Close your eyes and imagine a ghost town in the Old West. It lies at the base of rocky mountains dotted with pine trees and as dusty as the Hindu Kush. The desert looms just beyond. From it, a dry wind blows large, desiccated tumbleweeds that roll past the old, abandoned wood buildings and the crumbling adobe huts. The sky is dark with smoke from a wild-fire that licks the mountain trees, making them shed pine needles and a sweet, aromatic sap. A sweet, musky, ambered warmth hovers in the air, vying against the dust and desert dryness. In the center of town, a man dressed in cracked black leather leans against the ruins of the old church whose wood still bears strong traces of the incense that once filled the air, traces which continue to weave their way around the town, the desert, the baked red earth beneath his feet, the smoke from the camp fire he just lit, and the leather on his back. This is the town and world of Andy Tauer’s Incense Flash.
I’ve tried a number of fragrances that didn’t work for me over the last eight months, but not all of them were actually bad scents. Although I scrubbed all of them off, a few were things that I actually think some of you might like quite a bit. The problem in each case (for me) was that the fragrance had one or more elements which pushed one of my hot button issues, and did so in a way that not only felt imbalanced but, quite frequently, also made the scents physically difficult to test.
Perfume reviewing is a wholly subjective thing that is dependent on individual tastes, experiences, and skin chemistry, but it’s not easy to write about scrubbers in exhaustive detail, one after another. (And I’ve gone through a lot of scrubbers in the last 8 months that I haven’t talked about.) For many of the fragrances mentioned in this post, I lacked the heart and will to write thousands of words for one of my usual reviews, and didn’t want to cover them even in one of my short(er) Reviews en Bref because I wasn’t keen to relive the experience. Yet, as I said, some of you might like a few of the fragrances quite a bit — like the new Cilice from Euphorium Brooklyn which should appeal to lovers of dark, smoky, woody, and campfire fragrances. Two of the scents are things that I would sincerely recommend to people with a very particular taste set to try for themselves.
Vanilla Flash is Andy Tauer‘s perfect vanilla, a vanilla seen through the lenses of boozy Bourbon, heavy roses, tobacco, spices and patchouli. It’s the latest release from Tauerville, Mr. Tauer’s secondary brand, and quite an oriental vision of vanilla. While I do not consider Vanilla Flash to be a true vanilla soliflore, it is a fragrance that I think will appeal greatly to those who adore Tauerade, boozy vanillas and spicy roses — ideally, all three at once.
On his blog, Andy Tauer explains that his Tauerville brand was created in order to let him play more creatively:
To make a long story short. One of the best qualities for me, about tauerville, is: I can pick and place my scents. Place them there where I think they fit best. Following my instinct, and playing my cards on a growing table. And: I can play in tauerville, a bit more than I can here, on tauer perfumes. Playing means: Trying out new esthetics, complementary to Tauer Perfumes.
All the Tauerville creations are meant to be approachable and affordable scents, which is why they are released in practical, small sizes: a 30 ml bottle and a 10 ml roller-ball. Rose Flash was the first Tauerville scent and debuted in 2014. Last week was the turn of Vanilla Flash which Mr. Tauer describes on Tauerville as his sort of vanilla. “My vanilla. It is all in there that I love. Spices, roses, patchouli… and vanilla.” Sites like Luckyscent provide a slightly fuller list:
Spices, Vanilla Bourbon, Rose, Patchouli, Tobacco.
I’ve been thinking lately of the fragrances I enjoy within specific floral categories. It started, in part, because a friend of mine is slowly expanding beyond his comfort zone, and tipping his toe into a whole genre of fragrances that he had previously avoided. In general, though, I’m frequently asked, “what’s your favorite _____?” amongst the vast selection of rose, gardenia, orange blossom, and other florals out there. So, I thought I’d do a list, based primarily on one criteria: what I personally adore and reach for, own as a full bottle, or want to buy for myself. In several instances, however, I’ve included what I think is a good example of a fragrance within that floral genre, even if it doesn’t work for me personally.
As always, I have to emphasize that perfume reviewing is subjective and personal by its very nature, so winnowing fragrances down to a personal favorites list like this is even more so. A few other things to note: I’m not going to cover every possible category of floral (or else, this list would be endless), and, to the extent possible, I’m going to stick to soliflores (or fragrances centered predominantly around one flower). As a result, many scents that I love are omitted solely by virtue of being very mixed in focus. (For example, my beloved Alahine from Teo Cabanel; Puredistance‘s delicate Opardu; Amouage‘s stunning chypre-oriental hybrid, Fate Woman, or its Ubar, a larger-than-life, yellow and gold, 3D floriental powerhouse.) Also, I should emphasize that perfume lovers can be very fickle creatures. What I’ve listed is what comes to mind today, and it might not be the same next week or even next month.
Finally, because this is all so personal and subjective, there will be omissions from the list that might surprise people. For example, I simply do not think much of Portrait of a Lady or Carnal Flower, period. It is heresy, I know, but neither one impresses me, so I’m not including them in their respective categories of rose or tuberose. After all, this really is about what I like or think is good, right? Finally, the fragrances within each category are not ranked by order (so it mean nothing if a scent is put at #1 or #4), and I’ve also tried to avoid the vintage category wherever possible.