Lonestar Memories: Colombina on Perfumesmellingthings. (...)Lonestar Memories makes me want to escape the mundane confines of my everyday world(...)

Lonestar Memories: Katie on Scentzilla. (...) Lonestar Memories smells of the examined life. Inside there is joy, and there is tiny heartbreak, e xisting only in reverie. The scent unravels into the consideration of past experiences, and pinings for future joys and heartbreaks(...)

Lonestar Memories: Marlen Harrison's review on PerfumeCritic.com (...) If you're a lover of leather or richer wood fragrances, this is gonna be a holy grail scent and in that case, better get two bottles.(...)

Lonestar Memories: Cait Shortell's review on Legerdenez. (...) Do you appreciate scent because you identify with the scent and its image? Does a scent have the ability to create a memory outside one’s own experience?(...)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Une femme sans parfum n’a pas d’avenir (Coco Chanel

I am getting ready for my vacation trip to Tunesia with Coco’s saying still in mind. (There will be some pause in postings on this blog, with lots to follow once I’ve happily returned home.) Coco Chanel’s citation is placed on the cover of “Au sense du parfum” by Guy Robert and it is one of Coco’s many statements regarding perfumes. Another saying goes like: Perfume yourself there where you would like to get kissed; a saying which also leaves a lot of room for second thoughts. Une femme sans parfum n’a pas d’avenir translates into something like: “A woman without perfume has not future” or “there is no future for a woman without perfume”. Tough. And with a double sense. Why should a woman not have a decent future without perfume? I personally know a few women not wearing perfume at all and all of them are living quite happily with a decent outlook to their time still ahead. Of course, Coco had something else in mind than just the mere fact of whether you wear a perfume or not. A good guess might be, she really cared about the attitude of a potential perfume wearer. The deeper aim of perfuming yourself. It is about the change you can bring to yourself, concealing a physical truth about yourself, multiplying yourself, adding an accent to your appearance which lightens your public exposure in a hostile world, playing the game of transformation. What Coco wanted is a woman to have a vision and aspiration in mind, with perfumes being one tool play and to put the world to surrender. Not giving yourself up, but rather fight with all there is to enlighten your personality. Stop struggling and you will loose your hopes. Stop dreaming and you will wake up one day without a vision to follow. In that sense Coco’s words are very true. In that sense, you perfume yourself very much for yourself, in order to love yourself a little bit more, with your nose being the mirror reflecting your delightful picture. Of course, you do not really need perfumes to develop and cultivate this affection for yourself. But for sure, it helps. And I would assume that a touch of this truth is also applicable for men.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Is there a perfect way to work on a new formula and write down your perfume trial recipe? No, there isn’t.
Reading in the excellent overview by Guy Robert “Les Sens du Parfum” about masters of perfume design and their way to create a new fragrance, there is nothing like best practice. Which is reassuring in a sense as I work on my own rules, too- with some systematic, of course.
Those perfumers who where close to production (such as Coty, Alméras, Jacques Guerlain, …) wrote their formula with production routines in their mind. Which components have to be mixed separately and added as a mix, which components will come last, being the most expensive, which will not stand heating of the mixture to bring crystalline components into solution; their formula writing seems to have taken rather practical thoughts into account. Others formulated strictly on a 1000 basis, resulting in formulas which always ended in a total of 1000 equivalents, or 1500 equivalents as exemplified by Paul Vacher. This allowed him to very easily judge the proportion of one compound in the total of his formula, as he used a standard of 150 gram per litre perfume. Others (such as Jean Carles, Henry Robert) grouped their formula strictly on the tenacity of the ingredients, trying to group them, with the aim to simplify (or extend) certain accords.
The later is also my way of working, starting from a main accord, such as Bergamot, Rose, Tobacco. But contrary to Jean Carles who is said to have known the outcome from every formula written on paper before it was actually mixed, I am working slowly and iteratively, adding few components at a time (of course, some things I may have learnt in the mean time, which component gives what effect with what other component. But things get very fast very complicated, indeed!) Always judging the effect of one particular addition to the overall accord, I sometimes spend days towards a new trial. I wished I knew what a formula will smell like in advance! Lucky Jean Carles.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Santa Claus

