Perfume Review – Lonestar Memories by Tauer Perfumes: Mad Max Meets Sticky Orange

Mad Max the Road Warrior. On an arid desert road, he takes out a flame thrower to burn rubber, asphalt and cars, then relaxes in victory on some very expensive, myrrh-infused, leather car seats before eating some orange sticky toffee pudding and napping in a vanillic-amber haze. That was the essence of my experience with Lonestar Memories from Tauer Perfumes, a fragrance that is actually intended to be an ode to the Wild West and cowboys. For me, it was Mad Max, and then the Queen’s tea. And, surprising as this may sound, it actually works a little.

Scene from Mad Max 2 via

Scene from Mad Max 2 via

Lonestar Memories (sometimes written as “03 Lonestar Memories”) is a unisex fragrance by Andy Tauer, a molecular biologist with a PhD who left the world of science in 2005 to become a perfumer. Lonestar Memories was his second creation and released in 2006. It received a 4-star rating from the renowned perfume critic, Luca Turin, who described it as a “wonderfully warm… smoky carnation” in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.

andy-tauer-03-lonestar-memoriesOn Fragrantica, Lonestar Memories is classified as a “woody chypre” and described as a call to the American West, leather and old jeans. The Tauer website adds more detail:

An ode on birchtar: True and unique, rich and lasting
The scent of a lonesome rider, wearing old jeans and leather jacket, after a long day on the horse in the dry woods, preparing his coffee on the open, smoky fire.

Lonestar Memories’ notes include:

Geranium, Carrot seed, Clary sage, Birchtar, Cistus [or labdanum], Jasmine, Cedar wood, Myrrh, Tonka, Vetiver, Sandalwood.

Silver birch tree. Source: my own photograph.

Silver birch tree. Source: my own photograph.

Birch is a big part of Lonestar Memories, as are the geranium and clary sage. According to Fragrantica, the odor of birch is that of “cooked” wood, and is “a phenolic, tarry smelling ingredient mostly used in the production of leather scents, some chypres and some masculine fragrances.” Clary sage also has a leather undertone, but it is a herbaceous plant that often smells like lavender.

Lonestar Memories opens on my skin with burning rubber, burning orange plastic and the smell of soldering. I’d read repeated references to the odor of electronic soldering — the taking of a high-intensity flame to meld together either pipes, wiring or electronic components — in comments on Luckyscent, but I hadn’t quite believed them. I certainly do now. The comparison truly does apply:

  • Solderingthis one smells like my electronics class – lots of burning plastic and soldering irons
  • the smoky smell is reminiscent of an electronics class (specifically solder smoke)
  • Lonestar Memories absolutely reminds me of the air-exhaust of a laundromat- which I love, so I might buy a bottle.

The source of the smell is the combination of that tarry, smoky birch tar with pungent geranium. The two notes go hand-in-hand for much of Lonestar Memories’ opening hours, though in the opening minutes, the birch tar rules all. It’s not mentholated or camphorous, the way it is in Santa Maria Novella‘s similar Ambra, but, rather, just like black rubber that has been singed along with soldered electronics and plastic-coated wires. My skin cycles through notes rather quickly, so, on me, it only lasted 15 minutes but it seems to have lasted considerably longer on some other people. The overall effect is to make Lonestar Memories not a call to the Wild West or Brokeback Mountain cowboys by a campfire, but, rather, to Mad Max in some futuristic, post-apocalyptic world of asphalt, metal, leather and black rubber.

Mad Max 2.

Mad Max 2.

Accompanying the tarry note is strong, slightly bitter geranium, followed soon thereafter by cedar wood and some syrupy, sweet note that feels like myrrh mixed with tonka, tar and smoke. The sweetness grows with every moment, as syrupy myrrh spreads its resinous, ambery touch. At times, there is almost a vanillic touch to the syrup.

Clary Sage. Source:

Clary Sage. Source:

Lurking to the side is clary sage, feeling very herbaceous and very much like lavender. The combination of notes creates an odd dichotomy: pungent, floral geranium and herbal lavender, countered by syrupy amber and singed black rubber. Thanks to the growing sweetness from the syrup, the tarry birch accord soon softens and the black rubber begins to transform into the scent of expensive, leather car seats.

