Tauer Perfumes Sotto La Luna: Gardenia

Source: crazy-frankenstein.com

Source: crazy-frankenstein.com

Not all gardenia scents are soliflores; some can be general floral bouquets. The latest release from Tauer Perfumes is neither one of those things on my skin. It is, however, one of the most disappointing fragrances that I’ve tried this year. The reason has nothing to do with expectations of a soliflore, either. I would have been perfectly happy with a rich floral scent, or even a nice perfume of a completely different nature. Unfortunately, on me, Sotto La Luna Gardenia is simply a terrible fragrance, period.

Source: Luckyscent

Source: Luckyscent

Gardenia is an eau de parfum, and the first entry in Tauer Perfumes’ new Sotto La Luna (Under the Moon) Collection. I absolutely love gardenias, both in perfumery and in nature. The bigger, the better, but I also appreciate tender fragrances centered around the note. So, Mr. Tauer’s poetic description on his blog about a flower blooming in moonlight filled me with enthusiasm, and I rushed to order a sample.

In a post entitled “Liquid Poetry,”Mr. Tauer wrote about Sotto La Luna Gardenia, his inspiration for it, and the unexpected facets to the flower that he discovered while creating the scent:

“Sotto la luna” means under the moon. I see the solitude of flowers, blooming under a bright moon, secluded from the busy day world under the sun. It is a world that is secluded, private in a sense. The world is sleeping. The busy human world has come to a rest. Flower pods open, alluring the creatures of the night. I see flowers blooming in the light of a celestial body that does not shine itself, but reflects the sun. It is a reminder of the day, a gentle light pouring down from a cold round rock in a frozen galaxy. The moonlight feels like a luminescent fluid poured over a shadow land. The shadows are long and dark.

I see this moment of beauty in an universe that is endless space, expanding into nothingness, indifferent. I see this glimpse of beauty resisting the vortex into nothingness, standing against the blind titans that push our universe. […][¶]

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

When working on the gardenia fragrance, I […] learned that the gardenia fragrance is different every day. Its notes are the most beautiful during the night, with notes of fresh spices, of roasted coffee beans, of mushrooms in wet moss, creamy sweetness of jasmine, narcotic beauty and the gentle perfume of rose buds, with vibrant woods and balsamic sweetness.

Thus, my gardenia perfume flowers out with a spicy freshness, it matures into a round, gentle green floral perfume reminiscent of a hundred different flowers, it closes with powdery mosses and a creamy floral woodiness that disappears into the night.

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

On the Tauer Perfumes’ website, the official notes for Sotto La Luna Gardenia are:

The spicy freshness of gardenia budding under a bright moon.
The green floral delicacy of gardenia in full bloom with a gentle rose.
The powdery mossiness of ripe gardenia with a hint of jasmine, in a bed of sandalwood, tonka and vanilla.

Luckyscent has a slightly different list that focuses more on the nuances to the gardenia flower that Andy Tauer talks about in his blog post. Their notes are:

Fresh spices, roasted coffee beans, mushrooms, gardenia, jasmine, rose buds, woods.

Source: nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com

Source: nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com

Sotto La Luna Gardenia opens with such an unfortunate bouquet that I’ve tested the fragrance multiple times, with varying quantities, on both arms, and in a variety of conditions to be sure it wasn’t all a terrible accident. Unfortunately, in each of my 3 tests, Sotto La Luna Gardenia opens on my skin with fluctuating degrees of rancid wood under a thick avalanche of fizzy, sweet, pink sherbet and fruited Pez candy powder. The wood smells earthy, rotting, and fetid, as if left too long in a swamp and decay has set in. There is also a definite aromachemical undertone that consistently appears, adding sharpness to the rancid unpleasantness.

Source: veggiebelly.com (Website link embedded within.)

Source: veggiebelly.com (Website link embedded within.)

In contrast, the pink sherbet is cloyingly candied and girlishly sweet. It is identical to the accord that I struggled with so much in Tauer’s Eau d’Epices, only here it has a sharp dustiness underlying it. Making things worse is the fact that the fizzy, slightly fruited note is thoroughly infused with dried potpourri rose buds and scented makeup powder. It evokes images of a dust-covered Miss Haversham from Great Expectations, though thankfully not to the unpleasant degree of Tauer’s Ingrid for Tableau de Parfums.

Pez candy. Source: Wikipedia.

Pez candy. Source: Wikipedia.

In two of my three tests, Sotto La Luna Gardenia’s opening bouquet was primarily limited to those repellent notes, with the rancid, slightly aroma-chemical wood battling with the fizzy sherbet and Pez candy powder for supremacy. However, in my third test, additional nuances appeared, though they often lurked deep in the background. A small vein of greenness ran in the base, sometimes seeming like vetiver, sometimes like mint with a touch of mossiness. Then, five minutes into the perfume’s development, a tiny drop of something that might vaguely be called “gardenia” wanly lifted its head. It was slightly pale, milky, and wholly infused with earthy, porcini mushrooms. I didn’t mind the later, at least not at first, but my difficulty was with the flower’s faintness and ephemeral nature. It never showed up in earlier tests, and only lasted a mere 20 minutes, if even that, in the 3rd one. Afterwards, all that remained were the mushrooms with their occasionally meaty undertone.

