There are certain fragrances which I know I will have to brace myself for mentally right from the start. That was the case with Sotto La Luna Tuberose, the latest release from Andy Tauer and the second entry in his Sotto La Luna (Under the Moon) Collection. I love tuberose and it’s my favorite flower, both in nature and in perfumery, but after my experiences with Mr. Tauer’s Sotta La Luna Gardenia, I prepared myself for something that was a mere abstraction and nothing remotely like the real thing. More to the point, after that same Gardenia turned gruesome on my skin, all I hoped for this time around was for a wearable fragrance. Of any kind. Well, after trying Tuberose a few times (and scrubbing it a few times as well), all I can say is that it’s better than the Gardenia on my skin. I’m not sure that’s saying much.
Sotto La Luna Tuberose is an eau de parfum that Tauer Perfumes describes as follows:
Andy Tauer’s TUBEROSE under the moon is an invitation to revisit this white flower and rethink tuberose: brilliantly different – peppery green and beguiling.
The natural rendering of the queen of the night’s airy freshness sets this tuberose apart and redefines floral elegance and measured suppleness.
Cinnamon, clove, geranium and fresh galbanum.
Tuberose, ylang ylang, jasmine and a dash of rose.
Tuberose, patchouli and dark ambergris.
My experience with Sotto La Luna Tuberose can be summarized in a nutshell as: Miss Havisham’s dusty mansion; the bottom of a dirty ashtray filled with cigarette butts and ashes; powdery Pez candy and pink sorbet; the diesel pump at a gas station where someone has driven off with burning rubber tires; smoky tar; and soot — all suffusing a creamy, very mushroomy, white floral abstraction that’s been coated in biting cloves, spicy patchouli, and ylang banana custard, then leafed at the edges with peppered greenness. After 6 or 7 hours of those various permutations, I end up with dusty, spicy, rose potpourri. (And, yes, all of this is still better than my experience with “Gardenia.”)
Sotto La Luna Tuberose opens on my skin with a momentary flicker of something vaguely tuberose-ish, creamy, and green. Within mere moments, it turns into a closer approximation of gardenia, complete with powerful mushroom overtones. It’s coated with burnt rubber and burnt tar, then heaped with sharp, dusty cloves, peppery notes, and the dregs of a dirty ashtray filled with cigarette butts and black smokiness. Strong layers of geranium, a cabbage-y rose, spicy patchouli, candied sweetness, and a custardy, banana-ish ylang-ylang arrive on scene a few minutes later, trailed distantly by a wisp of dusty, dried galbanum. The result is a multi-faceted floral bouquet, leafed with piquant greenness, then cocooned within a strange mix of burnt rubber, black tar, cigarette ash, dust, candied sugariness, and sharp, earthy, musky spices.
From a distance, things are different, smelling primarily of a generalized floral bouquet infused with clove and patchouli. The Picasso-esque distortion of “tuberose” certainly doesn’t dominate on my skin. Instead, it’s a tie between the banana custard ylang-ylang and the spicy, syrupy, but dry rose/rose geranium. To the extent that I can smell “tuberose” at all, it’s only a mushroomy, rubbery, green-white, creamy abstraction that reads like a completely different flower to my nose. Things are worse up close on one arm than the other, though. For some reason, the creamy floralcy, rose, and ylang banana custard notes on my right arm are almost swallowed up by hefty amounts of rubber, black smokiness, tar, and cigarette ashtray notes.
On both arms, however, new arrivals make the mix even more unpalatable. Roughly 5 minutes into Sotto La Luna’s development, a strange chemical smell wraps itself around the flowers. It smells a lot like diesel fuel, making me I feel as though I’ve picked up a bouquet of white mushroom flowers in a gas station where someone just drove off with screeching, burning tires. The discordant mélange isn’t helped by a syrupy, slightly powdered sweetness that reminds me of both Pez candy and grainy pink sherbet at the same time. It’s the same note that is in a number of Tauer fragrances, from his Gardenia to Eau d’Epices, and I’m never a fan of it.
Thankfully, Sotto La Luna Tuberose does improve somewhat, though it takes times and the changes occur in small steps. 30 minutes in, the dirty ashtray and cigarette notes vanish, but they’re replaced by a strong wave of powdery dustiness that reminds me of Miss Havisham’s decaying mansion in Great Expectations. It’s not at the level of Mr. Tauer’s Ingrid, though, so I suppose that’s a minor plus. At the same time, the diesel note weakens, though the burnt rubber remains.
Even greater changes occur at the end of the first hour and the start of the second. The cloves, spicy patchouli, and dustiness grow stronger; the “tuberose” turns even more abstract, gardenia-ish, and mushroomy; the cinnamon emerges in its own right; and the Pez candy, smoke and burnt rubber retreats to the sidelines, while the ylang banana custard fades away almost entirely. The end result is a creamy mushroom flower that is suffused with strong amounts of spicy patchouli, cloves, and cinnamon, then lightly laced with dry roses, Pez candy sweetness, black smoke, burnt rubber, ash, and a wisp of tar. The whole thing is finished off with a blanket of dustiness.
