Tauer Perfumes PHI Une Rose de Kandahar

Dior Haute Couture 2007 by Galliano. Source: theberry.com

Dior Haute Couture 2007 by Galliano. Source: theberry.com

A jewel glowing orange, pink and red, nestled in the embrace of emerald green. A woman wearing the most feminine of opulent haute couture ball gowns. A Paris café whose decadent apricot tart is based in the richest of vanilla custards and lightly flecked with almonds. The faintest curls of smoke floating in the crisp fall air from a pipe whose tobacco is infused with sweetened fruit. Seemingly unconnected images, but images that are all rooted in one fragrance. 

PHI Une Rose de Kandahar (hereinafter sometimes just “PHI“) is a new eau de parfum from Andy Tauer, the founder and nose behind the much-adored Swiss niche house, Tauer Perfumes. PHI is one of Mr. Tauer’s “Collectibles,” a perfume that will be produced in limited quantities due to the rarity of some of its ingredients. As Andy Tauer explains on his website:

Phi is a luxurious scent, inspired by a natural extract of roses produced in Afghanistan’s rose region, Nangarhar. This rose oil is extremely rare and of highest quality. Inspired by these roses, growing in a dry and rough land, Phi is a rare gem, complementing contrasting lines, rich in natural raw materials that add depth and authenticity. Due to the limited amount of the rose oil, une rose de Kandahar is not guaranteed to be available all the time.

PHI. Photo: Hypoluxe.

PHI. Photo: Hypoluxe.

On Fragrantica, PHI is classified as floral, but it seems more accurate to me to call it a chypre with oriental and gourmand touches, or a hybrid. The Tauer website supports this impression, describing PHI as having both “woody and gourmand notes,” along with such chypre standbys as mossy patchouli, and such oriental highlights as ambergris. The perfume’s full list of notes are as follows:

Top: apricot, cinnamon, bitter almond, and bergamot;

Middle: rose of Kandahar essential oil, Bulgaria rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, and dried tobacco leaves;

Base: patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka beans, musk, and ambergris.

Source: forwallpaper.com

Source: forwallpaper.com

I tested PHI three times, and, each time, it opens on my skin with a forceful, jewel-like glow of ruby reds, soft pinks, blushing peachy-orange, and emerald greens. The red and pink visuals come from the most concentrated rose essences, feeling sweet and spicy all at once. The soft peachy-orange is from the apricot, which is tart, juicy, and tangy. Apricot is a note that I rarely see used in perfumery, and I’m a bit of a sucker for it. Here, it’s absolutely beautiful, feeling like bushels of the fruit have been rendered down into a smooth, concentrated purée.

The two shining stars of PHI Une Rose de Kandahar are nestled in a cocoon of emerald green foliage that is pungent, peppered, spicy, and dark. The base is filled with notes that smell like soft, fresh, plush oakmoss, thanks to the effects of patchouli. Yet, to my surprise, something about it also has the darkly mineralized, grey, musty feel of actual oakmoss (or mousse de chene), even though there is no such note in the fragrance. Rounding out the imagery of leaves surrounding a flower is the geranium. It smells like the flower’s fuzzy, green leaves with their piquant, peppery, spicy, pungent aroma. 

Source: forwallpaper.com

Source: forwallpaper.com

The green accords are covered with a heavy dose of Mr. Tauer’s beloved ISO E Super. Though it was less dominant in some wearings than in others, it was always a part of PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. I will never (ever!) share Mr. Tauer’s views on the ghastly synthetic, but I’m relieved to say that it didn’t give me a headache in PHI, despite its sometimes heavy touch. In many ways, the aromachemical that he believes is the perfect photo-finishing touch does work here. It doesn’t smell antiseptic or like pink rubber bandages the way it sometimes can, but, rather, like something that is extremely peppery and a bit spiky. It underscores the feel of the other notes and amplifies, in specific, the geranium.

Source: Patisserie Deschamps, France.

Source: Patisserie Deschamps, France.

Five minutes into PHI’s development, the hints of vanilla that lurk below the surface explode onto the top. It smells just like highly buttered, rich vanilla custard. My skin always amplifies base notes, and I noticed that the vanilla was never prominent on a friend who I let try PHI. On her skin, the perfume’s opening was all rose and greenery, with very little apricot and absolutely no vanilla extract or vanilla custard. PHI was lovely on her skin, but I enjoyed the custard that showed up on me. Something about its combination with the apricot purée that is lightly sprinkled with sweet, spicy cinnamon brought to mind the glazed French apricot tarts that I would have when I lived in Paris. It’s a deliciously edible touch that just verges on the gourmand, and it adds a tasty richness to PHI.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

The overall combination with the deep rose and the oakmoss also made me think of Amouage‘s new Fate Woman which is another rose chypre with fruited overtones and a slightly gourmand vanilla base. The two perfumes are very different in their notes and core, but something about them feels similar in the opening moments. They both have a very intense chypre start with concentrated roses and fruited notes over a dark green heart with touches of rich vanilla. They also share an opulent, luxurious, feminine character that is very sophisticated, and have great sillage and potency in their opening phase. From 3 small sprays, PHI bloomed in a cloud about 4-5 inches around me, perhaps a little more, and it remained that way for about 40 minutes. It was very potent up close, but always extremely airy in feel and weight.

