Tauer Perfumes
20140416-bottles-s

Schlamassel can be said with a smile on the lips

April 16th, 2014

This morning, I was checking a word for its origins as I was not 100% sure, but pretty sure that “Schlamassel” is actually a German word of Hebrew origin. Right I was. I think, in English, however, it does not exist, contrary to “Massel” (En: mazzel, mazeltov). I love Schlamassel as word. Being in Schlamassel means being really in troubles, being in a mess. In my ears, there are tonalities to Schlamassel, too. For me, there is a tonality of self imposed troubles, there is a tonality of things that are very serious but still not about life and death.

Schlamassel.

Can be anything. Like the Japanese/Greek/Italian, (continue the list here _ _ _ )  depth troubles. Like Switzerland after a vote where a majority votes in a way that brings us into a Schlamassel. Or the Euro Schlamassel. Or the post financial crisis Schlamassel in the US. Or the niche perfume industry Schlamassel.

Or my little Schlamassels when it comes to suppliers these days. My Schlamassel solution: Wherever I can… build a second supplier. Just to be sure. But I do not want to complain in this post. I just happen to love this word. Also because you can say it with a smile on your lips.

Schlamassel.

I guess in one way or the other, we are all a bit in a Schlamassel. At least from time to time. And from time to time, we have all have Massel.

Here’s to your day with lots of Massel! Mine started great, with the sun shining into the kitchen, where I am baking a pie for later today.

Today’s picture: a shot from the factory, where we are filling flacons like crazy. No Schlamassel there!

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after-hairdresser20140411-4s

The full picture

April 15th, 2014

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!

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20140414-s

hand nose coordination

April 14th, 2014

when drawing an object that sits in front of you, you need a special kind of hand-eye coordination. Besides learning (again) how to see properly, I think this coordination is something that needs training, to some extend. And to some extend, I guess, you just have it, like a gift.

In my eye, when painting an object, it is critical however that you leave room for another dimension besides the 2,3 dimensions that you try to coordinate between your hand and eyes. Let’s call this dimension the imaginary coordinate system. Painting is therefore a wonderful exercise, as it does not only teaches us to see the world with open eyes, and a focused eye, looking at an object for an extended time, but it teaches us also a lot about ourselves, and how we experience the world.

I often say, creating perfumes is like painting, whereby you paint a fragrant object that develops in front of the observer’s nose over time. This comparison seems the longer the more inadequate.

For once, a fragrance is an object that develops once you set it free, and vanishes finally. It is like a painting would start flowing off the canvas once you hang it up your wall and disappears after a few hours.

And from the perspective of the creator, hand-nose coordination is not comparable to hand-eye coordination. It is as if you would have to learn to paint and coordinate your hand again for every color that you use….

A funny note on the side: what photo taking is in the world of objects is head space perfumery in the world of scents. A flower’s head space analysis is like a digital image instruction pixel by pixel, and depending on the details (resolution) you get a vague idea or a complete high resolution flower scent.

Interesting… also interesting and insightful: How many perfume lovers have sign the petition on Parfumo.de, and where they might be from. It is a well written petition, addressing the EU commission and upcoming changes of the EU cosmetics regulation. Here is the link: http://www.parfumo.net/petition/petition.html 

I only see the total number of petitions submitted (900 per today) and the most recent submitters` nationality. A lot are actually non European submissions.

I find it interesting, as the EU is a 500+Mio inhabitants region, that so far only a few hundred perfume lovers could be motivated to sign.

To give you an idea: on parfumo.de, there are 42945 fragrances from 3540 brands uploaded in the database. I learned this a while ago: The number of perfume lovers who actually care for what has changed (changed formulas for instance) and what continues to change is smaller than you would think. My five scents…The same is true for a couple of other aspects when it comes to perfumes.

Time to proof me wrong.

 

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view of the hills in 29 Palms

April 11th, 2014

today’s picture shows you the view from the motel where I usually stay in 29 Palms: the Harmony Motel. It faces the hills that overlook 29 Palms. I love sitting there, on the porch, and watching the hills turning on their lights in the evening, changing colors from bright greyish brown to dark red. I tried to capture one of these moments of changing lights, the first hints of orange on the hills, the shadows starting to carve out the contours.