Thinking about a Christmas scent. While jogging on Sunday afternoon, with jogging being one of the best sources for good ideas, I came up to the conclusion that I have to start now at the latest to design a Christmas perfume. Actually it is already pretty late for such an endeavour, but at least we can try. Endorphin flooded from jogging for almost 2 hours, the thoughts went from here to there, ending with the question what Santa Claus might smell like. My friend was confident that Mr. Santa smells a lot like Rudolf, the famous reindeer which is Santa’s faithful companion on his visits to happy families. Right now in summer time, Rudolf may live happily for himself somewhere in a wild forest, or he may do his exercises in reindeer gym to get physically built up for the coming season, who knows. But once Christmas is around the corner, Rudolf and Santa have quite some business together. Thus, Santa might well carry a whiff of Rudolf reindeer furry scent with him. Working in his handcraft shop on the huge sledge, which will carry all those neatly wrapped presents in December, Mr Santa will carry on a touch of timber and sawdust, too. Now mix this with his lavender after-shave, the bouquet of the fresh cut spruce, the scent of fresh ginger cookies, and the fragrance of his forest cabin, soaked with uncounted memories of winter evenings where the smoky heat of the fireplace fought against the arctic cold of Santa land. This is Santa’s personal fragrance. For sure!

But I think I will rather stick to the classical cinnamon, cardamom, clove and frankincense ingredients which will be less authentic but more recognisable. Although: It might be quite a challenge to work on this reindeer touch. (more to follow…)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

boxed and bottled

Yesterday was the day when I finally had to let go. A little bit, this is just like planting the tree that you have nourished for years in a pot with tender care; you hand it on to a world of rain and sun and storms, a world which is not always fair, but which is the only way for your little tree to grow and bloom. In a similar way you have to let your perfume creation go, which is hard, because there is always a twist, a hint in the fragrance that might be improved...

L'air du désert marocain is boxed and bottled. And now, there is nothing I can do about the scent anymore. It is out there and I just wait for comments.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Trusting our senses-but which one?

If you think you can trust your senses in dating business, well: Think again.

Finding the right partner for live is a tricky issue for many reasons. Although our species was quite successful in multiplying and occupying almost every ecological niche there is on planet earth, the valid choices are quite limited. For obscure reasons the hunt for the right one is like trying to find a banana in communist Germany Democratic Republic. You know there must be lots of fruits around but they never appear on the market. So, you end up eating apples.
And then: How many right ones are there? It might well be that the given number of true choice you have is quite limited and chances are, you will never meet. Or never meet in the right circumstances. Maybe, your genuine choices shrink down to a hand-full of candidates. Statistically, it is a low-number-game and modern tools to extend your hunting ground do not make things better. The number of candidates that pass your event horizon may increase by hooking your laptop on to Starbucks WLAN and screening your preferred flirt platform. Yet, the larger the herd of zebras is, the greyer and dull they seem. Which is the zebra’s trick, by the way, to turn off lions.
Leavingzoology and statistics and returning to the real problem: You may well meet the right but and not even realize it! As a matter of fact, I am convinced this is the standard scenario.
And thanks to modern science we get the rationale for it. Research has shown a while ago that our nose gives us quite straightforward signals whom to pick and whom to leave. It is the Major Histocompatibility thing. We smell a person’s scent and are attracted (subconsciously, of course) or not, depending on the Major Histocompatibility class. The more different to our own class, the better. This is nature’s trick on us, ensuring that we pick the right one with the right genetic variety to produce healthy off springs. And, it does not really matter whether we care for passing on our genes or not; we just happen to discriminate based on our sense of smell.
Contrary, a recent study showed, that based on our vision sense we find people the more attractive the more similar they look to us. It basically cooks down to: You really like the look of your cousin, but you just can’t smell him or her.
So, what to do? Well, go for the one looking gorgeous and wearing Dior’s Eau Sauvage!
Weblink: Cordis express

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Lara would wear musc ravageur

Dr. Schiwago. I never read the book, but I have seen the movie many times; this wonderful, touchingly painted picture of Russia from before the war (WWI), with all its decadency of the upper class, the misery of the poor, the biggest twist in Russian history on 2-hour celluloid, depicted by and transformed into the micro cosmos of a love story between Lara and her Dr. Schiwago. Kind of classical role models, of course; an end 60-ies style movie incarnation of an époque coming to an end with beautifully touching scenes, the discrimination of the poorest, the upraise of the beaten classes, the misery of post-revolution Russia. Endless tragedy and human pain encapsulated in the story of human love.

