Sunday, August 17, 2008

Interview with Andy tauer - English Version

What is your background?

I have an average Swiss background of someone who was born in the mid sixties in Switzerland. Somewhat spoiled due to an exploding economy, raised with love and care, and given a solid education that enabled me to dig into chemistry at university, fooling around with bacteria while getting a PhD and finally traveling to Texas to do more harm to bacteria, just to realize there that I want to deal more with human beings, and ending up in innovation and technology management.

So, you haven’t always been a perfumerhow you developed this passion about creating perfumes?

An interesting point: It suddenly was there and seemed to be right. And I followed the road to the point where I am now. Sometimes I look around me and I am all astonished, because this road brought me to a wonderful place. I always had this creative element in myself, let it out by painting, gardening, making brochures for companies, but when I discovered that I can work with scents and that I can do my own fragrances and that they are eventually nice, then I knew: I have found my place to create.

It is a couple of years now that I started playing with scents, all natural scents at the beginning, synthetics joining in later.

If someone would like to start creating scents, what would be a nice way to be introduced to the world of fragrances?

Allow me to make a recommendation here. Well, actually two.

First, when you start walking this road make sure that you get the book by Mandy Aftel, Essence and Alchemy.

Second, make sure that you start with naturals and get to know them first. It is a tough road as naturals are more difficult to handle and understand, but it is the road that will bring you to beautiful places.

Did you study at those classic institutes of perfumery?

No, and I am glad I did not. The longer the more I think about it: There is nothing you could not learn and teach yourself to create beauty when it comes to scents, provided you have a sense for beauty in yourself.

But there is a learning process or routine involved right?

Definitely! There is routine and there is a learning part. You need to bring with you the bite to sniff and sniff and sniff and learn your scents and learn how they interact and how you combine them.

To be honest: I consider myself still to be at the beginning of my journey.

How is the process of creation for you?

This is a hard, often painful process, not always successful, an iterative process where you make two steps forward and one step backwards. It is a process with lots of waiting periods, sometimes simply for technical reasons because I need to allow a mixture to rest for at a least a couple of days before I can judge it for a first time. Sometimes it means waiting because the flow is blocked and I can not think of a solution how to come around a particular hurdle. Here, talking about it with friends helps. And talking about it on my blog. Sharing helps. Usually, I work on a fragrance a year or more.

Thus, it is a hard road.

Especially after having walked for miles on this road and you see how things come together on the horizon and all you have to do is walking this last mile!

How do you get inspired?

On one hand, the answer to this question is simple: It is be a moment in time and place, or a fragrant material that kick-starts a process of thinking about a perfume of the future. A process that ultimately ends in a fragrant picture, painted on an invisible canvas, which in itself again is a transient fragrant moment in time and place. On the other hand, you have other factors coming into the game. It can be listening to music, it is a walk in the woods after a summer rain, it might be a video on youtube, it might be a comment on my blog, all this influences the compositional work and in a sense is inspiring, too. Thus, I may begin with a fragrant material that kick-starts me, like vetiver, and then there is this moment in the gym where I think: Pepper and lily of the valley and vetiver! And suddenly I start composing and know exactly where I want to go to.

And what was the picture that guided you while creating the “l’air du desert marocain”?

There, I imagined a fragrant picture that you might encounter when traveling in Morocco. Imagine you have spend a beautiful day in the desert. It has become early evening, you are back in your hotel, resting on the bed, doors to the balcony wide open, in a town in Morocco, close to the desert, the warm air flows in, carrying the dry scent of the desert and from the streets below, spices, cookies, and a jasmine bush blooming around the corner.

This is the picture that goes with the l’air du desert marocain. Hence, the picture on the bottle: A moon raising over the desert.

What is your concept of perfume? What makes a good fragrance?

A good fragrance? This is not easy. What is beauty? Allow me to refer to Edmond Roudnitska who defined a couple of criteria that are in a sense complementary for a grand fragrance. These criteria are character, force, distribution power, clarity, refinement, volume, staying power. (These are my translations. I recommend reading the original in French: Que Sais-je: Le Parfum, by Edmond Roudnitska, 1st edition 1980. ).

And then, I want to see originality in a good fragrance. Originality is of course hard to reach. It may mean stretching the limits of what has been done before. It may mean bringing a note in a new context that no one has tried as such.

Another way of looking at it: A good fragrance should tell a story, maybe it is a story that you have already sniffed in a different context. But by changing the context the entire story seems to become fresh and new and exciting. This, by the way, is part of the fun for me: Creating a fragrance is thinking about a story. And it is about a journey to new lands, not discovered yet.

How did you come up with the idea for your blog?

My blog is one of the best ideas I have had so far. I like to exchange and communicate. It makes me feel close to clients and perfume lovers and I can learn so much from this community that gathers and comes by from time to time.

Again, like many things, I felt it was right and started the blog. Simple, without larger concept in mind. I started writing, loved it and could not stop so far. 

You have an amazing project of a travelling scent, can you comment about it?

Well, thank you! It is a very simple idea. I talked a lot about a particular fragrance that I created but did not commercialize. Thus, I make a bottle, 50 ml and sent it off to travel the world. It is passed on from perfume lover to perfume lover. And who wants can send me the location of the bottle and a comment to publish on my website.

I love the idea (that came spontaneous and I can not even remember when and how), but I had to realized that somehow this fragrance makes long stops. I do not know where it is right now, and I have not heard a word since a long time. It is a pity. As I do not have control over the voyage, I can just wait and hope to hear from time to time about the bottle. For sure… a thrilling journey!

Tell me a little bit about your daily life as a perfumer and about Tauer.

I life quite an average life. As almost everything is still hand made by myself (I am in the process of changing this!), I am always busy making samples and coming up with more bottles. Besides this: My days are filled with sitting in front of the computer, answering mails, writing texts, and if I am lucky I am squeezing time out to sniff and play.

I think what sets me apart is the fact that perfume lovers can actually talk to me, or follow what I do on my blog. Thus, this communication part of my work is very important in my daily life.

I have become, in a sense, a very public person.

And then, I am in regular contact with my point of sales, like the shop in Zurich who is owned  the guys from Luckyscent ( HYPERLINK "" or my three shops in Germany and I am working on two, three more point of sales in Europe. Right now, for instance I am planning my next trip for the USA, that brings me again to the west coast: I will launch the next fragrance in October, a green, lush and spicy vetiver. As always when coming up with a new baby: I am very excited!


I received as a gift, a sample of Vetiver Dance. The fragrance is fresh, elegantand very sensuous. The fixation is also amazing. This is pure art in the form of perfume.

Thank you my friend, you mastered again!


You will find out more about Andy Tauer and his fragrances at

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