Photo and Source: fmanos at fmanos.wordpress.com

Photo and Source: fmanos at fmanos.wordpress.com

In all my tests, the first hour of Sotto La Luna is almost entirely a mix of rancid wood, fizzy pink sherbet, and Pez candy powder. The levels of each fluctuate, but the wood always wins out in the end. In all my tests, when the various cloying, fizzy, dusty and sweet elements begin to fade away, they are slowly replaced by bananas. Usually, it’s the aroma of a rotting banana peel, complete with the furry, white pith inside. In my third test, it was merely banana custard covered by the rotting peel. I have absolutely no explanation for the note or its source, but one reason why I tested Sotto La Luna so often is to ensure I wasn’t imagining it.

I was not. The slightly rotting banana consistently appears, though it is sometimes at the end of the 2nd hour, sometimes at the end of the 3rd, depending on the quantity of fragrance that I applied. At the same time, the wood note begins to emit a clarion call of chemical sharpness, with even greater earthiness and muskiness. It is all thoroughly revolting, and extremely difficult to bear. In fact, the very first time I tested Sotto La Luna, I thought it was one of the worst fragrances that I’ve tried this year outside of the gourmand category. In subsequent tests, its various notes continued to be a disjointed mish-mash of unrelenting oddness, and few of them felt well-balanced or smooth.

Photo and source: Brooklyn Imbecile blogspot. http://brooklynimbecile.com/2012/02/23/6798/

Rotting tree trunk with fungus. Photo and source: Brooklyn Imbecile blogspot. http://brooklynimbecile.com/2012/02/23/6798/

Let me repeat again, I do not care that Sotto La Luna is not a gardenia soliflore. If it were a good scent that were merely “gardenia +plus,” I would be happy. I would even be happy if it were a more abstract “floral” with either some earthy, woody, or oriental aspects. And I would also accept a fragrance that wasn’t a floral at all, if it were well-done. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing that appears on my skin qualifies for any of those categories. Not one. Sotto La Luna Gardenia isn’t floral in any way. It is only an unpleasant fragrance.

Source: asergeev.com

Source: asergeev.com

At the start of the third hour, Sotto La Luna Gardenia shifts a little. The dusty potpourri rose buds have faded away; the mushrooms have turned into general earthiness; a hint of vanilla has appeared; and a lot of the pink sherbet and Pez candied notes have weakened, though a dusty quality remains deep below. The sharp, rotting wood feels even more aroma-chemical in nature, but it is also slowly taking on the Tauerade signature, thanks to minute flickers of amber, quiet spiciness, and something vaguely smoky. For the most part, however, Sotto La Luna Gardenia is merely musky, earthy, slightly rotting, fetid woods with fluctuating levels of aroma-chemical sharpness, bananas, and vanilla.

Relief is in sight, though it feels a little like a hostage being finally shown a modicum of mercy by his torturer. Sotto La Luna Gardenia’s drydown is actually pleasant, especially in its final moments. Not one bit of it has anything even remotely to do with any flower of any kind, but it’s a nice mix of musky, spicy, ambered woods lightly coated by a dry vanilla. Tiny trickles of pink, candied sherbet and Pez powder continue to weave in and out, reappearing every time that I think they’ve finally vanished, but the main essence of Gardenia’s drydown is really just spiced, Tauerade woods with vanilla. And so it remains until its very end.

Photo: Raoul Pop via raoulpop.com

Photo: Raoul Pop via raoulpop.com

I tried to like Sotto La Luna, I really did. I gave it every effort to prove my first test was an aberration. I applied varying quantities, ranging from 2 good smears (roughly the equivalent of 1 spray from a bottle) all the way up to 5 very large smears (approximately 3 sprays from a bottle). Since my arms can, on rare occasion, manifest different nuances or scents, I tested Sotto La Luna on both arms for all 3 tests. I wore the perfume in the heat outside; I wore it in arctic air-conditioning, and at temperatures in between.

In all cases, I consistently thought of musky bears coming out of a clearing to sit on a rancid tree stump to eat fizzy, pink sherbet near a garbage dump overflowing with rotting banana peels. At no point did I ever experience a primarily floral scent of any kind. I’m well aware that gardenias can have a mushroom undertone, and I’ve encountered it in some prior fragrances, but even that was a small, very minor part of just one of my tests. As a whole, I must say that I’ve never experienced anything quite like the overall totality of Sotto La Luna.

In general, the perfume has average longevity and generally soft sillage. Even when I applied a lot of the scent, Sotto La Luna Gardenia opened with perhaps 3 inches of sillage, at best. After 90 minutes, the perfume was consistently hovering half an inch above the skin. It generally turned into a skin scent at the start of the 3rd hour. Its longevity varied, however, depending on quantity. Using the equivalent of a single spray, Sotto La Luna died after 7 hours. When I applied a greater amount, the duration increased to 8.5 and 9.5 hours.

