“She is the embodiment of grace. She flows like water, she glows like fire and has the earthiness of a mortal goddess. She has flowers in her hair, jewelled hands and kohl-dark eyes. Her eyes speak a language that her hands will translate, her feet move in tandem to make the story complete. She is a danseuse, she is a performer, she is almost ethereal.”
Vetiver Dance, the newest Andy Tauer fragrance dances around vetiver the way an Indian dancer dances like water, like fire. It is completely fabulous and if you're even in the least intrigued, there is strong motive for you to read through so as not to miss a spectacular surprise. I got a preview previously and after focusing on vetiver these past few days, it was a natural progression to come back and give a full review.
One of the traits which I appreciate most in niche Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer's oeuvre, apart from his excellent customer service of course, is that he doesn't resort to syncatabasis. His creations do not condensent to soothe the audience into the false sense of security of presenting them with artisanal pretentions yet producing eerily derivative works. Every one of his scents can stand alone, even though the common thread between them is unmistakeably his signature. Although I do not wear all his fragrances due to personal quirks and preferences, some of them have caught my attention and became friends immediately and forcibly: L'air du desert marocain was my first apodrasis into the desert, Rêverie au Jardin promenaded me into a soothing afternoon vignette through a Provencial field, while the duo of Incense took me from the austere bedrock of a hermite of Incense Extrême to the bright lux in tenebris filtered through the colourful vitraux of a spacious church on a festive morning of Incense Rosé.
According to the Tauer press release:
"Vetiver oil is one of the most fascinating natural fragrances to work with.Exploring the dark, raw and almost damp earthiness of vetiver oil you may discover hidden gems. Delicate lines of green leaves, clear spices, and soft flower petals. Trying to expose these treasures, I was working for more than a year on the fragrance that was later baptized “Vetiver dance” thanks to a creative online community. It is a fragrance where the dense and rich notes of vetiver oil balance the lightness of citrus, where wet dark earth nourishes white flowers, and where green spices extend vibrant woody chords".
An enumeratio of the creation was slowly unfolding on Tauer's blog, for months on end, leading us through the steps. In it all, there comes the contraption that needs to be patented: Vetiverometer ~a term coined by Andy Tauer, a "machine" measuring the “vetiverness”, the proximity to the real thing and reading the results, on an open logarithmic vetiver scale, so you get an idea where your scent is. Of course this didn't aim at a quality reading but instead the proximity to the material itself which varies a lot according to the soil vetiver has rooted on and drank upon, as we explained before.
Tauer finally managed to come to his desired effect: vetiver is clearly visible within Vetiver Dance, yet the pepper, clary sage and the cleaner aspect of lily of the valley garland it into a playful hide-and-seek.
Vetiver and grapefruit notes were allies for a long time, as even the natural oil depending on the source might have this kind of nuance to it. Natural grapefruit essence as well as tangy lemongrass oppose and enhance the rooty aroma in Vetiver Dance. The vetiver derivative Vetiverol extends the earthy Javanese note, upping the vetiver ambience to high volume, dry and tonic. Vetiver Dance is not as single-minded rooty as Vétiver Extraordinaire by F.Malle with its unexpected wet touch, but it is far removed from the starchy cotton-shirts of the bankers of classic Guerlain Vétiver. Its fierce peppery note, very distinct and a source of great hedonism to this spice lover, is supported by natural coriander, clary sage leaves' essence and a slight touch of cardamom oil. To me, the protagonist in the initial stages is the pepper along with the vetiver-grapefruit accord, fiery, dry; cold and hot at the same time.
Although Tauer lists lily of the valley (a recreated note which has been here centered around the soapy Lilial) as well as Bulgarian rose, the fragrance isn't floral or "clean" in the way of several more conservative vetivers in the market, like the two by Creed.
But the surprise comes when the fragrance dries down, revealing a delicious ambrein background which hovers on like a skin-scent, warm, pulsating and sexily tantalising, making this a vetiver fit to be worn on intimate rendez-vous and shared between lovers.
Notes: vetiver oil from Java, grapefruit peel oil, black pepper seed, clary sage, Rose absolute from Bulgaria, lily of the valley, ambergris, cedar wood, Tonka bean and cistus extracts.
Vetiver Dance by Tauer will be available in 50ml/1.7oz of Eau de Toilette starting October. His fragrances are available online from First in Fragrance, Luckyscent and Aedes. Click over to Tauer Perfumes to learn more details. Andy Tauer will be at Scentbar in Los Angeles on October 4 & 17 to introduce Vetiver Dance.
Andy also has a secret in the works which I am not allowed to divulge just yet, but rest assured it will make many fans smile. If only he releases Hyacinth and a Mechanic as well!
For Perfume Shrine readers Andy Tauer suggested a spectacular draw: THREE NEW FULL BOTTLES of the yet unreleased Vetiver Dance. I will randomly pick the winners through random.org and direct them over to Andy who will send them their prizes!
But as a consolation prize, he also sent me a few samples for some more winners*, so state your interest and if you're lucky you will get a chance to get a preview for yourself!
*NB: In the interests of full disclosure, I decided to keep a couple of samples for myself and my S.O., to enjoy this wonderful vetiver till the time comes when I buy my own bottle in October.
Pic of actors rolling in Aristophanes' performance from Epidaurus, via athinorama.gr. Bottle pic via Tauer press release.