Sotto La Luna Tuberose remains that way for a while. The only changes are to the prominence of certain notes. By the start of the 4th hour, there are slowly diminishing levels of creaminess, smoke, tar, and rubber. However, the rose (or rose geranium) is growing increasingly prominent, to the point that the scent trail from afar smells exactly like a rose potpourri. To be precise, it’s a semi-dry, semi-sweet, floral and dried rose potpourri layered with patchouli, then covered in spices. Up close, the mushroom, earthiness, and dustiness are far more pronounced, but they’re fading fast. Absolutely nothing resembles tuberose at this point, not even a Picasso-esque version where everything is deconstructed out of shape.
Sotto La Luna Tuberose turns into total potpourri at the end of the 6th hour. The dried rose petals are layered with patchouli, then covered in cinnamon, cloves, candied sweetness, powder, and dustiness. A subtle smokiness lingers at the edges, soon to be replaced by generic ambery goldenness in the 8th hour. From afar, the powdery, spiced, candied sweetness feels cloying; up close, there is an acrid quality to the bouquet. I don’t like any of it (and I loathe potpourri in particular), but at least it’s better than the unpalatable opening.
Be that as it may, I didn’t have much patience for Sotto La Luna Tuberose after 10.5 hours, and scrubbed it off. It was my third attempt to get through the scent; the first time I tried it, I washed it off after 15 minutes; the second time, after an hour. This third time took a lot of effort to get through, and the fact that Sotto La Luna only became a skin scent on me after 7.25 hours indicated a long, long road ahead of me. I simply couldn’t do it. Quite clearly, Mr. Tauer’s Sotto La Luna series does not work for me or with my skin. Plus, I don’t enjoy the deconstructed, modernist vision for florals that seems to drive him these days.
Sotto La Luna Tuberose has received mixed reviews. Tom at The Perfume Posse seemed ambivalent, saying he probably wouldn’t wear it and describing it as a “bracing” tuberose that “is completely modern” and filled with “a healthy dose in the dry down of that signature ‘tauerade’ note.” Robin at Now Smell This gave the fragrance a good review, saying she could detect the tuberose from start to finish, then adding, “Not once did I smell it and think ah, there’s the rose, or there’s the patchouli, or whatever. I just thought: tuberose.” Her verdict was “Love.”
On Fragrantica, there is only one review for Sotto La Luna Tuberose at this time. “D Men” writes:
Starts off very sharp and dusty with a lot of cloves, cinnamon and tuberose. Has that definite and unmistakable Tauer’s DNA and ever-present boldness. [¶] Then the cloves start to dominate for some time, while the fragrance rounds up and becomes smoother.
No need to talk about the performance, as always with Tauer’s perfumes you will be notices from far away and for a long time.
As a spicy, floral and powdery scent, I think it’s better suitable for women, I don’t see myself wearing this in public. [¶] Likable, good addition to Andy’s family of fragrances.
I’ve noticed that Andy Tauer’s florals are quite polarizing; people either love them or hate them. I don’t think Sotto La Luna Tuberose will be any different.
Oh dear, this sounds problematic! I had problems with the Gardenia Tauer as well and ended up selling my bottle. I realized I was trying to convince myself to like the abstraction idea just because I like Andy Tauer. I really didn’t like the scent at all when I was honest with myself. l will test this one, but it sounds like more of the same. I like my flowers, well, floral!! Creamy, soft, and yummy like Kilian’s Voulez Vous and Isabey’s Gardenia.
Fantastic review as always. I love the images. I could see some tuberose flowers being drowned by cloves, cigarette butts and then ground into the pavement by screeching tires and a diesel spill. Poor flowers!! It’s a German abstract painting for me… Not so great!
I know exactly the sort of florals that you love, Ricky, and, personally, I don’t think this is your sort of scent at all.
Oh my! When I first tried Loretta, I was disappointed as I had a completely different image in my mind. Sotto la Luna Gardenia was simply gross. Time and testing have made me love deeply Loretta and I’m growing veeery fond of Gardenia. I do have a sample on the way, but even before that I felt that the Sotto la Luna line has to have a connection and I’m guessing Tuberose will take its time to grow on me. I’ll let you know how it goes! Now, go wear some Opium to feel good! 🙂
I hope it works out well for you, Alex. 🙂
Just got it today. So far is very SLL Gardenia on my skin. Bit sharper, more menthol. Not as bad as my first impression with Gardenia but not much to it still. So far I’m sticking with Loretta. Btw one day I have to tell you how I overcame my hate for Poison, and how it became one of my top 5! 🙂
Maybe your feelings about the Tuberose will change in the way they did for the Gardenia? Regardless, thank you for sharing your initial impressions, Alex. Have a lovely weekend!
I’m on the hate/dislike/meh side of all of Andy Tauer’s perfumes, not only the florals. They simply don’t work for my nose or on my skin. I do appreciate your reviews on his scents though.
Ditto on all counts!