I love how the water colors work there and bring in another dimension.

detail of water color painting

detail of water color painting

My day today will be less creative than usual, for a Friday: I have work to get done in the factory. Next week, I will get help, and need to prepare a couple of things for these additional hands (family, kids). But there is one thing that I will do, for sure: dilute a trial that I did before leaving, a while ago. Like the water colors above, flowing out of control, and yet being guided by the painter at the same time, the trial just happened, sort of floating up in Excel. Coming back to my thinking about vanilla, I ended up with three bases that exploit three circles around vanilla: Bourbon spices, bourbon geranium, and a rough base that is a Bourbon dark patchouli tobacco combo. You get the idea?

The geranium lifts, the tobacco patchouli combo adds dark lines and the spices with a dash rose oil hold things together. I am pretty far off there from my original ideas, but who cares?

It is a game. Fun time, play time.

And if I learned a lesson then it is this: not everything that cooks in my lab needs to get onto the table. At least not tomorrow. Actually, in other fields, it’s like that , too. Painters do not sell all the things they paint. Many of them at least. so… that’s a relief in a sense. No worries there. Anyhow, time to get into the factory. Today’s job: Air du désert marocain, filling bottles. What else?

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shadow20140409

back in town

April 10th, 2014

Fragrant greetings from Zurich, where I landed safely and where work waited for me. After a couple of days off and out of the stream it actually feels great to be back and have a mission. I show a few pictures in a second,  from my trip that was half business half tourism: a fact that is hard to explain to an  US immigration officer.

Actually, I am falling probably into some sort of pattern, and the questions that I have to answer get more and more and more complicated when immigrating to the US. I am always honest when answering the immigration officer’s questions. This time, I had to answer for a while the whereabouts of tauer perfumes llc. And how I do business and why I come so often. Ah well. I guess my travel pattern is just odd.

The first picture shows you a pine branch, seen in “Pine City” in Joshua Tree NP. These pines are actually pretty, fragrant and found in higher, protected, altitudes in JT NP. They are the reasons for the strong amber note in my fragrance “Lys du désert”, my contribution and gift to the Luckyscent decennial series, that you can get exclusively from Luckyscent.  (or from www.firstinfragrance.com, but unfortunately, right now out of stock there).

 

Pines in Pine City in Joshua Tree NP

Pines in Pine City in Joshua Tree NP

My trip was partly business, as I was meeting business partners. Perfume business is people business… In a sense, it was also a very creative trip, allowing me to focus and think and feel for a few days. Being a creator, or a creative person, this is important. In a sense: being creative doesn’t come for free and the sources of creativity need to replenish. Sort of.

It wasn’t business because I was out there to smell fragrances either, be it in malls or anywhere else. Let’s call this a nose break. Actually, I was smelling a few things, when visiting a mall for my obligatory purchase of a pair of jeans: Let’s just say… it is new on the shelves, it is highly praised and present in all media, small and big, and blogs and I bet a lot is sold these days, and it is vomit inducing, and a bad copy of what exists already. My mall sniffing comes to an end quite fast these days.

But I smelled the real thing. The desert.And I can’t get enough of it. It is nose and mind cleansing.

To be honest: If I had no business at all, I would probably not fly over the ocean that often. It is not really sustainable. But then, nothing really is these days. So there we go: The desert…..I smelled the desert and enjoyed its sights and sounds for a few days. I was camping, in JT and in Organ Pipe Cactus NM; camping for me comes with the advantage of getting up early with the sun rising above the horizon, and immersing deeply into Lonestar Memories fragrant land in the evenings: Smoke and fire and earth and dust, and the yummie perfume of roasted meat.

sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

and here’s another sunrise picture. I just love these sunrises ….

sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

sunrise in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

The sunsets are spectacular. And so is the night in the desert, with the stars.

night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

and another one…

night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

night in Organ Pipe Cactus NM

 

And one of the best things, for me: No telephone, no internet.

Again: Cleansing and refreshing.

