown flint glass, with a cut polished top.  An amber apothecary flask. I got some, just a few, and used one to mix a trial of something new that I wanted to mix since a long time, sort of a private joy thing. It brought back chemistry lab memories of 30 years ago.

    Usually, I mix my trials in 12.5 gram total, in a simple brown bottle with screw top. They look industrial, cold, technical. This time, I did an alchemist trial: 40 gr, in an amber apothecary bottle, calling the gods of perfumery for help. No vanilla centric scent, though. Just a weird idea, around sandalwood and iris, and a few other things. Playtime in perfume wonderland.

    In a sense, I forced myself to think more seriously before mixing, too. Sandalwood is expensive. And I loved the idea to mix a trial in a flask that is more sensual and less practical that what I usually use. It felt like pleasing the forces of perfumery by using an old fashioned flask. Don't ask me whether it helped, though.

    Today I did an illustration of the apothecary flask, digitally, on the citiq. I just love this flask.

  • it happens

    Fragrant greetings from Zurich, where I am behind commenting the comments on yesterday's post and some facebook posts. Sorry! But here's the thing: When headind for the factory, I run out of my data package for Switzerland on the ipad, and loading more data by paying for them did not work. It turned out yesterday evening that paying actually worked, but the 2 GB data package vanished within seconds. As I tried and tried and tried, through my credict card (this post could also be called steaming credit card), I got suspicious and ended up getting technical support, on the ground, in the shop.

    Better said: I ended up in the shop, waited an hour for the support and got it, during another hour. Don't get me wrong: I do not complain, was very well served, but it is a very weird thing happening on my ipad and their interface, kind of freightening. But as I got there early and did not wait, there is no doubt that my many credit card payments will be reimbursed.

    But I makes you aware that your money is zero and ones, bits and byets, somewhere. Time to buy farmland...

    Anyhow, as you know: I am not good at waiting. I did this sketch while doing so yesterday.

    £Anyhow: Thank you for following this post and reading all this way down. I am also not good in waiting when it comes to fragrances.  Especially, when creating. Creating -for me- translates often in a lot of trials. With a little bit too much of this, too little of that, nothing of this or overdose of that. Sometimes, on a scale of 10 grams trial size, 10 milligram make the difference. Or 2 gram when overdosing. And, also because I use a lot of naturals, things get very complex, very swiftly, and sort of unpredictable.

    Thus, I am impatient, the very moment when I have mixed a formula, I want to know the result. In order to see whether I end up with a scent that is of the NO! category, or whether I got a chance to make it better.

    The dramatic mistakes: You get them right after mixing. The fine details: You need to wait. At least a week. The mixture needs to mature. Better 2-4 weeks. And then dilute it, and wait again.

    You get the message. A lot of waiting for a NO!

  • Il minimo culturale, que vuole

    On Friday, I did a photo of the 02-l'air du désert marocain flacon with its outer packaging. I kind of like it a lot, as there is a certain unpretentiousness going with it. ... you know: No pseudo vintage arrangements of objects, no human beings, no body fluids, saliva or alike, a presentation stripped down, to the essentials. A bottle, a label and a packaging.

    OK, I admit it, there is some bling here, too. "Il minimo culturale, que vuole...!"

    That's the way I like it. The last few days saw me working a bit on scent, too. Although, to be honest, not really in a very focused fashion. I am still in exploratory territory there, and have not isolated the path that needs to be followed. Love it! I love it when there is no pressure to come up with anything serious, short term, and I love it to explorer ideas, in a somewhat wild fashion, like "ok, we might want a leather note there" and then see what happens.

    To be honest, again, usually, what happens, is no miracle, but often a dense cloying sticky thing gets worse. Of course, you can cheat yourself and start with what has worked in the past, copy paste building blocks and just adjust here and there. Et voilà, it will sure work, but it will be comparable and not really innovative. Starting from scratch often means -in my case- total overload within formulas, dense beasts that feel like a wooly fabric after cooking it for an hour.

    And then, minimalism as savior of a lazy perfumer, does not really work, either, not always.

    But here's the funny thing, and that's how creative things work: With every detour , be it crazy, be it fun, be it by being lazy, be it baroque or be it stupid, with every detour, the target comes more into focus.

    Overall, this weekend felt like early spring and was a busy one. I needed to write another interview, and was answering emails a gogo. Ah, yes, a side note: If you think that it helps writing me an email about PHI: it does not. There is no stock and I cannot ship. Even to you. Mi dispiace. But I am working on it, hoping to bring it back towards the end of this year. Other highlights:

    I managed to squeeze in some time to paint.

    We got the design for the Sotto la luna flacons labels, and sent off a test print of one of these.

    We go into print with the last missing explorer set size labels, including Eau d'épices, edp, which will be back in a few weeks, too.

    And finally, I read a great article with interview, about myself and the way I do things here, in the St. Petersburg Times (in English). I hope that you will find the time having reading this piece, too. Here's the link. Enjoy!



  • raised eyebrows

    sometimes, down time, waiting time, being-in-the-loop time is great: I try to fill it with stuff that I want to do but do not find the time to do it because I think I have more important things to do. So I fill with with activities like sketching, or playing with software, or following the stock markets or blogs with raised eyebrows. Those of you following this blog since 2005 know that I follow the stock markets, mostly when they are turning bizarre or odd or out of touch, in my opinion.

    raising eyebrows, body language meaning: interested and wants to know and see more, but also being a bit surprised. And it is a bit an invitation, too. Answers: Please.

    Or I just waste this downtime, because it came for free.

    Which is fine.

    Although, to be honest, I am convinced that what might look like wasting time will end up being part of a bigger scheme, one fine day.