Dried tobacco leaves. Source: colourbox.com

Dried tobacco leaves. Source: colourbox.com

Forty minutes in, PHI starts to change. There are quiet pops of vetiver in the base that add a different touch to the dark foliage around the floral-fruity notes. The base elements now feel a bit less pungent and peppered, more dry and woody. There are also the very smallest, faintest hints of dark, dry tobacco lurking about deep down. Neither note, however, is very prominent in an individual way at this stage, and they never detract from the main trio of apricot, rose, and patchouli-moss.

Around the same time, there is the first whisper of an almond note that will become increasingly more prominent in PHI’s development. The nut is bitter but sweet and fresh, and it adds another delicious gourmand touch to the vanilla and apricot purée. The vanilla has also started to change, probably due to the impact of the drier notes at the periphery. The note is now airier, softer, more like whipped vanilla mousse than thick, buttered, rich custard.

At the end of the first hour, PHI is a smooth bouquet with top notes of apricot purée, spicy rose, and mossy-patchouli-geranium-ISO E Super, and bottom notes of almonds, vanilla mousse, woody vetiver, dry tobacco, and musk in the base. The sillage has dropped, and the perfume hovers about 1.5 inches above the skin, though it is extremely potent and strong when sniffed up close. It’s a beautifully refined, elegant bouquet that is never too sweet and never quite as simple as it appears from a distance.

Source: rbgstock.com

Source: rbgstock.com

PHI remains that way for another few hours, never changing drastically in its core essence, though some of the notes (like the cinnamon) fluctuate in prominence. The notes blur and overlap, blending seamlessly into each other, with only the apricot and the rose really standing out as significant forces in a very distinctive, individual way. It feels very gauzy on the skin, and I must confess that I wish PHI were not quite so sheer and intimate quite so soon; I was rather entranced with it, and wanted more, more, more! Instead, it feels as though the apricot or the rose take turns peeking out seductively like a glimpse of the lace trim on lingerie under a beautiful, jewel-toned dress. I wanted less sheer lace and sheer silk, and much more heavy velvet, but it is a matter of personal preference. PHI is clearly intended to be an elegant, refined fragrance without a sonic, nuclear blast — and it succeeds in its goal admirably.

Source: rexfabrics.com

Source: rexfabrics.com

PHI continues to soften and change. Midway during the third hour, PHI turns into a skin scent of cinnamon-flecked apricots and almonds, atop a sheer vanilla base. The rose is still there, but it is secondary to the other notes and has retreated to the sidelines. Unfortunately for me, the ISO E Super remains like a haze over everything. At the 6.5 hour mark, a dryness creeps into the perfume as flickers of tobacco return. It’s sweetened and mild, like fruited pipe tobacco infused with a large dollop of apricots. There is also a quiet touch of cinnamon mixed in. The vanilla has largely disappeared, but its place has been taken by ambergris with its wonderfully salty, sweet, golden character. A sexy muskiness dances all around. The perfumed jewel now gleams with gold, bronzed apricot, and light brown. All greens and pinks have vanished, leaving PHI as a subtle oriental with dryness and just a touch of warm sweetness.

In its final moments, PHI is merely a nebulous blur of sweetness with abstract dry, woody touches, and a hint of something vaguely fruited. All in all, it lasted just short of 7.75 hours on my perfume consuming skin with 3 small sprays, and around 6.5 hours with less. The sillage starts off as extremely strong, before dropping with every hour to something that is quite soft in feel. And I enjoyed every bit of it, despite the ISO E Supercrappy. Andy Tauer’s exquisite Une Rose Chyprée remains my absolute favorite from the line, but it has very close competition with this new PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. Both of them are absolutely beautiful fragrances whose sophistication always evoke Haute Couture elegance to me. I would absolutely wear them myself, and I say this as someone who isn’t particularly enamoured with rose scents to begin with!

If you’re a man and think that all this sounds too feminine for you, you might be surprised. Though PHI is too new to have a lot of reviews out, one blogger found the perfume to be a masculine rose with a gourmand touch. The Scented Hound wrote:

WHAT I SMELL: PHI goes on with a rather flattened apricot with tinges of cinnamon and almond.  It’s kind of a muted sweetness in that when you smell it, it seems layered with the cinnamon hovering on top.  At this point, I’m thinking PHI is nice (nice = just OK), rather personal and relatively close to the skin, and more apricot than rose which I think is a bit strange.  Then at about the 10 to 15 minute mark, the rose begins to bloom.  And bloom it does.  It’s like the rose suddenly opens its petals and unleashes its glorious fragrance.  I don’t think I have ever experienced a rose fragrance that literally unfolds on my skin that way PHI does and I love it.  The rose is rounded and deep, and to me more masculine than feminine and rather gourmand.  But wait, we’re not done yet, after some more time, the rose becomes creamy.  Still further, PHI reveals its patchouli, making the fragrance a bit sweeter and more heady as its mixed with vanilla and amber gris.  Hours later, add in some tonka for a bit of a growl that helps to take the edge off of the sweetness.  In the end PHI ends up big, but not loud.  This rose is no wallflower, but she’s demure enough to be a bit coy.

The other blog review already out for PHI is an unequivocable rave from I Scent You A Day who writes:

PHI Rose de Kandahar has a Middle Eastern richness to it. Initially it’s honeyed Roses and Almonds and dried Apricots: it reminds me of a scented Souk. At first this edible combination was very Turkish Delight, just for a moment.  But what happens next is that it transforms into, unless I’m mistaken, something not unlike a good Arabian Oud.  I often find Oud too strong for me, but in Rose de Kandahar it’s like a robust backdrop to something altogether more delicate. The irony is that there is no Oud in it, but the combination of Tobacco, Ambergris, Vetiver and Patchouli gives this a very rich and almost prickly base.  It’s like serving an aromatic Bacchanalian feast on a rough granite table.