The effect of that syrupy myrrh resin on the bitter, pungent geranium creates the key characteristic of Lonestar Memories: an orange accord. At the start, it is slightly bitter and extremely similar to neroli. When combined with the lavender note from the clary sage and the now smoky aspect of the birch tar, the overall scent strongly parallels that of Santa Maria Novella‘s Ambra. There are differences, however, especially with that key orange accord. In Lonestar Memories, the note is sweetened and more akin to actual orange, with just the faintest touch of a bitter edge from the geranium. In Ambra, the note actually does stems from neroli (or bigarade); it is primarily bitter, not to mention quite woody as if petitgrain were used. Lonestar Memories is significantly richer, denser, heavier and thicker in feel and notes than the more airy Ambra which is an eau de cologne. Ambra is also much dryer, much less sweet, and has a mentholated aspect to the birch tar which Lonestar Memories lacks.



By the end of the first hour, Lonestar Memories is a rich, complex orange amber. It is triggers visions of orange — sticky, sweet, herbaceous, but also bitter, and backed by leather. It feels a lot like an English sticky toffee pudding sauce, thanks to the sweet, vanilla-infused, balsam-like resins which soften the edges of the aromatics and woody notes. Even better, the tarry feel from the birch has largely dissipated, replaced by a smoky woodiness. The changes lead me to think that Lonestar Memories is much more wearable and versatile than I had initially thought.

Unfortunately, that’s when the headache kicked in. I rarely get headaches from fragrances, not even from the ISO E Super which I despise. The few times it does happen, however, the culprit is always a synthetic. And something in Lonestar Memories’s amber base triggers an enormous, insistent throbbing in my temples that eventually leads up to a burning sensation in the bridge of my nose. I have to wonder if there is something like Ambroxan or a similar amber synthetic that is to blame. Whatever the reason, Lonestar Memories gave me a headache on both occasions when I tried it. And I am not alone. On Luckyscent, someone had a similar experience, writing: “the amber drydown is almost metallic, and that gave me a headache.” On Fragrantica, a commentator got a headache but from a very different triggering aroma: “smoky yes but I have a very strong boxed laundry detergent smell that is giving me a bad headache….two advils to heaven.”

Despite the headache, I enjoyed the finish and drydown of Lonestar Memories. The orange note fades a little in prominence to include some vaguely abstract floral element with smoke, vanilla, and caramel-y amber. In the last hours, Lonestar Memories turned into a custardy vanilla with benzoin over the lightest tinge of orange. The sillage of Lonestar Memories was quite strong in the first hour, then it softened and became relatively moderate. It turned into a skin scent about 4.5 hours into the perfume’s development. The longevity was good, too, lasting approximately 9 hours on my perfume-consuming skin. On others, I suspect Lonestar Memories would last for a significantly longer stretch of time as it can be quite a potent fragrance, depending on how much you apply. I would recommend using a light hand if you’re going to be wearing this to a conservative office environment.

There are very split reactions to Lonestar Memories, though the majority on both Luckyscent and Fragrantica seem to adore the fragrance. I think it will all depend on how you react to that difficult opening and, perhaps, how you feel about smoky barbeques. Some of the varied, quite polarized descriptions on Fragrantica may help you decide:

  • The initial burst of barbecue spice and heavy wood smoke quickly mellows into a fantastic earthy accord that is smoothed by myrrh and sweetened with jasmine.
  • Lonestar Memories smells like an Oilman wearing an amber fragrance at a barbecue (well, sort of). This is quite a challenging composition. It opens with a blast of spicy-smoky leather that smells halfaway between tear gas, tar, burnt rubber and, yes, barbecue. Myrrh and amber make their appearance right away adding a consistent dose of sweetness while the smoky feel remarks its presence throughout.
  • Tar, carrot seed, clary sage and wood with flowers place Lonestar Memories somewhere beyond leather. Knize Ten and Etat Libre’s Rien are mild in comparison. LM has a much more burnt quality than these two. ‘Tar’ and ‘burnt’ do to an extent add up to notes of snubbed cigarette and charcoal but the scent ultimately LM brings to mind is burnt wood. Not the smoke of burning wood, but old campfire. LM is nowhere near a daily fragrance for me. I honestly can’t even say that all moments of LM are pleasant. But it’s worth the experience of the top notes to get to the basenotes which lose the feel of charred things and petrochemicals. The base centers on a handsome severity that only a unsmiling, unsweetened floral can give.
  • Does not remind me of American West. Has a medical/hospital opening that I just cant get past. Bad stuff, stay away!
  • Hot afternoon sun in Texas, dust and dirt, melting blacktop tar, burning tires, smoke, and motorcycle exhaust. Sorry – but I think this is a Tauer fail for someone to actually wear.
  • Lonestar is a difficult perfume to understand. It is brash and in your face, but it also tells a story of the Wild West and Cowboys. Although the notes do not mention leather, there is a strong accord of smokey barbeque meat, and you can almost touch the embers on the fire. Like any wood fire, it can become choking at times but it also mesmerizes the wearer.  [¶] If this perfume were a person, it would swagger and wear ripped jeans.
  • If I would have met a man who wears THAT perfume I ve done everything to be his girl!! I smell all the fine things from the beginning: adventure, finest saddle horse leather,smoke, wood, incense, some wild jasmine.. and that man is taking me in his arms only to throw me on his mustang and then he d jump on that horse too and off we go … through the deserty dusty plains, the pine woods not far away along the the route and I get a feeling, that all my wishes will come true..we arrive at a camp fire and my man is sweating a little so his smell becomes sweeter and more cedar-like and I m melting in his arms again, my nose buried in his neck..and the mustang is giving a soft blow through his nostrils and I m in my smokey leathery horse heaven..Oh that perfume!

