It's been a while since I've written in any meaningful detail about my own perfume making. Paradoxically, this isn't because I haven't been doing any, but because I've actually been fortunate enough to enjoy some progress. Back when I was still learning to distinguish my tangerines from my tonka beans, I felt quite free to go into a fair bit of depth on this blog when describing my endeavours; I didn't think I had anything to lose. But as things have become more serious, I've found myself growing reticent.
I suspect the main reason for this is that I feel an increasing need to be protective of my work. I don't want much to be known about it until I'm ready to start sending it out to trusted friends. I don't wish to influence the way people might respond to it by stating, for instance, that I'm working on a vetivert scent or a sweet floral (which I'm not, by the way). And, if I'm being perfectly honest, I don't want to give away the little quirks and idiosyncrasies which will, I hope, give my perfumes some measure of originality. But I think this attitude's got to change. I think I need to loosen up a little and remind myself that informing my readers that one of my fragrances contains a few drops of... shock horror... geranium oil isn't quite on the same level as revealing the entire formula!
So here goes... (gulp)
The two scents to which I'm currently giving most of my attention are both inspired by India: one of them takes a jasmine note and attempts to present it within a dry, Eastern setting, whereas the other plays with smoke-infused woods and tries to suggest heavier, more nocturnal moods. So far one of the most interesting facets of their personalities is that they refuse to be pinned down as regards gender. On some days, the first one seems indisputably feminine, but on others it's huskier and more overtly testosterone-fuelled. This chameleon-like aspect of perfumery is what makes the work so engrossing: you never know quite what's going to emerge when you've combined all the oils and given the vial a good shake. Most of the time, the result is a disaster, but every now and then, you get something that makes you close your eyes and think, 'Hmm... this has potential...'
So there we are: I've spilt the beans. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration. I've given you one bean on a little saucer. But I'll give you Bean #2 soon...
This confessional spirit brings us to the real subject of today's post: a give-away of a full bottle of perfume made by a man who is always tremendously generous on his blog when it comes to sharing insights into the creation of his scented wonders. You all know who I'm talking about. It is, of course, Andy Tauer, the Zurich-based wizard who, about a decade ago, didn't know his tangerines from his tonka beans either, but now has several breathtaking perfumes to his name.
Last week, he added another feather to his cap by being shortlisted in the Best Niche Perfume category at this year's FiFi UK awards. His achievement is made more commendable by the fact that he's been placed alongside two remarkable fragrances from 2010: Portrait Of A Lady and Absolue Pour Le Soir. To celebrate his achievement, Scent & Sensibility (who stock the entire Tauer range and will soon be selling the first of the Tauer Collectibles) have kindly asked if I would host a give-away for a bottle of the very scent which stands to win a FiFi award: the radiant Orange Star.
To enter the draw, please leave a comment on the subject of secrecy in the world of perfumery. Is there too much of it? Or perhaps you feel there isn't enough. Maybe your view is that our desire to learn about the ins and outs of perfumers' work is taking some of the magic away from what was once a very sheltered milieu. Or maybe you enjoy seeing behind the scenes.
On this occasion, I won't reply to every single comment. As long as you write something on the topic of secrecy, you can consider yourself to be in the draw. However, please read the Terms & Conditions below carefully before you decide to enter.
Please remember that if you're based in the UK, you can vote for the Best Niche Perfume award by clicking here. Both UK and non-UK readers can also use the same link to vote for the Basenotes Awards.
Finally, I'd like to thank Ronny Geller of Scent & Sensibility for providing the prize for this draw.
Competition Terms & Conditions:
i) the competition/draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Sunday 3rd April; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me before Sunday 10th April in order to claim his/her prize, an alternative winner will be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume / perfumery product posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will be passed on only to Scent & Sensibility; it will not be kept on record by me; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfume, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials