Phi by Andy Tauer

Until this perfume was in my nose I knew nothing of the roses grown especially in the eastern province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan. As an alternative to cultivating poppies, Nangarhar farmers have successfully grown roses to the delight of the perfume world, and most importantly to sustain “legal livelihoods” as part of Welt Hunger Hilfe‘s objective called “Roses for Nangarhar”.   Andy Tauer has created in Phi – une rose de Kandahar a complex composition of natural apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, bergamot, Bulgarian rose, bourbon geranium, tobacco, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka, musk, and ambergris: all surrounding the Nangarhar rose oil.

 This poem, the last of the Andy Tauer perfumes series, for now, is inspired by Phi – une rose de Kandahar

Pulling at the strings

cotton catching light

 

Red, white and black

skim a cloudless sky

 

The wind carries a story

of man and his desire to fly

 

He cuts paper in to a diamond

turns sticks to a cross

calling it a kite

 

You can stand on the ground

and fly at the same time

 

He hands it to her and

tells his only child

 

“You are higher than me

take it and fly”

 

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Vetiver Dance by Andy Tauer

In Andy Tauer’s Vetiver DanceI feel and smell the comforts of the skin, another’s or one’s own, and be consoled in the nook of one’s being. The perfume is composed of grapefruit, black pepper, clary sage – to me creating a salty skin scent – Bulgarian rose, lily of the valley, vetiver, ambergris, cedar wood, tonka, and cistus.

The fifth work inspired by Vetiver Dance –

I stood against the wall hiding my nerves. The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ out-beating my heart. I feel the sweat from my palms on my thighs, hidden in these brown pockets. The cream shirt I pressed is thinning, and I am wondering why I am even at this party. I see the drinks table and think about washing it all down. Then, I see her.

On the dance floor, her straight hips move side to side in her canary pleated silk dress, its spaghetti straps held firmly on her glowing shoulders as if it were made especially for her. Maybe it was. She catches my eyes. I look away, briefly. I stir. I want to hold her right there and then, and move away from this wall. I am the wallflower, and she’s plucking me from the dance floor. I want her to hold onto me.

I look back at her dancing. She catches my eyes. We stand there looking at each other. I see the light on her face and the way she is feeling the music. I take my hands out of my pockets.

Le Maroc pour elle by Andy Tauer

Le Maroc pour elle is Andy Tauer’s first perfume. It’s scent of romanticism and warmth contains, according to tauerperfumes.com, mandarins, lavender, Moroccan rose, jasmine, High Atlas cedarwood, and oriental woods (I won’t pretend to know). The moment I looked up into the tall Atlas cedar trees in Lyon’s Parc de la Tête d’Or I thought of two perfumes, Serge Lutens’ Féminité du bois – one of my favourite perfumes – and Andy Tauer’s Le Maroc pour elle. Again, as I am wont to do, I stood under its branches, beside the trunk, and felt them. I looked up through the branches and breathed deeply.

Here is the fourth work inspired by Le Maroc pour elle

 

 I have to get away from this noise. Men make too many plans.

She walks towards the hills. She slips off her babouche just to feel sand on her feet again. The wind strikes her blue hijab and her eyes squint. The hem of her ochre skirt flap like the kois she saw earlier. She sat by the pond mesmerised by their colour against the black bottomless water. Her heart races as the thought of when to turn back clicks. She shouldn’t be on her own for too long.

She raises her hands to her face and smells them. Looking at the brown lines etched in her palms, she tells herself not to be afraid. She looks around, the city on one side, the desert on the other, and the mountains facing her. The wind is too strong. She walks back.

Zeta by Andy Tauer

In the linden-blossom themed Zeta, Andy Tauer explores the combination of citrus (lemon, bergamot, orange), linden, rose, neroli, sandalwood, and vanilla. Suzanna from boisdejasmin.com called it “the most ebullient summer-sunshine perfumes” in 2012. Zeta brought me to a dusk in June under a tree in Morancé, Lyon.

Here is the third poem inspired by Zeta – a linden blossom theme –

 

When the heat lays to rest

the welcome breeze enters

 

I lean on the

course linden trunk – waiting

 

Blossoms curlicues

falling to the ground

 

I submit to the scent

obliquely holding me at the

gate of the world

 

You arrive, in white

I wonder in comfort

 

Something is in this June evening air

 

In our embrace we disappear

 

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Photo by Mart Basa, postcard from Andy Tauer, and postcard detail of Kulyu, 2014 by artists Ngamaru Bidu, Jakayu Biljabu, Bowja Patricia Butt, Kumpaya Girgirba, Noelene Girgirba, Karnu Nancy Taylor, Muuki Taylor, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Wokka Taylor.

Rêverie au Jardin by Andy Tauer

Rêverie au Jardin, as stated on tauerperfumes.com, has notes of lavender, green galbanum, fir balm, bergamot, frankincense, orris root, rose, sandalwood, cedar wood, vanilla, and ambergris.

This is the second poem inspired by Rêverie au Jardin –

 

The rain has come and gone

 

My heart beats

in tune here

 

Spreading its sound

out of my breast

my velvet dress

 

reaching up to

the mauve sky

a buzzard gently cuts through

 

I stand here with eyes closed

 

 

Andy Tauer perfumes

There’s a lot of perfume reviews out there. I don’t want to do a review because my love for smells, perfumes – natural and synthesised – and its art form is beyond any knowledge I can possibly fathom. Especially regarding raw materials that make up a perfume in a bottle for the consumer. I don’t know the chemistry of Chanel No. 5, but I have enough knowledge about aldehydes. When I first sprayed Yves Saint Laurent’s Kouros in my mouth in the 1980s, I knew then that alcohol carries perfume beautifully, but mistaking it for a mouth spray, so prevalent in that decade, stunned the back of my throat. It left a memorable effect. The mention of ambergris in Mandy Aftelier’s Palimpsest and Andy Tauer’s L’air du désert Marocain creates elemental stories and poetic imagery as opposed to a recognition of its scent. I’ve never smelled it raw, but I can imagine. That’s where I am coming from here. What I am doing is not reviewing perfumes but writing poems and prose that the perfume conjures in my imagination. I smell the perfume on my drawing and writing table, I take my time, and a story from the perfume comes forth. Words come, then I align the words to a sentence, and I edit.

I start with six works produced from Andy Tauer’s Discovery Set. As stated on tauerperfumes.comL’air du Désert Marocain include notes of coriander, cumin, petitgrain, rock rose, jasmine, cedar woods, vetiver and ambergris.

Here is the first work, a poem, inspired by L’air du Désert Marocain –

Wherever I am

           the edge of a cliff

            the middle of a field

            standing on the precipice

            between near and far

an expanse of memories

appears

From the pages of a book

dust in the air float

From a great distance

it has arrived

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Photo by Mart Basa, postcard from Andy Tauer, and postcard detail of Kulyu, 2014 by artists Ngamaru Bidu, Jakayu Biljabu, Bowja Patricia Butt, Kumpaya Girgirba, Noelene Girgirba, Karnu Nancy Taylor, Muuki Taylor, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Wokka Taylor.