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

There are a handful of early blog reviews for Sotto La Luna Gardenia, and they are positive. Privately, I’ve received emails that have all been extremely negative, coming both from those who love the flower and those who hate it. Uniformly, they describe a scent that is very different than that talked about in the early reviews. All I can say is that I envy the skin chemistry of people like The Scented Hound who adored Sotto La Luna Gardenia. His review reads, in part, as follows:

Sotto la Luna GARDENIA’s opening is green and slightly sharp along with being big and bold with a semi-vintage vibe. The initial opening is met quickly with a gourmand sweetness like almond extrait that’s layered under a spiced rose. And soon enough a creaminess develops that helps to radiate this incredible floral warmth as the notes begin to bounce around like a symphony of full-bodied petals. How can you not love a big, bold floral like this? Sotto la Luna GARDENIA is sweet with its gourmand almond and vanilla, but there’s a depth that keeps it from becoming saccharine as the sandalwood and tonka keep it leveled. As Sotto la Luna GARDENIA continues to develop, it deepens and the florals project off the skin like they’re about to burst. The sweetness then begins to dissipate to be taken over by a more earthy component, like the heavy flowers are being plucked from the ground. At this point, the fragrance is heady, intoxicating and dreamy. After some more time, the florals retreat and the vanilla comes to the forefront and it’s creamy, lush and it swirls off the skin. After about an hour, Sotto la Luna GARDENIA begins to settle and calm. At this point the drydown is DIVINE, as it’s smooth, warm, lightly almond sugared and lightly powdered. In the end Sotto la Luna GARDENIA is incredibly comforting; so much so that it makes me want to purr like a kitten!

Photo: My own.

Photo: My own.

On FragranceDaily, there was another rave review and, again, the person experienced a gardenia scent:

With a solid structure it depicts different aspects of the flower, like a 3D capture of gardenia. Possibly ten times bigger as the flower in real life.

When the night comes and all other innocent flowers fall asleep, the Gardenia Goddess starts to awake. Warmed the whole day by the sun she stretches now her lithe body, opening slowly one by one her opalescent petals, emanating the riches scent you can imagine. It smells both raw and tender. Addictive. Lush. It feels a bit peppery at start, like a magic mixture of spices falling gently over her thick white petals influencing them to bloom completely. After the spicy vibe dissipates, the scent becomes smoother and sweeter, reminding me a bit of a suntan lotion. […] In time the scent develops an almost gourmand facet when the mixture of good vanilla pod and bittersweet-almondy tonka beans produces an irresistible finish. Wearing this perfume feels like buds of gardenia are starting to bloom directly on the surface of my skin. Sensual, possessive, intoxicating.

The perfume has no reviews on Fragrantica yet, because Sotta La Luna Gardenia won’t be officially released until September 9th in bottle form, though samples are already available for purchase.

All I can say is that I think Sotto La Luna will be a deeply polarizing fragrance. Good luck with it.

Cost & Availability: Sotto La Luna Gardenia is an eau de parfum that only comes in 50 ml bottle and retails for $145, €110, or £97. All prices are less if you buy directly from Tauer Perfumes, though he does not ship everywhere. In general, the perfume is already available for pre-order at numerous retailers, along with samples, but full bottles will not ship out until September 9th. In the U.S.: Sotto La Luna Gardenia is available for pre-order or sampling at Luckyscent, Indigo Perfumery, Twisted LilyMinNY, The Perfume Shoppe, and Portland’s Perfume HouseOutside the U.S.: In Canada, you can find Sotto La Luna Gardenia at Indiescents and The Perfume Shoppe. In Europe, it is currently available in sample form at First in Fragrance and Essenza Nobile. The latter is taking pre-orders for full bottles, but samples will ship immediately. Both sites generally ship worldwide. In the U.K., Scent & Sensibility is the exclusive retailer for Tauer Perfumes, and is taking pre-orders as well. Tauer Perfumes: Andy Tauer sells the perfume for less than the retailers, but he does not ship everywhere. In general, his prices for Sotta La Luna are: $126.50, €95.50, and FR 110. He sells a Gardenia Sample for $5.50, €4.20, or FR5. He does not ship to the U.K., Russia, Belgium, and the Czech Republic, and I’ve heard Greece and Poland are problematic, too. Samples: Almost of the sites listed above offer samples for sale.

59 thoughts on “Tauer Perfumes Sotto La Luna: Gardenia

  1. Wow…talk about divergent experiences! I have to admit that my first test had me a bit worried, especially the opening. But then the drydown had me hooked. And each time I have worn it , it calls to me even more. In fact, I already placed an order for a full bottle. Andy’s perfumes I think can vary greatly on the skin. Some of them don’t work at all on me… Orange Star, and Loretta are a couple. But one of my all time favorites is Noontide Petals and Une Rose Chypree is incredible. But this, albeit more sweet than I usually care for works so well for me. Even though I don’t really think of it as “Gardenia” to me it’s more floral gourmand. I’ll be curious to see how the reviews pan out as it comes out on release. I’ll agree, I find that longevity is a bit low…but that’s not enough to keep me away! Sorry it died on you my dear.

    xoxoxoxoox Steve

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, my dear Mr. Hound. At least we have Une Rose Chyprée, which is my favorite Tauer fragrance. 🙂 (PHI- Une Rose de Kandahar is my 2nd favorite, and I think you liked that one as well.)

  2. I just finished testing this 3 times over four days. I ordered a sample from Luckyscent blind, based on the notes and a generally good opinion of the house. I loathed it from the first whiff, but couldn’t believe how bad it was and kept trying to give it another chance.

