Tauer Perfumes

dirty hands

August 4th, 2015

I painted the second last picture published here on the blog, the elephant in orange, with the brush that you see in today’s picture. The brush is pretty rough, pretty large and round. This translates into: Difficult to do details, and nice structures due to the brush’s rough hair. The brush helps to stay “generous” and free when painting.

Here’s a detail.


Thus, the tool is defining the result. When composing fragrances, my tools are pipettes and a balance, and the raw materials. In my composition work, with very few exceptions, I always use the undiluted raw materials. Sometimes, they are a bit hard to weigh in as you only need super tiny little bit of -for instance- a powerful aldehyde. I mention this because there are different ways to compose. Some use pre-diluted raw materials. My fragrance brushes are rough and heavy. To be honest: I do not know whether it makes a difference, but I guess it is part of my style. In an analogy, I might say: It helps staying “generous” and free when painting with scents.

In the brush picture you can see more: a dirty hand.  When painting, you get dirty hands. (and dirty rooms and shirts….) When creating perfumes, I quite often get dirty hands, too. And when packing and making shipments ready and piling up boxes and fiddling with palettes: Dirty hands. Does it matter? You bet. It makes a difference because you get involved, soaked with scent, covered in sweat when lifting boxes, and you go home with a shirt that tells what you have done all day long. I have long working hours, but every day I am feeling blessed: What I do, everything, I do for myself. And my clients. What a difference compared to turning burgers or piling up soup cans or filling excels or … The price to pay for that: Constant uncertainty as the next pay check is not guaranteed. I guess it is a choice.

The brush picture shows you more, in the background, out of focus, but nonetheless very important: Aluminum cans. These are post- production cans, with not much left, fragrance raw materials, that I use for creating and all sorts of experiments. My perfume “organ”, my collection of scents, is spread out everywhere, a complete chaos, but I know pretty much by heart where the bottle of vetiver oil stands. Again: It is a matter of style. I cannot get organized there and I don’t know why, but I feel this is important.

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August 3rd, 2015

Today’s picture: My little personal highlight this morning. My tuberose plant blooms on the veranda, in her pot, pretty early for Zurich. It’s perfume? Heavenly! Creamy, green, powdery, rich, sensual, but not obnoxious. It is pure inspiration.

Another pure inspiration moment, the reason for me not commenting on my blog post of last week: Me up there, in the Swiss mountains, taking a day or two off. The timing for this day off was perfect: The weather was better up there than down here. And I could take a deep breath before heading into August that will be super busy, preparing for Pitti, the Florence fragrance fair, and a couple of other autumn features, like bringing Tauerville to Europe, at least to some “selected” retailers here.

But for the moment: I am enjoying my tuberose, Have a great start into your week!

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July 28th, 2015

Today’s post title could probably also be “the big picture”, or “if you want to eat an elephant”.

You know how the saying goes: “If you want to eat an elephant, do it in small bites. ” The elephant you see on this post is the result of yesterday’s painting exercise, acrylic on canvas, pretty large, like 80×70 cm. I like it, for a couple of reasons: One is the colors.  The elephant’s color was immediately clear to me; the background however took me forever and I changed it three times, and every time it got a bit better. The goal there was to complement the orange red (hence the blue-green tone) but to also enhance the the plasticity and three dimensionality of the elephant.

Anyhow, the big picture. The other day, I was listening to a radio interview with a philosopher who explained to us what is wrong with modern media and the flow of the newest news of the  moment, like you get it on twitter, facebook, the news portals and the longer the more in the traditional media like newspapers. It is  a constant flow of news items, isolated from a context and without explanation of any reasons for the news. It is like zapping around with the remote control of the TV, or switching youtube channels: You get entertained by a few impressions, but you do not get the film and its story and context. It is ok for movies, maybe, but it is dangerous in other contexts.

Does it matter? Yes, you bet. Because we are drowning in a sea of irrelevance and miss the big picture. Like what’s happening in the middle east. Looking at the lines of the many conflicts there needs a lot of time, effort and thinking. But at some point, you might realize that there is a larger engine running that’s shifting the tectonic plates there.

