Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Message in a bottle: Hyacinth and a Mechanic by Tauer

“Just a castaway, an island lost at sea, oh
Another lonely day, with no one here but me, oh
More loneliness than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair, oh”

By The Police, “Message in a bottle” (1979 Regatta de Blanc album)

(uploaded by 0belus0)

Swiss based niche perfumer and official Hall-of-Fame-sweet-person Andy Tauer had a brilliant idea: sending a mod of his new scent over to his fans all over the world, one sending the bottle to another, trying it out and leaving feedback on how it impressed them. A fun concept that takes us back to the core of all art: to communicate emotions, ideas and thoughts that are starting to take shape through a continuous intemingling of creative minds. Tauer is an interesting personality, as we have come to personally attest through this interview some time ago.

The bottle began its journey a few months ago from Boston, which was its first stop and like precious contraband it travelled hand to hand to various destinations. G was considerate and kind enough to think of me, sending this over on its journey. And from my hands it will also go to another perfume lover.

But what is this scent? According to Andy himself: Hyacinth and a Mechanic is "a floral scent, a bouquet of powdery lilacs, green hyacinths and gentle lily of the valley. A bouquet of May flowers, in the hand of a mechanic with an undertone of oily skin."
To me it was reminiscent of the Tauer style and yet not quite. There is the intense greeness of the beginning that reminds me of the stunning bite of galbanum in the vintage Vent Vert. In a way this is the feeling I got while reviewing Rêverie au Jardin, Andy’s lavender scent: the bracing opening, giving way to calmer proceedings. But where Rêverie melts into a cosy, musky powdery embrace, Hyacinth and a Mechanic remains intensely green with a higher pitch, a clean soprano note that sings sharply and crystal-like of spring flowers suspended into a chilled snowball, cascading white flakes. Contrary to his ambery, dry L’air du desert marocain and musky soft Rêverie au Jardin, which both exude a very earthy, grounded aroma, I seem to perceive more aromachemicals in this one that account for a more abstract and linear approach. I do not smell hyacinths from the flowershop, neither was this the intention, I believe. There is rather the impression of green flowers that have been growing on a flower bed that has been trambled on under a heavy boot.

Notably, flower notes in masculine perfumes have been a new direction recently, what with Dior Homme and its iris rooty accord, Dior’s Fahrenheit 32 and Fleur du Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier. However, those remain into the realm of the unchallenging: although most men would be a little surprised not to find the classic wood or citrus notes they are conditioned to believe constitute the typical XY smell, they still retain the well-worn slipper familiarity. Tauer’s creation is definitely niche and proud of it.

The second element that became etched into my mind is that somewhere in the middle of this there are ionones, echoing violet leaves and spicy blooms; a sweetish coquettish note that you wouldn’t expect in a butch fragrance such as the name suggests. But then this is no butch scent. The mechanic in question is not rough, callused, smeared with black grease from manupulating the insides of a car. He is rather presentable and his jeans are worn, but not tattered nor grimmy, although there is the uncertain whiff of some honeyed, slightly urinous aroma wafting from afar: his leather gloves, his huge belt holding all the tools of his craft. The leather part seems pungent for a very short while, but not as potent as in his Lonestar Memories.

Last there is the surprising resiny base of someone sensual and rather spiritual behind the manual labour, a characteristic that never escapes Andy Tauer in his fragrant endeavours and is probably a reflection of his own sensibilities.
The staying power is excellent, sustaining the slightly oily residue on skin till the next day.

Hyacinth and a Mechanic is not in production, although I hope it will be someday. You have to wait for it to land on your shores, bearing its fragrant messages.
In the words of the Police:

“Walked out this morning, don’t believe what I saw
Hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
Hundred billion castaways, looking for a home”.

Read how this all begun on Andy's site. You can read two other takes here and there.

Stay tuned for another post tomorrow and a recapitulation of the year on Friday 28th on my own terms.
Oh, and don't forget to vote on the poll at the upper right hand corner!