And the desert is a feast for the eye, with all the forms and figures and shapes.

forms and shapes in the desert

forms and shapes in the desert

But now, I am back here, where the cherry trees are blooming and my tuberose bulbs of last year sprout again (Hurray!!!) in their pots and where a lot of bottles wait, impatiently, to be boxed and shipped over the oceans, and where a few trials mature in their little  flintstone flacons, having waited patiently for my return. I am looking forward to these, too.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

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Sun going down in Zurich, 2014 03 27

capturing the moment and flying out

March 28th, 2014

Good morning from Zurich. Today’s picture: The sun going down in Zurich, as seen from the balcony, unfortunately missing one element: The reasons why I took this picture. I got out onto the balcony and saw the sun going down behind the tree, and in the middle of the tree: A wonderful great and big crow. The perfect picture. I went inside, searched the camera, searched the battery for the camera, got out again, set the focus manually and the lightening and one moment before I pushed the bottom, the crow got bored and flew off.

Arrgh. So you see: two lessons (at least) or two take home messages to be learned here.

a) sunsets WITHOUT crows are also nice. This is the “Ah well, who cares, I have photoshop” approach.

b) get organized and have your camera ready all the time. This is the “Missed! Next time, this won’t happen again” approach. Some moments never come back, though.

I can actually think of a few other take home messages here.

Anyhow: Today, I will try to make sure catching the moment -not taking pictures of crows, though. Today, it’s Creative Friday again! I will have to go to the factory rooms, get some last minute stuff done there, but a few hours will be free today, free to play. Playground: finishing my trial, around Bourbon vanilla, carbon dioxide extracted. Things look bright there.

Last minute stuff means: I will leave next week, for a week, fly out of Zurich, westwards, and will have a few business meetings. In between these: desert time! It is going to a bit of a densely packed trip, but you have to take what you can get, capturing the moment, right?

And now comes a first, and I am a bit sorry, but there was no other way, really. I will shut down the website and blog and shop for a few days, too. My IT supporter will  do some maintenance on the various systems running in the back, wordpress and magento. We had couple of issues the other day, on the blog, and needed to urgently update. And, planned since a while with the perspective of getting ready for Sotto la Luna, my IT guru will adjust the main navigation. Usually, I have a backup in Zurich who ships orders when I am not around. This time, it got a bit complicated, there was little time (no time) to pass on the shop, and to instruct the new products in place (Explorer Set) and their shipment. And even if somebody does the shipment, you still get a lot of mails where folks have questions about products and orders.

This and that and the fact, that the fact that I am a one man show and every mail ends up on  my plate, made me decide to shut down for a few days. You could also say: I just so needed a brake!

But now that this is decided and around the corner: Feeling guilty….

Ah well: you can’t please everybody, not even yourself, I guess.

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dried rose, picture taken from beneath

a mystery story around rose the Kandahar

March 27th, 2014

a mystery story around rose the Kandahar or “Mr Andy, had the scent is what features?”

Today’s picture: a quick photo of a dried rose that I keep in my room where I compose and draw,  taken from beneath, with flash on, a quick phone photo. The rose has still kept is color, even the leaves kept their green, although they are dead since about 2 months. This rose is one of a bunch of roses that collect dust and will never bloom again. I find them very inspiring: it is  a memento mori. You  know: Remember that there is death and act accordingly. I chose this motive as I am going through sort of a detective story these days and weeks around my rose de Kandahar.

For those of you who just came in: PHI-une rose de Kandahar, last year’s special in the Collectibles range, was a super success, much more than anticipated. It underlined the rule that there is no rule.

It brought me into troubles, as I had not planned a success and did not have a plan A for my perfume loving friends living in areas where I cannot ship to. And my retailer business partners. I am still feeling sorry for not being able to serve them. whoops! And then, by the time the message got really out and spread (this needs time), then I was  already sold out. Thus, a lot of clients who could not smell it, test it, get it: Everybody in Italy, almost everybody in Europe, Russia, Australia, and and and.

A word on getting the message out. You know: I am a one man enterprise, 1.5 men to be honest, and my means to spread news and information are rather limited. I have zero communication budget and cannot afford to hire a PR company to tell a story. I have to 1) do it myself and 2) rely on my perfume loving clients and friends to spread the message. And, as I am a one man show, I do all the other communication channels myself, like  Facebook messages.

Like: this message that I got this morning as direct message in my inbox- out of context: “Mr Andy had the scent is what features?” Another mystery story. But a funny one.

