Yesterday, right when I got into the train bringing me to a place 90 minutes of Zurich, I got a mail with some pictures from the weekend editions of the Singapore Business Times. Cool. Tauer got a full one page head shot there. How cool is that?
And here, by clicking on the picture (you need to click twice), you can see what I said, among other things, how to find inspiration and ideas in search of new fragrances....
so that was a nice start into a hiking day trip. The hike brought me to a place that was peaceful, quite, with lots of curious cows, fir trees in the sun, with a wonderful rich amber scent, green pastures with flowers all over, and all of this for 5 hours, pure hiking joy. I figured, after a weekend shift, I sort of deserved it. And, it gave me time to reflect a bit.
Reflection also about some of the comments yesterday. Indeed, I tend to forget sometimes. There is this wonderful passion for scents among my readers, and sometimes my readers need to remind me about what is at the core of all the many boxes and labels and excursions here and there in logistics and packaging and all the discussions of legal and financing issues: it is only the tool to present a scent.
A lot of Ueberbau (superstructure) for a few spritzes, I know. But that's the name of the game.
so.... today: Packing. And sending mails. One of them says, please send a quote for 1 kg Mimosa.
So , yes: Technically I should be in the factory since about an hour. I should be down there (10 minutes with the bike, downhill) and fill bottles, continuing there where I stopped yesterday: air du désert marocain. Air du desert followed Incense rosé, that I filled the other day, lots of bottles. Today's picture shows you a dozen of them. And then, I should be putting labels on them and put them into a box and put them in the shelf before packing them later. Then, I should move on and do the same with Incense extrême.
Practically, I am still here, in front of the computer, having tweaked an experiment formula in my ever-growing excel list of perfume formulas. And I think I will start putting this experimental formula into one of my 30 ml brown glass bottles. I was thinking a long time about this particular formula, and how to change it to the better. So I am a bit impatient to see how it might turn out. It is about time that I get somewhere there: I am working on it since more than 12 months.
The list, by the way, is an excel list and I mentioned this to a journalist in Bucharest, too. And yes, there was some disappointment in her face. I guess writing my formula into a dark brown old leather enclosed booklet with rusty iron buckles might do the trick. But then, excel is really very helpful. It counts for me, and makes it easier to end up with a formula that is based on 1000 units. These 1000 units are 12500 mgr=12.5 gram. the 12.5 gramm are there for historic reasons, when I was still working with milliliters. These days, everything happens in grams and milligrams, as volumes are not additive. This means, that 1 liter of water and 1 liter of ethanol does not give you 2 liters of a mixture. Funny, he?
So, yes: milligrams. Trying to find harmony there, in excel, and expressing what I feel it should be like. The take is on tuberose again, trying to come up with a bright sensual tuberose shining under the moon.
Regular readers of this blog know what I am talking about: Sotto la luna. Flowers under the moon. My take on them. Sotto la luna will, like the HOMAGES, be a line within the line of tauer. And I will talk more about it. Tuberose will be the third scent that I have in mind to go in there. Sotto la luna will be a little bit like my private collection. My flowers, the way I love them. And as it is a bit my intimate private thing, I will do some things differently there.
This morning, I picked the winner of last week's draw, or rather random.org picked it. Thus, someone somewhere will open her email today or tomorrow and hopefully smile. I haven't posted on the blog for a few days as I wanted the draw to get its well deserved attention and as I was super mega giga galactical busy. You get the idea.
Today sees another super.... busy day and then: Uff! I will sit tomorrow morning into a nice 2nd class seat, in a train, for 4 hours and will relax. Paris is on the agenda. Just a very short trip, but worth it: Antonio, lovely shopkeeper of Marie Antoinette , one of the loveliest and cuttest perfumery in Paris, will launch Loretta and I will bring some samples and meet and greet perfume lovers there. I am so looking forward to it. If you are in the region: Paris, Place du Marché St. Catherine, Marie Antoinette, around 6 pm, Wednesday, November 14.
There was some time last week, nevertheless, the think about perfumes and compositions and I had a look at the Lys du désert's formula. It was a look at something that I had created a while ago, a look at things from a distance so to say. Quite interesting. It is a rather concise formula. Optimised, and in a sense, the different lines within the fragrance are clearly carved out. So yes, it is a little bit like a screen print, but colored, and every color is a line within the scent that tells part of the story. I remembered that I wanted to do it very right for Luckyscent: So I optimized the formula and tried to make it as complex as necessary and as optimal to produce as possible. The result: ingredients. Among them rose absolute, jasmine absolute, cedarwood, cistus ladaniferus extracts (two different). The rose balances the composition and adds a floral quality without the scent leaving its unisex territory. The jasmine is part of the desert lily heart, again without leaving the unisex trail. And the two cistus extracts are part of the dry amber chord that dominates the base. Ah.... and yes. There is bergamot, lots of it, to brighten and enlighten the top notes, and in order to add this hint of lush green.
