Friday, 19 January 2018

Persolaise Review: L'Oudh from Tauer Perfumes (Andy Tauer; 2017)

One of the statements made most often in assessments of the success of Apple is that, in terms of coming up with a certain product or idea, the company was rarely first. Instead, its creative forces looked at what everyone else was doing and then found a way to do it better. That’s precisely what came to my mind as I started wearing Andy Tauer’s L’Oudh. The Swiss perfumer is late to the agarwood party. As you’ll all be aware, it is now far easier to count how many brands don’t feature an oud scent in their portfolio than it is to list those which do. (And the former are constantly growing smaller in number; keep your nostrils flared for imminent news of another house that’s decided to succumb to that Middle Eastern allure.) However, Tauer has never bothered much with trends, which means he’s in an excellent position to consider the oud phenomenon at his own pace and formulate a very personal response to it.

Luckily for us, the quality of this response is - as you may have gathered from my analogy above - quite exceptional. Rejecting the more familiar pairings of oud with rose, as well as the equally ubiquitous ‘brash leather’ compositions, Tauer appears to have decided to use the very core of the material itself as his starting point. To put it another way, he’s created what we might call a soli-oud, utilising a range of other materials - I’d guess cypriol, patchouli, sandalwood, castoreum and cedar amongst others - to stretch out and highlight all the primary facets of the ingredient. So, as you’d expect, it is fiery, medicinal, woody, petrol-infused and inky. But the one thing it isn’t is fecal. There’s undoubtedly an animalic growl lurking in there somewhere, although its source isn’t a filthy barnyard, so funk-lovers take note.

Above everything else, it carries the whiff of complete integrity, not least because of the honesty with which Tauer has made it (check out his piece in his latest Mag to see what I mean). Displaying the unshowy charm we’ve come to expect from the Zürich-based perfumer, L’Oudh immediately joins the ranks of the most striking agar wood compositions, taking its place next to gems like Leather Oud and Interlude Man. Both transporting and meditative, it colours its surroundings with a flame-red sunset glow, a shiver of danger and a promise to burst into an impassioned sitar ballad. And, as if all that weren’t enough, it marks a commendable desire on Tauer’s part to develop his craft and appropriate new olfactory styles. I just hope he decides to make it more readily available. 

[Review based on a sample provided by Tauer Perfumes in 2017; at the time of writing, L'Oudh is available only through the Tauer website, with a purchase of issue #4 of the brand's magazine; click here for more info. Issue #4 of Tauer Mag also features an article by me.]


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