Tauer Perfumes

News Tagged ‘rose’


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.


Monday, monday

August 11th, 2014

Today is Monday, but this Monday is special: I get another blue flacons delivery, at some point today, by truck, and am so looking forward to filling up the big empty spots in the “factory”, where I store my building blocks to produce perfumes. Another building block that is low in stock: the bakelite tops. Bakelite, as production material, comes with the advantage of low numbers. It is a plastic, the first plastic that this world has seen, really, a thermosetting polymer, and low number means that you do not need to order 100’000 pieces. As production is pretty slow (each piece is compressed at elevated temperatures, for a couple of seconds) , you can order 5000 pieces of a customized piece (customized by a mould) and the price is ok.

Anyhow: I am getting bottles delivered, tops later this week, I have boxes, pumps and labels and (more or less) juice and am happy. It makes me definitely more happy to see bottles than numbers on my bank account statement. At least, the bottles are there. The money in the banks: Well, well…. you never know with money and banks.

And you never know with truck drivers. Thus, I got up very early this Monday (after 5 am), to get done what needs to be done, before heading down the hill into the factory.

There, I won’t be bored as I just got another large retailer order. And have a couple of ideas to work on. I will take my painting stuff with me, too. After yesterday’s rose exercise (see today’s picture), I am ready for another watercolor rose. And: You never know with these truck drivers.


back. an update

August 4th, 2014


I am back from my vacation. Actually, I am back since a couple of days, but I needed some time to get back in pre-holiday mode. Today’s picture shows you one of a couple of water color pictures that I did, sort of in a hurry, either during lunch break or before dinner. It is the view into the Morteratsch valley, with the glacier hiding behind the trees.

This glacier is melting, like most Alpine glaciers, and since about 100 years it is quite dramatic. Nowadays, it’s ice loss accounts for 40 meters. I tend to go there, to the glacier, every year, once. Thus, visiting the glacier in 2010 took about 150 meters less…Last Thursday, getting up at 6 am, I was jogging up there. The air was crisp and clean and the valley was filled with the perfume of fir trees and the moisture of the stream coming from the glacier. A wonderful moment, also because I was all alone.

The last two weeks on the bike, cycling along the Danube and the Inn, following the one down to Passau and the other one up to the Morteratsch glacier, 1400 or so km, were filled with fresh air, and the meditative movement in slow motion, slow compared to travelling by train or car.

As we had sort of a ambitious goal, there was not too much time during the day for painting. But this comes with advantages: The more you have to rush, the less is the danger of getting lost in details. A good friend of mine told me about her painting teacher who told her: A good painting does not need a lot of time. There is some truth to it.

Here’s the thought of today, therefore: A good perfume does not need a lot of time to construct. Sometimes. And sometimes, working too long on a  perfume idea, the scent actually falls apart because you add too many storylines and colors and shades.

But then: Painting and perfume making needs SOME time.  It does not happen in 1 minute, really. And practice. And imagination. And inspiration.

Cycling is perfect there. Lots of time to think, time to imagine all sorts of things and a lot of inspirations. Highlights this year:

The best living rose I smelled these last two weeks was an old, very tiny, pinkish-magenta colored rose in a garden. In Zernez, which is not really your rose place. Just mind blowing.

The highest peak: Bernina, 2300 meters. The wettest day: Bernina passage. yes, not fun really.

The oldest tree: A 400+ years of oak tree.

The oddest building: Walhalla in Germany. It felt like an LSD tripped prince’s Greece flashback.

The coolest encounter: I bumped into Luca Turin, or the other way round. By chance, on the street: We went for a beer and discussed what the chances are for that happening, really. And we talked about perfume, and the industry. It was the first time we met. I hope it won’t be the last time.

The most clearing thought: Actually, we are not facing an explosion of niche perfumery. It might feel like an explosion, but basically it is an implosion.

