Tauer Perfumes
20140917s

magic realism

September 17th, 2014

Today’s picture shows you my part of the stand at Pitti Fragranze, 5 minutes after 6 pm, Sunday September 14. It is empty as we started packing things after the fair was over. It is always amazing how this glitter world of Pitti falls apart within minutes when it is all over. All the golden flacons disappear. The high heels click clack towards the exit. What is left is the scent of a thousand perfumes, lingering in the air. The aftermath of Pitti is always, well: Troubling. After 3 days of living in a perfume bubble, talking, spraying, more talking, hugging, 3 days of taking pictures, of discussing notes and retail business, distribution factors, packaging, labels, after 3 days of living in the twilight between art and business, it is all gone within a couple of minutes.

All perfumers leave, friends, clients, hug buddies, all gone. It is a moment of relief, as it is a bubble and the conscious self knows that it can’t go on forever like that. It is a moment of sadness, too. A little abyss. It doesn’t last for long as there is work before Pitti, work during Pitti and the work-up after Pitti. There we are right now: Following up on the contacts. Trying to cluster what I have seen and experienced. Trying to remember what was said.

“Magic realism”, that’s what a client said when she smelled the Gardenia sotto la luna.

How cool is that? Perfect! I wish I’d come up with that. Magic realism is perfect. Shortly after the client left, I was talking to a befriended perfumer who visited. He brought it to the point: The problem with Gardenia in perfumery is the gardenia that sits on the shelves.

After Pitti is before Pitti. This perfumery year is (almost) over. Almost, as there is PHI-une rose de Kandahar, hopefully making another appearance in November. The only puzzle piece left there is the green flacon that should march into the factory end September; we hope so at least. Almost, as the work for Gardenia has just started. And for a few other things. We will see.

Today, I got up at 4 (am), to finish entering the soap “plush GARDENIA” winners into the shipment system of shipwire, my US e-commerce fulfillment service provider. The happy winners (20 of them) will soon find a little soap bar in their letter boxes. And yes: this soap is not for sales. Sorry. And I did not do an European draw: It was US only.

Why? Because I have the logistics and shipment infrastructure in the US that allow me to do so. I do not have alike in the EU. My company (Tauer Perfumes LLC), incorporated in the US, my warehouse: All not that easy in Europe, if you are not living in an EU country. Why is this?, you might ask. Well, I guess, one answer might be: What I did within 24 hours in the US, online, getting a company up and running, would take quite a while in many EU countries.

And, although we always talk about the “united” market of the EU, with the same rules everywhere: it does not exist really. Sending perfumes to Lithuania is different then sending them to Italy, and different compared to the Netherland or the UK. Different rules, different papers needed: You name it.

But still: It is somewhere up there, in my mind, to also build an EU Tauer logistics infrastructure. Why? Because I see the signs on the wall.

 

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20140916s

talking with hands

September 16th, 2014

Greetings from Zurich! Back from Florence. Uff. A pile of work is waiting here and hence, this post is a micro post. Just that much:
We are all very happy here. Gardenia sotto la luna found its fans.

I talked a lot.

I got a little TV feature in the Italian TV.

Here’s the link….

And watching it feels strange to me and I realized: I do a lot with my hands there. Ah well. Thus, I could not help but scribbling the picture of today…. more soon again, on this channel.

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20140908-1s

out of town

September 8th, 2014

today, hurray! finally and uff! and all: I will fly to London, for tomorrow’s launch event at Les Senteurs in the heart of London, surrounded by the best what selective perfumery has to offer. The launch date is going to see a full moon – and a super full moon-  and it is about as perfect as it can get for Gardenia sotto la luna. I am really looking forward to this.

It feels great to finally show this fragrance and to present it to perfume lovers and learn what they come up with and have to say. Perfume is very subjective. Totally subjective, really. I mean: I have no clue what you are smelling and the other way round. Of course, we can meet on ground that is safe and sound when discussing and experiencing perfume. For instance like: is it original, or is it like this or that? So I am looking forward to this event in London. Back in Zurich, I basically just sleep for a night, repack my bag, and move on, towards Florence.

A couple of busy days ahead and I am not sure how often I will talk to you, here on the blog. Sorry. But while I am away: there’s some reading for you.