Or look at perfumes and news there. By just looking at the news about the launches and a few reviews here and there, you might miss what is really happening. It’s a tectonic shift that started and announced itself  a good 50 years ago: Perfume for the masses, perfume as commodity, you name it, started there.  Niche in Italy started about 30-35 years ago, as a result, and the big engine that’s driving the plate’s shifting is still running.

OK, I admit: This perfume statement above is not really relevant; it is the producer in me who looks at this bigger picture. The creator does not really care.

And with that post, irony ahead, I added a little news item that might blur the bigger picture. Have a great day!

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piles of things

July 27th, 2015

Today’s picture is a bit an odd one: it is a picture from one of the walls in the “factory”, where I piled up the boxed packages of air du désert marocain. Pieces of 24 in cardboard boxes, piled up to form sort of a tauer tower. Some more need to go there, but there is no hurry anymore as I did some 750 of air du désert boxes, sufficient to serve the markets for a while.

Recently, I have been piling up things on a variety of levels: Paintings everywhere, trial perfume bottles on the bench, many of these for tauerville, and I was piling up papers. Actually, a lot of papers. I mentioned it a while ago: When exporting perfumes from a non European Union Country to the European Union you need to get them registered in a central EU database, you need a “responsible person” and you will need to produce a lot of papers, with funny information printed on them. In order to have a legal standing with your products in the EU: No way around it.

But the pile that I love most is my air du désert marocain pile. If the house does not burn down: No worries there. Although it is tauerville related, I might actually talk about it in more details in the future as it comes with some sort of fun factor and irony. But I save this for later :-)

With the in mind, we can start worrying about other things. And trust me: There is always something to worry about in the world of perfume making and production. Which is good as it keeps me young and alert. And it is bad as there is always an element of uncertainty… like: Do I get enough of this or that to make the next batch of this and that? And: Will it be the right quality?

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copy of nature

July 24th, 2015

Uff. We (my two helping hands and me) sort of managed to get packed and ready what needed to get packed in the “factory”. Like: Piles of air du désert sitting there, waiting for autumn and the holiday season and “if we are lucky” it will last into early next year.

Thus, that exercise is sort of over for the moment. Back to the routine of doing every day a bit of everything.

And back to working on ideas and scents: Like… sandalwood. Sandalwood, Santal notes: I just love them. Quite often I feel that real sandalwood from Mysore (santalum album) is actually good enough a material to make a perfume by itself. A single ingredient perfume: compare this to other single molecule perfumes…. But then I also feel that a nice “sandalwood centric” perfume is actually missing in my line or the tauerville line.

Not too easy, though, as sandalwood as a note is very gentle and it is tough to come up with a nice sandalwood note that stands out, without being overcome by other notes. And then: Sandalwood, the real thing, is expensive. Thus, you need to build a sandalwood core that is enhanced (enhanced sounds better than diluted) and that costs less.

For instance with Bacdanol. A creamy, cosmetic feel, less woody, more on the floral side, sandalwood note. An single molecule that, combined with other molecules, like Sandalore (a bit more on the woody sandalwood side) gives actually quite a natural feel of a sandalwood note.

Now… the question: Do you really need the real thing inside, a least a bit,  if the substitute is close? Actually, the substitue might be recognised by many perfume lovers as the real thing because the real thing is not known to many and we are all conditioned to the substitute.

Well, my answer so far: Yes. You need the real thing.

I am really looking forward to playing again with scents and talking about it. Time to get out a bit more of the factory….

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Spoiled and the sea shore

July 20th, 2015

Today’s picture shows you my weekend exercise: working patiently on a sea shore motive. It sits in the living room now, as it is acryl paint and dries super fast, together with many other paintings in various formats, and me don’t know nada what to do with them. You know, my painting teacher told me to place the pictures in a way you have to watch them daily, to see them and learn. Here,  in the house of tauer, we thus discuss a lot about pictures. The comment I got for this one, the stones on the sea shore: Nice, pleasing, maybe too pleasing. So there you go: Thin lines everywhere.