The most soothing thought: I have the nicest clients on this planet.




a cliché post

June 23rd, 2014

Today’s picture: A quick selfie, from yesterday, taken during my Sunday hike, somewhere in the middle of the ascension (total 1000 meters up and down again), sort of agitated, or better: second excited state (for details about what an excited state in physics actually means: click here for an informative wiki article), not knowing yet that there was sort of a challenge ahead (vertigo).

Once almost up, I saw these: Majestic!


Swiss cows

Swiss cows

It is rare these days to see cows with horns. It makes such a big difference, and with horns these peaceful animals demand more respect, really.

So there we go:  A cliché post from Switzerland. But no worries: I will not go into banalities, such as “ Tuberose is worth its weight in gold. ” /a cliché perfumery statement that is not true, really. At least me, I get perfect quality of tuberose absolute for less than 40 K$. But maybe I have better suppliers. For more details: See here, and there. I mention these posts, as I drooled reading one and then the other. No mischievousness, though.  It was a perfect reminder for me that me too needs to be on the watchout for cliché traps.

It just happens. When it comes to perfumes: Cliché are around the corner. And flowers;  a discussion that I have on a weekly basis with my design guru: flowers. Everywhere. Except in the flacon, unfortunately, mostly.

I took the hike, that turned out to be more demanding than expected, because it was perfect weather for a hike, I was home alone in Zurich, I didn’t go for a hike for a while and because I figured that I need to sort out a couple of things, perfumery things. Hiking is best to figure out things. You start happily with a big cheers! on your face, and then it goes up and up and up and you are sweating like a horse, and the mind gets all aerated and clear.  At least in my case it works like that. And, after a while, as you get a bit tired and exhausted, the perfumery things become less important and other “things”, too and voilà: The perspective gets right again.

I wanted to thing a few X-mas things through.

I guess I am really blessed: 2 hours by public transport and you are in alpine solitude (I actually came across almost nobody up there). And I guess, I am blessed because I have not really much to complain these days. Except, maybe, that I have a touch too much work. But this will change again.

Right now: Printing 1000 lot number labels for Gardenia. These need to go onto the flacons.



Dramatic rose picture and wondering about AC

June 2nd, 2014

Today’s picture shows you a rose: It bloomed two days ago downstairs, a few meters from where I write this post today, in a corner of a green spot that is a bit neglected. It smells (think spicy old rose with tons of citronellol) and comes with a dramatic aura. Sort of. With summer having started meteorologically yesterday, a cut lily blooming in the house and perfuming the hall, roses blooming outside, tomato plants growing, it feels like summer, indeed. Soon, we will see the summer agony in perfume industry falling upon us. Summer is pretty much dead when it comes to perfumery, the industry. Everybody is getting ready and hoping then for autumn. 

Perfumes and summer’s light and heat are not an easy date. Although, …..I was thinking about my Cologne du Maghreb that will see a bit wider distribution, especially in the US  in the coming days. Click the link for a sample draw on the chemist in the bottle blog (thank you Lucas!). So I was thinking about how the summer heat actually brings out the cologne’s refreshing qualities even better. But, on the other hand, the summer temperatures make the cologne fade even faster…. -a side note: Here’s how to keep the scent of any cologne a bit better: Spray generously on your chest, before putting on a cotton shirt immediately afterwards. The scent will permeate through the cotton and will stick with it, leaving you with a great clean cologne scent almost all day long.

Does not work with synthetics….

Anyhow: I was thinking about summer and cologne and then I started musing about AC, air conditioning, and I suddenly wondered. When living in Southern California, for instance, how many hours/minutes do you actually spend outside, in the heat, during a day. I remember my Texas time. The time spent outside, without AD, during the day, was a few minutes, really. From the car to the campus. 1 min. And back. And from the car to the mall entry. And back. That’s about it.

But it was enough to sweat like a horse.



bright light of summer and another rose

May 23rd, 2014

Before leaving for Italy: A long post!

