Some truths are worth repeating: excellent fragrances feature a delicate harmony of all their disparate components. Few contemporary perfumers are as acutely aware of this as Andy Tauer, creator of the new Eau d'Épices, which, like its predecessors, displays his ability to assemble remarkably intricate structures. His latest balancing act begins with the eponymous spices. Cardamom, cumin, pepper, cinnamon and goodness knows what else fly into the air, as if leaping out of a basket that's just been thrown at the sun. They descend onto a landscape that's part terracotta, part summer orchard, where the pungency of orange blossom competes with the resinous waft of incense. There's a hint of dryness in the air, a sense of crackling heat. And then things become really impressive. Three different forces engage in a tug-of-war - ambery wood, frankincense and indolic floral - but instead of cancelling each other out, they all manage to make their presence felt with clarity and insane longevity. Those of us who've played around with pipettes and essential oils will appreciate that this feat is nothing short of astonishing.
Whether or not you'll actually like it is another matter. I'd be lying if I said I fell in love with it straight away. There's a particular note hovering around the floral section - a vaguely synthetic, green citrus - that I found difficult to ignore, although it's much less pronounced on paper than on skin. By no means did it spoil the entire experience, but it did distract from the other, more pleasurable elements. Having said that, the fragrance yielded several compliments from those caught in its sillage, with comments ranging from, "It smells like amazingly fresh air," to "It smells like walking into a warm house on a freezing cold day." In other words - and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this - sniff before you buy! Personally, I haven't yet been able to shower Eau D'Épices with total adoration, but there is no doubt that it's a worthy addition to the Tauer line and that it commands all my respect.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained in 2010; fragrance tested on skin; for reviews of the rest of the Tauer Perfumes range, please click here, here and here.]
[UPDATE 12th October 2010: At a recent event, I had an opportunity to try Eau D'Épices on my skin once more, and although I'd worn it several times before writing the review above, I was struck by how it smelled this time around. It was unquestionably different, albeit in a subtle way: the aforementioned synthetic note - which has variously been referred to as chewing gum and liniment by others - was much more finely tuned. Indeed, it blended into the whole with such ease that I didn't find it the least bit bothersome. Now, there could be a few reasons for this. My first sample may have been slightly dodgy, but that's highly unlikely. It's also possible that I may have grown more tolerant of the troublesome accord. Our personal olfactory autobiographies do have a massive influence on how we respond to smells, and sometimes a process of repeated exposure is required to curb the ill effects of a chemical to which we're sensitive. But I prefer to think that the reason for the apparent transformation was that the scent was sprayed by the fingers of Andy Tauer himself. He probably worked some secret Swiss magic. Whatever the explanation, this curious little development just reinforces my point that Eau d'Épices is a fragrance you really ought to try for - and on! - yourself.]
I am thrilled to announce that Andy Tauer has agreed to send one lucky reader of this blog a bottle of either Une Rose Vermeille or Eau d'Épices. The recipient of the prize will be selected by a random draw. If you'd like to enter, please leave a comment which begins with the following words: "I would like Andy Tauer to create a perfume called..." Comments must be left on this post.
Please note: i) the draw will be open until 10pm (UK time) on Sunday 10th October; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; iv) by entering the draw, you indicate that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume; v) the winner will have to provide his/her postal address, which will then be passed on to Andy Tauer; vi) the winner's address will not be kept on record by Persolaise, nor will it be passed to any third parties, apart from Andy Tauer.
The draw is now closed. Please click here to find out who won.