Friday, 22 July 2016

Persolaise Review: Lonesome Rider from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2016)

The soundbites
If Lonesome Rider were a texture, it would be: dry, raw linen.
If it were a colour, it would be: sandy beige.
If it were a place, it would be: the crest of an Atacama dune beneath a midday sun.

The review
You can tell an independent brand has come a long way when it starts playing with its own mythology. In 2006 - a mere 10 years ago, take note - Andy Tauer released Lonestar Memories, his scented love letter to an idealised cowboy, complete with leather, coffee and a campfire. Although the fragrance's boldness dismayed many sniffers, those who fell for its charms - yours truly included - did so with complete abandon, glad to be taken on an exhilarating olfactory journey from the wildness of the outdoors to the intimacy of an end-of-the-day moment of solitude. As far as I'm aware, the brand's bestseller has always been L'Air Du Désert Marocain, but for some of us, Tauer's depiction of the virile, gentle, slightly melancholy cowboy remains his crowning achievement. And now, he's given us a sequel... or at least, a scent that many of us would like to consider a sequel: Lonesome Rider.

Naturally, it's impossible not to view this fragrance in relation to its older brother and to try to work out how the last 10 years have treated our Texan rancher. Perhaps it won't come as a surprise to learn that he's lost much of his romantic streak. The world is a much bleaker place than it was when he first warmed his hands by his fire; somewhere in his travels, he waved goodbye to the geranium and to that softness which made him such a companionable soul. His skin is now thicker. His smile, although still present, has developed an edge of granite. His stride is more determined.

In olfactory terms, this translates as dry, dry, dry. The birch tar facet of Memories appears to have been retained, but it's been scorched to cinders, as has the citrus opening. Indeed, the entire composition feels as though it's being served to us straight from a furnace. The dryness is reinforced by what may be a violet leaf note - heavy on tongue-parching tannins - and an equally dehydrated patchouli.

The piece de resistance, the characteristic which marks Rider apart from its predecessor, is a prominent iris note. Yes, it too is dry, but whereas the other ingredients are simply lacking in moisture, the iris also lacks hope. It is forlorn, haunted, quiet. Battered by years of heat. And yet, somehow, it never becomes unappealing, perhaps because it always holds on to a vestige of humanity.

Mind you, there are a few moments when it tests my patience. Towards the end of its development, the scent veers too close to the flatness of synthetic iris materials (irones, perhaps) to the extent that any wearer's admiration of the whole will depend on their tolerance for this type of ingredient. But that's an issue rooted in the territory of personal taste. From a relatively more objective standpoint, it would be difficult to argue that as an expression of steel-jawed masculinity, and as an attempt to present uncompromising dryness (a rarity in modern perfumery) Lonesome Rider is a success. It won't persuade me to ditch my bottle of Memories, but then, very few things will. Taken on its own merit, it is intriguing and magnetic: the figure in the room who draws your attention with a gaze that says, "I may be standing right in front of you, but in fact, I'm miles away."

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained by the author in 2016.]


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