Lara is her name, a powerful woman, strong, symbolizing a new era which now already has vanished again, a short intermezzo, making place to post-post-revolution Russia.
Lara may rest in peace.

But I know for sure, Lara reincarnated to our “époque de révolution” might well wear Musc Ravageur (Editions de parfums Frederic Malle, by Maurice Roucel). She would wear it and Dr. Schiwago of our times would fall in love again.

I got my sample in the Parfumerie Oswald, one of the most inspiring places for me to be (and one which always results in money being converted to nose pleasures), given to me by charming Mr. Abt.
Spray it on a strip and it does wonders! A wonderful dense start reminding me of something edible, well…, apricots, peach maybe(I do not really know how they did it, but it is great), with hints of clary, elegant, but not snobby. It is a very short head note, straight away followed by beautiful animal tones, with perfectly matched balance between the beauty and the beast. So difficult to reach, but here I find it well done. A scent portfolio which is very present, dangling between musk, castoreum, with fine mossy tones, heavy and light at the same time, a little bit of smoky Taiga references in between, also hints of vanille, rendering the fragrance present. Feminine somehow, powdery a little bit, somewhat harsh may be, balanced for sure.
Lara of today would wear it, because it is powerful, enduring, and wild. And she can be sure:
Dr. Schiwago would remember her perfume in 30 years from now.

L'instant pour homme, Guerlain

Yes, it is a great start, bummm! and there we are!

Powerful citrus, hints of grapefruit, slightly bitter and somewhat sweet. Not stingy at all, not citronellol-citrus type, likely with some bergamot, nicely balanced and very appealing. Traces of fresh green come up in between, but not the “freshly cut grass type” but rather something like grinded leaves of oak for instance. It reminds me somewhat in Spring, Dandelions?, it is hard to say. Overall it is a joyful start, clear in its line and straightforward.
-> Very well elaborated and a charming nose-catcher.

And soon after, in a quick turn, the next appearance on the stage: But oh my, what was before a enchanting colourful picture, sunny, balanced and cheerful turns into a canvas covered in beige, with intermingled grey-white abstract, non coherent forms. Without live and inspiration. Some cistus hints, traces of lilly-kind of flowers (slightly powdery) try to find their way through this ocean of fixo-bois stuff, which is dull, covering every corner. My personal impression: They did not dare to make any statement at all. Sure the marketing used a peer group of test customers featuring the average of averages, something like the mix you get if you go to see a blockbuster movie.

And then. Emptyness, fog and patchouli maybe, hidden, drowning in an endless ocean of bois de je ne sais pas quoi…
It is a mere disappointment and a sad storyline.
But there is something to learn here: The headnote is nice. And: Demand more. And: Trust nobody blindly. This, of course, is true for my judgment, too, therefore, get it and smell for yourself.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

L'air du désert marocain

Just a few days before l’air du désert marocain will be launched. Things are getting ready and I am very excited because I adore this perfume. I have been working on it for almost a year now and I just cannot wait to present it to the public.
The same is true for Pascal from the Medieval shop where I will sell the fragrance exclusively.
Maybe some personal words about the scent here:

Technically speaking, its core structure is a Chypre (Bergamot, Cistus, Oakmoss), but not dominant with an unpretentious Amber background. It was inspired by typical scents of the Maghreb: Petitgrain, Corriander, Cumin, Jasmin, Cedarwoods are all built into a complex scenery. The perfume is somewhat powdery, very elegant and also classy. It is quite present but not dominant and evolving nicely over time. The first impressions are evolving from fresh citrus notes with spicy hints of Corriander am Cumin to a complex heart built on Jasmin, Cistus and Cedarwood. At the base, which is long lasting and warm, the scent of Amber is balanced with hints of Vetiver, Oakmoss and Patchouli.
My personal perfume dream!