I think that “prickly” edge that she references is the bloody ISO E Super that Mr. Tauer loves to stick into everything. It also explains why she associated PHI with oud, since the synthetic is used by many perfume houses to accompany their agarwood or woody creations. (Montale, I’m looking at you in particular, but Parfumerie Generale, you’re almost just as bad. And Amouage, you’re not off the hook either, after Opus VII.)

Early reviews on Fragrantica are equally positive. One commentator writes how PHI “is a very unique apricot rose scent. I’ve never smelled another rose like it and I have dozens of rose perfumes in my collection.” Someone much less fond of rose perfumes is equally enthusiastic, saying: “I often find rose scents either too sweet,too watery or too green and wan but no-one does the deep, dark sensual fragrance of a rose like Andy. His roses are blood RED and seriously velvety. […] I will be ordering myself a FB asap.”

Source: RGPeixoto on Flickr. (Website link embedded within photo.)

Source: RGPeixoto on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rgp-sep3/4122641355/

I share their enthusiasm, and am considering getting PHI as part of Mr. Tauer’s new Explorer Set. While the perfume costs $141 or €105.30 for a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle, it is also available as part of a set of three 15 ml bottles for $138 or €102. (See the Details section below.) You can choose between a number of different Tauer fragrances, and I have to admit that Une Rose Chyprée is calling my name just as much as PHI. Whether you get one 50 ml bottle for $141 or a total of 45 ml of three different perfumes for a little bit less, I think it’s quite a decent deal given the quality and richness of the ingredients.

All in all, I’m a big fan of PHI. Its apricot-rose chypre opening is elegant, sophisticated, full-bodied, and opulent; its gourmand stage is delectable, creamy and smooth; and its oriental finish is sexy with a touch of masculinity. It’s lovely — from start to finish.

DISCLOSURE: My sample of PHI Une Rose de Kandahar was provided courtesy of Hypoluxe. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, my opinions are my own, and my first obligation is to my readers.

Cost & Availability: PHI Une Rose de Kandahar is an eau de parfum that comes in a 50 ml/1.7 oz bottle that is currently exclusive to the Tauer website where it costs Fr. 130.00 / USD 141.70 / EUR 105.30. [UPDATE 1/25/2015: PHI is out globally and has also returned for a second season, while supplies last. In the U.S., you can buy it from Luckyscent which also ships worldwide and sells samples. Indigo Perfumery and Twisted Lily both sell the perfume and samples. In Canada, it’s sold at Indiescents, along with a sample. Internationally, the perfume or samples are available from First in Fragrance and the other usual Tauer vendors. Buying it directly from Andy Tauer’s website is often a tiny bit cheaper, but he doesn’t ship to every country.] The perfume will remain a Tauer online exclusive for 2013. (See note below at the very end for a special exception in the UK.) Tauer Perfumes sells a sample of PHI in a 1.5 ml glass vial for: Fr. 6 / USD 6.50 / EUR 4.90. There is also a Sample Set of any 5 different Tauer perfumes in 1.5 ml spray vials, including a sample of PHI. The set costs: Fr. 31, $33.80, or €25.10, and there is free shipping to most places in the world. Finally, there is now the new Explorer Set of 3 perfumes of your choice (including PHI Une Rose de Kandahar) for USD $138/ Fr. 126/ EUR 102. Each perfume comes in 15 ml spray bottles. Tauer ships the set to more places, because the 15 ml size passes many countries’ postal regulations (which have problems with full bottles). The exceptions, unfortunately, are Italy, UK, Russia, Spain. For full bottles, Tauer ships to France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria, but not “Great Britain, UK, Russia, Belgium and the Czech Republic.” Complete shipping information is here.
UK Availability: you can order a sample vial of PHI, or pre-order a full bottle from Scent and Sensibility. It sells the perfume for £115, with samples available for £4.50.
Samples: As of 11/21/13, Surrender to Chance now offers samples of PHI, starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial.

60 thoughts on “Tauer Perfumes PHI Une Rose de Kandahar

  1. Roses, apricots, almonds…you make this look delicious.
    I try not to sniff limited editions, but Une Rose de Kandahar sounds very tempting. I am crazy about Tauer’s roses and this one seems majestic.

    • I think you’d love this, Caro. Something about it (and its opening in particular) feels very similar to Une Rose Chyprée, but then they part ways. I think you’d love the vanilla of the 2nd stage, and enjoy the amber-tobacco of the 3rd. 🙂

      Re. availability, I don’t have the impression that the Collectibles are really limited edition fragrances. A number of them are always up on the Tauer website. I think it’s more that there is no guarantee that they will ALWAYS be readily available and in stock. Perhaps the very unique Afghanistan rose/farmer issue may make PHI a bit more limited than some of the others, but there are probably plenty available right now if you’re tempted by the Explorer Set. It seems like a great deal, and I really think you’d enjoy PHI.

      • Thank you, Kafka. Both Une Rose Chypree and Une Rose Vermeille are among my favorite roses. I don’t doubt I am going to like URdK…I’ll give it some thought.


  2. You make this sound so wonderful! As a Tauer rose fan (I have FB of two of his other rose scents) I have been eagerly awaiting my sample of this one. From the description it seems like it should have a much dirtier and darker dry down so, it is interesting that you get more of a gourmand vanilla custard. I will let you know how it turns out on me. And I think Andy is genius for offering the 3×15 ml sets for those of us who just can pick one full bottle!

