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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Perfume Review: L’eau d’épices by Andy Tauer Perfumes

By Linda

(Linda joins Perfume-Smellin' Things as a contributor. Look for her articles on Tuesdays and please check out her wonderful blog, I Regret Nothing.)

I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients of Andy Tauer’s scent (still in the works!), L’Eau d’épices, when he gave away samples as a celebration of his second year of perfumery blogging. I cherish this greedy treat and simultaneously want to share it; if he markets it, I will be first in line.

When I was a pre-teen kid, my grandmothers really turned me on to the notion of keepsake boxes. It wasn’t a stretch—I was always picking up bits and trinkets of nature and keeping them: a bright feather, a shiny acorn, the crisp elf-shoe seed spinners of maple trees, interestingly colored pebbles. But there was something special about the box, over and above the specialness of the contents. Ornate wood with brightlocks and hinges, secret panels, and the conferred aura of ritual specialness that rubbed off from countless hidings-away of found objects that became firmly mine only at that moment. Eventually I tucked love letters and things I really did want to hide into them. (Clever grandmothers: if you want a kid to put her “naughty” things where you can find them, give her a treasure box for secrets.)

I still love wooden boxes, although I have grown up enough to recognize the tackiness of the souvenir ones emblazoned with the names of destinations. Among my other little treasure chests, I have a few that smell wonderful. In my china hutch, there is a tiny carved rosewood box containing a chunk of amber, and a number of wooden condiment bowls filled with whole spices (allspice, clove buds, cinnamon bark, whole nutmegs, strips of dried citrus peel, bay leaves).

L’eau d’épices appeals to the part of me that periodically goes to the hutch, takes out that box and those bowls, and inhales deeply, with lips parted and eyes closed. I know I am supposed to smell citrus, but the red mandarin and Clementine are perfectly mated to the neroli and orange blossom, the rich sweetness of orris, and the woody kiss of cedar from the first whiff. It is persistently and immediately sweet, but without cloying, artifice or headiness. It is a cool, dark sweetness. I think of redwood, of rosewood, of carven woods and rich moist sawdust, of treasure chests and hidden groves. And then the spices emerge from all that sweetness—cinnamon, bay, cloves, cardamom, coriander. Married to the wood as they are, they are not bakery items. They smell dark, a little savage and a little sacred, natural incense, resinous and whole. The floral sweetness never entirely goes away through the middle of the development, but it is ethereal, a vehicle for the more substantial cedar and spices.

There is nothing brash about this fragrance; it is like a burnished slab of dark wood, stained and deeply impregnated by the spices it has held. Or a gossamer, spangled cotton sari, purchased at a store that sells dark wooden furniture redolent with spice. It also reminds me of the cupboard where I keep my drinking glasses, which once held someone’s spices – warm wood, a whisper of bay, resinous ghosts of cloves and cinnamon, more exotic sweet notes of orange flower water, coriander, and cardamom—not evocative of food, but part of the home. Although it continually evolves, the development is a tranquil revelation of what is there from the start, not a transformation.

The dry down on my skin is rosewood – I think that’s the orange blossom playing with the cedar—lightened by coriander and faint bay. For some reason, it highlights my skin’s own aroma—whether that is clean skin or sweat—and transforms it into something all my own, really sexy and beautiful. (I must have this EdT for that trick alone… how many scents make a girl fond of her own “musk?” I should point out that I am not usually fond of smelling myself.)

It lasts forever – twelve hours at least. I have put it on before going to bed, only to discover that my pillow smells gorgeously of orange and orris and whiffs of spice the day after – all the notes that evanesce and fall away from my skin seem to cling to cloth.

This is a subtle scent, but not a soft one. It has a kind of energy and substance that lingers for ages, and it makes its presence known. From a distance, only the sweetness is detectable… up close, the wood and spice emerge. Although it is truly unisex, I like it better on me than my partner, and so does he, due to its definite sweetness. I think it’s too dramatic to be an everyday fragrance for me to wear in the office, though someone more daring could certainly do so—and I can quite readily picture it on a man in an office setting.

Here’s hoping Andy releases this one… and soon! I’m very fond of it, and although the sample is a whopping 2 ml, I want to wear it with abandon, not just as a rare treat.

Image source,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

now, this one sounds like something i'd love. hope he decides to release it! thanks for the advance notice (optimism shining forth). - minette

10:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

This is such a wonderful review. I can't help but think that you may be my twin sister, separated from me at birth. I too love little bits of things, and have been accused of being a magpie, because I cannot seem to take a walk anywhere without coming back with something in my pockets. In your words I am reminded of my most favorite of all Yule treats, a fragrant orange pomander studded with cloves. I must begin to make some very soon, and after your beguiling words here will be the second in line should this lovely fragrance ever be released.
Thanks for the thrill and welcome!

10:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Gaia said...

Thank you, Linda, for the review. And the obsession I'm starting to feel about this. I'd buy it blind just based on your words (though it's not that blind. I adore each and every one of Andy's creations). It sounds like another one my husband and I would have to coordinate its wearing schedule.

1:46 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds facinating - thanks for the review.

6:46 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Welcome, Linda! Thanks for the wonderful review. This sounds great; I really hope he issues it!

7:16 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Yum. That sounds perfect. Andy make such wonderful scents; I hope he releases this one.

8:08 AM EDT  
Blogger donanicola said...

That is a lovely review, thank you Linda. I yearn to sniff this one. I finally (and tragically due to its limited edition status) fell in love with AT's Orris at the weekend after finding a sample at the bottom of my sample box. If this is released I shall not make the same mistake again. Full bottle ahoy!

9:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Dust Glitter and Vapor said...

This sounds so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for the review!

9:38 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Linda, please keep us up to date. I read Andy's blog and I haven't heard him mention the Epices in a long time! I hope he hasn't forgotten about it/us!

10:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Thank you for all the kind welcomes and enthusiasm. Yes, I do hope he hasn't forgotten this one! I love his creations, but this one is just yummy.

Beth, you may be right, and I've always wanted a sister. I used to get in trouble with my 2nd grade teacher about every two months when my desk was too full of eucalyptus pods, interesting leaves, and shiny pebbles to put books in... she'd call my parents in! (Amusingly, my partner had the same experience in 2nd grade.)

I love orange pomanders! You're right, it IS that time of year!

11:32 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

so very much wanting this!

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Ducks said...

Oh dear... I just thought I would share with you all that I did go and check up on Andy's blog, and it seems that he lost his mother not long ago. Much love, thought, and prayer to him now.

7:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome Linda, and such a wonderful review! I am already in love with this one and I have never smelled it - but I know the allure of old wooden boxes and treasure chests, I grew up with those things too, and in old houses with cabinets and chests full of magic and memories. Looks like Andy has done it again. He had better release this one for sure, it is just what we have been waiting for and we dodn't even know it!

I am so sorry for Andy's loss, and such a touching tribute he has written on his site. I hope he knows we are all thinking of him now.

12:56 AM EDT  

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