The FiFi-award winning Orange Star was probably the turning point. True, its base is rich with animalics, but its primary emphasis is on bright citrus notes. Its contemporaries, Une Rose Vermeille and Carillon Pour Un Ange, also possess their fair share of darker hues, but they both rely on translucence to achieve their main effects. Zeta is as limpid as a butterfly resting on a blade of grass. And of course, the Pentachord releases appeared, by their very nature, to aim for a streamlined, stripped down aesthetic. Noontide Petals feels like the culmination of this trend.
Andy has always loved complex floral notes (who can blame him?) so if he wished to marry them to his current stylistic mode and present them in an ultra-clean setting, it's no surprise that he turned to aldehydes. Ever since the chemicals became a firm fixture of the perfumer's palette, they've come to signify the chaste, wide-eyed spotlessness of rituals involving soap and powder (think: Lauder's White Linen). But they do have their downsides. The aldehyde bomb No 22 from Chanel - a scent which Andy admires - is remarkable for its opening, wherein sunshine is transformed into the finest particles of glittering fairy dust. But its drydown falls into the aldehyde-overuse trap: excessive soapiness.
In many ways, Noontide Petals is a niche version of No 22, highlighting both the strengths and shortcomings of the genre it occupies. Its first section evokes words such as 'sparkling', 'shimmering' and 'bubbly', all of which are frequently attached to aldehydes. There's a sense of genuine tenderness at play: lilacs and sweet peas bend to face the sun, eager to shake off the ravages of winter.
Sadly, the middle section is less enjoyable. As the top notes sway into the heart, the combination of the luminous chemicals with the floral materials - notably rose and geranium - creates a juvenile effect, not unlike the fragrance of a garishly coloured bubble bath mixture. Thankfully, the balance is redressed at the drydown stage: the petals fade, and the now-soapy aldehydes rest much more easily alongside the sandalwood and the quiet, vanillic ingredients.
In a nutshell, then, Noontide Petals is powder followed by bubble bath followed by soap, oozing hygiene from every pore. That's fine as far as it goes, but I would've appreciated a touch more contrast. After all, purity is so much more appealing - not to mention uplifting - when it gives you a cheeky wink and the faintest glimmer of a playful smile.
[Review based on a sample of eau de toilette provided by Tauer Perfumes in 2013.]