Here’s the link to Persolaise’s review of the Gardenia sotto la luna. Enjoy!

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20140904-1s

classification of flowers and woods

September 4th, 2014

This morning, pretty early, outside dark as we are moving into autumn, inside bright thanks to electricity, I was thinking about the blog post of today. Referring to yesterday’s interview part II on the Persolaise blog, and a quick illustration that I did while trying to come up with an answer to a particular question; “If flowers could be placed on some sort of spectrum according to their smell (you decide how this spectrum should be defined: maybe lily of the valley at one end and tuberose at the other) where would you place gardenia and why?”

It is an interesting question, that I tried to answer doing this sketch that you find on the Persolaise site.

So I was drinking my first morning coffee, reading the news that are not very new these days, people against people, and I was thinking that I might talk about human nature and how we love and need to classify things, and people. I am no exception there. I like to think in simple terms. It helps. Sometimes.

Early in the morning, the mind wanders more readily, and hence I started thinking about how one could try to put all sorts of perfumery raw material into some sort of wheels, classifying them. Like woods or woody notes. I made a little ink sketch of how one could look at woods then. Oudhy does not exist as term, but I think you know what I mean. And now I wonder whether I missed a couple of categories to classify. Ambery could be added as parameter. Earthy might be another one. But then: In order to make sure that classifications help explaining the complex world with simple terms, the number of terms must be limited. You can’t really make a category for everything that is out there.

It is a mind game. Patchouli, for instance, is somewhere in the middle between powdery, incense and oudh. Sandalwood is all the way up there, floral. Cedarwood (Texan) is close to the middle, with a bit towards the incense side. Cypriol is close to oudh with a mark saying “leathery, earthy, cistus is somewhere in the middle , too: Oudh, incense, dry wood.

As I said: This is not reality, it is a mind game, that might help to understand the world. When writing these very lines, I was thinking, that actually, a nice woody oudh base should not touch the powdery side of woods, and if then only to add a little twist, but the main notes should come from the right side of today’s illustration. So you see: Simplification helps. It ‘s like “good wood, bad wood “. And no: I have no plans to make an oudh.

The illustration of today, by the way, was done with ink, Indian ink, and a nice ink brush that I got the other day. Drawing sketches with ink is inspiring. Reducing complexity, there we go…

20140904-2m

 

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20140903s

rabbits under the moon and flowers

September 3rd, 2014

In my chat with Persolaise, for his blog, asked about “sotto la luna”, I said: “….the first time I heard “sotto la luna” was many years ago, and since then it has stood for a lot. There is a poem by an Italian author, Giuseppe Barberis, called Danze Di Conigli Sotto La Luna (Dancing Rabbits Under The Moon). For a couple of reasons, the image of dancing rabbits under the moon is very inspiring to me. It is a melancholic, happy, soothing, saddening and enlightening picture.”

You can read the full first part of three (yes, we had fun talking…) here on Persolaise’s blog.

When I said so, I did not really think a lot about the image of rabbits dancing and what this picture might bring up in readers and how it may even change the perception of the fragrance, Gardenia.  It was an honest answer to a question about the why and how of “sotto la luna”, and going back many years in my life, it was just there, the image of rabbits dancing under the moon. I guess I have – in the last few years- added another picture: The white flower blooming under the moon.

Today’s picture: Really fast done this morning, specifically for this post, an aquarelle of a happy rabbit in the grass. A contract work for my blog…

Pictures, pictures, pictures. And perfumes. It is always utterly fascinating how they go together, supportive, distractive, positioning, guiding the way. It is actually one of the delights of Pitti Fragrance, the upcoming niche perfume show in Florence, to see all the many pictures that are used to communicate the fragrances. Often, these pictures say also a lot about the man and woman behind the scent, their esthetics, how they imagine the fragrance. Last year, there was everything: Still lifes, flowers, people, skin, architecture, pop art, renaissance, loud colors, soft whispers, white and black, big and small, mystic landscapes and macro flowers, and more.