    I like gardenia, real and imagined. I am a 6th gneration Californian, always with several varieties of gardenia growing in my gardens. It is a scent I know very well, in all its guises and at everytime of day or night. This fragrance smells absolutely nothing like gardenia. Even if I think of a lonely perfumer sitting in a snowbound city apartment, sticking his nose in a tired hothouse gardenia flown in from far away, misted with old jet fuel, wrapped in ragged plastic florist’s tape and rotting slightly as it floats in its crystal dish of lukewarm tap water, I can’t imagine how anyone would think this has anything to do with gardenia.

    And on top of that, it smell truly terrible. People who love me went out of their way to tell me how badly the scent I was wearing smelled. I had to sadly agree, bewildred. It’s a failure.

    • Oh dear. Part of me is surprised, but most of me isn’t. You know, initially, I had thought it was just me, but, then, as I kept getting emails about Sotto La Luna, I realised it wasn’t. Still, one never wants someone to have a bad experience with a scent. And those early reviews were so overwhelmingly positive. It’s as though they are describing a completely different perfume, so a part of me keeps thinking that I’m the lone weirdo.

      It sounds like you got some rotting notes as well, but that you also experienced a vaguely floral scent of some kind, even if it isn’t imagined or abstract gardenia. I’m not sure which of our versions is worse. At least you got SOMETHING floral! :\

      BTW, I also had people tell me that I smelt “horrible.” Not something one ever enjoys hearing. On a mildly positive note, at least you didn’t blindly order a full bottle.

    • Kelly, I’m with you. I was left wondering if the perfumer had ever smelled a real gardenia. Even if you leave the concept of gardenia out completely, the idea that anyone would think this one smells good is inconceivable to me.

  3. I am in shock. Although I don’t really care for soliflore Gardenia, I was curious about Andy Tauer’s creation, as I have several of his scents that please me a lot. Now, I will not even test this one. I trust that you have experience and a good judgment. What a shame, this can break a man’s career!

    • No, don’t skip it. I think you should test it for yourself. As the comparative reviews demonstrate, Sotto La Luna can be EXTREMELY different from one person’s skin to another. Your skin chemistry may bring out a lush gardenia, a floral gourmand, or something entirely different. I described only what happened on me, with my skin, and it was a Night/Day thing from what two other people wrote about in their blog reviews.

      The very fact that you do not really care for pure gardenia soliflores means that you might enjoy the scent *IF* it turns out to be a general floral with some general richness, woodiness, and gourmand elements. Who knows? Skin chemistry determines everything. You should see for yourself. Just be aware that the scent is likely to be a Love It/Hate It thing. That is all.

  4. I’m a gardenia fanatic and love both the real flowers and almost every manifestation of them in perfume. But I was appalled by this one, after waiting eagerly for it for over a year. Even my husband, who has patiently endured some wild gardenia (and other) experiments, refused to tolerate this one. Strange air freshener notes float over a puddle of something sweet and nasty. The drydown is better, although undistinguished, but I will never again have it on my skin that long. What a disappointment.
    And I fully agree that, even if I try to regard it as a floral rather than a gardenia, it falls flat. This is just bad juice.

    • Air freshner notes? Oh lordie. I’m sorry. That doesn’t sound good. I think my candied Pez and fizzy, pink sherbet sounds actually better. 🙁 Maybe he uses some sort of aldehydic+ accord for some of his florals that turns into Pez/pink sherbet on me, and perhaps that created a sort of cleanness for you that reads as “air freshener”?? Was it soapy at all on your skin?

      As for the “puddle” in the base that you experienced, was it like some variation of Tauerade, or something altogether completely different? I’m trying to reconcile all our different versions with the gloriously “intoxicating” hardcore gardenia that some of the review describe. All I can say is that skin chemistry is a funny thing, and this is a scent that will probably be Love It/Hate It, depending on what shows up.

      • I’m not familiar with Pez and haven’t smelled pink sherbet since childhood, but that may have been what I was smelling. Sweet, a touch acrid, and slightly rotted. This is before the base emerges, which is okay Tauerade but nothing out of the ordinary.
        Like you, I am struggling to understand the reviews. A commenter on the Posse called it very true to the flower. Huh? I think I have smelled every variety of gardenia extant, and none of them smell anything like this.

        • Yes, I had notes of “sweet, a touch acrid, and slightly rotted” too, but some of that was definitely the potpourri “rose buds” while the rest was purely the wood on my skin. Very rancid wood.

          As for the other reviews, it’s all clearly a question of skin chemistry, but I’m envious of what bloomed on them. I suspect our skin brought out the darker, deeper, dankier and decayed base elements. Others seem to have gotten the floral top notes, at least before the Tauerade kicked in. Maybe we can get a skin graft from them? 😉

          It will be interesting to see how things turn out once more and more people test the fragrance, and if any consensus emerges.

  5. I am persuaded now that Andy Tauer works with some materials that 1) smell significantly different to different people and 2) work better on men’s skin. This is the only way I can explain how Carillon pour un Ange is considered a lily-of-the-valley-centric perfume.

