Incense Rosé (Andy Tauer, 2008) is the work of a rare genius. It is a fragrance situated amongst a corpus of work where it is at constant risk of being overlooked, plainly due to the excellent company it keeps. But, as good taste prevails, Incense Rosé stands completely on its own.
It is a work with a composition in sustained tension with itself. There’s a high degree of energy to this fragrance, generated by the struggle between opposing light and dark tones in a competing effort to take primacy. These clash together in a controlled frenzy, a fissile reactive moment that eventually resolves in an explosive outburst of colour and energy akin to fluorescent fireworks against the pitch black of the night sky.
Tauer’s Incense Rosé is the textbook exemplar for a lesson in luminosity and abundance via a generous hand for fragrant materials without reading as excessive. It could almost be construed as a work of classic pyramid-shaped perfumery with a 1-3-5 chord structure, with the appropriate stylistic flourishes and radical non-conformist creative freedom present to augment this structure in unexpected ways that begs fascinated attention and ensuing exaltation.
© 2019 Liam Sardea
Incense Rosé is here placed on
some Alexander Girard textiles.
Incense Rosé consists of shadowy animalics and glossy resins at its base, and whilst this is at all times treated with a balanced hand, there is a present kernel of opacity. As a result, the fragrance builds up from this foundation, pivoting on this kernel and creating a seemingly impenetrable crystalline base that is at once solid, structured, and multifaceted, reminiscent of good and expensive perfumery which treats the base of equal importance to the often charming yet ephemeral features present at the top.
What then may be perceived as strange, or novel, is a translucent heart consisting of rose and incense that pulls in both upwards and downwards directions (here we have our tension). The rose signifies abundance and plenty, a sweetly scented burst of florality kept in check by shimmery gossamer textured incense with facets best described on one hand as gothic and liturgical, but on another as tingly, effervescent, and zesty, generating a tangible feeling of an infinitude of space. These are complementary yet contrary elements: of two different takes on the theme of freshness. Rose moves upwards and outwards, expanding the sense of space in this perfume, whereas the incense saturates up to the absolute limits of this mobile structure, edging quite closely behind this sense of tangible expansion, creating something that is present yet remains weightless. This is, to my belief, is why Incense Rose has a perceivable property of movement: it feels as if it is always in development – edging and progressing in a series of different directions. The successful rose-and-incense clash at the core of this fragrance is mimicked by the patchouli, castoreum, and amber feature at the base, contrasted against the weightlessness of sunny soft clementine and cool bracing cardamom at the top. These top notes to me wrap themselves around the structure of this fragrance, giving it echoes and a further sense of complexity.
All together, Tauer has showcased here an intelligent and wholly charming technical skill to transform the giddy fun of creaming soda and sherbet into something more akin to a slender Alsatian Gewurztraminer (as I’ve described Baghari in the past). This weightless luminosity is a feature I seldom seen in perfumery, and is captured to similar success in Vol de Nuit (Guerlain), Baghari (Piguet), No. 5 (Chanel), No. 18 (Chanel), and perhaps a select handful of Hermes fragrances. The luminous and long sillage of this scent sparkles with a seemingly perpetual length and an expansive reach. This quality makes for transfixing works, a sort of stunning flourish of technicoloured joy that makes Incense Rosé imperative, and to my mind, Andy Tauer’s true masterpiece.