    • The drydown wasn’t gourmand vanilla custard. That was only the 2nd stage, and it wasn’t a very long portion of the fragrance on me. The drydown was the 3rd stage with Narguilé fruited pipe tobacco with ambergris and a touch of musk. It was a significantly drier fragrance than PHI’s first few hours on my skin. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Andy Tauer Explorer Sets | The Fragrant Man

  4. How funny! I’d only just finished reading about this new fragrance Now Smell This and was hoping somebody review it (I’m mad about roses), when your review popped up in my inbox. Do you know if PHI Une Rose de Kandahar is going to be available on Luckyscent?

    • Hi there, Doc Blue, welcome to the blog. Regarding Luckyscent, no, not for 2013.

      I sent Mr. Tauer an email this afternoon to inquire if that will change in 2014 and if Luckyscent, in specific, will carry it. He’s travelling right now, so he probably hasn’t seen it yet, but the Tauer website makes it very clear that PHI is a fragrance that is exclusive to them for 2013. (Why the UK seller has it, I don’t know, but I assume that’s because Tauer Perfumes never ships to the UK due to the postal regulations.)

      Have you tried any of the other rose fragrances from the Tauer line? If you love them, you would probably love PHI as well. 🙂

    • Doc Blue, I heard back from Mr. Tauer regarding the issue of other retailers. He says that he plans to offer PHI in 2014 to his usual retailers (Luckyscent, MinNY, etc.) and that it’s up to them if they will agree to carry the perfume. But of course they will!!! The only possible problem is supplies of the Aghan rose oil that he uses, as he may have to wait for their next harvest if he runs out of what he has right now. So, in short, if he has enough bottles left and doesn’t need to wait on the rose oil to make more, he does plan to offer a few bottles to his regular retailers in 2014.

      I think it’s all going to depend on whether he sells out of his current stock of PHI.

  5. I have yet to fully fall for a Tauer, but this one sounds seriously up my street. Apricots! Almonds! Vanilla! And a gorgeously exotic sounding rose. I feel it might have my name on it.

    • I’m glad it’s tempting you, dear Ginza. BTW, the fragrances that would be REALLY up your alley are the somewhat vintage-feeling ones from Oriza, all of which are just slightly tweaked from their 1900 and 1909 incarnations. Given how much you love the classics and vintage perfumery, you really should check out Oriza which has sample sets that are shipped without global restriction. I’ve even got a giveaway for one 10 ml. and I think there is a green floral and a chypre which might appeal to you quite a bit. xoxox

  6. Thanks so much for the great review. I love Tauer scents and have been trolling for reviews of this newbie. I’m even tempted to do a blind buy but really should get a sample first. I have been reading your blog for a while now and have never commented but I have learnt a lot and look forward to your posts. You have tempted me to buy an Oriza sampler as well. By the way what Lutens did you buy in Paris?

    • Welcome from out of the shadows and lurkerdom, MeganinStMaxime! 🙂 I’m very happy you felt comfortable enough to finally post, and I hope you will feel free to do so in the future. 🙂 I also hope you can get a sample of PHI, as it’s really lovely and that apricot note that runs through it all is just gorgeous! As for my Lutens, it will remain a secret, I’m afraid, until I do a post on it. A sort of grand unveiling, if you will, as I think it is a choice which will take many people completely aback. 😉 *grin*

  7. Tauer does foody roses so well, I really like ‘Une Rose Vermeille’, although I find it slightly too sweet/floral in large doses. I am on a bit of a rose hunt at the moment so reading this was great. Lovely review, I’m pretty sure I would love this 🙂

    • I haven’t tried Une Rose Vermeille, or the Rose Incensé, and I really need to. I need a third perfume if I’m to order the new Explorer Set. lol.

      I hope you get a sample of PHI from Scent & Sensibility, Susie. I’d be curious to see what you think of it. 🙂

  8. This review quite literally made me hungry. It sounds really glorious! Une Rose Chypre didn’t wow me really, but I’m generally a big fan of Tauer’s creations. I’ll definitely need to get a sample of this soon. If I like it, I’m thinking the Discovery Set is the way to go (and can more perfumer’s PLEASE make sets like those available?!). It’s a great amount and the pricing per ml is actually fair. This sounds so decadent and beautiful – I can’t wait to get my greedy little paws on it!

    • The Explorer Set is a wonderful idea. My only problem right now is that I don’t know what I would want as my 3rd perfume. 🙂 Re. the Tauer roses, I’m curious how Une Rose Chyprée manifested itself on your skin. As for the PHI, do you think you’re going to order a sample? I’d be interested to see how you thought they compared. 🙂

  9. this scent sounds amazing – love stone fruit scents in general, love rose fragrances (as long as they’re peppered with something else – not a fan of soliflores), and une rose chypree is one of my very favorite fragrances.

    also – barely tangential – i don’t remember if i asked you before, but you’re a fan of several ormonde jayne scents even though geza shoen is really liberal with the iso e super, correct? do you like the fragrances in spite of the iso e super or does the molecule not come across too strong in the OJ fragrances? i ask because i’ve been testing out a couple, and while i really do love a few, they seem to leave this lingering “heaviness” that makes me think of swimming pool chlorine. i’m not sure if that’s iso e super or not. i haven’t detected this with most of the other fragrances i’ve tried so perhaps i am not too sensitive to this note unless used in large quantities.