    I do not love but like several perfumes from the brand. And when I say “like” I’m talking about actually paying money for a full bottle and a couple of 15 ml ones. And with at least several of those Tauer’s perfumes that didn’t work for me (like URC) I could still see the appeal and understand what other people might like in them. I couldn’t understand the positive responses for the Pentachord series but at least those smelled pleasant though very artificial.

    With this perfume I hoped it would be to gardenia as my favorite Une Rose Vermeille is to rose. I got to try it two days ago and I still can’t believe it wasn’t some type of a joke. Is Andy pushing an envelope to see for how long his fans would keep praising the emperor’s new clothes?

    • Oh my gosh, you too??! And you and I are almost scent opposites (with a few exceptions)!! What was it like on your skin, because now I’m dying to know. I really am. Did you do a double-take at your first sniff, and blink hard in utter confusion?

      I still haven’t tried Carillon Pour Un Ange, despite having a sample that has sat and stared at me for over 6 months. Actually much longer. (Should we even talk about Carillon without first preparing poor Hajusuuri for the shock of seeing that name? You know how deeply traumatized she continues to be over it. lol)

      Your hypothesis about men vs. women was interesting to me, and I actually stopped to think for a while of various genders’ responses to diff. scents. I know both men and women who like Carillon (though only a few men, I grant you), and the same for all his other scents. What I’ve always thought to be the dividing line was the Tauerade in the base, along with whatever gets added to it from scent to scent. Sometimes, it has ISO E Super to create that scratchiness that Vanessa dislikes in a number of the Tauers. Sometimes, there is creosote (tarry, slightly medicinal, or smoky). Sometimes, who knows?

      I’m sorry you had such a bad experience with the Sotto La Luna, especially as I think gardenias is one of those flowers that you do like quite a bit. I’m truly dying now to hear how it was on you. Obviously not gardenia. lol

      • I’m not saying that only people of one gender like certain perfumes. I mean, I don’t think it’s the mater of preferences. I just think that there’s some sort of a chemical reaction between male vs. female skin secretion that enhances (or “enhances”) some facets of Tauer’s perfumes and it might be pushing them into “love” or “hate” territory from the originally more neutral “OK.” But it’s just a theory : -)

        You absolutely have to try Carillon!!! I really need to know now if you can smell any LotV in it! I do not even care about the rest of the perfume (I think that this one is not bad – just not for me and not a LotV scent), I just want to know how your nose detects this note.

        Now to the perfume at hand, so to speak. I’m not too good deconstructing what exactly I smell… Another blogger (I don’t want to mention the name – in case she didn’t want to be “on record”) with whom we tested this perfume at the store, said that for her it smelled exactly like Flintstones vitamins. I do not have that reference (I’ve never seen/smelled those) but I can confirm the children-related vibe I got from that perfume. My association went into a different direction. You know how Serge Lutens shocked many with the menthol in his Tubéreuse Criminelle? Mr. Tauer went for mint as the surprise element but then forgot to add gardenia. SLL wasn’t an unpleasant/repulsive scent – I just can’t imagine using anything like that as a perfume.

        • No, I understand what you meant, dear Undina. What *I* meant is that I know people of both genders who like various Tauers, so that means it worked on their skin chemistries, regardless of any gender differences in that skin (e.g., perhaps hormonal differences, etc.). But I wasn’t discounting your theory. There are hormonal and other differences that apparently differ in the two gender’s overall chemistry and, therefore, skin. 🙂

          Speaking of Carillon, there was a Muguet/LOTV fragrance that I thought you would love and is close in feel/vibe to the old Dior: Oriza’s Muguet Fleuri. I know that Chypre Mousse went terribly wrong on you (and I agree, also, that Mals should write about it), so perhaps you’re less inclined to ever try it. But I do think that is about as hardcore Muguet as I’ve experienced in decades.

          Re. Gardenia, the Flintstones vitamins makes PERFECT sense to me!!! Absolutely and totally. It’s the same fruited Pez/Pink Sherbet thing that I’m talking about. When I first came to this country as a child, my mother tried to give me Flintstones vitamins, but I refused to take them. Hated their taste, and the aroma was not good either. A sickly, cloying, overly sweet, fake “Fruity” smell with scented powderiness. Just like what I’m describing here with the whole Pez and powdery fruit sherbet (or sorbet) thing. Same note in Tauer’s Eau d’Epices, only there it’s a thousand times stronger. And it’s in Tauer’s Loretta for Tableau de Parfums, too, if I recall properly.

  6. I haven’t testet the Gardenia yet but yesterday, while wearing Une Rose Chyprée, I reread your review on it. Now, in this one on Gardenia I stumbled upon “banana custard covered by the rotting peel” and that was exactely what I got in a very tiny dosis in URC! The smell fitted in there very well (I adore URC) but I was wondering where it comes from and if other people detect that, too.
    And in Une Rose Vermeille and Noontide Petals I get this Pez candy smell. Although I like both of them the Pez smell is slightly irritating and lasts forever on my skin.
    I am so curious about aromachemicals now – from time to time I read the facebook blog “Scent & Chemistry”, I guess you already know it.

    • How interesting that you got the banana custard note in Une Rose Chyprée! I have to wonder if it is the result of some sort of combination of vanilla with Tauerade. I don’t remember any of the base notes in URC being likely culprits, but it’s been a long time since I looked at that perfume’s pyramid, so it may well be a vanilla thing.