My experience was different from many of those described. On me, that difficult, tarry, smoked rubber, leathery opening didn’t last for very long, and the perfume was primarily a sticky orange amber. True, there was occasional bitterness from the geranium, along with smoke from the birch, subtle undertones of leather, and occasional dryness from the cedar wood, but none of those notes changed the primary essence of the fragrance.

As a side note, despite the many references to the masculine nature of the fragrance, there are a number of women who really enjoy Lonestar Memories. Yes, it skews a little more masculine than some unisex fragrances, especially with that tarry, burnt rubber opening, but the essence of the fragrance feels very unisex for me. I suppose it all depends on how the smoke, leather and rubber elements from the birch manifest themselves on your skin. It’s definitely an interesting scent to try, but also not one to buy blindly without a test. If Lonestar Memories doesn’t work out, but the underlying elements intrigues you, there is always Santa Maria Novella‘s woodier, dryer, airier, and more herbaceous, lavender-y, neroli Ambra to try.

Have you tried Lonestar Memories? If so, did the opening transport you to a cowboy’s barbeque on the range, or to Mad Max’s Thunderdome?

Cost & Availability in General: Lonestar Memories is an eau de toilette. In the U.S., you can buy a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle for $125 from Luckyscent or MinNewYork, as well as directly from Tauer Perfumes where it is cheaper at $102. (See further details below in the Tauer section.) Luckyscent also sell a sample vial for $3. Samples are available from Surrender to Chance as well, starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. In Europe, First in Fragrance sells the perfume for €95.00 for a 1.7 oz/50 ml, or for €190.00 for a 3.4/100 ml bottle from. It too carries samples. In the UK, Les Senteurs sells Lonestar Memories for £87.00, along with samples. The Tauer website’s store locator also provides locations in over 10 countries — ranging from France and the Netherlands to Russia, Singapore, the UK, Poland, Romania, Spain and more — where its products are available. You can find that list of stores here.

Cost & Availability from the Tauer Website: The Tauer Perfumes website lists the cost of the 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle as: Fr. 96.00 / USD 102.70 / EUR 77.80. Tauer Perfumes also sells a sample 1.5 ml/ 0.05 oz glass vial of Lonestar Memories for: Fr. 6.00 / USD 6.50 / EUR 5.00. Though they used to ship to most places in the world, you need to know that they can’t ship to a number of places in Europe right now. The website explains that they can only ship to customers in Switzerland, France, Germany and Austria and cannot ship “Great Britain, UK, Russia, Belgium and the Czech Republic.” As a side note, the Tauer website also sells a sample Discovery Set of 5 different Tauer perfumes (for free shipping to most places in the world) which you can choose at will for: Fr. 31.00 / USD 33.50 / EUR 25.70. The website provides the following information:

Free selection: It is your choice to pick a set of 5 DISCOVERY SIZE perfume samples in glass spray vials. 1.5 ml each (0.75 ml of 0.75 ml of UNE ROSE CHYPRÉE or UNE ROSE VERMEILLE or CARILLON POUR UN ANGE) are at your disposal. Pick any scents from the Tauer perfumes range. The amounts of 1.5 (0.75 ml) are minimal amounts. Usually , we will ship around 2 ml (1ml). The DISCOVERY size vials are spray vials and will allow you to enjoy our fragrances for several days.
Packaging: The DISCOVERY SET comes in a glide-cover metal box for optimal protection.
Shipment: This product ships for free within 24 hours after we received your order world wide. Exceptions: Italy, United Kingdom, Russia, Belgium, Czech Republic.

41 thoughts on “Perfume Review – Lonestar Memories by Tauer Perfumes: Mad Max Meets Sticky Orange

  1. I don’t get the smokey rubber tar thing with this. It’s more a powdery leather on me. It doesn’t make me think of cowboys either. I like it but I don’t love it.

