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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Love isn't always easy: Tauer Perfumes Le Maroc pour Elle

By Donna

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

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Blogger tmp00 said...

I do love this but it is sooooo not me!

12:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Tom, I think it may be the only Tauer scent that really is "Ladies Only!"

12:24 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

What a marvelous review, Marina. I've always blown this one off because I'm not a big rose gal, but now I'm re-thinking that.

9:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Olfacta said...

I have a decant I'll have to hunt up now. I remember being shocked by this one, at how un-rose it seemed and at the -- you put it perfectly -- oilyness at first. This was a couple of years ago and I'd never smelled anything like it. The DH hated it. But it deserves another chance. I think all the Tauers are best in the drydown stage.

9:57 AM EDT  
Blogger StyleSpy said...

Oh! So embarrassed!! Donna, not Marina!! So embarrassed!! Sorry!!!

11:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'll have to try this again, candied rose sounds pretty good. unfortunately I hate Lavender, so I keep scrubbing this off everytime I try it, and never get to the candied rose.

2:30 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

StyleSpy, thank you! You really should give it a try.

4:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

Olfacta, I have to agree, the Tauer scents all need to settle in before they reveal themselves, and they are definitely worth the wait.

The odd opening is so pungent that I imagine a lot of people are thrown by it.

4:16 PM EDT  
Anonymous Flora said...

kjanicki, I hope you make it past the first stage one of these days! :-)

4:18 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it but when my DH smelled it on me, he said, "Whoa! You smell like a headshop!".

I haven't worn it since and that was a few years back when it was first debuted.

I still think about that scent every now and then.


4:59 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when i first smelled this one, i thought: 24, faubourg on steroids.

i keep revisiting it, too, but i have yet to fall in love with it. it's too much in many ways, and there is a roughness to it that i don't care for.

p.s. ciara rocks. the key: look for the incense in it. it's a really great incense scent underneath the foofiness.


8:29 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Dawn, it does kind of have that "headshop" vibe at first, and it takes a long time to settle down. At least it's not a patchouli bomb!

11:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Minette, I must revisit 24 Faubourg now that you have put that thought in my brain!

Guess I better revisit Ciara too, maybe I will have grown into it by now. It always seemed so sweet and heavy to me.

11:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous Marian said...

Since so many "Arabian" perfumes feature rose I'm accustomed to smelling scents where rose, especially the citrus aspect of rose, is a dominant note. I'd love to try a perfume where it was more subtle and "abstract". Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

8:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tend to have difficulty with lavender, and I absolutely hated Reverie au Jardin - but Le Maroc is lovely. Over the top and huge and complex, and sometimes it wears me, but it's lovely.

10:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous lilacskin said...

holy smokes...i wore ultima's Maroc in highschool! that and 'LouLou'. thx for the reminder. while bits of the tauer do interest me i can't bear a too indolic jasmine as my son's poopy diapers were so indolic i never knew weather to throw 'em in the pail or pop 'em in a vase (giggles). maybe in a few more post-potty-training years? still,and always, enjoyed the review.

1:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous lilacskin said...

oops 'whether',i mean...guess i've got this cooling trend on the brain.

1:28 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

flora, my sorority big sister wore ciara as her signature (she was a platinum-blonde theater major, so it totally fit), and it filled entire apartments and houses. and i always thought of it as hers.

i also thought it extremely sweet and quite loud, but when i finally tried it on my own skin years later, i fell for it. it has surprising depth and warmth for a "drugstore" scent. i get so much incense - the great indian stuff with nag champa and vanilla - that i just love it.

it's still a bombshell scent, but i've finally grown into it, i guess.


7:47 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Marian, I know you love those really good Arabian perfumes, I would love to know what you think of Le Maroc!

12:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Museinwoodenshoes, LOL, yes, it can indeed wear you!

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Museinwoodenshoes, LOL, yes, it can indeed wear you!

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

lilacskin, I guess that would be a very difficult smell association to get past! :-D

I never dared wear LouLou back then, but now I am having evil thoughts of getting a bottle...

12:14 AM EDT  
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2:44 AM EDT  

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