“A rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind.”—Clive Bell, Since Cezanne, p. 32.
Strange and wonderful is the perfumer’s art. I am thankful for it every day, since it brightens my life and gives me great joy. Like any other high art form, it can be cheapened, or made obtusely complex just for the sake of obfuscation. Not so with Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer’s Une rose chyprée, which is just as artistic as it needs to be, just as complex, as unique, as it should be, nothing more, nothing less. A real work of artistic maturity, in my opinion.
Tauer’s Une Rose Chyprée boasts an intriguing cinnamon nose-tingle, peachy depths, soft ambergris, salty shimmer, green labdanum, and a large dose of quality rose that doesn’t behave like a rose at all. The base is, as the official notes describe it –as ‘dark and resinous’ as a midnight in a Germanic forest. Indeed, it is as dark as the topnotes are sparkling and light. Where I feel that some of the Tauer creations have a ponderous weight to them—in a good way of course, like so many wonderful ingredients are lying heavily on one’s skin—this is very smooth, and lighter in intention, though it LASTS, like all the Tauers I’ve tried so far, into the wee hours of the morning and beyond. I think you always get your money’s worth in terms of longevity with his creations.
And then there’s the elegance factor. This one has fewer of the smoky ambery notes that Tauer detractors have sometimes disparaged as ‘head shop’ --those things that to me, make his ‘signature base,’ the ‘Tauerade’, if there is such a creature-- so attractive. Instead, in a blind smell test, I would peg this as maybe an 80 year old classic along the lines of the great chypres like Mitsouko, 31 Rue Chambon, or 1000, but with a spicy oriental twist that does not overpower the ‘chypreness’ of the scent, but rather gives it added interest, as far as I’m concerned. It is complex, fascinating, and unique, and on top of it all, it is a happy scent, where I find many classically-styled chypres to be at least somewhat melancholy. And like many of those great chypres, it is decidedly unisex, a good ‘rose’ for the guys indeed, since the bay, the cinnamon, the oakmoss and labdanum, citrus notes, and patchouli all ground it decidedly in the unisex category. In fact, despite its name, I might hesitate to call this a rose fragrance at all. Yes, rose is there, but she is so part of the composition that I’m not sure she deserves to be named as the star of the show here.
Andy Tauer has been kind enough to send me samples of all his fragrances to review (although this does not influence my critique of course)—and an adorable sample set to give away (details tomorrow!) Are you pumped, ‘cause I am!!!
Links to others’ reviews of Une Rose Chyprée:
Lady with rose image by Czachorski courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
tauer sample set pics mine.