    • Yay for another fan of Une Rose Chyprée! Re. the ISO E Super issue and the Ormonde Jaynes, the quantity is really too much for me. I wore my favorite — Tolu — once this summer and it exhausted me with the amount of ISO E. The “lingering heaviness” that you describe is probably what Luca Turin terms as an endless “woody hum” in the base, though I think the “swimming pool chlorine” you mention may be more accurate. When I wore Tolu a 2nd time a few months ago, I had to scrub it off as the ISO E totally overwhelmed me. Perhaps it was the heat bringing it out, but it’s much more likely that my sensitivity has become more and more acute after all the perfume testing that I’ve done. I simply can’t handle that quantity any more. I have a lot of big OJ samples that they sent me for review, and I’m completely terrified to go near them at this point. My nose has become too sensitive to bear the huge amounts of it.

      With regard to PHI, the ISO E is at a *significantly* lower level and, more importantly, it smells very different here. As a side point, I had emailed Mr. Tauer with a question about global retailers for PHI in 2014, and, in his reply, he brought up the ISO E issue as he seems to have read my review. He said that he didn’t use much of it in PHI, so that explains why I could take it here. It doesn’t smell antiseptic or like “swimming pool chlorine” in PHI, and the quantity has to be the reason why. I hope that helps, Julia.

  10. I’m glad you enjoyed PHI Kafka!
    It really is a pretty unusual perfume. Sophisticated, not to say glamorous but also kind of casual, I mean for a daily wear too.
    I enjoyed the sample that Andy has sent to me.
    I would even buy PHI but I can’t because Andy cannot ship it to Poland, a shame, isn’t it? I could get an Explorer Set with PHI but it just doesn’t feel right to me not to have it in pentagonal bottle.

    • I’m glad you’re a fan of it, too, Lucas. As for the Explorer Set vs. the full bottle, perhaps you can think of it this way: it’s better to have something small than nothing at all? On the other hand, I can see why you’d love a full bottle. Perhaps you can have it sent to a friend elsewhere who will then send it onto you?

      • Yeah, I might try that but unfortunately it will make PHI even more expensive as I would have to pay for shipping to a friend and then from them to me

  11. That’s it, I think this rose is going to be my third choice for the Explorer set which I’m going to get as soon as my weekly wages will show up in my bank account.In case you were wandering;-) ,the other two are going to be Carillon pour un ange and Lonestar Memories.I like Une Rose Chypree quite a lot too, but it has this sour opening on me,which kind of bothers me,so your review of PHI settled the matter.

    • Given the situation with Une Rose Chyprée, you may want to test PHI first, just to be safe, Ana. On my skin, there was a similarity in the green base that both fragrances opened with. Obviously, skin chemistry is everything and we all vary, person to person, and skin to skin, but if the same patchouli-geranium-ISO E Super in both fragrances is responsible for that note, then your skin may produce the same thing with PHI. So, perhaps it might be wiser just to test it first?

      • Dear Kafka I know you have my best interest at heart,but a bit if living on the edge makes life more interesting and Lukasz review over at The Chemist in the bottle made me forget any caution?I’ll let you know if it would prove to be a successful blind buy.I’m curious which perfumes you consider for the Explorer set?I know URC is one if them

        • Heh, rock on and live on the wild side! As long as you’re happy and excited, that’s all that counts, my dear Ana. Just promise you’ll let me know what you think of PHI when you get it. 🙂 As for me and the Explorer Set, I’m stuck because I don’t have a 3rd one yet. I need to try Andy’s other two roses, but I’m so swamped with things and behind schedule. That said, I’m contemplating just getting a 2nd one of either the PHI or the Rose Chyprée. It would solve the limited access issues for PHI, in case he runs out. Or, it could be a nice, extra Christmas gift for my mother. She loved them both as well, though I think the Rose Chyprée gave her a sharp headache, so I’d have to see. The more I think of it, the more I think getting two PHI bottles may be the smart thing to do, especially in light of that rare Aghan rose oil. But I’m still pondering the issue. 🙂

          • Aha so you want a little Tauer Rose Collection!I have briefly tried his Rose Vermeile and Incense Rose in Jovoy and I liked both.Rose Vermeille is a lot of fun,fruity and sweet,but as I ultimately am a sort of a pessimist,I need a bit of darkness in my perfumes.I like to call Carillon gothic green and my boyfriend says it smells of grass and horse which is good in my books.And Lonestar Memories is a stunning leather.I’ll definitely let you know what I think of PHI and also of the Oriza line.I like that I have loads of new things to smell coming down my way:-)

          • I haven’t tried Carillon and want to, but I need to order a sample. I have Zeta and Noontide Petals, but I haven’t tested them because I know from now that neither one would really be me. Lonestar Memories was nice, but there was something that held me back. And, if I recall my review, something in it gave me a splitting migraine, though I’m not sure it was the ISO E Super. I enjoyed L’Air du Desert Marocain, but again, something just held me back from true love. I think it was a little bit too dry for me, at the end of the day. But Carillon definitely interests me, as does Rose Incensé. I am pretty sure that the Rose Vermeille would be too, too sweet for me.

            Your comment on Carillon being gothic in its greenness… that made me sit up! lol

  12. I must have missed it somewhere when reading Andy Tauer’s blog … but what does PHI stand for? Is it an abbreviation of a region where the Rose oil comes from? Why the title together – PHI Une Rose de Kandahar ??
    I have already ordered 2 samples of it and they are on the way. I can hardly wait … so good. Most of Andy Tauer’s perfumes have been absolute hits. L’air du desert marocain is one. Miriam is another. We shall see.

