3/8/14

Orris (Tauer)



When I first smelled Orris, I immediately thought of Malle's Une Rose, a fungal vinyl-rose perfume known for stretching the traditional rose concept across a darker terrain. Lipstick Rose sits next to it for Malle fans who can't meet the challenge. Andy Tauer's composition (a special edition for his blog's readers) contains a similar spongy rose note, due to a preponderance of Bulgarian rose absolute, which smells at once wine-like and rubbery. Hints of damascenone add some red color, powdered over by an ethereal iris and lemongrass accord. It's like a slap of cool lake water against frozen reeds on a foggy morning.

The rubbery rose note soon evolves into an extremely direct leather, dominated by a massive dose of birch tar. Within an hour, Orris warms into a rich aura that transcends the typical perfumery narrative. Tauer's use of birch tar, cinnamon, and a thankfully agnostic incense blends into something that resembles sweaty, sun-parched skin, suggestive of how a native girl might smell after a dip in the local oasis. All the elements conspire to bring this natural and slightly fetid odor to the center, sandwiched between an intense rose/orris, and two types of natural sandalwood, Indian and Australian. As time passes, the resinous woody notes become more sandalwood-centric, burned just a tiny bit by smoky vetiver and oud.

Orris peeks into a fantasy realm of Earthly delights, its imagery brushed with strokes of flowers, resins, tars, precious woods, and grasses on a rhetorical canvas of unwashed human skin. The skin seems unwashed, until you realize it might belong to someone who considers a skinny-dip in a mineral-rich lagoon the ideal cleanse. She bathes with her friends and soaks up some late afternoon rays on a sandalwood slat, before trekking home through fronds of vetiver and lemongrass, little pieces of plant material flecking her moist body along the way. I'd make love to that girl, but as there are no dirty natives around, I'll settle for wearing Orris, which is almost as good as the real thing, and just as hard to come by.





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