    • Powdery leather…. is that a good thing? LOL. It certainly seems a bit better than soldered electronics and laundromat vent fumes. 😉

  2. Have you ever smelled the birch tar essential oil by itself? You could fill up an entire house with the smell of tarry, burning things by spilling just a couple drops (ugh, don’t ask me how I know)… beautiful in small amounts for that smoky, leathery effect, but in an overdose I find it incredibly repellent.

    I almost want to like Lonestar Memories just based on the Mad Max reference, which totally made me laugh out loud, but I have trouble with many of Tauer’s perfumes when it comes to the headaches… must be something in the “Tauerade”.

    • I’ve never smelled birch tar essential oil by itself and, frankly, your description gives me great pause if just a few drops are *that* potent! 😉 If Tauer fragrances give you a headache, I’d definitely suggest staying away from this one — Mad Max notwithstanding. LOL.

  3. Lonestar Memory is one of a few Tauer’s creations that I like. I haven’t tried it sprayed but from a dab sample it’s very pleasant on me. I won’t need a bottle of this perfume ever but I’lldefinitely try toget another sample or even a decant.

    • Interesting. This wouldn’t have been one which I would have associated with you, Undina. Your skin chemistry must make the birch tar manifest itself quite differently on your skin. Now I’m wondering what you would think of the dryer, more herbaceous, more bitter Ambra by Santa Maria Novella.

  4. You nailed it perfectly! Lonestar Memories was one of the first scents from Andy that I tried. And I also get the burnt rubber feeling right from the opening. Then it’s a lot of birch and tar on my skin. It doesn’t smell very “me” but actually I like this scent a lot and if I had a bigger decant I would definitely use it to the bottom of a vial.

  5. Kafka- this was fantastic! I am so glad that you reviewed this one as Lonestar has always been on my “must try” list but I wondered whether or not I would like it…your lengthy review was very much appreciated! and given that Undina approves I think I would rather enjoy this one…I will seek it out on my visit to the big Apple in June….thanks!

    • Undina will be flattered and touched by how much you follow her recommendations. 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed the review and that it could help you decide. I hope you have a blast on your NY trip and can’t wait to hear what tempts you the most. 🙂

      • I am sure that when Daisy gets done with my daughters and I at the end of the day we will be riding that Metro North train home to upstate NY REEKING of all sorts of perfume!! No one will be brave enough to sit near us-LOL!

  6. This triplet did not like Lonestar Memories 🙁 It had a dusty dry feel to it, like stale cigarette smoke. I won’t be re-testing this anytime soon as I gave up my sample in a very nice swap (for vintage Chanel Gardenia AND vintage Vol de Nuit).

  7. A headache? Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear that, dear Kafka!

    Lonestar Memories is one of my two favorite Tauer scent (L’Air du désert marocain being the other). I don’t really get burning rubber. It smells like smoke, leather, and sage to me. When I first smelled it, it immediately transported me not to Texas, but to the Pampas in Argentina. I was staying at an estancia in the countryside and every day was horseback riding and barbecue. Very reminiscent of that for me.

    • It sounds lovely on you. Absolutely lovely! If it ever feels like something that is too heavy for summer, you should check out Santa Maria Novella’s Ambra. I did a review for it and found there were some similarities, though huge differences in weight and feel. As for the Pampas in Argentina, it sounds like an absolutely lovely experience! And much better than sleeping in a mosquito-filled tent in W. Africa. lol

      • The Pampas was a truly decadent experience. The Argentinian economy had just collapsed for the second time. Horrible for them, but for us it meant that staying in luxury estancias was very affordable! I remember one in particular had a guy named José who would fry up empanadas to order. Don’t miss the boyfriend I went with, but I miss José every day 🙂

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  13. Hi,
    I just received my decant of Blackbird from House of Matriarch. I really like the smell of the opening; leather in a really good way. But, i think I like more projection…
    So, I want to explore leather side; I also like Puredistance M, but I search for something with more complexity. I have in mind, Lonestar memories, Fumidus (Profumum Roma, vetiver and scotch side really turn me on, and I like my Arso so much) and Hard Leather… which one buy?!

    Best regards


    • Simon, nice to see you again. I wouldn’t recommend blind-buying any of these, but especially not Fumidus. I think you should order samples, perhaps from Surrender to Chance which ships to Canada. Don’t take a risk. I would also suggest seeing if you can get a sample of Roja Dove’s Fetish Pour Homme Extrait and, maybe, Jovoy Paris’ Private Label.

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  15. “The overall effect is to make Lonestar Memories not a call to the Wild West or Brokeback Mountain cowboys by a campfire, but, rather, to Mad Max in some futuristic, post-apocalyptic world of asphalt, metal, leather and black rubber.”

