You can’t help but to just adore Andy Tauer. I will admit I am relatively new to his works, that is, I’ve only just moved beyond the stunningly beautiful L’Air Du Desert Marocain onto his other great works. Incense Rose is my current favourite!
Andy is cordial and convivial – always. In a past life, Andy may have been a wise sage. The way he talks, his approach to life, his perfuming skill … We can all take a page out of Andy’s book! Andy is perfumer for his brand Tauer, and the new brand Tauerville – a concept that is remarkably moderate in the largely immoderate perfume world.
From Fragrantica: Tauer Perfumes is a Switzerland-based independent perfume house founded by Andy Tauer in 2005. Andy is a chemist by trade and a 100% self-taught perfumer, initially launching Tauer Perfumes as a one-man operation while continuing his day job part-time. Andy has become well-known to perfumistas around the world because of his perfumes—”fragrant sculptures” featuring high-quality ingredients and innovative structures, as well as for his accessibility.
Photo by Andy Tauer
#1 – How are you today?
Good, thanks. I got up early (5 am) and am looking forward to what the day might bring. Right now, I am waiting for some deliveries: This is always exciting!
#2 – Perfume seems to be, from the perspective of many, a very fun exercise. Is it as romantic as it seems? What are the struggles? What are the benefits?
Hmmm… let me think for a moment. It is a tricky question to answer. From a creator and producer perspective there’s a lot I could say. You know: Perfume is a creative challenge, a production nightmare with raw materials coming from all over the world, with tons of legislative issues and regulations. But let me answer like that: I often find that perfume lovers are too serious about perfume. In the sense that we all worry too much about notes and packaging and other peripheral banalities, and hence we often forget what perfumes is all about: I think perfume is bottled joy. It should be at least.
#3 There’s no doubt that LADDM is your most popular, or at least the most raved about, perfume you have available. What do you think the secret to LADDM’s success is?
Ha! If I only knew the secret! Then I would make sure that all my scents are successes like L’air du désert marocain. But that’s the problem with secrets: They are secret. Serious answer: I do not know. There is something in this perfume’s DNA that speaks to many which is nice.
#4 Is there a fragrance on offer that you wish was just as popular (as LADDM)? Perhaps even more popular?
Yes. I personally think for instance that my scent Noontide Petals, a glittering, sparkling fragrance filled up to the top with flower petals is just wonderful and in a modern way a very classical scent. I think it deserves a higher popularity. But then: That’s just me. I can’t help it: I love my fragrant babies.
“You need absolute freedom to create beautiful fragrances. And you need time. And the best ingredients you can get. That is the true mystery how to create thrilling fragrances.”
(Andy Tauer, 2010)
#5 Do you consider yourself famous?
No. Not really. I am glad that I am not. I am glad that I do not have to hide from paparazzi and can live a normal life.
#6 What projected the brand’s popularity to what it is today? What about Luca Turin’s response to your works?
Oh, sure. Luca Turin’s and Tanja Sanchez’ book and their review of ADDM sure helped! I also feel that the way I do things here, in tauerville.com and tauerperfumes.com, makes a difference. But independent of how I talk to perfume lovers and how I promote myself and the brand: In the end it all boils down to great scents. (in my opinion) You can smell the difference.
And let’s not forget the help and support coming from all the bloggers and online communities!
#7 Do you ever get recognised off the street? Does this surprise you (still)?
I am hardly ever approached on the streets. Although, rarely it happens that I get approached by strangers who know me. This is always a bit odd as they know much about me and I do not know anything about them. Once this happened to me in Italy while queuing at the airport for the security check. At first, being addressed by the security guy in uniform, asking me whether I am Mr. Tauer, I was worried that I did something wrong. For a second, I was worried that I did not pay a fine or something like that and that I would end up somewhere in a medieval prison in Rome’s underground. It turned out that he is a proud owner of… ADDM!
#8 Do you want to see Tauer everywhere? Or, would you prefer to remain strictly niche? Why?
Oh, no! Let’s stay modest here: I do not think that the market for products like I make them is that big. This market is somewhat limited. Anyhow: Imagine tauer at a duty free. Quel horreur! I am a strong advocate of “perfumes need time” and you do not get this time to explore fragrances in the rush of a duty free environment. Or better said: It is hard to take your time there. Besides that: I am a small producer, too. I could not handle too large a volume without changing my business and the way I do things. I would need to grow beyond a level where I feel comfortable. Having said that: Of course, I want to see my brand(s) growing and I want that my scent are available in the niche hotspots, online and in brick&mortar environments, but I implement this growth strategy very carefully.
I have seen more than one niche brand burning in the market for a year, bright and hot, and then … the fire died and the brand was spoiled.
From a business point of view: I feel that a brand that is hard to get has a lure in itself, too.
From a practical point of view: Some scents that I produce are not fit for a larger environment; some of their ingredients are hard to get in larger quantities. Some of them may not profitable enough (without raising prices) for a high volume, low margin environment. And let’s not forget: These larger scale environments demand that you invest into print and other marketing. I don’t. Hence, my fragrances would sit there and die a silent death because nobody goes for the bottle that he/she does not know.
So you see: A lot of reasons to stay “niche”. Although, to make this clear, niche as term has become irrelevant really. I prefer to say something like artisanal, high end, low volume , or selective perfumery.
#9 Let’s imagine something horrible. Let’s pretend that you were forced to cull your current Tauer collection to only 5 perfumes. What are they?
That would be tough to do… for sure Air du désert marocain would be in this hardcore collection. Then PHI-une rose de Kandahar. Probably Vanilla flash from Tauerville.com. Maybe also Noontide Petals, that’s 4 already…. I guess I would leave the fifth open, allowing me to do one more in the future 🙂
#10 What perfumes do you wear? (Do you wear perfume? Are they your creations?…etc).
Sure I wear perfume. Sometimes. Usually not during the day as I am sort of living in a scented world during my work days. In the evening, before going to bed, I often put on something experimental. Not always a pleasant experience for my partner: But that’s life with a perfumer! These evening scents are often trial version of a scent that I am working on and hence not finished. Perfumes created by myself that are on the market, however, I do not wear often. I am close enough to them without actually wearing them.
Sometimes, I wear other perfumes, too. Here’s one that (I think) everyone needs to try once: Knize Ten. The original. A great fragrance. And still pretty good, in light of it existing close to 100 years now. I guess the reason why it is still good: The house remained somewhat small (compared to industry standards) and focused on quality.
#11 Do you look at other perfume houses for inspiration?
No, not really. I think this is dangerous, as most scents out there are totally uninspired. Sorry. And then: There is no need really. I have tons of ideas, some originating from a strong inspiration, some just happening as a game, l’art pour art, and therefore, there is no need to sniff other scents for inspiration. But I nevertheless sniff, from time to time, what is out there. But – to be honest- I do so the longer the less. But I have my brands that I am following.
#12 Do you have a favourite Guerlain perfume and perfumer?
Hmmm… I have to go back a couple of years for that. For a variety of reasons (no further explanation here). Let’s say: Jacques Guerlain with his Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue. Still lovely, and sort of long term survivors of uncounted reformulations.
#13 When are you coming to Australia? Melbourne specifically, don’t worry about Sydney ;).
No plans, yet. Sorry. It is on the to-do-list, though. But not for perfumery reasons. I want to hug a Kangaroo.
#14 How do you like your eggs?
Sunny side up.
#15 Finally, what’s one thing everyone should be doing right now?
Pray for peace.