But there will be no rabbits pictures, at the stand where you find me ; I will be standing at the KAON stand, built and managed by my Italian distributor, and with me there will be perfumer friends standing , too. There will be Gardenia flowers, at least on the flacon label. I do not know whether you realized it, but since years it is the first flower appearing on a flacon (again). Below is a cut-out of the label on the flacon: It was designed by my designer guru who helps me with the design of everything and who guides me. Every perfume in the sotto la luna line will have a flower on the label. THE flower. We actually already designed the hyacinth and the tuberose. (I love the tuberose design).

And trust me: It really, really took me a while to convince my design guru to put flowers on there. Flowers are tricky. It’s easy, very easy to drift into cheesy pinkish territory. Or into ” too feminine territory”, which sounds harsh but I did not find the right words right now: Gardenia, in my nose, goes well with men’s skin, and therefore I do not want to go too pink, if you know what I mean. But I wanted to see flowers on my flacons. In the end, we (or better: He, the guru) came up with the strong geometric pattern, sharp lines, that balance the lively flower.

I guess, my design guru is just happy that I don’t insist on rabbits. For the moment. Have a great day!

Gardenia sotto la luna label

Gardenia sotto la luna label

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20140902s

Jumping

September 2nd, 2014

Today’s picture shows you an (unfinished, maybe) watercolor painting that I did last week outside, a little path in the botanical garden. It is unfinished, maybe, as I actually should/wanted to add some shadows and a bit of color to the path that is a half circle in the middle of the picture. But I was scared of destroying it all by making a mistake. When I told this to my teacher, he simply said: OK, do it again! And when you reached the point where you are now, you can try your ideas on your second picture.

That’s what I did, but am still undecided about adding another line more.

So you see: Here’s the allegory. The more you have reached, the more you might get scared of losing it all.

This is true for all sorts of things. And it is a trap. From time to time, I try to remember this. Thus, from time to time, I am trying to jump out of the box, to look into the mirror and tell myself: It is time for another game. Do something “crazy”, maybe, dare painting this extra line that might change it all. Gardenia sotto la luna isn’t this jump. Although, when you smell the fragrance, you might realize that it speaks a slightly different language compared to my other creations. I think -as a creator- I moved forward there. In my upcoming exclusive interview with Persolaise, a discussion really, of many facets, the why’s and how’s and what if’s, you might find out more, soon. Persolaise announced this three-part interview yesterday, and it will probably go live very soon. Three parts as we talked and talked and talked, and just could not stop. I am  very much looking forward to it.

Gardenia, however, is not me jumping out of the box.

Jumping out of the box means something different. Like: Opening up a niche store in Swaziland. Or make buyers become sellers. Stuff like that. Or using a social media sales approach, where you get a product and pay indirectly, by giving away your data, your interests, your network. But how this would translate into the material world of perfume, this I do not know.

You know: I a marketplace where Tom Ford has become the synonym for niche, one has to move on forward, and dare painting this extra line.

 

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rose20140901s

moan groan or: living in a flower bubble

September 1st, 2014

September. Wow! Already?

That was about the second thought this morning. The first one was: Aechz stöhn, which is Donald Duck German for moan groan. Why? A couple of reasons:

First, it was raining, and dark  when I got up. Can’t do much about that, and as I always say: If you don’t like it, change it!

Then, I did sort of a personal best, jogging yesterday, but you pay the price, the next day.

And then I remembered work, bumping into my aluminum can (a 12 liter drum) with rose vermeille, filtered yesterday, that needs to go into bottles before I go to London next week.

September will be sort of a roller-coaster month, here in Tauerville, that’s for sure.

Here’s part of the roller-coaster uphill ride excitement: Persolaise announced yesterday on twitter the start of a tauer week, on his blog, which is going to be exciting, also for the subject (me). The week started with a look into Persolaise’s archive, 2010.  (link to Persolaise’s archive post). Thus, we are looking forward to reading his blog this week.

Another uphill excitement: I have been working on roses, lately, on all levels and when waking up the other day, I realized that I want to paint another rose. In order to remember this, I did a little sketch in my sketchbook (very little sketchbook actually). fixing what I had in mind: 3D rose.  That would be a nice perfume name, too.

Thus, September will see more roses here.  And we will continue talking about Gardenia. Flowers everywhere. That’s nice, and what I love about what I do. In a sense, I am living in a gigantic flower bubble.