I wish you a great start into your week.
Today's picture: a picture taken in Joshua Tree, the way I see it. sometimes.
October 29 2012. This draw is closed. Winners will be informed October 30 2012. A warm thank you to all of you who commented and shared!
As there were some technical issues on Evelyn Avenue's blog page related to the draw there: We continue this draw with an extended deadline here while the problem on Evelyn Avenue is being resolved. All comments on the Evelyn Avenue blog page for the draw will automatically participate, so if you have already commented there, no need to do so again here: you are already entered into the draw.
If you have not participated yet: please leave a comment here, following the instructions further down, and enjoy the perfume spots.
We thank you for your comment and wish you good luck.
The following text is from my collaborator in Tableau de Parfums, Brian Pera, reflecting on the last year of Tableau - our intentions, our frustrations and hopes as perfume lovers and creators. I thank him very much for his insightful remarks on perfume and film and beyond:
Most cynics are really crushed romantics: They’ve been hurt, they’re sensitive, and their cynicism is a shell that’s protecting this tiny, dear part in them that’s still alive -Jeff Bridges
It’s easy to understand how anyone who loves perfume might be truly cynical at this point. There are more perfumes released each year than ever, and whereas in the past one could safely mark a line of division between niche/indie and mainstream perfumery and the sales tactics they employed, increasingly even niche and indie lines have started to market their fragrances with big, bold and piercingly loud bells and whistles. This would be fine, if the majority of these fragrances were as inventive as their marketing and buzz. More often, they aren’t. Worse, maybe, is the overall lack of regard for the preservation of classics people have grown to love. The commitment to the consumer of fragrance is pretty tenuous at this point, though the advertising says otherwise. Consumers know this, and respond with distrust. This makes things very difficult for those who want to create perfumes that don’t shortchange their wearers.
A year or so ago, Andy Tauer and I started a perfume line called Tableau de Parfums. We were excited about creating links between our creative fields; perfumery in Andy’s case, filmmaking in mine. We wanted to see what happens when the brief for a perfume isn’t a lofty, overblown paragraph of purple prose but something more complex, the world of a film. We wanted to see how a perfume might influence a film, as well. How would that work? What might happen if a filmmaker and a perfumer engaged in an ongoing conversation about their work and interests? We weren’t interested very much in creating perfumes which represented the characters in these movies, but something more complex; we wanted to use the films and characters as springboards thematically and philosophically. We’ve seen the perfumes in the same way.
The name of the film series these Tableau fragrances relate to is WOMAN’S PICTURE, and the stories in the series explore many things we’re interested in: through the stories and perfumes we remember some of the women in our lives and families, explore how perfume influences and infects memory, and in some way try to determine what a perfume is saying when it speaks to us. What does sadness and regret mean in a fragrance and a film? How is it expressed? What brings happiness, bittersweet or joyful? When you watch a film, or you smell a perfume, how is it speaking to you, and how is it that what one person hears or sees or smells is so different than the next? In developing the fragrance for MIRIAM, the first short in the series, Andy and I asked ourselves what the story was about. MIRIAM dealt with loss and the simultaneously ephemeral and durable nature of memory and our connections with other people. The corresponding fragrance, also called Miriam, was less about the title character played by Ann Magnuson than it was an exploration of how the past influences the present. The resulting fragrance, launched last year, looked at the past from the present, revisiting older perfumes from a distinctly modern point of view. I suppose we were interested in how those two perspectives, past and present, might intertwine or interfere with each other, and what’s changed in the time between them.
Tableau has no marketing team, no PR division, no bells and whistles department on staff. We’re an army of two. In packaging the films and perfumes together, Andy and I spend a lot of time experimenting and communicating what we might do, and what we maybe shouldn’t. For both of us, it was essential from the beginning, in an industry which often shortchanges its customer by presenting mediocrity as innovation, to make the presentation of these fragrances with as much integrity and ingenuity as possible. We wanted them to be gifts in every possible way for those who engaged with them. We take both sides of the collaboration seriously, and it’s been essential to us that they speak to each other. We package each perfume with its corresponding short film, both of which we regard, in this case, as forms of portraiture. We’re interested in what other people think these fragrances are saying, how they might be speaking to them.