I wonder whether my scents are sometimes a bit too pleasing, too. Or the other way round. Where are my perfume creations on a pleasing scale, going from 1 (super unpleasing to most) to 10 (super pleasing to most, but totally boring to the perfumistas)?, and from a commercial point of view: Where’s the best place to be on this scale?

So, yes, me don’t know nada. The same is true for my computer. Last week, my PC, windows 7, demanded to install updates, lots of them, some of them it actually did without me having a chance to say “no”. There were updates on a daily basis, probably fixes of fixes of fixes. And since then: Energy saving sleep mode is impossible. It got slower, especially the first 10- 30 minutes until all the backups are done. It does not crash, though. That’s already something. But it got slow and it feels like my computer lost 50% of its computer power over the updates.

I have spent a couple of hours over the weekend, exploring and entering the MS/DOS underground, this almost prehistoric interface to any windows pc, trying to get the energy saving mode back. No chance. I could call the hotline, but you know what: I am so sick of talking to some people sitting somewhere on planet earth; they usually are in a different time zone, and totally exhausted, and not often competent. The same is true when “talking” to service by email.

Many companies have outsourced their email support. And the results, sometimes, are amazing.

The other day, I had a trouble with domain.com, trying to stop one subscription. My email to customer support was crystal clear. Customer support 1 understood and tried to help. Customer support 1 handed over to customer support 2. This lady did not understand. But she felt empowered to cancel all my domain subscriptions. With one click. I learned about it over my dinner, and spent the next hour or two on the hotline, trying together with them to fix everything back.  In the end, I asked how on earth this is possible that one stupid lady sitting somewhere can click on button and delete your online presence without you wanting it.

The answer was: we are looking into it.

Anyhow; I guess I won’t call Microsoft’s hotline. Because I am sort of tired of my Windows based PC. I have a mac, too. And comparing to this apple, sitting in the other room, I have to admit: I have not spent much time there trying to “fix” something. It just works, including synch’s, backups and upgrades.

OK. I will probably get a mac, a retina thing, but… I am spoiled. I have seen them too often offered with a discount of 10-20 %. I will never buy this mac full price. And basically, that’s another topic. Ones you start giving discounts, there’s no way out anymore. Clients simply wait for the next “free shipment”, “15% off coupons” or other goodies. You educate them that way. This is one reason, why I do not offer discounts; besides my impression that my prices are ok.

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Scented Snippet

July 16th, 2015

First: Thank you to all of you who commented on my last post about the discovery set. Actually, I got – thanks to you- a couple of more ideas what to do there. I love, for instance, the idea of a “tauer starter set” and a “the latest” set. Great!

One of the reasons why I am commenting less and writing less you see in today’s picture: one of cardboard boxes that I use for shipments of goods. I fetched more of these yesterday, using the car, in anticipation of August and especially September’s spike. About using the car: In a certain way I am running a green company, using almost never a car, and transporting as much as I can by bike. But there are limits, of course.

Anyhow, I am still very busy labelling bottles and packing them, and will continue to do so in the next weeks: Today I will fetch 1000 bottles of rose de Kandahar, filled for me by the company providing me with the raw materials for my perfumes. They do the “liquid” stuff, and I’ll do the rest there, like sticking the labels on, putting the o-ring cache pomps and and and. I am also a bit more silent on facebook as I really want to focus on my flacons. That’s the issue with handmade by tauer, that the hands are somewhat limited. And that’s one of the ironies of working artisanal: At some point you (I) really can’t talk all the time about what you do , but you have to do the work. Which is quite a contrast to brands, like designer brands, that get all the communication done by professional companies. You can’t compete there. In a way, I am dependent on my clients talking about my products.

And I am dependent on retailers talking about my products. And there, things change, too. There used to be a time when it was enough to simply put a product online and start selling it. These days, you need to do more. Otherwise, there’s Amazon, eating you up.