Good morning from Zurich, where the roses are blooming, and where we still enjoy the bright light of late spring, like beatles coming out of the ground, spreading the wings and taking off into the sun. Today’s picture shows you the sun breaking through trees, taken at 10 am the other day, when biking over the hill. Everything is green up there, but the multitude of spring greens still pervades the uniform summer green that will set in in a few weeks time.

Before continuing talking about roses and asking you a question: Here, a few thoughts from a guy who planted tomatoes a while ago and reads in the newspaper that about 60% of all restaurants in Zurich do not operate with a profit.

The last few days were nice and warm and I could watch the tomato plants growing on a daily basis. I planted the plants (urban farming like) into old ethanol cans, and am looking forward to eating locally produced red fruits one fine day: Provided mother nature is nice enough. Often, she isn’t and is generous with everybody else, but us. So I read a book the other day, and realized that my planting, buying locally, buying small, (… other recent trends avoiding big business, add them here <….>) is in line with a societal pattern we see these days. People loosing trust; trust in corporate conglomerates, trust in government and its  institution, trust in previous peers and leaders, trust in money, but this lost trust in (paper) money will be the end game, really. So, what do people do: we all look for values that we can trust and find them locally, in small entities, products where we know what they are, where the come from….

Bottom line: My tomato planting is also sign for a larger shift of trustworthiness taking place. cool. we are all part of it.

The other day in a shop here in Zurich: “Who made your <your favorite product here>?” The same line of thought makes a lot of sense in perfumery: I will keep this in mind. Because when it comes to my produce, the answer is quite simple. Who made your fragrance? Andy Tauer, from A to Z. It would be cool to also provide where all the its and bits of packaging etc. come from.

Profitability: Like the news anchor, I am smiling over my face, but try to make serious face announcing the next topic. Profitability. Of course, it is intrinsically linked to the points mentioned above.  When it comes to perfumes, low volume, selective, niche, you name it: many, many are not profitable, really. A lot of people life from these new brands entering the market: The perfumers, the bottle producers, printers, the ladies packing the perfumes in Vietnam or France, the packaging producer, maybe the retailers, too. But often, the brand owner does not really end up with a reasonable profit. It is like with the Zurich restaurants. There are too many, and too many thinking it was easy, too many are not realizing that the job is not done when the first 6 scents are produced and out on the market, or hidden in some sort of conceptual fog. It is then when the job actually starts.

I mention this because, recently, I got so many questions from perfume lovers and going to be perfume brand owners that it is time to repeat here: I do NOT give advice nor do I consult. The last couple of weeks it was for sure a dozen “How do I find producers and other suppliers for my fragrances, what retailers to work with?, find out about the regulatory needs, how to pack perfumes, how talk to bloggers?”. These days, everybody seems to either open a noodle shop or a perfume house. Tonight, I will go out, having dinner. Locally, right over the street. A profitable restaurant, because the did not start with the goal of getting rich and famous, but just wanted to cook good food and offer a nice place to stay for a while. But I bet: It took them a couple of years.

And now, here’s  a little question, thanking you that you continued reading all the way down:  I find summer to be a difficult time for perfume. I hardly wear perfume in summer, really.

I have been working on a rose for a while, a complimentary scent in a way, complementary to my existing roses that are somewhat on the heavy side. I wanted a light, airy, rose for summer, staying close to the skin, wearable in the heat, like a refreshing rose water, with some lasting power, but not for a whole long day. A summer rose that feels like smelling one of these very fragrant roses that you find in old gardens, hints of spices, a citrus floral happiness with a dash of soapiness in the best sense of the word, oscillating between floral delicacy  and a musky skin.