I am not sure yet, whether the part of the downhill riding will be fun. But then: We will see and you can’t do much about that either.

 

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20140829s

Diamond gloss

August 29th, 2014

Why I bought diamond gloss.

I am pretty much convinced that the quality of your raw materials can make a difference when creating a perfume. On two levels.  I feel that this is true for naturals. But also for synthetics. For instance, I discussed a couple of years ago with one of my suppliers how it got more tricky to get good phenyl ethanol. This synthetic material is cheap. It is one of the main ingredients of natural rose absolute. It is always difficult to explain the bookkeeper that half of the bottle of rose absolute, our dearly bought Bulgarian or Moroccan treasure, is actually this phenyl ethanol that sits in drums at Sigma Aldrich Fluka where a kilo costs little bit more than your dinner in town, with red wine.

Basically, this translates into: What really matters in rose absolute is twice the price you think. And what matters there? A complexity, hundreds on components, that surprise by an unmatched brilliance and intensity.

So there you go: When using phenylethanol, although cheap, you still need to make sure that the quality is right. There is cheap and there is very cheap. And then there is beyond belief cheap. There in super cheap territory, however, somebody is paying a price, somewhere. Most of us would never work there where the cheapest of the cheap stuff is made. But that’s another topic: How to save our souls for judgement day.

So there ‘s phenyl ethanol. And then, there is rose absolute. And if you are using this material, you get a complexity and a perfume talking to you in a language that you cannot get when using phenyl ethanol to replace it. The difference will speak to you. Please keep in mind here: I did not say “better”, I said different. The more  of the absolute the smiling perfumer puts in there, the more different. That’s how I see it.

In which perfume do you find this magical rose absolute, in an amount where it actually makes a difference? Well, … good luck! The challenge is: The price tag won’t tell you. These days, you might end up paying 500 Euro for a flacon from a brand, and there is no indication that the content is worth it. The price tag won’t help you. You might consider using your nose. But that’s not an easy task these days. Who can help you? Nobody, really. Your friendly sales rep will tell you that this particular bottle costs 500 Euro because of the ingredients and the flacons and whatever. Your friendly perfumer talking about his and her creation will never give you the formula, allowing you to judge for yourself. Your glossy media won’t tell you either. Most of the stuff in there is paid for, and what isn’t is not really helpful. Your friendly blogger won’t tell you either. Mostly.

So there you go: A big confusion.

And with that we come to the highlight of today’s post: Me shopping hair conditioner. See the picture of today. Being a man, being brave and going bald, and having stopped worrying about my hair days in my twenties, I was told by my watercolor painting teacher guru that the best for my brushes is  a nice nursing hair conditioner. Many of my brushes are made with and from dead animal’s hair. Marten is one of them, some species of squirrel, … yep: It’s like that. You can get nice synthetic sports wear, shirts from poly-don’t know-what. But the best: Merino wool. Anyhow.

So there you go: I learned that my brushes need tender loving care. There, in the shop: The big confusion. How to decide? In the end, for me, it was “the brand”, I went for a brand that I know and trust, and that has not gone to court with micro perfumers ; at least to my knowing, contrary to some French big brands, spending their innovation bucks in courtrooms to kill small competitors. Especially French micro competitors. Enough said. I picked a brand, and then the most ludicrous sales pitch.

I went for Diamond Gloss, for medium to thick hair. With real diamond particles! You know: You just can’t beat diamonds!

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20140828s

lounge radio

August 28th, 2014

The picture today shows you a snapshot from the Tauer “factory”. Labelling Lonestar Memories flacons with the ipad on the side, tuned into lounge-radio.com , putting labels on the flacons, one after the other.  A couple of “why” here:

Why Lonestar: Because we run out of bottles sitting on the shelves. Having focused a bit too much on Gardenia, it is time to stock up on others.

Why labels, and not printing: Printing comes with the advantage of being nice (as long as the print sticks), and the disadvantage of being complex to keep up with the printed bottles stock logistics. With labels, you are on the safer side, and can swiftly upscale and downscale production of a flacon.

