Tauerville Vanilla Flash, 2015

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The Tauerville line is perfumer Andy Tauer’s attempt to simplify. Not to make simple perfumes, but to streamline the process of conceiving, marketing, distributing and selling perfume.

The line is sold through the Tauerville website and from select dealers. Packaging is uncomplicated and handsome and the 30 ml bottles and 10 ml roll-ons are ideal sizes. Each perfume and size is available singly or in reasonable quantities at a 50% discount so that small retailers can sell the line with a minimum of risk. The streamlining of the process has a two-fold benefit for the consumer: pricing is low and it frees Tauer up from his role as a business owner to focus on his role as perfumer.

There are plenty of perfume lines that have a spare, clean visual styles. Tauerville goes deeper and puts simplicity to work not as a style but as a practical means of getting the perfume into your hands. It’s not spare in the sense of a modernist aesthetic; presentationally sparse, conceptually fussy. Rather it’s candid and unprententious. The excitement is in the perfume, not the box it comes in.

The Tauerville concept is sly. It presents itself as simple: less lather, lower cost, no purple prose. (Good lord, is this crazy man selling perfume and not lifestyle?) It’s also apparent, though, that a lot of consideration went into Tauerville. It’s the confident result of a conviction that perfume is more important than hype. It’s a refreshing alternative to an increasingly baroque, portly niche market.

It’s actually a bit subversive. Niche perfumery has come to reflect an amped-up ‘champagne wishes and caviar dreams’ notion of luxury that makes 1980s style seem reserved. Tauerville’s lack of ostentation is a welcome provocation to the hyperbolic status quo.

As for the perfume, it too benefits from the distillation process. Vanilla Flash feels immediate and specific. Tauer says on the Tauerville site that his inspiration for Vanilla Flash was, “…the quest to come up with a vanilla that I will wear.” When I think about it, what better scale is there for an artist to measure his work than himself? Vanilla Flash is personal not for the fact that it reveals secrets about the perfumer’s character. It’s what he would wear, it suits him and therefore I assume is a reflection of his desires. Tauer’s methodology fills in a piece of the puzzle of how perfume creates meaning. 

Oh, notes. Not really my thing to talk about perfume in notes, but I suppose the name is an invitation to the discussion. The vanilla/spice/tobacco notes are precise yet blended. Unsweetened and unsentimental, as if they have been finely sifted together.  Tobacco leaf has a floral quality and links Vanilla Flash to the woody floral genre. Patchouli and vanilla are paired in perfumes often. They combine to give a lasting aromatic quality that lets a perfume keep a melodic tone of voice into drydown. Vanilla Flash plays on the pairing, but articulates it differently. There is a cool, camphorous quality to Vanilla Flash that I imagine comes from patchouli. (If not, a cool spice?) It prevents the perfume from straying the warm/busomy range that most vanilla perfumes inhabit by reflex.

To rephrase an old chestnut: cold hands, cool heartnotes. Skin is warm. Your perfume doesn’t have to be.

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