I find summer to be a difficult time for perfume, and as I am not an expert when it comes to wearing scents:

What do you actually wear in summer?



the first rose

May 21st, 2014

Today’s picture: The first rose blooming here, in Zurich, on a sunny spot next to the house, including (hard to see as it is small, though) a plant louse. Mother nature is generous, also for plant louses, I am not. Every morning, when watering my plants outside, I do a snail check, and a louse check, especially on the tomato plants: Catching them early prevents bigger damage, as these louses multiply on a daily basis. Mature nature is generous, but a rough tutor.

This particular rose is, however, pretty scentless. But you can’t have everything. Actually, there are supernatural roses here inside the house, inside flacons. That compensates. There was a shortage, though, of rose absolute  for a while. But today, I got another batch delivered. I do not need it really, right now, but rose absolute is one of the things I want to have, all the time, … you never know. The same is true for jasmine absolute. My fragrant workhorses, so to say.

I mentioned it a couple of times on this blog, but it amazes me every time again: When I buy rose absolute, about 60% of what I get is actually phenylethanol. It is one of the major ingredients of the perfumes that roses exhale. Phenylethanol is cheap, like: super cheap! Therefore, buying expensive rose absolute translates into buying very expensive minor components that make a rose a natural rose.

Work today: packing some stock. And -having finished the workshop preparations- thinking about a presentation that I will give Sunday, at the Smell Festival in Bologna.

I can talk about me, my philosophy, processes behind the fragrances, dreams, projects. That’s quite open, really. I can also spray some fragrances and have people smell while I talk. This helps. Maybe I will talk about roses. We will see…



old rose 20140210-1detail

spectacular on many levels

February 10th, 2014

The regular readers of this blog know about my Sunday rituals. Human beings need structures and I am no exception there. Most Sundays you see me jogging my half marathon in the hills leading out of Zurich’s west. Yesterday was an absolutely spectacular jog: Starting in bright sunlight and temperatures that are still unusual for the season I ended up facing a huge pile of super grey clouds right in the middle of the tour, after 55 minutes, flying in from my left. It started pouring like hell, 500 meters next to me, like a water veil to the left, but I was running in bright sunlight, dry. And I continued doing so for the rest of the tour, with gusty winds keeping the clouds at a distance, whereby it rained behind me and next to me.  It felt spectacular; it felt like someboy cut through the dark woobly clouds, giving me a safe passage.

So that was nice.

Also nice is the fact that my nose that was useless for a while, is coming back. I used it to smell and inspect the concentrate of the Gardenia fragrance. Mentioned here before: This concentrate is mixed by my supplier of fragrant raw materials,  Essencia. When going into production scale for the first time, there is always a  moment of anxiety and anticipation: There are always small differences between test and trial mixes, and the larger 6 kg batch. I do not really know why this is: It might have to do with little differencies in the quality of the raw materials used. Maybe maturation is a bit different. Who knows.  The bottom line: The concentrate is perfect. Gardenia heaven for Andy, in concentrated form, spectacular.

So that’s nice, too.

Not having smelt it for a while and not thinking about the formula, the scent and its composition comes as a wonderbox.  A bit. I smelled the concentrate with a dear friend over the weekend, and we discussed the mushroom note. And the flowers, and I have to admit: I was checking the formula again, yesterday, after jogging, rediscovering the scent. I forgot that I put three flower absolutes in there: Rose, Jasmine and Orange blossom. Together with other naturals and synthetics, these bring a naturalness and white flowers into the scent:  A bit of a challenge, as other ingredients such as methyl benzoate smell a bit synthetic, and harsh. (Besides an enfleurage super expensive extract of Gardenia, there is no natural gardenia essential oil or absolute. ) But still, these molecules such as methyl benzoate are part of the headspace of the flower. To some extend it is quite amazing how the flower manages to smell so nice in light of the high concentration of these molecules in its head space…. In the fragrance, the flower absolutes like rose absolute or Jasmineabsolute balance tje scent and add softness and deepness. And the orange blossom adds a bright tone, too.

These absolutes also add most of the  color to the scent: In concentrated form it is a nice gentle orange.

