We caught up with Andy Tauer founder of Tauer Perfumes to ask him a little bit about his latest collection of fragrances.
Where do you draw your inspiration to create the fragrances within your collection?
I always say Inspiration is everywhere! A few years ago I reignited my childhood hobby of painting which is a great source of inspiration for me, it can be a colour, form, an abstract idea, the simple pattern within a picture that grabs my attention and starts my imagination flowing.
In perfumery, I gain great inspiration from a picture or scene that creates an urge to make a fragrant image encompassing this impression or idea. L'Air du Désert Marocain is a great example of this. When composing this fragrance, I imagined laying in bed, in a hotel in a village close to the desert in Morocco. With the door wide open, warm evening winds transport the scent of spices from the nearby souk, hints of jasmine appear carried from the bush blooming on the terrace, as the smoky lines of women cooking on the open fire fill the room. I find inspiration in nature, jogging in my favourite spot Joshua Tree National Park in California or the hills overlooking Hollywood, passing over the river Limmat when driving to the factory rooms in Zurich or bike riding into town.
I find the most important part of the creative process, besides inspiration, is actually letting go and allowing yourself to follow that inspiration or crazy idea whilst keeping the rational part of the brain silent.
Describe the story of Andy Tauer and Tauer Perfumes.
I was born in the sixties and raised in the countryside of Switzerland. 350 people lived in the place where I spent the first 20 years of my life, it was a small world. After a PhD in Molecular Biology and a short stint in management roles that paid extremely well but were extremely boring, I discovered perfume as a craft - or it found me.
15 years ago, I came across Essence and Alchemy by Mandy Aftel learning about perfumery as a hobby. All natural at first, I later added synthetics to my fragrances through a series of trial and errors (I think I have spent a small fortune on trials in my life!). At some point a dear friend of mine asked me to create a fragrance to be sold in his store with a brief of "Morocco in a bottle." I created Le Maroc pour elle which sat on the shelves and didn't sell. I then created L'Ari du Désert Marocain which from day one was a success and still is my number one selling fragrance.
I continued working in management but realised being in the perfume industry was all I wanted to do and I stopped working and started playing the real game. It's a rough world, the perfumery world, but I am enjoying every minute out there.
Describe the perfect winter scent.
The perfect winter scent does not exist (sorry!). Perfume is something that is very personal, we all experience perfume in a different way, conditioned by what we have smelled in our lives and in various situations.
Our long, grey, wet winters in Zurich start around November with the sun re-emerging with the first green spots appearing in March. I go through scent phases in winter. When winter approaches as it gets cold and the world feels like the lights have been dimmed, I reach for warm, woody, balsamic notes that provide comfort. The closer we come to spring the more I reach out for fresher, floral and green notes. I also enjoy fragrances that work coherently with both summer and winter seasons, L'Air du Désert Marocain has two sides, the warm and cozy dry side for winter and a spicy airy freshness that works perfectly in summer.
Do you rotate your personal collection or stick to a favourite scent?
Well here comes the inconvenient truth; I hardly ever wear perfume! In my job I am around and immersed in perfume daily. There is no need to put anything on and if I wear perfume it is usually a trial version, mostly in the evening to see how the scent behaves. I don't have a favourite scent of my own, as nice as it can be any scent (even the best of perfumes) can become annoying or overpowering when you are around it in frequent heavy doses.
This can also translate when perfuming yourself - 1,2,3 spritzes is enough.
Often people do not understand why boutique fragrances costs so much more - could you explain why?
Let me say firstly, not all boutique fragrances are expensive in comparison to say designer fragrances. My goal has always been to offer outstanding fragrances for an acceptable price. I make fragrances for fragrance lovers and don't want to see my products sitting as luxurious flacons in store that hardly anybody can afford.
Having said that the mechanics of the market apply for all of us, a lot of pricing decisions are actually positioning decisions: Where do you want to positon your product? Who is your client? There is a margin that goes to the stores and down the distribution chain and shipment and production costs. Of course, when working in smaller volumes, a niche producer does not reach the scale of bigger fragrance brands and hence misses part of the economics of sales. Another main difference in price is based on what is inside the flacon. The average scent produced by the industry is maybe $1 per bottle, niche boutique scents are filled with a greater substance and depth and are housed in gorgeous packaging which is also a factor in the final price.
I always say - the first step a client makes towards a fragrance on the shelf is towards the visual presentation. We see the packaging and the bottle first. The scent follows afterwards.