In that context: Here’s a great “SCENTED SNIPPET” that you should not miss, especially if you are US based. It is about Tigerlily, a fun project initiated by Antonia, the founder of Tigerlily in San Francisco, involving the best there is in artisanal niche, and it’s about … perfume that you have not heard of nor smelled yet.

Here’s the link to the Fragrantica scented snippet, written by Ida Meister. Enjoy!

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a lot of sample vials

July 13th, 2015

A new week, and sort of the same stories to start the day: Negotiations about Greece. Slowly but surely the Euro stories turn into picking over bones of a corpse that`s dead as a dodo. With a paralyzing effect on a variety of levels. And the drama, or soap opera, presents everything that does not work there, in the common currency game, on a silver tray. Does it matter? You bet! For the folks in Greece, for the folks paying the bills, for investors: like me, they all watch the game and start questioning what is going on and how did we get there.

Maybe, in the next hours after this post has gone life, there is some sort of solution. We will see. Although I cannot change anything there, it troubles me.

What can you do? Nothing, except moving on, head down, and trying to see the bright light that is waiting at the end of the tunnel.

And, maybe, try to get acquainted with the idea that the currency issues, the super weak Euro, exchange rate troubles, will continue to shake the ground we are walking on. These days, pessimistic as I am, I am still preparing for an exchange rate of the Swiss Franc (my home base currency where most of my costs are based) to the Euro of less than 1. Brrr. Frightening.

Anyhow: We keep moving on. Last Friday, we jumped big into air du désert boxing. And while doing so, the truck came with sample vials. A palette full of sample vials (and pumps of course).

The problem was: My supplier switched sample vial size. His new ones are smaller and do not fit properly into my discovery set box. Thus, my supplier and me talked about it and in the end found a deal: We get 50’000 done, half for me, half for him, and these 25000 got delivered, after they were custom made in France, last Friday.

Yes, that’s a lot! of sample vials.

And now, I wonder… maybe I have to push the discovery set a bit. I was thinking about making and offering pre-defined sets. Like “the 5 best sellers” or like “5 roses” or “4 roses and a surprise”. There is time, but I feel I need to come up with a better way of pushing one of the greatest products I offer online: The sample tin box, aka discovery set.


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printing cards

July 9th, 2015

today, right now, somewhat bugged out, I am printing cards a gogo. For air du désert marocain. It is a bit annoying, because the printer has troubles fetching the cards, sometimes. Thus, it was quite some fiddling happening this morning in the house of tauer. But now, after setting some details and cheating the printer by telling it “hey, it isenvelops!” things seem to work. The stupid printer needed some help to manage fetching the paper. It took me a while to figure that one out.  Thus, happy card printing.

The cards go on the back and inside the packaging of the air du désert packaging. They contain a lot of information and look a bit like a letter jungle. And now, that I am talking about the information there: You find there “ingredients” and these ingredients is actually not -contrary to what one might expect- a list of what is inside, it is just a list of allergens that need to be declared by the EU laws. It’s allergens that are part of a list of 26 allergens that need to be put up there if present in the product at higher than 0.001 %.  Having said this: I move on printing them. Later, I will move on and start packing air du désert a gogo. The goal: Getting some hundred done in the next days. Hurray: Finally building some stock during quiet summer months!

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very hot

July 6th, 2015

well, you know: holiday season started in Europe, and everything is calming down; almost everything. The factory, where I label literally thousands of bottles these days, is steaming, though. But only in the morning hours. It is just getting too hot during the afternoon (no AC ). Thus, there is time during the afternoons to work conceptually. Which means: Doing this and that.

And when there is time, I paint. Sometimes, I am lazy there, and paint what is easy to me. It feels like creating a perfume with some amber, patchouli, vanilla and … bergamot and rose. It feels like things just fall into the right place. Today’s picture shows you such a “lazy painting” from yesterday.  The learning effect, the thrill and excitement and the training of one’s patience and coordination is close to zero, though.

But it fits perfectly with one of the perfume trials I have in the shelf: My ozonic breezy fresh aqua “fidelis” or however you want to call it.

But then… from time to time it is ok to pamper oneself. Right?

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