And talking about roses: I found time to paint a bit. Yesterday’s object of inspection: An old rose that I will dry in the coming days. The gleamy texture of the flower petals  is gone, all petals are shrivelling, but the color got intensified. What was a bright pink became concentrated mauve – violet -dark grey. A perfect object to play with water colors again. Today’s picture shows you a little detail: I love how the colors and layers merge.

And here’s the full picture. sized down to 300 pixels width. Have a great start into your week!

Old rose

an old rose, hanging in there


fairtrade and a day off

February 3rd, 2014

I wish you a great start into your new week! Here, things are a bit different than they normally are. First, the nose is dead as a dodo (again) due to a cold that is on its way out. So… no happy playing with scents in the house of Andy. Then, I was working over the weekend in order to compensate today and tomorrow. And, today and tomorrow I am taking some time off. Back on Tuesday night, I will make a little newsletter shout-out, for the explorer set additions.

So there we go: Off.

Today’s roses, in the picture, were an experiment, I wanted to train myself a bit in photoshop, or rather wanted to try out a trick or two. The physical roses are Max Havelaar “Fair Trade” roses, and -in my humble opinion- a little but still significant difference that we all can make- I hope so at least. I am not sure whether something like Max Havelaar in perfumes ingredients actually exists on a broader scale. I do not think so. At least I have not heard about it. There are some natural products that you can get in organic quality, or from local cooperatives, but I think there is no label and no guarantee from a third party, on a larger scale, in perfumery, that would compare to Fairtrade.

I think this is missing. It is very comparable to the clothing industry: The labor cost is basically nothing. 5 cents more or less for a shirt or 1 $ dollor more for a fragrance might not make a difference here. But a difference there.


raised eyebrows

January 24th, 2014

sometimes, down time, waiting time, being-in-the-loop time is great: I try to fill it with stuff that I want to do but do not find the time to do it because I think I have more important things to do. So I fill with with activities like sketching, or playing with software, or following the stock markets or blogs with raised eyebrows. Those of you following this blog since 2005 know that I follow the stock markets, mostly when they are turning bizarre or odd or out of touch, in my opinion.

raising eyebrows, body language meaning: interested and wants to know and see more, but also being a bit surprised. And it is a bit an invitation, too. Answers: Please.

Or I just waste this downtime, because it came for free.

Which is fine.

Although, to be honest, I am convinced that what might look like wasting time will end up being part of a bigger scheme, one fine day.

Yesterday’s waiting time playtime while hoping for computer no.1′s stuff getting finished: sketching on computer no. 2 a bunch of roses, trying to capture what makes the yellow buds and the leaves and stems special. It is also an eye training session. And it is interesting. We recognize a rose immediately, but what actually makes a rose a rose? Looking at the raised eyebrows further up: I feel that we humans are really good in recognition of patterns and forms. Deers, for instance, are not.

Reverie au Jardin flacon, 15 ml size, sketch, done on ipad

Anyhow. The other sketch I did yesterday is less a downtime sketch, but I figured that an illustration for the upcoming newsletter might be nice. So there we go…one word here: I did it on the ipad. The ipad is about 2.5 years old and since the update to the new iOS it is just too slow. Because it got too slow, for certain apps at least, and because it started to crash sometimes, and more and more regularly, I should get another one, really. But I am not willing to invest into a tool that feels like it is rendered dysfunctional “on purpose” or better “by plan” after 2 years use. Contrary to my Mac computer, all apple tools that I got lately did not last that long. And many of my friends got quite unhappy, too. So, there we go, raising eyebrows.

Today, that’s the plan at least, early in the morning, will see me working a bit on orders in the factory, followed by newsletter putting together activitie. And it will see me mixing and smelling around my woody creamy vanilla. This is playtime with scents that I do not like to mention too often, as I do not want to raise wrong expectations and have you all raise your eyebrows, too high.

Have a great end of the week!