Wearing Andy Tauer's Tuberose - the latest addition to his Sotto La Luna range - made me wonder whether his success has, in part, stemmed from his ability to straddle two perfumery worlds. His most endearing creations have managed to take the best from what might loosely be called the realms of niche (largesse, boldness, a certain roughness around the edges) and combine them with features more commonly associated with the mainstream (approachability, wearability, cohesiveness). When he's tipped too far into the former, he's come unstuck, as in the case of the underrated (but, admittedly, challenging) Carillon Pour Un Ange. When he's flirted too freely with the latter (Noontide Petals) he has compromised his identity. His particular skill lies in finding a balance between the safe and the dangerous.
Tuberose is a case in point. Like its predecessor (last year's Gardenia) its aim is to present its subject in a nocturnal context, a landscape in which the sole source of illumination is the moon. Therefore, it's no surprise that the central floral aspect of the composition is brought to us with fangs bared. It's a confrontational beast, suitably nutty and dusty, shrouded in black, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting passerby. However, this is a Tauer creation, which means the malevolent vibe isn't allowed to dominate. On one end, it's offset by fruity, minty, hyacinth-like facets and, on the other, by a weighty, authoritative earthiness (patchouli, perhaps) which lends the whole an impressive gravitas.
When these forces harmonise, what emerges is a black and white photograph - printed on silver-edged paper - of an enigmatic sylvan scene. The light is dim. The barks of the trees are gnarled and rough. It's difficult to tell whether the leaves on the ground are green or brown. The image is almost impenetrable. And yet, once your soul adjusts to the darkness, the scent's charm becomes clearer. It moves away from the cleanliness of Malle's Carnal Flower, as well as the gorgeous gaudiness of Dior's Poison and goes right back to settle on Piguet's 1948 classic Fracas. In other words, it is unafraid to be angry, but it contrasts its fury with an unexpected measure of tenderness. Steely and soft: the combination of the two makes for a heady experience.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Tauer Perfumes in 2015.]