More and more, I find myself in the same position as you with regard to the Tauer line.
Hi BELOVED Kafka! I don’t even know what’s being attempted in the long run with this one or his “Gardenia”??? Time will tell! Thank you for enduring it. After “SLL Gardenia” (my experience with that, summed up in a nutshell as “WTF????!!!!”) I didn’t want to even go NEAR this one!!! This is simply because I find “actual tuberose” to be the MOST exotic and beautiful smell I have ever, ever, had the pleasure to put my nose to. What’s going on here is like a horrible cover-band butchering a beloved song… I experienced quite a bit of fear and trepidation. I simply could not take the chance of forever associating Sotta La Luna Tuberose with actual tuberose. I will say this, I think Andy Tauer is a super talented and clearly has the gift of translating his experiences through all kinds of media, (I’m actually jealous of his Watercolor skills!) My admiration for him is not deterred by the Sotta La Luna line, however in my mind; I just approach them with my easy-out of “This is not a Florida-Friendly-Fragrance” and I am spared the frustration and bad scent memories… Thank you for your review, I hope you are Well and Happy! Take good care Dear! <3
It’s a very deconstructed, modernist approach to florals, then given an added twist through Tauerade and some of the other things that Mr. Tauer seems to love, like the spices and that weird Pez-like candied note. It’s certainly not a photorealistic tuberose by my standards. Have you tried Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom, Anastasia? That one is fantastic and truly an authentic, natural, real tuberose bouquet.
No I have not, but now I DEFINITELY will!!! Thanks, as always for the wonderful tip, and have a Splendid Day, Beloved Kafka!!! xxxooo
What a kerfuffle. As I side note, when I was a child, the smell of Pez used to give me a headache, indeed, so did the picture of them. The mushroom and earth sound quite good though. Tuberose is my favourite smell in the whole world – so I am surprised that one can actually…muck it up – although I have no idea about the intricacies of scent making.
His modernist style is pretty intentional, and seeks not only to deconstruct tuberose away from the total sum of its parts, but also to render an abstract version with a twist. It’s deliberately far from away from the sort of realistic tuberose bouquet that you like. Nothing could be further away from your beloved Carnal Flower than this, if you ask me.
I don’t think I have anything interesting to say about Sotto La Luna Tuberose, but I do like Miss Havisham and recently read Havishan: A Novel by Ronald Frame. Very good read if you’re interested K. lol
Burned tires, rubber, diesel gasoline, mushrooms etc. are not quite the adjectives that intrigues into trying a tuberose perfume, isn’t it?
Testing LDDM once, the first hours were nasty, cloying sweaty armpits. The dry down was kind of okay, but didn’t excite me into trying it again. I do not get the hype around this perfume. I smelled briefly others from his line at a perfume shop and didn’t relate to any. So am not at all surprised reading your review on this one. 🙂
This is hilarious! I love it! I just smelled this today, albeit on paper, and I was IN LOVE!!! To the point of inhaling so deeply, repetetively, for at least 5 minutes, that I was cautioned not to “burn my nose out” and I was observed to be quite high.
It reminds me of playing outside under the redwood trees, between the gravel drive, across from the roses and the lilies on a watery-sunshine kind of day, after a rain.
I can definitely smell the loam, the mushrooms, the roses…
I can’t wait to see what happens on my skin!
I have a weird thing where I can’t smell some of the Tauer perfumes. It’s really odd. Even on my skin. I have high hopes for this one.
Not being able to smell some of the perfumes or notes is called anosmia. There are various notes which trigger it, but it’s also a very common reaction to aromachemicals. Their very large molecules block out the nose’s smell receptors. That is why a fragrance can fade in and out if you smell it up close for too long, or why others may smell a fragrance on you from a distance better than you can smell it on yourself. Andy Tauer loves ISO E Super which is one of the biggest offenders, but his Tauerade base also uses a lot of powerful aromachemicals with equally large, perhaps even larger molecules.
BTW, my advice is never to judge a scent purely based on what emanates on a scent strip but to wear it on skin. That makes a significant difference in the layers and nuances which unfold. So does the quantity of scent that you apply, and whether you dab something on or spray it. Aerosolisation can significantly amplify a scent, in addition to bringing out its nuances.
Thank you very much! I totally missed this comment earlier. Yep, I seem to have a hard time with ISO E Super. I will try his stuff out on skin in future… though I have to say, that anise in his Tauerade – not a fan. So – maybe not! 😉
PS: I think… I am ok going into a perfume, and if it defies all expectations but still leaves me with a great experience, I’m not going to ding it on the name.
I like it. It takes some of the best stuff from Byzance, leaving behind the oriental vibe. It’s a streamlined version of something originally more opulent. I think some people simply don’t like tuberose, or Andy’s output generally. Even so, he gets a lot of attention from perfume lovers, for good or ill. I’d say give this one time and see how many people actually like it. I would not even have tried it if I relied only on online reviews. In person, it is somewhat understated for tuberose, a dashing fragrance that a man can wear as well.