It’s ironic but probably inevitable that one of the primary challenges in our collaboration has been the now nearly-chronic cynicism of the perfume lover. It’s particularly challenging because, as perfume lovers ourselves, we understand, and empathize with, that cynicism first hand. It’s inevitable, for instance, that some people will regard the films as promotional tools for the perfumes, sort of glorified advertisements. We never intended for the films to be advertisements, nor did we intend that the people who buy these fragrances should see these characters – and nothing else – in them. What we hoped, I think, was that in putting as much quality and imagination and care into the perfumes and films as we possibly could we would demonstrate the purity of our exercise. We never kidded ourselves about this: We knew it was a tall order in the present cultural climate. We also felt strongly that it was worth giving it a shot.
Having experienced this prevailing cynicism ourselves, we wanted to slow things down. So much is thrown out into the marketplace. All the bells and whistles shoot out first. Then it all dies down very quickly. Perfume hasn’t worked that way for either of us; nor for most of the people we know who love it as much as we do. Perfumes stay with you, and accrue meaning methodically over the course of time. We wanted to learn as we moved forward, to try as best we could to listen in between each fragrance – not just to what others were telling us but what we were trying to tell ourselves.
We’re excited about the release of Loretta, the next step in our creative learning process – excited to hear what people have to say about the scent and its related story. Where Miriam dealt with history and relationships to the past, Loretta is a meditation on very different themes: sexuality, a tension between experience and innocence, what darkness means when coupled with naivete, and much more – for us, at least. The story is a complicated one, and quite different from Miriam. Together, these stories, all so different from one another, speak to the complexity not just of perfume but of relationships and people themselves. We hope that in ten years, this body of work will constitute a testament to the complicated depths of film and fragrance.
We know that much has to be proven at this point to the discerning lover of fragrance. We don’t expect to do that overnight. We’ve watched others try to do that, and seen what happens the morning after. Trust takes time to build, and we’ve committed ourselves to that process. We know two people won’t turn anything around, won’t halt or reverse the prevailing trends of expediency and built-in obsolescence in the fragrance industry, but just as one good, honest fragrance can make a profound difference – reminding its wearer of all the wonderful things that brought him or her to fragrance in the first place, re-igniting some lost romance – we persist, slowly but surely, hoping to make exceptions of ourselves. With Loretta, we hope to put one more nail in the coffin of cynicism, which we believe, all things considered, has no place in the fragrance imagination.
The Drawing: Three winners will be randomly selected from those who comment on this post. To be eligible, we ask that you answer the following: Which of the three perfume spots for Loretta do you prefer, and why; as well as what makes you cynical about fragrance at this point, and what seems like cause for optimism? Winners will be announced on Monday, October 29 and will receive a full bottle of fragrance from the extended Tauer line, including Tableau de Parfums, a DVD of the first three Woman’s Picture portraits (including INGRID, which will be released next Fall), and a vintage-inspired poster for Loretta. During the course of this draw, we are offering a free viewing of MIRIAM, LORETTA, and INGRID, the Woman’s Picture films which inspired the Tableau fragrances (below).
DRAW IS CLOSED (October 29 2012)
This draw is closed now. The winners will be informed by email October 30. Congratulations to the winners and please stay tuned for more... .
There we go again: Welcome to another gardenia related post. Today, the accompanying picture is a simplified sketch and I wish simplification would be equally easy for perfumes. This is a quick post as I have a lot to do in the factory. One reason why I am still not there, in the factory, to do what I should do, is the DHL man who is riding his car somewhere in Zurich and I know that he has a parcel in his yellow car and I know he is going to come today, but I do not know when. It may be in a minute or in 6 hours. If I miss him and his yellow car, then I might have to wait until next week. And I am not good in waiting.
So, they day before yesterday, late at night, I sat over my excel sheet where I have the gardenia trials stored. Version 8.1, sitting there, in all innocence. So I started to write it again, having super excel calculating the individual ingredients from the two bases and putting them into the formula. With the individual ingredients from the bases, the formula grew to 33 ingredients. I printed it out and carry it with me since then. Actually, the formula is not too bad. But it is still a bit too long. I would say: Inconveniently long when you have to mix it all together.
Thus, I am trying to come up with simplifications that my intuition tells me are not going to change the overall picture too much. I haven't found too many so far. Not easy. My goal is to reduce by at least 15% (=5 ingredients).