    • Excellent questions, Pipette. I have no idea myself, and I did wonder about the PHI in particular. I wrote to Mr. Tauer to ask him, and if he has the time in his really busy travel schedule to reply, I’ll let you know what he says. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your samples of PHI, and that it ends up being another absolute hit for you. 🙂

  13. Thank you so much for kindly including my review. I am intrigued to read the reason why I may have smelled Aoud (Oud? Which is it? I never know). So it’s the ISO E Super? Well you learn something new every day. Your review was outstanding and makes me feel like an amateur by comparison! (which I am). Brilliant photos too.

    • Hi, IScentYouADay, welcome to the blog. 🙂 As for the review, we are ALL amateurs at the end of the day! We all just do things differently and have different approaches. Mine simply happens to involve a few thousand words. 😉 😛

      Regarding the Oud/Aoud issue, yes, I would bet anything that the real cause is ISO E Super. You mentioned that you found all the Tauer perfumes to have a prickly base. He uses ISO E in everything that I’ve tested thus far. One thing that I’ve noticed again and again is that people comment on an “oud” note in perfumes that have no oud in them. But they do have ISO E. I’ve seen it countless times on Fragrantica with fragrances that I’m reviewing, and the simple reason is mental association. We all process smells through the filter of what we know. Our mind has a memory bank or rolodex of aromas, and when our nose smells something, our mind compares it to that list of what it knows. Since SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many oud fragrances include ISO E (or some synthetics that have the same smell), what happens is that people who smell ISO E but aren’t familiar with it suddenly say, “Oh. Oud!”

      It’s mental association, largely because people aren’t all that familiar with ISO E by itself. (And a large number of people are totally anosmic to it, never detecting it unless there is about a gallon of it!)

      The other thing is that ISO E can vary in smell. In some really cheap Oud fragrances, it takes on an aroma of pink rubber bandages or hospital antiseptic. In non-oud fragrances, it can be merely like a very peppery note. Luca Turin has called it an incessant “woody thrum” or something like that, and that is how it appears in some floral fragrances. (Perfumers often put ISO E Super in florals because it extends and amplifies the weaker flower notes.) All the Ormonde Jaynes have ISO E Super, and sometimes it appears as a peppery, prickly, spiky note. Sometimes, not, depending on quantity. All the Parfumerie Generale fragrances that I’ve tried have it, too, and it can sometimes smell like typewriter fluid there.

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to get quite so carried away, and I really hope you don’t feel I was lecturing you. It was not my intention, so please forgive me. It’s just that ISO E Supercrappy is my biggest pet peeve in perfumery, and it’s EVERYWHERE! There is almost no escape from the damn thing, but hardly anyone seems to detect it. Or, more to the point, they don’t know that it’s ISO E that they’re smelling. So, I’m kinda on a mission to educate people about the damn thing. Did I mention it was a bit of a pet peeve of mine? 😉 😀

      • Dear Kafkaesque,

        Your reply is by no means a lecture, but a fascinating education for me. I had no idea about ISO E Super except that I was vaguely aware that you can now buy it and many people are, as you say, anosmic to it until they use it as a base. It would certainly explain why so many Tauers have that distinctive base. How fascinating. It explains perfectly why I thought I was smelling Oud.

        I’ve certainly learnt something today, you have opened my eyes! Thank you

        best wishes

        • First, please feel free to call me Kafka if you’d like. 🙂 Second, you’re very welcome. But I do want to clarify one thing: a good number of Tauer fragrances do have a distinctive base for very different reasons. They have a very resinous, smoky, incense-y amber note at their foundation, especially in the pure orientals like Lonestar Memories, L’Air du Desert Marocain, etc.

          But when you bring up a “prickly” (or spiky, or buzzing) base in connection with thinking that you’re smelling *oud*…. then, that’s ISO E without a doubt! Depending on your skin chemistry or familiarity with the note, you may detect it just at the end as the base emerges, or you may notice it right from the start. I simply happen to be as sensitive as a tuning fork to the bloody thing, so I detect it instantly, perhaps because it’s the thing I loathe the most in perfumery. But I better not get started on that….. 😉 lol

  14. I love how your nose can dissect each notes so accurately and picturesquely……so suitable to my olfactive needs 😀
    it’s official your nose is now my human nuclear mass spectrometer. Another note you should explore into which is a staple favourite and is an intense synergistic aromachem used by most niches nowadays to add a sparkly very dry effect to most oudhy and wood based frags is Norimbanol. Now I tried the pure stuff but alas my nose is totally asomnic to the stuff but the rest of my family could smell it miles away which I realised by accident when I dropped my bottle on myself…….. I couldn’t smell it on me even from the bottle when i first acquired it, but alas my family stayed clear off me for a week. ……

    • Hahaha, human mass spectrometer! *grin* You should see me when I go into someone’s house and start sniffing the air without even realising. lol. As for Norimbanol, I’m dying to get some. I found a site which sells these sorts of things in varying quantities, and that is on my list of aromachemicals to explore more. There is also the ISO E-type, related, sibling synthetic that we talked about once, but whose name I can never recall. Also the Z-thingy and some of the sandalwood synthetics. I really need to get around to it, but I’m just buried under a deluge of samples right now.