      And I’m *SO* glad that someone knows what I mean when I talk about the Pez candy powder note! Pez was so huge when I was growing up, but it really isn’t in America, so I think my reference may have stumped a few people. lol. Someone wrote to me that they detected a “fizzy, fruited aldehyde” note in Gardenia that was common to a lot of Tauers, and Noontide Petals is certainly very aldehydic, so it has to be something involving a synthetic fruity twist on that.

      I look forward to hearing if you’re one of the few lucky ones with Gardenia.

  7. I have a sample of this I have yet to try. I’m almost afraid to. While I like a few of his perfumes, when they’re bad, they’re really bad. I have Carillon but can’t wear it all the time because it chokes me every now and then. It also smells absolutely nothing like lily of the valley. Not. One. Bit. Anyone who says it does has never smelled the real thing I’m convinced. So with that in mind I fully expect this to smell nothing like gardenia. I want it to be what he wrote about on his blog but I just know it won’t. I’ve heard so many good things about this one I really want it to live up to expectations. Sadly if it failed on you I’m not holding out much hope. Maybe I’ll sniff it later when I get home. this might not be the best one to try before heading off to work. I’ll report back when I try it.

    • I hope it works out for you, Poodle. I really do. No-one wants a perfume to go South. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

    • Dearest Poodle! Do please try. I am curious to see how it is on you. I was at an event here where they handed out real gardenias. When I got home, it was easy to compare and I didn’t find SLL far off.

  8. After dipping my toe into the gardenia waters with Une Voix Noire (thank u, Kafka), I almost blind-bought this a couple of weeks ago (found a fb on Amazon), but refrained. I”m still curious to try a sample, though.
    Skin chemistry probably does play a part in this, as well as the power of suggestion, because the ad copy, photos, etc. make this seem like the gardenia scent to end all gardenia scents-The copy tells us what to expect when we wear Sotto La Luna, & maybe that accounts for some of the wildly positive reactions.
    Surely Mr. Tauer had to have smelled it on himself & others before he released it. It will be very interesting to read the forthcoming reviews, esp. since you have given your honest & brave opinion.. I just hope Mr. Tauer is not as thin-skinned as an earlier perfumer whose fragrance you disliked on your skin. This could be a case where reformulation might make this one better.
    I’d love to have another gardenia perfume in my collection. Any suggestions?

    • For a gardenia that might work with your tastes, I think Mandy Aftel’s Cuir de Gardenia. Very soft sillage, but that would make it a scent you could wear at work.

      A question: there was a full bottle of Tauer’s brand new, UN-released fragrance on Amazon a few weeks ago???! Whether eBay or Amazon, I wonder how that happened, since I doubt he’d made any available to anyone and may not even have finished bottling them!

      • You saw the same bottle I did for sale on Amazon. I was wondering at the time how it could be for sale before its official release, but, having been made excited by the hype, I ALMOST blind-bought it (I may have been happier with it than I am with my Junky blind-buy). Oh well, I got the blind-buying bug out of my system & I’m back on the wagon (for now).
        I’ve read all the reviews for Cuir de Gardenia & have been wanting to sample it now that I’m experimenting with florals. Thanks for reminding me.
        It’s a sunny 100 degrees down here & I’m wearing Wilde. Much, much better than Junky & perfect for work. The cafeteria lady asked me why I wasn’t wearing any fragrance today (“I can usually smell you from 3 feet away!”) I told her I was wearing something but she had to sniff my neck in order to smell Wilde, which she really liked. The cafeteria lady has a great nose-she can sniff out notes like a pro! She’s always spot on, but I guess I need to take it easy on the heavy ambers from now on!

        • I did? Amazon? Sotta La Luna? I must need more sleep than I realized, because I’m completely lost or have forgotten entirely. I am pretty sure I’ve never seen Sotto La Luna on Amazon, simply because I’ve never looked for any Tauers on that site. Are you sure we’re not talking about the SL Une Voix Noire on eBay?

          The story with your cafeteria lady is hilarious. She sounds like a hoot, and a potential perfume-addict in the making. You need to get her some samples! 😀

          • You didn’t see Sotto La Luna on Amazon. I thought you did, but upon rereading your reply to me, I see that you were expressing surprise that there was a full bottle for sale on Amazon. Well, there was. Buon Naso is the name of the storefront & they sell quite a few niche brands for about 5 to 10 bucks less with free shipping.
            Anyway, I almost bought it, but decided to wait. Don’t know how they got their hands on a bottle (“only 1 left”) but it’s gone now, either sold or forced to remove it, maybe. They have a 5 star rating from their customers. Sorry for confusing you!

          • Thank you for the Amazon/Buon Naso explanation, as I thought I was starting to lose my mind! lol

  9. I haven’t tried the new gardenia one yet, but I do agree that skin chemistry – and possibly the male vs female subset of that – is paramount to Tauer perfumes. As a general observation – and exactly as happened with me and Mona di Orio’s two ‘generations’ of perfumes – I have got on much better with the later releases from Tauer than the early ones (LADDM being the glorious standout exception to that). Over time, as it seems to me, the raspy / fuzzy / medicinal quality of Tauerade had been damped down to a level of gentle ‘petillance’ that is distinctly appealing (eg Miriam / Noontide Petals). Moreover I am going to buy a bottle of PHI Rose de Kandahar as soon as it comes back on sale, as it was breathtakingly lovely and none of my previous difficulties with Andy’s ‘back catalogue’ applied.