Looking at the formula without bases comes with a few aha!s. Like the total amount of jasmine absolute that I put in there is with 2.8% pretty large, larger than I thought. The lowest concentration of one particular ingredient is 0.07% and trust me: It has a bigger effect than the number of " 0.07%" would make you guess. So this one is going to stay. But maybe the cinnamon leave has to go. Ah well!...
Today's sketch shows you: Florence, we are coming. Or at least: Soon! Tomorrow, we will take the early train to Florence, to help build the stand and get ready for the biggest thing in artistic and artisanal and niche and indie and luxury perfumery: Pitti.
It is an amazing number of things to see and smell: Here is the list of all the brands, their offereing, and all of their new scents. The Sniff List is provided by Extrait.it and I hope I will manage to sniff at least 50%.
Am I ready? Technically, yes. All the samples are there in Italy. I have made a pile of things to bring with me, including business cards and adaptors and all my e-goodies. Mentally, I am not really ready, yet. It still feels like far, far, very far away. I guess, once through the Alps, by train, I will feel ready.
After yesterday's post on logistics and some differences in shipment, that are not really bothering as there is always a way around and out: Today a short post on raw materials again. And gardenia. And bases built to reproduce a good part of the head space of gardenia. And on how to build a scent out of all of it. Or rather: On the state of work of the gardenia sketches.
The picture of today: It shows you a illustration that I am working on, still unfinished. Missing the interpretation, missing some green areas, but we are working on it. I think I uploaded it a while ago on facebook.
About the fragrance:
It is definitely not easy. While cycling, sweating along the hills of northern Spain, I was from time to time wearing the latest gardenia trial. The regular readers of this blog know that I have built a gardenia base, with my nose stuck to a gardenia pot, blooming regularly. The gardenia still blooms, but it has some bugs (some sort of coccoida, that I try to get rid of with an insecticide that you put into the pot's earth). So I built the base and it features among other molecules methylbenzoate, tigliates, linalool and salicylates. I also use jasmine absolute and orange blossom absolute in the base to add depth. But bottomline of this gardenia base is: It is a head and heart note base, not a body note base. Meaning: It won't last forever. Thus, on my skin, at least under heavy duty conditions in Spain, the gardenia effect did not last too long.
Adding more will not make it last longer.
The base notes that I used in the latest trial are sandalwood, some cistus, hints of patchouli and some amber gris. They blend in nicely, but the fixative power is too little and the base is too week. In other trials the base was dominating. Thus, the challenge now, to go from version 5 to 6: Fixation.
Fixation means to make the head and heart notes stay well in a scent, without dominating the entire composition by sticky base notes.
Fixating is not easy. There are glue like molecules, like for instance Okoumal, that might work there. In the end, it might boil down to shifting and adjusting the base notes, without introducing new lines. I will work on it when back from Europe's north: Today, I will fly to Helsinki, in a scented mission.
Tomorrow, I will fly to Rome, to launch Miriam and Tableau de Parfum. This will be fun, but today is labor day and I got up before six to celebrate this day with work. This was an hour and a few mails ago and in a few moments I will leave for the factory, to finish with the Incense extreme where I stopped yesterday. I filled my 200+ bottles and now I will polish them, put the stickers on, the lot information on the bottom and the should sticker, and the beech wood top and then they go into a box and wait patiently until they go into boxes. This should not keep me busy for too long.
I will then make some samples and get home again, to continue here.
So tomorrow: A cheap flight from Basel, a booking.com special offer for a hotel, a few hours for myself in the evening and then on Thursday, starting at 5pm, there is a get together at via Vittoria, in CampoMarzio's Essential Gallery. I will present the fragrance, and more important -because in the end everybody can and should make her and his own ideas about the scent- the collaboration with Memphis based movie maker Brian Pera who initiated this whole project and builds a multiverse bringing art of all sorts together. More on this, the latest film projects, fragrance projects and more on evelynavenue.com .
One nice aspect about Rome is: It is about the 20th or so times that I go there. When I was in my twenties, I was going there at least once a year. Back then by train, over night. Thus, I know my way a little bit, where to go for a jog, and my Italian has improved to a level that allows me to order a beer. Well, I guess I could do better there. But then: I prefer to jog in the woods instead of learning Italian grammar.
There is a moment of tranquility in the house of Tauer and I wish to share a few impressions from this year's Esxence in Milan. Tomorrow, I will go to Paris, in preparation of my event with Antonio from Marie-Antoinette where we will present Miriam. This will take place on Tuesday evening.