So there you go: Une rose de Kandahar, the name of my scent created around and inspired by rose essential oil from the Nangarhar region. I decided to name the fragrance de KANDAHAR, though. I have zero stock of this scent and cannot produce more rose de Kandahar, except if I`ll find more rose oil, in good quality, from this region, where a project by the Welthungerhilfe is supporting the rose horticulture in  Afghanistan. For the record: I love the idea of planting roses instead of drugs in Afghanistans valleys, but the rose de Kandahar is not a charity scent.

Anyhow. Imagine how happy I was when my supplier of this rose oil, a Swiss intermediary doing the quality check and making sure that the thing is the real thing and organic and all, when this supplier told me that the producer in Afghanistan found more of the rose oil, harvest 2013, like 100 gram or more. Buy it! I said within a nanosecond. Get it! Now!

So I placed the order that complemented a standing order for the 2014 harvest, which happens in May, I think, and needs further work , like reduction of Methyl eugenol. And then: You do not know how much they get and whether I am the last guy getting anything. Ah well. So I placed the order, happily.

As I run out of green glass flacons for the Collectibles, I was on the edge of reordering more of these, too.

Happily I waited, a couple of weeks,until I got a call from my supplier, telling me that my 100 gram rose oil had been sold, although the order was placed, got there and my rose oil was almost shipped. Almost.

But almost is not for real. So there we go: Waiting again….Now, that this part of the rose story is over, I can talk about it. But this whole story was a reminder of not telling stories to early: You never know what might go wrong.

Rosy greetings from tauerville, where we happily play with Bourbon geranium that is so much easier to get than roses….

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cut out of an illustration for the cologne du Maghreb

A facebook post

March 26th, 2014

Good morning from Zurich!

Today’s picture: I chose to show you a detail from an illustration that I did for the Cologne du Maghreb, last Friday. This cologne is all natural, all botanical fragrance, a traditional cologne, light and not made to last, and what is inside… well, it is more expensive to produce per ml than most of the 200$ scents that you get in niche these days. It comes with a wonderful oriental touch in the base, woody, and amber, a shade of amber gris (no, I do not use natural amber gris from whales, as I wanted the cologne to be all botanical). And NO! Oriental does not mean any oudh in this cologne. The orient is more than just synthetic oudh and cheap metallic damascenone in expensive flacons. Anyhow, I did an illustration, thinking about the cologne, and hoping that it will find its way into a shop or two in the US during summer 2014. It is one of my creations that is flying sort of

Right now, I do not offer it on my website. I intend to change this by the end of 2014. You remember: The cologne was the holiday special in 2010. Thus, I figured, that it would be great offering it in my line of scents, but only in my pentagonal flacon. Here are a few pictures of the cologne du Maghreb, as I produce it these days for the selected perfumeries presenting it (but without the mandarines and oranges…

I mention the cologne here, as there is a packaging fair in Zurich that I actually wanted to attend, maybe searching for a simple solution to pack the colognes in the Tauer line, in pentagonal flacons. It is really a margin game there, and tricky. I have only vague ideas, not ideas really, just waves moving forward and backward. But you know what: I am getting so tired of thinking about packaging questions. I had to work on a lot of packaging details the last few months and am looking forward to autumn, to launching finally Sotto la Luna, Gardenia. And -hopefully! – for Une rose de Kandahar. (this rose oil story is another story that unfolds like a detective story in front of my nose. It sure comes with a thrill factor.

I guess I will talk about it tomorrow)

But enough is enough: Let’s create perfumes! For perfume lovers who do not judge a perfume by its look (or color… don’t get me started there!).

Now, having said that: If you happen to be on Facebook, the lovely site with the ads on the right side and the confusing and ever changing navigation  everywhere: Here’s a link for you. It is all in Italian, but by clicking the translate link you will get the picture. Not only is the post interesting, also the comments. As one lady said (correspondingly ” …and I learned in Grasse that all these come from the same people and teams composing, the same labs, with the same ingredients”… with the added reply   “….and if the brief defines the price and demands for sales success then the story is all gone….” and you have the state of this field pinpointed. It is – to be frank- quite disastrous, and self destroying. This post on Facebook by my distributor, Roberto, from Kaon, an expert and a player in the field since many years, successful and with a genuine interest in fragrances, is worth reading.