Perfume mentor, orange flower

Meeting my good friend, Vero Kern, to discuss perfumes and her trip to Paris.
-my orange flower-
I presented a first draft on my orange flower, the core structure being very woody, flowery dry, but still too stingy and the open note not elaborated yet. This is my first orange flower core which I like, honestly, and I will continue, trying to smoothen the base, adding more depth to it. Yet, it is already getting there, the core structure being:
- Citrus (bergamot and others)with some fresh Lavender hints
- Orange flower (very complex including ylang, jasmin, neroli and others)
- Cedar (and other dry woods). Rather complex, including Vetiver, some Ambrein (Cistus), oakmoss and more

-the fougère core-
I also presented the Fougère core which she adored. Her advice being to add some Bergamot, to bring in some smooth, soft woody touch to the base and maybe a little bit animalic undertones. This in addition to the already present tobacco hint. Maybe a little bit of patchouli with castoreum would do the job? or vetiver.

I always welcome her professional advice as her nose is very educated and her spirit is very open to new ideas.
Her trip brought her to the osmothèc in Versaille and to meetings in the house of Guerlain. Ah well, a perfume house which lives on its past.
I have tried L'instant de Guerlain lately and was soooo disappointed. May be I will cover this in a seperate column.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Luca Turin's perfume blog

Luca Turin's wonderful perfume blog, a must to be followed, educative and entertaining -> http://lucaturin.typepad.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Penhaligon’s English Fern

Since a long time on the market (1900 plus something? I don't really know!) but still selling well, “English Fern” by Penhaligon is one of the classical Fougères. (basis of Fougères is Coumarin, a natural compound found also in Lavender extracts, often combined with Lavender itself)
A wonderful scent with a somewhat crispy Citrus-Lavender head note, with powdery nuances which become more dominant as the perfume evolves into Lavender dominated heart note. Working on this powdery aspect, I came yesterday to the conclusion; it must be iso-amyl Salicylate, among others. Eventually, there is a hint Vanillin in the back. At the base you will find Coumarin, for sure, with additional aspects where I am not quite sure: Tobacco might be a good guess.
Et voilà: The core structure of English fern, which I adore for its cleanness and which is my inspiration for a Lavender note of my own.
My interpretation towards a Fougère:
0.125 parts Tobacco absolute
0.5 parts Coumarin
1 part iso-amyl Salicylate
0.25 parts Lavender abs.
0.5 parts Lavender from Bulgary
0.125 parts Lemongrass
A core structure which in this form is quite close to English fern.
My vision is to work on the head note by adding Linalool-based extracts, such as Corriander, Rosewood, … and by extending the Citrus head, Bergamot, Grapefruit being a good guess; to open up the heart, make it more complex and flowery (rose?) and adding an extra twist to the base, to be continued….

lush in zurich-stinky shop?

I just read the news today in the newspaper, that the Lush shop in downtown zurich runs into troubles with the neighbours.
The article says that neighbours are complaining about the Lush shop stinking. -
I think, two basic issues come up here: 1. scents may be sensed quite differently by different people in different situations. What is a nice scent for one, is a nightmare for the other. The same holds true for perfumes, the consequences for making perfumes are tremendous. How do you balance an assembly of scents? In a way that will not offend people. I think one key issue is concentration. And balance. And the use of natural compounds extending and smoothening the harder, aggressive synthetic compounds. Something to think about...
2. The use of synthesized scent compounds is tricky. Too often, they are too strong, not bound into a larger scheme. This might well be Lush's problem: Onyl using artificial, synthetic compounds without balancing with natural complexity. And this, by the way, is the issue with most newly launched perfumes, too. About this point, I will come back.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

my world of scents and perfumes

A world of scents -perfumes, parfum, Parfüm

I love scents and devote a lot of my free time to the study of their character and to the composition of fragrances with all sorts of scents. I love the art of perfume making. And, starting years ago from all natural perfumery just for my own pleasure, I went over to become sort of a micro perfumer with a vision to create perfumes. I like to share this passion and invite you to join.

This is not the official website of tauer perfumes, which is my discrete way of selling some compositions. For the more sales oriented and less discussion oriented website of tauer perfumes: http://www.blueroll.com/