Today, Sunday, is the last day of the four day Esxence show and I got the impression yesterday that it got bigger. I feel that the exhibition stands were a bit larger than last year's and with the many visitors the place was pretty crowded. There were a couple of brands that I was looking forward to get to know a bit better and to get into touch with the brains and hands and noses behind the beautiful bottles and scents. My Inner Island was one of them. I was honestly impressed by the look and feel and smell on Valentina's stand. Nice! Equally nice and charming was Neela Vermeire and her scents. I had the pleasure of getting to know Neela a bit better over dinner and I am looking forward to meeting again. Her fragrances are sure worth exploring.
I loved the Osmotheque stand and chatting with Cristiano. I smelled a Tuberose from his lab, created by himself, and I loved it very much. It was with me all day and captured this airy, salicylate, musky side of Tuberose in a lovely way. I took it with me to the presentation by Michael Edwards on 300 years of freshness and colognes. Awesome. He handed out scented paper strips of colognes from the very beginning all the way up to Hermes and CK. Michael was so nice to let me have a look at his new edition of fragrances of the world and enjoy the stunning pictures therein, by IFF. Wonderful.
And then I bumped into Ida Meister, who was visiting without telling anybody. Yeehaw! We haven't met since years. And then there was Raphaella, whom we all know from the Perfume Magazine: Although we talk since years, we never met, and the same is true for Mark David Boberick. And guess who was there, too, traveling all the way from Southern California: Lovely Elena and Zoran from Fragrantica. The link brings you to a recent article by Elena on translating scents into words.
And I continued hugging and talking: One of the nicest perfumers out there, Keiko, with her husband, but their stand was always sooooo busy that there was little time. I wished I could have talked longer with Roberto and Spyros and Ermanno and Giovanni and Sebastian and so many more, but my time was very limited; as I was sort of commuting between via Brera, where we showed the fragrance Miriam and the new display at the perfumery Profumo and the Esxence.
And, besides seeing beautiful bottles and meeting many, many people, I smelled some fragrances. But - and this is an irony- a perfume fair is not really the best way to discover scents. Too much is going on there. But one of the highlights was Roberto Dario's all natural cologne. We discussed that people say "oh , it is just a cologne", but thinking a cologne is simple to make, especially if you work all natural: this is not really true. A good, shiny, sunny, warm, and balanced all natural cologne is something wonderful and Roberto has shown me a lovely specimen.
So I loved that. And I am glad I made the trip. Although a lot of artisanal, indie, niche brands were missing, and although the balance at this year's Esxence was tipping more towards distributor's brands, it was inspirational and interesting. You can find a list of all brands and news on Basenotes, too. And yes, I bumped into Lila and Grant too. Nice to see so many fragrant enthusiasts!
Today's picture: A look at the train main station's entry hall. Amazing. Milano is sure worth a trip, too.
Fragrant greetings, today from the train to Milan (again), where I will stay for a day, sleeping in an affordable hotel, and trying not to get homesick. It has been a while since I slept for a couple of days in a row at home.
But I do not want to complain. In the end, it was me who decided when to go where. Next week, on Monday, you will see me in Paris(again), where I am doing a little, but nice!, event with Antonio to officially launch the fragrance Miriam in Paris at Marie-Antoinette. Probably one of the cosiest selective perfumeries in Paris.
But first Milan. I am so looking forward to visiting Esxence. We decided again not to exhibit, we = me and my Italian importer. I am too small and cannot afford to present my fragrances twice a year. Although we would have great news for Italy to present: Tableau de Parfums, with Miriam, is ante portas in Italy.
And talking Tableau. Yes, we did it. Together with you. We reached our kickstarter goal. I thank all of you who pledged and supported us by sharing and by spreading the news. So this is over now and I am very happy that it all worked out so nicely. It will be my job to actually make these soaps and fill the Dark Passage and Loretta purse sprays.
I wonder how many mails I will get in the coming weeks wherein folks ask for a Dark Passage sample or a purse spray, on exceptional basis because they heard about it or missed the campaign. I have not really come up with a plan there. I will probably come up with a page on my site where I say no. Thus, I can reply to these requests by simply sending a link. You would not believe how many mails I still get where perfume lovers ask for Orris, my limited edition fragrance created a couple of years ago.... and yes: just in case you wonder, no chance. Orris is gone.
After all these kickstarter posts, I would like to end this post with a little note on hyacinth. I have a few blooming right now in my little garden. After running and packing and jumping forth and back all day yesterday, I took a few minutes off, sitting next to the pink beauty.It was simply amazing how leathery this scent seemed to me. A sweet spicy green creamy leathery scent.