You might have heard that Loretta, the newest fragrant baby arising from the collaboration of perfumer Andy Tauer & film-maker Brian Pera, is a tuberose-centered floral; and yet smelling it you realize that on face value it's inscrutable. This tuberose, although natural and vibrant, resembles nothing of the moth love & hate relationship of tuberoses of reference (like Tubereuse Criminelle by Lutens or Carnal Flower by F.Malle) with the exception of Piguet's Fracas. You have to smell it to believe it, because we're dealing with an atypical example, much like its creator is an atypical perfumer who has deservedly gained a cult status.
The enigmatic scent: a tuberose unlike any other
Like Fracas (and yet also unlike it) Loretta is built on a white flowers given a resolutely candied, fruity veneer that is creamy, and Tauer embraces that note with lactonic woods that remind me of some modern version of sandalwood, with the liquor like tonalities of rose that Andy likes so, plus a touch of cardamom or nutmeg. The olfactory impression of this candied, fruity floralcy is the synergy of the banana note in ylang ylang with treacly and very diffusive orange blossom along with a grape and berries touch (methyl anthranilate, the thing that made L'Heure Bleue and Narcisse Noir so compelling); this gives a sweet, rotting flesh mystery that is tantalizing in a perfume.
This peculiar combination personally reminds me of the tuberose hiding inside the heart of Dior's original Poison from the 1980s: the "monster" inside is nothing compared to the buttressing via an overdose of musks and woods and yes, grape and berry notes. The composition is more than its description and somewhat less too, a cipher. Which nicely brings us full circle to Loretta, as this Rubik's Cube is built upon a succession of complimentary notes that defuse each other into unison. This isn't just random but relies on careful, painstaking attention from the perfumer; the common thread between grape and berry is the component also present in tuberose and ylang ylang essences.
Although the official notes mention aldehydes, the effect here is unlike classics of the genre and serves rather as the building block of a Schiff's base (A perfumer's "tool", with some technical challenges built in as well). In plain English, don't expect a sparkling, citrusy, soapy-smelling or metallic Chanel No.5, YSL Rive Gauche or Madame Rochas nuance here; Loretta is in a class of its own.
Comparison with Miriam
Contrary to Tableau de Parfums Miriam, with its retro soapy, aldehydic halo ~to correspond with the silvery sheen of the protagonist Anne Magnuson, and her reticent, elegant aura~ the Loretta fragrance is a young and contemporary creature, a cleaning lady with sexual fantasies enacted behind closed doors; we're talking about a cleaning lady with a supreme taste in perfume, apparently! Loretta is hard to miss (it radiates and lasts very well, like all Tauer perfumes) and very difficult not to fall in love with, even for tuberose phobics.
The where, the how, the when, the how much
Tableau de Parfums is an ongoing collaboration between Tauer and filmmaker Brian Pera and Loretta is its latest installment, after the Miriam fragrance. The Tableau perfumes are portraits inspired by the shorts of Pera’s ongoing film series, Woman’s Picture (You can find out everything about the whole thing on www.evelynavenue.com).
The Loretta fragrance includes fragrant notes of tuberose absolute, aldehydes, rose absolute, orange blossom and woods.
For those in LA, the Scent Bar will be holding a launch party for the fragrance for the official launch on October 19th.
Loretta in the Tableau de Parfums series will be available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum concentration, packaged with a DVD and film poster ($160) or in a 7 ml Travel spray ($40) at evelynavenue.com and select stockists.
Andy below presents Loretta in the Pitti exhibition in Florence via the Basenotes/Youtube.
You can also peek at an older interview of Tauer and Pera on FragranceScout.
For our readers, I have 5 deluxe samples of the new Loretta perfume to give away. Just enter a comment and you're eligible.
In the interests of disclosure I was sent samples for the giveaway by the perfumer himself