    I can’t comment on this one obviously, but I am mighty curious and will approach it with an open mind.

    • PHI — Une Rose de Kandahar is my second favorite Tauer, after URC. That’s strange for me as I’m really not keen on rose scents, and yet my top 2 are both centered on that note. lol. I think you’ll smell wonderful in the PHI, and I hope you get that bottle.

  10. How sad to read this. I adore gardenias. The safest way for me to preserve its beauty has always been to buy a little bush in Whole Foods and smell it deliriously.
    Rancid wood. rotten banana, and sweet pink candy sounds horrendous, K. I appreciate how incredible honest and unafraid of popular consent you are. Thanks for this review.

    • It wasn’t an easy review to write, truth be told. Negative ones rarely are, but this one more than most. What was published was actually the THIRD draft, cutting out a lot of things that seemed a little too…. er… blunt.

      • ^ Okay, that made me laugh. It can be such delightful fun to savage something that made you spit curses as you tried not to vomit… the temptation is great… but this review was both honest and hilarious to read.


  11. OH BOY. Going to be a wild ride when my blind-bought split of SLL does show up.

    I will say, as I have said many times, that the Tauers either really work for me or they really, really don’t. The ones that really, really don’t tend to be the sort of thing that makes me anxious and antsy until they wear off, or until I give in and scrub. Thing is… I never ever know what’s going to happen beforehand. I do love Une Rose Chypree and Miriam. Une Rose Vermeille I have to be in the mood for, but I like that one. Love Carillon pour un Ange. (And yes, I DO know what lily of the valley smells like when growing. My aunt has an enormous bed of it near her house; some neighbors also grow it. I wind up on my knees a lot in springtime, sniffing them.) CPuA is perhaps more dank earth than twee floral, but the flowers are THERE.

    But Zeta was full-on toilet-bowl cleanser. Noontide Petals was nice up top, nauseating later. Incense Rose – which I *should* have liked – was acrid wet ashes plus damp potpourri. Loretta was berry-patchouli schizophrenia, like Dior Poison on hallucinogens. Orange Star I absolutely could not bear at all.

    So we’ll have to see how this one goes on my skin. For what it’s worth, I absolutely hated Une Voix Noire, despite awaiting it as anxiously as I’ve awaited this one: very little gardenia, all booze and smoke and decay.

    • Meant to say, I always appreciate an honest review. I’ve neglected writing reviews of the Oriza L LeGrand sample set because I hated such a large percentage of them so very very much… but I should revisit and just say what I think.

      (I will add that four different people, reacting separately and without knowledge of other reactions to Chypre Mousse on my wrist, all jerked their heads back from it in horror. It was absolutely fricking vile. I should review it.)

      • Mals, please do!!! After reading all the praises for Chypre Mousse I thought it was something wrong with me: I haven’t had that type of reaction to a perfume in a long-long while. I actually had to wash it off – so disgusting it smelled on my wrist.

      • Yes, I think you should revisit and write what you think about Chypre Mousse — and I say that as someone who loves the fragrance, as you know well. 🙂 But I think it’s important to have the other side out there, for all fragrances. It sounds like Chypre Mousse went horribly wrong on your skin, to the point that other people thought it smelled vile on you. And that’s okay. It’s definitely a polarizing scent that is either Love It or Hate it — nothing inbetween. I suspect Tauer’s new Gardenia will be very much of the same.

    • Heh, wild ride indeed. But, who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones who gets all gardenia with some enjoyable gourmand notes. I look forward to hearing what happens.

  12. This smells like an unclean, dusty floor, in the process of being cleaned with some cheap industrial fruit scented cleaner.

    • Oh boy! “cheap industrial fruit scented cleaner.” Yikes. Sounds like the wood went totally south on you, too. I definitely know what you mean by your description of both the wood’s mustiness and that fruit note. (It’s the blasted Pink Sherbet/Pez candy note on me.) But I would bet the chemical cleaner aspect stems from the WOOD, because it definitely had an aromachemical undertone on my skin. Regardless of specifics, it was all terribly unpleasant. And it sounds like it was that way on you, too.

  13. I cannot do Tauer, any of the Tauers – they’re just absolutely and completely antagonistic with me. It really must be something around the skin chemistry. I only went on to try thiis one because I liked the notes given on the website – frankly, I couldn’t smell any of those. I got mushroomy old wood with something sweet – and I simply couldn’t bring myself to another test. I’m not sure I’ll be able to test again any time soon.
    I imagined the bear with the rancid wood and rotting bananas, eating a fizzy sherbet and had a mighty laugh – thank you for that !

    • Mushroomy old wood….. sounds like a LOT of us experienced a wood-dominated scent. Far, FAR more people than I ever expected.