  1. Anonymous14:47

    dear e. :)
    i think the idea of sending a scent all of the world to fellow perfume lovers is a very lovely one - & the juice seems to smell lovely as well!
    i love lily of the valley (their german name is maiglöckchen = small may bells), i´m born in may, perhaps that´s why their smell always makes me happy. lilac is another favourite of mine, here, it also blooms in late april & may. the smell of hyacinths sometimes can get overwhelming, though.
    anyway, your review gives me the impression that all flowers are very well blended & knowing some of andy tauer´s creations, i can almost imagine how the scent smells like. your reference to the galbanum in vintage vent vert (unfortunately i only know the current verson) makes me very curious - i love galbanum. when used in the right amount, it´s like a "wake-up call" for me, giving me energy & power.
    i almost used up my samples of l´air du desert morocain as well as lonestar memories & am now debating which one to get. to me, both share a common feeling - strong with a gentle edge, if that makes any sense ;)- though they aren´t the same scent by any means.
    i´m not familar with rêverie au jardin & read very mixed reviews about it, but "musky, powdery embrace" sounds extremely tempting!

  2. Dear C,

    thank you for your detailed comment and I trust you had a good time yesterday.

    Lilacs are favourite blossoms of mine as well. We call them "paschalies" (easter blooms) because they bloom exactly at the time of the Orthodox easter.
    They're the flowers (along with violets) that traditionally adorn the village Jesus funeral bed/"epitaph" in churches (you can read more here).

    Andy's (Reverie au jardin) and Vero's (Kiki)lavenders are the select few lavenders I came to love. Both warm and human, although different: Andy's is casual and soft, Vero's is sexy and naughty. They're both bottle-worthy and I have been using them quite a bit myself.

    L'air du desert marocain is a wonderful creation IMO, so you have me pinning for that one, if you must choose ;-)

  3. Anonymous15:33

    dear e. :)
    i also love kiki - all three vero kern perfumes are very good & unique IMHO. kiki smells even better in cold weather, then it fully shows its powdery quality. it´s the first lavender scent i actually would call feminine.
    i´ll keep your suggestion (l´air du desert...) in my mind when choosing ;) my only "complaint" about that one is: it´s sooo strong LOL i´ve to apply the tinest amount possible, otherwise it overwhelms me. but i love how it unfolds in so many different layers, it never bores me!
    i wish you a wonderful evening :)

  4. C,

    I see you have smelled them! And we share the same taste, how wonderful.
    Yes, L'air is quite strong! But you can dab and it is excellent value for money that way: I hate it when an expensive fragrance has to be sprayed and sprayed and sprayed to get any effect :-(

    Have a wonderful evening, you too dear :-)

  5. Anonymous21:50

    This scent SO intrigues me, I've been reading about it here-and-there on the blogosphere and I think I would love it.

    LOVE and own L'Air, didn't like Reverie, and didn't smell the others he sells. In addition, I have a teensy sample of his discontinued ORRIS that someone gifted me and I'm saving it for a special occasion (maybe I'll wear it for New Year Eve?) as well I have sampled Andy's newest scent coming out next month Incense Extreme (I won it on his blog) which honestly slight underwhelmed me (?).

    I will say his other 'in production' scent that made a rotation about a month or so ago, L'Eau d'Epices (I think is the is name) is FANTASTIC!

    Happy Holidays H.

  6. I'm very happy to hear that you liked it!
    There's so much magic in everything Andy does. I hope H&tM becomes part of his regular line. Spring in a bottle is something many of us could use just about now :)

  7. I like the way you refer to the 'pitch' of this scent- and you're right.
    It go-go-goes; a definitely bright ,blooming personality.

  8. Dear Mike,

    I hope the scent reaches your door at some point. It's very worth testing, that's for sure!

    I also have a sample of the d/c Orris and I am treasuring it! It's sad when something gets discontinued...

    L'eau d'epices and Incense Extreme are to be reviewed shortly ;-)

  9. We could use some spring-time, true. It's been a bit gloomy here too, which is not a usual situation.
    Thanks dear!

  10. It intrigues me that you think so too, I, dear. I deduce you were among the first to sample, right? ;-)


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