      As for your family and your episode with the Norimbanol bottle, the poor, poor thing. My God, I can’t even begin to imagine. You must have reeked of bone-dry wood synthetic from London across the Channel and down to Oman! I would have stayed clear of you for a week as well! 😀

  15. Fantastic review! I’m the RVB from Fragrantica that you quote about Phi being a very unique apricot rose scent.And indeed it is! That Robertet extract must be gorgeous.Like you I found the opening hour to be quite a sensorial feast and found myself wanting it to last but I think one of the genius elements of this perfume is the distinct phases it goes through.All the phases are fairly distinct for me but some of the notes interweave in and out and play a kind of hide and seek.It’s fun to see what appears next.Sometimes it seems to change.I agree Phi can be worn by either a man or a woman.At the very first spritz I got a strong dose of the Bulgarian Damascena Rose and thought uh oh….this might be too feminine for me.(I’m a male and love rose perfumes and will wear many except the most overtly feminine ones).I usually find the Moroccan or Turkish rose type a little more unisex.But as soon as the apricot extract appeared and the other rose(I assume the Rose de Kandahar) joined in it changed.And combined with the benzaldehyde smell of the bitter almond it created an oily and fatty sweetness but a darker sweetness almost as if the skin of the apricot were included and it had been stewed with other dark fruits.Certainly when the tobacco makes it’s entrance with the other base notes Phi is firmly in unisex territory.And it’s a rich dry blonde tobacco that I detect not a dark smoky one.At this point as you noted the Iso E Super is apparent but I think it creates a holographic effect and is what enables the spices,fruits,tobacco,base notes and even the ghost of the rose to swirl together as the perfume breathes it’s last breath.I enjoyed your observations and having spent a few days with Phi am looking forwards to experiencing it through the lens you’ve provided.Thanks!

    • Hello, RVB, welcome to the blog! How lovely of you to stop by and share your experience. I love details, so I very much enjoyed reading an even more comprehensive description of PHI on your skin. And I think many readers will find your perspective to be incredibly helpful, especially guys who may worry that PHI is too feminine. So, thank you for taking the time to describe your experience. I very much appreciate it.

      We may have to agree to disagree, however, on the benefits or positive attributes of ISO E Super…. 😉 😉

  16. What a timely review! Like you, I have been trying to decide on a third fragrance for my Explorer set and had almost decided to just get two Carillon Pour une Ange and one Incense Rose. This new Tauer has me intrigued but I’m still hesitant. I like rose (a lot!) and both almond and apricot as individual notes and I love chypres but I usually steer clear of vanilla/tonka/custardy gourmand frags. I generally find them too sweet, with these notes always seeming to dominate the experience for me regardless of whatever else is going on (such was the case with Amouage Lyric Rose). This new Tauer may be just the ticket but I’m still not totally convinced – I do want to just go for it and love it.
    So far, I’ve worked my way through a total of 12 Tauer samples, including two Discovery sets, and all the fragrances have been quite a journey. There are many that I respect but am not quite compelled enough to spring for a FB. He definitely employs variations on some favourite accords throughout the line, so if any aspect of those accords is bothersome then a whole slew of his perfumes must be relegated to the “not for me” list. I must give credit, though, for the potency and longevity of Tauer’s fragrances – they are closer to pure parfum than EDPs and his customer service is the best I’ve ever come across.
    Of Tauer’s rose fragrances, my favourite is Incense Rose with its cardamom note. I liked Une Rose Chypree but the strong cinnamon note left me undecided.
    I truly disliked Une Rose Vermeille with its watery rose and rather caustic powdered orange drink note (what I refer to as the “Tang'” accord). I also detected the ghost of “Tang” in Noontide Petals, though I’m a big fan of the aldehydes.
    Another rose, Le Maroc Pour Elle, is a fragrance I really admire but found claustrophobic and hard to wear. It managed to be pungent, sweet, dusty and dense all at the same time, instant headache, rather like being trapped in an Asian handicraft store! I’m a rose/patchouli lover but somehow couldn’t imagine an occasion where I would be comfortable committing to a full day’s wear of Le Maroc pour Elle (and commit you must – it has a half-life of days!). Perhaps to an outdoor music festival?
    Regarding ISO E Super – I had no idea that Tauer used it. I guess that’s what gives that radiant cedar note to some of his perfumes and why the potential for a headache sometimes hovers like a shadow? If that’s the case then I must be a little addicted, having just realised that I love a few ISO E Super bombs (Lalique’s Encre Noire being one culprit) and quite a number of other fragrances with cedarish or oud notes. I’m not happy that I appear to enjoy this ubiquitous ingredient, now that you’ve drawn attention to it!
    Thank you so much for your review. I wish I could decide whether to just go for it. It’s only 15ml after all….

    • Fascinating, Clare. I really enjoyed reading about your experiences with a wide range of Tauer scents. I haven’t tried Le Maroc Pour Elle, but it’s definitely one on my list!

      With regard to the ISO E Super, I had to laugh at your comment “I’m not happy that I appear to enjoy this ubiquitous ingredient” — heheh! Well, if it works on you and only appears as something that adds a radiant glow, then enjoy it! 🙂 It doesn’t smell like that on my skin, especially when combined with vetiver, oud or other wood notes. I’m rather envious that it doesn’t smell like industrial lubricant, typewriter fluid, morgue disinfectant, or acne astringent tonic on you!