Why Lounge-Radio.com? Because music helps. And lounge-radio.com is a very little (niche) private venture of a guy, running his own lounge radio station. I think this is cool, makes a difference, is worth supporting, and if I do not like the music , then I switch to another internet channel. Easy going lounge keeps you moving, specially when doing somewhat repetitive stuff in the factory. Do I love to put labels on bottles? Not really. I do not mind doing it though. And as it is just a few hundred per batch, it is ok. But the plan for next year is to get some help.

Next year means 2015. And next year, in January, means 10 years of Tauer Perfumes. In January 2005, I put Le Maroc pour elle onto the shelves of Medieval art&vie, the little bookshop in Zurich’s medieval downtown. Amazing how fast time goes by.

Also amazing: How long it takes to build a business from scratch, if you do not have millions to invest,  if you address a micro segment of the market, and amazing how long it takes to build a brand, an image, how long it takes to get known. Here, it took a couple of years to get out there.

After 10 years, indeed, my perfume bottles and me got sort of known out there. And guess what: Being known and recognized as “brand” and person comes with a lot of aspects. Let’s mention two aspects here:  It gets easier. I do not have to cry my lungs out to be heard. A lot of perfume lovers listen these days which is fantastic. Wonderful actually, and I am very grateful there. Another aspect;  Drolls and scribes are popping up -for  reasons that you cannot do anything against-, because you got onto their radar. That’s why I have the anti-droll spray sitting next to me, all the time: One spritz and they are all gone, falling off my facebook walls like flies.

10 years, almost, brought a couple of changes, you bet.

Here’s today’s secret: On the blue wall in the factory, hangs a piece of paper. It says “in 10 years from now”…whenever an idea  pops up while listening to lounge-radio, where I want to be in 10 years from now, I write it down.

I need to put up another piece of paper there, though: In 2015, I want to …. I really should start working on 2015.

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20140826s

picture in a picture

August 26th, 2014

something I learned in my first aquarelle class lesson: get to know your motive, and  do so by going small (picture size) and large (brush). Postcard size is about right. You work fast, and start by painting a frame. Then you search the lines, and shapes, and colors. And ideally, you identify what works and what doesn’t. And you might want to think about thrilling elements that you might want to bring out. And you might want not to think too much, but feel the brush and the paper and color. Yeah…. quite a lot, really.

This morning, I was trying this starting with a picture of an Alpine lake that I took about 2 years ago, in the late afternoon sun, mountains mirrored, no clouds, the mountains and surrounding area almost black, but a slope of the mountain reflecting the afternoon sun.

Mountain lake  mirroring the mountains in dark afternoon sunlight

Mountain lake mirroring the mountains in dark afternoon sunlight

It is a nice and fast way indeed, great to test ideas. Starting with a picture is also helpful. You can easily measure distances, and proportions. Lesson learned, that goes far beyond painting a lake: Go small with your ideas, first.

The other picture in this post, a blue rose, shows you what can happen starting with a life rose, without sketching the rose with a graphite pencil… it “fell” out of the frame.

It was not planned like that, really.

But here’s the thing: These little mistakes can actually make all the difference. The rose, for instance, suddenly becomes a picture in a picture and the entire scene gets another meaning. I could continue there, bringing in a bright orange around the frame, further underlying the picture in a picture, using a mistake and turning it into something positive.

So… what’s the message here? I guess the message is that many mistakes aren’t really mistakes. Jumping up, one floor higher, to see the total picture, many mistakes turn out to be pictures in a picture, leaving us with a positive note. Many, but not all. And finally, you have to try things out, right? Those who do not move make only one mistake: not moving. But that’s a probably a very big mistake, and another topic.

OK, you probably want to know one of my mistakes, right? There are many. I think one of my biggest mistakes was my pricing, initially. And sticking with standard bottles for too long. And then switching to a pentagonal packaging that looked great but was impractical like it came from hell. Not the bottle. That’s one of the best ideas that I had. This bottle, it really sticks out everywhere. And whenever I see a perfume lover sharing her or his collection: I see my babies in a blink of an eye. This flacon really pops out.

Anyhow: We are moving on here at tauerville. What’s next? Putting Lonestar Memories into bottles. I can’t go wrong there.

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