    Yesterday's waiting time playtime while hoping for computer no.1's stuff getting finished: sketching on computer no. 2 a bunch of roses, trying to capture what makes the yellow buds and the leaves and stems special. It is also an eye training session. And it is interesting. We recognize a rose immediately, but what actually makes a rose a rose? Looking at the raised eyebrows further up: I feel that we humans are really good in recognition of patterns and forms. Deers, for instance, are not.

    Reverie au Jardin flacon, 15 ml size, sketch, done on ipad

    Anyhow. The other sketch I did yesterday is less a downtime sketch, but I figured that an illustration for the upcoming newsletter might be nice. So there we word here: I did it on the ipad. The ipad is about 2.5 years old and since the update to the new iOS it is just too slow. Because it got too slow, for certain apps at least, and because it started to crash sometimes, and more and more regularly, I should get another one, really. But I am not willing to invest into a tool that feels like it is rendered dysfunctional "on purpose" or better "by plan" after 2 years use. Contrary to my Mac computer, all apple tools that I got lately did not last that long. And many of my friends got quite unhappy, too. So, there we go, raising eyebrows.

    Today, that's the plan at least, early in the morning, will see me working a bit on orders in the factory, followed by newsletter putting together activitie. And it will see me mixing and smelling around my woody creamy vanilla. This is playtime with scents that I do not like to mention too often, as I do not want to raise wrong expectations and have you all raise your eyebrows, too high.

    Have a great end of the week!

  • In Switzerland, Terroir Perfumes glowing soon

    If you happen to speak German, or trust Google's translator, here's a link for you. Ah, yes, you need facebook, too.  (In a week or so, however, the website of RichardLüscherBritos will be updated with my German text, too.) There (click here) , I talk about the beginning of a collaboration that is unique, for me, and that resulted in the creation of a terroir fragrance, for them by me.

    For me, it was going back to the roots, with joy and passion. For them, it is the beginning of a great venture. Them is RichardLüscherBritos, and they just started an all natural, terroir based fragrance line that is beyond the ordinary. This collaboration was one of the reasons why I - after the scent was already created and finished- visited the Causse Méjan. I wanted to experience the terroir, the landscape, compare it with what I created, wanted to feel the wind, the rough soil, the bees, the sheep, the little pine trees and sit next to the wild lavender growing there.

    I was there this summer, end July, and the lavender was in full bloom. It is little patches of lavender, no fields, and it grows wild. The essential oil, from plants collected by a woman's cooperative, allowed to harvest the wild lavender in this natural park area, this essential oil is beyond the ordinary. It comes from these geographic area: 44°N- 3°E. This is the terroir.

    One of my challenges when composing this fragrance: The wind. How do you create wind? Yes, that was part of the brief...

    This is the first of three articles going  to be published on facebook, in German, where I write about the creation of this scent and the collaboration with the two guys and one girl.

    Ah, and yes, the fragrance 44N 3E is not your standard all natural "fume". I composed it with essential oils, absolutes, resins and no isolates, and nothing else; it is spectacular, lasts forever, and glows like a brilliant cut diamond. It is quite remarkable, indeed.

     Today's picture: A sketch of a lavender sitting on stony ground, done on the ipad, July 2013, in the Haute Sevennes, Causse Méjan. 


  • when things make a difference

    Today, I wanted to talk about the apricot in the upcoming PHI-une rose de Kandahar. But first things first: Here is an interview that I gave to Elena from Perfumeshrine, about marketing in perfumery, splits and decants, stories in niche perfumery and more. I found it important to speak out, be frank, and add to the discussion around perfume marketing, pricing and more. Contrary to many amusing and joyful likes  on facebook and quick statements, there is quite some discussion happening there, and I like this exchange, as much as I sometimes enjoy the quick hi and ho on facebook.  I hope that you will find it interesting, and not too depressing.

    Thus, apricot. First things first: I have a soft spot for fruits in perfumery, and used a peach note in Rêverie au jardin, as I think peach and lavender are perfect matches. There is a big red raspberry in Rose Vermeille. Now, imagine how I felt when I put my hand on samples of all natural fruit extracts from Robertet. I got samples of peach, apricot, raspberry and pear and oh my... the apricot was so stunning. I had to buy. And did, 6 kg of apricot heaven. Totally not rational and quite an impulse buy to be honest.

    Then secondly, I have to say that apricot extract smells fruity and floral and apricot like but there is much more going on: It is almost animalic, and there is something very twisted in this apricot extract. Think esters that by themselves might even smell ... well not so nice, as many esters in high concentration actually do. The extract lasts quite long and is fruity floral big with a dark skin undertone.

    Thirdly, as mentioned many, many times before: A perfume is more than just the sum of its ingredients. This is true on many levels. And as long as I cannot share samples with you, I am sort of restricted to talking about what went in the rose de Kandahar, knowing that it does not really help. In the fragrance, the apricot natural extract combines with the rose oil, the cinnamon, the bitter almond to something big floral fruity rosy plum apricot like. It supports, moves, and transports the fruity aspect of the natural rose oil, and it is a floral fruity juxtaposition to the woody tobacco story line that might be too dark, too masculine, too rough without the fruit.

    Finally: the apricot adds a twist, sparkles of fruity happiness, that make the entire "tableau" more interesting. This is why I picked today's picture: Imagine it without the dew droplets. It would be a boring shot of a few red leaves under a white sky with green-brown leaves dominating. With the dew droplets, the entire picture changes.

    So there we go. Samples, full 50 ml flacons and explorer size (15ml) bottles will be available at the latest mid November, initially on exclusively.



Items 41 to 50 of 109 total