      On the subject of PHI, given your mixed results with the rest of the line, and how you’ve enjoyed a few but don’t feel really compelled or moved, can you perhaps order a sample before you decide on the Explorer Set. The apricot may not be profound on your skin as on mine, and the same may go for the vanilla. Then again, it might, so it seems safer to test if you can. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for you to get a sample, with plenty of time left over to get the Explorer bottle before it sells out. It may not even sell out, as one doesn’t know the amount of orders that he may be receiving. If you don’t like it, you can always get another scent for that 3rd bottle, or double up on Carillon Pour Une Ange so that you have a full ounce of it! 🙂

  17. Ah, that should have read ‘Amouage Lyric Woman’.( I’ve got roses on the brain now). Do try Carillon pour une Ange! It was the first love-at-first-sniff Tauer for me. Compelling, incredible tenacity, very different to many of his other creations.

    • That’s sensible advice to be sure. It’s impossible to get Tauer fragrances in my country (Australia) without ordering from the US, who apparently have no stocks of this one should I happen to like it. Hence my enthusiasm for the Explorer set. Hmm, I shall sample it one way or another and report back!

      • Clare, I just wanted to alert you that Surrender to Chance, the US decanting service, just got PHI in stock, starting at $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. http://surrendertochance.com/tauer-perfumes-phi-une-rose-de-kandahar/ There is also a limited time offer (A “Weekly Special” while supplies last) of PHI where 2mls cost $10.99 (regularly $15.96): http://surrendertochance.com/weekly-chance-special-tauer-perfumes-phi-une-rose-de-kandahar-2ml-atomizer-for-10-99-regularly-15-96/

        Also, there are the monthly discount codes that may help you. For November: 5% off with code: turkey
        8% off orders totaling more than $75 with code: thanks

        StC ships to Australia (and all around the world) for a flat fee of $12.95. I know one Australian who uses the service regularly. I know none of this is cheap, but I wanted to let you know that there was another option out there if you wanted to test the perfume first.

        • Thankyou for that information, very thoughtful of you. I have used both Luckyscent and Surrender to Chance for sample orders in the recent past. I like STC because they offer a range/type of sample vials, their postage is cheaper and they’re good for ordering a range of brands from mainstream designer to niche. Thanks for the discount codes also!

  18. Outstanding review. Bravo. Written so well and thoroughly. I am yet to smell this wonder, but it sounds so captivating that I am tempted to blind buy it!

    • I’m very glad you enjoyed it, Lady Luck. But I would never recommend a blind buy! (I have actually only done that once, and it was with a lot of caveats. lol.) I hope you get to test PHI soon, as it is a really lovely perfume. 🙂

  19. I’m back. I have my PHI (yes, I took the plunge and, going against reason, ordered the Explorer size). I’ve worn it a couple of times now and have to say it’s quite unlike the other Tauers I’ve tried and stands apart from his other rose fragrances. There’s a creamy, dreamy quality to this that melds seamlessly with the skin, enveloping the wearer in a soft cloud of sillage. It has presence but isn’t overly declarative.
    At many points during my wearings, I was expecting the fragrance to tip over into powdery, sweet vanilla/rose territory (not my thing at all) but somehow it seems to stop short and keeps me sniffing my wrists for the next intriguing layer to unfold. I think it’s the bitter almond in the opening that manages to add a touch of dissonance whilst enhancing that creamy custard impression.
    As with the other Tauers, I don’t find the rose to be the star player. It’s there, no doubt, as a foundation to the composition, but those looking for a juicy, pulpy rose soliflore might be disappointed.
    Lasting power is excellent – the final stage is really beautiful – but this stays close to the skin after the first few hours. Would I have bought this based on a sample? Not sure – it’s a departure in style for me. Am I glad I have a bottle? Yes indeed! I am really enjoying the wearings and becoming more enamoured with each one.

    • Ha, you succumbed in the end despite my word of caution! Blind buying (even for an Explorer set) can be risky, so what a relief for the end result. I’m happy you don’t regret your decision. 🙂 I’m also glad the perfume never became powdery or like a simplistic rose/vanilla on you. Did you get a lot of apricot, or the tobacco and dark bits later? I definitely agree that it’s not a rose soliflore — and thank God for that. It would be such a bore, and the best parts of PHI, in my opinion, are the NON-rose bits. (Then again, as you know, I’m not exactly crazy about rose scents. lol) I’m more intrigued by the oriental or apricot notes, and the extent to which they may have shown up on you. I hope you got some darkness at least! Either way, I’m glad you’re enjoying PHI and that it is growing more on you with each wearing. 🙂

      • I really didn’t recognise a strong apricot note, at least, nothing to compare to the real thing but perhaps it was submerged in the overall composition and I would notice if it wasn’t there. I will pay more attention on my next wearing.
        I’d say it presented as more “creamy” than “powdery” but that distinction can sometimes be a close run thing. Charles Brousseau’s “Ombre Rose” is a sweet, powdery rose that I dislike and I was really willing PHI to avoid that territory and also keep the vanilla at bay. I think it skirted that olfactory neighbourhood without actually climbing over the fence…just.
        As for Arabian darkness…hmm…nothing like the velvety rose darkness I experience with the rose/oud/patchouli perfumes I own, but tobacco and vetiver – yes. In fact, in the opening phases I detected a note that appears in Tauer’s Vetiver Dance but none of his other fragrances that I’ve sampled. It’s an odd sort of chalky dry note, a bit “grainy” and it added to the dissonance I mentioned earlier. I’m wondering if this is Tauer’s particular implementation of vetiver (he seems to use a particularly dry, parched, but not smoky form) or …(it can’t be the ISO E surely? I like that stuff – it’s radiant!).
        Anyway, I’d definitely class this as an oriental with some gourmand touches. I don’t get any chypre vibe at all.

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