“I invite you to trust your nose” was just one of the many perfumed pearls of wisdom offered by Andy Tauer at Thursday’s rose master class held at Les Senteurs brand new store in London. Of course, an invitation to an evening with Andy Tauer at London’s premiere perfume stop was definitely not to be missed and the event offered a fascinating insight into the world of Tauer and roses.
Andy Tauer, as I’m sure you all know, is an independent perfumer from Switzerland with a natural flair for creating beautiful and thought-provoking pieces of scented art. If there is one particular ingredient/note that makes me think of Tauer perfumes it is rose, and Andy has created three exceptional rose-centric fragrances (the polar-opposites Une Rose Chyprée & Une Rose Vermeille and the wonderful Incense Rosé ) and rose is a staple note in most of the line. So, who better to hold a rose master class than Andy Tauer?
The master class was held in the brand new ‘Scent Salon’ at the also brand new Les Senteurs shop at West Marylebone in London. The scent salon is the perfect space for such an event and being surrounded by like minded perfume geeks (I mean that in the best possible way of course) is always an absolute pleasure.
Andy kicked the evening off with a brief introduction to perfume with a reading from a book by Edmond Roudnitska’s and by discussing the cultural contexts in which we smell. During the introduction Andy also explained that rose is a note generally disliked by men and thought of as “granny-like” by women, and he aimed to convince us that “rose can be so much more”.
After our brief introduction into roses we were given the opportunity to smell two natural rose extracts, the first of which was Damascena Rose Absolute from Bulgaria, a spicy, earthy and slightly fruity rose absolute that is unmistakably ‘rose’. The second extract was Centifolia Rose Absolute, a much lighter, greener and gentler rose absolute. Smelling these vastly different extracts was fascinating, despite their significant differences both were easily identifiable as rose, they just showcased different facets of the flower.
During the evening we were also able to try another rose extract, a steam distilled extract that Andy described as a “tortured rose” and that description was spot on. The steam distilled rose was harsh, astringent, intensely medicinal and not very rosy at all. This extract, Andy explained, smells this way because the steam distillation breaks down a lot of the fragrant molecules and the extract is used in tiny qualities to excentuate the spicy or gourmand facets of rose.
We also had the opportunity to smell a series of synthetic molecules, each of which displayed a different facet of rose, we tried; Phenylethanol (pollen, earth and play-doh) Citronellol (sour, sharp, lemony and slightly spicy), Damascenone (jammy, plummy and fruity) and Eugenol (clove, spice and carnation). This was the highlight of the evening for me, this collection of molecules showcased just how complex rose is and how a perfumer needs real skill to piece together the facets together in the way the wish.
It wouldn’t be a rose master class if we didn’t smell some rose perfumes, and we had the chance of trying three, namely Nahéma by Guerlain (the classic), Rose by Comme des Garçons (the contemporary) and Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle (the supernatural). Each fragrance was a perfumers interpretation of rose, where the flower is painted like a picture, each one a different variation on a theme.
All in all the evening was an illuminating affair, I certainly will now approach rose fragrances with a new-found appreciation and respect for their complexity. Meeting Andy Tauer was also a great experience, to us perfume geeks Andy is somewhat of a ‘rock star’ within the perfume world and he is just as charming and engaging as you would imagine.
The evening was rounded off with a rose flavoured Ladurée macaron and what a perfect way to end this rose master class, with something rosy and delicious! We were also treated to a bar of rose scented soap created especially for the evening and I can vouch for the fact that it smells suitably rosy and wonderful. Many thanks to both Andy Tauer and Les Senteurs for a wonderful evening.
For more information on Andy Tauer and his line of perfumes you can visit tauerperfumes.com and for more information on Les Senteurs and their Scent Salon you can visit lessenteurs.com. Also if you would like to see mine and Get Lippie’s review of Tauer’s Pentachords please head over to Get Lippie.
Image 1 fashiontribes.typepad.com
Image 2 lessenteurs.com
Image 3 My Rose soap taken on my iPhone