  14. Oh my dear Kafka, I love it when you passionately hate something 🙂

    I agree Sotto La Luna Gardenia is polarizing. I enjoyed this perfume, love, as in Houndie-level love. You know me and sweet, like moth and flame AND, I got some airy, slightly coconutty indistinct floral, sharpish almond extract although I think it may be woods, powder and get this, dusty Bazooka gum (perhaps the pink in the gum is the same pink used in Pez?). Somewhere in the middle, I actually got incense. In the far dry-down, I got dry vanilla. Overall verdict? FB-worthy for me. Also, for what it’s worth, that dusty Bazooka gum smell is similar to one of the LUSH perfumes…don’t recall if it was Smell of Freedom or 25:43.

    P.S. Yes, I am still traumatized by the rotting garbage smell of Carillon Pour Un Ange — that little cardboard infused with Carillon Pour Un Ange marinating in the heat stuck inside a plastic sleeve – no, just no, :::::shudder:::::

    • I’m very glad it works so well on your skin, sweetheart. Your version sounds wonderful with the coconut florals (despite being indistinct) and the incense as well! Don’t know about the dusty Bazooka gum note, though. That part definitely sounds related to the Pez note on me, mixed perhaps with some of the dustiness of the rose potpourri that I got. But other than the dusty Bazooka gum, that your skin seems to have brought out some pretty notes. My skin, alas, brought out something a little closer to what you describe with Carillon Pour Un Ange, albeit under a heavy blanket of musky, sharp, rotting woods. But at least one of us had good fortune with Sotto La Luna! Enjoy your bottle, my sweet. 🙂

  15. Oh dear. I am beginning to suspect that we might be Evil Scent Twins, dearest darling Kafka! As you know, I am not a florals kind of girl, but I adore Sotto La Luna and it has been my most complimented fragrance this month — including a restaurant hostess who stalked me to my table. On me, it is a very humid, custardy in a good way, white floral with a powdery, almost edible drydown. It also has killer longevity and I can still smell it on my hair after I wash it.

    I’m so sorry it went so south on you! That is tragic!

    • Theoretically, I believe “Evil Scent Twinship” occurs when people have two opposite responses to the exact same scent. Here, you basically experienced an entirely different fragrance than I did, my dearest, so the term doesn’t seem to apply. Still, we do have a few divergences, like gourmands and ISO E Super, but I think our tastes are generally more alike than not.

      In the case of Sotto La Luna, your version sounds very pretty. And good to know that it has great longevity on your skin. I’m very pleased for you, my sweets. 🙂

      • Can it be that we tested different batches or something like that? I tested the perfume at a store but not from the official bottle but from some container that the store had and kept behind the counter?

  16. This sounds like my testing of JAR Jardenia. It smelled of mushrooms and damp rotting vegetation. My eyes rolled back in my head and I feared I was going to be ill, it was so horribly bad. This was at 10am in Paris after an all night flight from California, so granted I was not in the best shape, but I will never forget how awful it was. I will try the sample I ordered of Sotto la Luna but only at home close to a bathroom. Thanks for the warning!

    • Heh, I think I remember you telling me you hated JAR’s Jardenia, but not why. It certainly doesn’t sound good on your skin. At least your experience with Jardenia didn’t involve fruity, candied powder and banana custard. You’ll have to let me know if you’re one of the lucky ones for Sotto La Luna.

  17. This must be one strange scent. After reading this review last night, I was utterly perplexed. I got a sample of this not more than a week ago and was totally smitten. I put it on in my usual fashion (about a quarter to a third of the sample, I love to douse myself), and shoved my wrist under my fiancé’s nose for his opinion. He loved it as well. When I got off of work this morning, I came back to my sample again and put some on. I don’t experience any foul scents in it at all. Just a warm, lovely floral with a touch of honey and a wood base. Amazing how body chemistry can affect a scent that much.

    • It sounds very pretty on you. 🙂 And how nice that you experience a floral fragrance. I know a number of us in this thread would be quite envious of how it turned out on you. Enjoy!

  18. Oh what a ride! In general I love Andy Tauer and I have three bottles of his (LDDM, phi and Incense Rose) but I totally agree with what everyone has been saying here about them being polarizing scents and when they go bad they GO BAD. I adore LDDM but Le Maroc Pour Elle (which I thought I would have freaking loved being a heavier version of LDDM with lavender) had me so nauseated I almost threw up. It was awful. ;_;

    But golden honeyed white floral sounds lovely. I expect I will eventually procure a sample of this to test with high hopes, but if it goes miserably at least I will know I’m not alone!! Thanks for the review Kafka 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. I hope the Gardenia works out on your skin, and you experience a golden, honeyed floral. 🙂

  19. I hope everyone at least gives this a try, I haven’t found many Tauer’s that work for me but this one will be my first fb from his line. I’ve been into fragrance for several years and not much new has thrilled me lately but I love this one.

    • How wonderful that you found your first Tauer to bowl you over passionately and warrant a full bottle! That’s truly wonderful, and I’m genuinely happy for you.

  20. Wow, what a review.. I have absolutely different impression on this perfume. On my skin, it is totally beautiful! Fell in love after first test, and the more I wear it, the more I love it. Got a full bottle and very happy about it. Plus, I get compliments each time I wear it. And I got compliments even when I didn’t wear gardenia- like- “please, wear it again, that perfume was so beautiful and enjoyable, I am ready to sniff it all day long”- something like this I heard from different people. So really, Sotto la Luna Gardenia either “love” or “hate”, which makes it a masterpiece, in my opinion.

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