    After spending the past 10 hours watching the entire Mad Max franchise, I would have to say this is a most accurate description indeed. I just wish the opening 15 mins of rubber and asphalt would last forever on me. The drydown is sweeter than what I’m used to wearing, but still a great frag. I got the ambroxan headache about 3 hours after initial wearing, but that has gone away now and all I get is sweet/smoky leather. L’AdDM is still my favourite Tauer of all time, but to me LM wears smoother than L’AdDM.

    • I’m glad you’ve found two fragrances that you like so much, Wombat. 🙂 I haven’t seen the latest Mad Max film, but I hear it’s outstanding and I’m looking forward to it.

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  17. I got a full bottle of this yesterday. I was too fast buying it because I got too enthusiast about the tarry opening that I like a lot. But now I see what you mean when you mention headache. Today I am wearing it and I discover the bad side of this perfume: there is definitely something in the development of that perfume that burns my sinuses and gives me a slight headache. Plus, maybe it’s the clary sage but I do get a big big Brut de Fabergé vibe in this, which I am not a big fan of. Conclusion: big fail for me. So I totally agree : definitely try on skin and wait for the perfume to develop before you buy it

    • Oh dear, I’m sorry. That’s always so frustrating. The source of your issue could be two things. Some years back, Andy Tauer once told me that many/most of his fragrances had ISO E Super, and that’s what gives me a headache. In my experience, though, the thing I have significantly greater difficulty with is the sort of creosote tarriness that forms (IMO) a central, major part of the Tauerade in the base. It’s a nice tarriness initially, then it balloons into a shrieking thing that sears the inside of my nose, and makes the back of my throat tighten up and feel immensely scratchy. I tested Lonestar Memories once many years after this original review, and I noticed it was brimming with creosote in addition to its ISO E Super.

      I think you’re sensitive to the combination, too. My guess is that you took the bottle home and then applied with lavish abandon the next day, and the quantity increase only heightened the aromachemicals. As a side note, I think the creosote is highlighted in a number of his Tauerville Flash fragrances so, if you encounter or are interested in any of those, my suggestion is to get a sample to test at home. Keep in mind that how much or how little you apply (and whether you dab or spray) will make a difference to the notes which are accentuated and to the overtness or forcefulness of the aromachemicals. I hope that helps a little.

      • Thanks that’s very interesting ! Yes I tend to over spray… I like to get noticed :D. I was about to give it up but I will give it another try and it may work this time. Thank you very much !

  18. This fragrance is an intriguing one for me. I find it completely transportive. It evokes the desert and hot scorched earth, long tarred highways and open, starry campfire lit nights. As much as it takes me somewhere, I don’t like wearing it too often. It makes me feel like someone else when I wear it. I’m a bit self-conscious when I have it on. I try to use it sparingly to have the desired effect but it seems difficult to keep this beast quiet. I have a decant and recently bought a partial bottle from someone (are those bottles not the greatest?) and I know it will last me lifetime and beyond. For whatever reason this fragrance is like wearing a mask for halloween. It’s a little Hollywood for me. I wear it when I want to play a different role in another place and time. I love its ability to change my world but I’m not sure I like to smell like it. An odd conundrum for sure.

    • I know exactly what you mean. Slumberhouse’s superb, exceptional Norne is like that for me. Such an evocative forest that it’s like something straight out of Tolkien, filled with pine, fir, smoke, oakmoss, smoldering resins, and more. But I can’t pull it off personally, and it feels as though I am wearing someone else’s clothes when I try. So, I completely get your “halloween mask” and “someone else” references with Lonestar Memories. BTW, if you haven’t tried Norne yet, you should, given your earlier comment elsewhere about loving pine. (Yes, more enabling still. lol)

      • Oh Norne. I had such great expectations. For me, Fille en Aiguilles is a toned down, wearable Norne. Norne is a heavy incens, clove and sap beast. I just couldn’t tolerate it. There’s the smell of pine from a distance, the beauty of a fresh cut tree. Then there’s the smell of being encased in a tree and having the sap suffocate you. Slumberhouse and I have a contentious relationship. I want to like Norne and Jeke but just found them too heavy. Kiste and Ore on the other hand I find very pleasing – Ore is probably my favorite (that boozy cocoa thing).
        I’m glad I’m in good company when it comes to “fragrance drag” 😉

        • I feel like “Dexter” when I wear Norne, the Dexter in the season finale where he’s hiding as a lumberjack in the Pacific Northwest. LOL. But there are all the Tolkien images in my head at the same time, so the result leaves me feeling quite disoriented and confused. 😀 😛

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