Love isn't always easy: Tauer Perfumes Le Maroc pour Elle
I first encountered the perfumes of Andy Tauer back when only two of them existed. I ordered samples of both L'Air du Desert Marocain and Le Maroc pour Elle to see what all the excitement was about. The former went immediately into my all-time personal hall of fame; it took me a lot longer to figure out Le Maroc. My first sample was tested and then set aside while I figured out if I liked it or not; then taken out of storage every so often for a reminder. I ended up letting someone else use most of it, but I could not stop thinking about it, so recently I bought another sample, determined this time to break the code and wear it until I knew its secrets, if possible.
I thought it was wonderfully crafted and stunning in its execution, and it was obvious that many high quality natural materials went into its creation. I think my puzzlement was partially due to thinking of it as a rose perfume the first time around, which is not really what it is, so it’s best to think of it simply as a very good Oriental scent. Yes, it has a heart featuring the finest Moroccan rose, but right out of the vial it was oddly medicinal and strangely oily to me, due to top notes that include the pungent lavender that Andy Tauer likes so much. Furthermore, the jasmine in this fragrance is so strong and indolic that it almost smells like an old-fashioned classic with civet in the base, such as Lanvin's iconic My Sin. The contrast between this deeply animalic quality and the almost astringent lavender and mandarin in the opening was a bit disconcerting at first. I finally realized that what this perfume needed was just one thing: time to grow into itself on skin.
So why is Le Maroc pour Elle not a rose perfume? It is a scent with a structure that has abstracted the rose by bonding it with the other notes to form a unique impression. It has this in common with one of my other favorites, Lancôme's Magie Noire, which has a hazy center of Bulgarian rose surrounded by smoky woods and rich florals; you can't quite pick out the rose by itself, it just enriches everything else. (To get the best idea of how this works, you have to smell the vintage version.) Le Maroc does a similar trick with her rose, which is by nature a bit sharper and greener than the one in Magie Noire. Another take on this concept is Paloma Picasso's Mon Parfum, an abstract rose chypre that never lets you forget about its dark rose essence while never being mistaken for a rose soliflore by any stretch of the imagination.
Once I figured that out (I can be a slow learner sometimes) I knew that I just needed to be patient as the layers became revealed. Little by little she unveiled herself, but never did the pure, classic floral “rose” note appear. No indeed, the lavender finally subsided and it worked its way through the headiness of the heart, so heavy with sweet Orientalized roses and “dirty” with jasmine, during which it reminded me of another blast from the past, the late, lamented Maroc by Ultima II (Revlon). I loved that fragrance and I have no idea why it went away; it was released during the same era as the inferior Ciara, which became inexplicably popular. Maroc had a huge, exhilarating and high-pitched rose note that could knock you right back on your heels, but it was strangely beautiful all the same since it was surrounded by sharp herbal notes, patchouli and dry oakmoss. Le Maroc pour Elle shares that character in a more earthy and understated way at this stage of development, although it has its own kind of smoldering power.
Finally, at the last stage of the drydown it took on a smooth, candied quality, very sweet and persistent. If you don't love this one by now you are in trouble anyway, because it lasts pretty much forever until you wash it off. It had just a touch of the old Dana Tabu by now, very sweet and riding on the edge of indecency, but in a good way that admirers of this particular style of Oriental perfume will understand perfectly. The oily aspect that was so unexpected in the opening felt just right here; it was simply waiting for the chance to show why it's in there. It is nowhere as strong as Tabu at this stage of course; nothing is, but good luck removing it without a scrub down. However, by this time you won't want to, because it has fused with your skin and smells absolutely wonderful. If you wear it to bed the scent of candied roses will still be there in the morning, embedded in the woody-balsamic base that makes it all so delicious, not to mention very sexy. When it reached this final destination with me, I finally understood why so many people love it, because now so did I.
Tauer Perfumes are available from his website, at selected shops in Europe, online from Luckyscent in the U.S. and The Perfume Shoppe in Canada.
Image credit: Moroccan pattern desktop wallpaper, a free download from flash-screen.com