 

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one cellophane wrapped box, a few without and the wrapping instrument to the right

cellophane and vanilla

March 25th, 2014

Today’s picture shows you what I did yesterday: Packing Lonestar Memories. I am getting better at cellophane wrapping, adjusted the settings and especially my technique in order to get a tighter, less fussy seal of the packaging. You see a packed and sealed box to the left. The ones in the back miss the cellophane, yet and to the right is part of the instrument that provides heat and stuff to seal. Made in the Ukraine.

I am happy that this process goes better and takes less time than initially thought. In a sense, I like doing it. It feels like adding that last little thing, like a cherry on a cupcake.

What I also did yesterday: Thinking about a few experiments, especially a couple of recent trials of my “vanilla centric” fragrance that keeps me busy and unhappy. Although, there is hope, there always is. Actually, vanilla centric sounds a bit cold and I am also thinking about another name to go with the trial phase. But I can’t really come up with something that does not sound like a bad copy of a bad perfume ad. Thus, for the time being: Vanilla centric means “my interpretation, following my ideas and using the stuff that I like”. Once I am done with this post, I will actually move into the other room, where the raw material aluminum bottles are waiting for me. I put a couple of things out of the fridge,  and will mix trial 8.1 following a recipe printed out from Excel. 8.1 means iteration number 2 on idea number 8. Number 8 was a simple approach, and needs a few, finer lines added. The excel is full with iterations, and variations and circles that at some point close again. What I am trying with 8.1 is using the core of 8, and moving forward from there. Thus, for instance, I used “sandalore” in 8. Only. I will move towards natural sandalwood in 8.1 to get extra softness, a bit of a lactonic sweetness. I found that sandalore did not do the job properly.  I Maybe the end result will be something like a mix of sandalore and sandalwood in the base. We will see.

Contrary to what a lot of perfume lovers think: Sandalwood (s. alba, from Mysore) is not THAT expensive. But still, used in the base, and used as relevant compound in maybe 6% concentration: It adds up, but is worth it. It fixes like no other natural and blends into almost every base.

anyhow: The reference that I have in my head, is hard to describe. I guess I want my vanilla to be soft, not loud, close to the skin, spicy, woody, creamy, flowery. well, maybe I just want to much.

 

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Andy Tauer self portrait, 20140323

a newspaper for perfumes

March 24th, 2014

Every Monday, we get a few pages from the New York Times, some highlights of last week’s NY Times features, printed and added to one of our two daily newspapers. I am always looking forward to receiving it, as – quite often- there are little sparklers in there, worth reading. Unfortunately, reading and learning about the news and developments of the world, written by journalists who have done their research and thinking, has been replaced by a facebook-twitter-”Hunk Of The Week “- thing for many. The media is the message; nothing new,  I have written about it many times on this blog.

The media is the message means: the media influencse the way a message is received. This is true for TV, internet, printed information,…

Anyhow: I came across this article in the NY TIMES about art, and a visual artist and there, it said, referring to an exhibition of a hip young artist: “….that the exhibition defines our times, a kind of gilded age on steroids, when the past gets repackaged as farce. ”

I couldn’t have found  better words to describe the state of works in the field of perfumes, too. I would just add “…and the present is drowned in tackiness without the hope of future melioration.”

Let’s face it: farce fits quite well, for most categories that are there. If I talk to perfumer friends, we normally end up within 5 minutes in “this is so unbelievable! Oh my..! How horrible! How can they do that? Oh no, not again!”-territory. What me and some of my friends do: Shake our heads, and move forward. Thus, we say, often “the caravan moves forward, let them sit in the oasis, or is a fata morgana?

So there we go. This brings me back to the newspaper. I wish there was a newspaper for perfumes, too. Complementing the perfume discourse, where journalists write about perfumes who did their research and facts checking and investigative digging. And, sorry, blogs-facebook-twitter do not count there,  the media is the message. And I guess glossy magazine don’t count either, and TV does not, too. I just want investigative down to earth journalism for perfumes.

Of course, the media is the message is true for this blog, too. I guess that’s ironical. And now: a happy start in tauerville. Today’s picture: A self portrait, done 2014 03 23, photoshop, pencil, reduced in size for publication here. Unsigned, as I forgot to sign it.

Tasks this week: getting ready for next week! Next week sees me travelling and shutting down the shop and website for a few days for maintenance.

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