Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Et Lux in Tenebris: Incense Rosé by Andy Tauer

How could all the autumnal joy of eating a bright citrus fruit marry to the somber ambience of incense? And how does this immerse itself in the heritage of centuries and centuries of aromatization and meditation through fragrant smoke?
Incense Rosé the new fragrance by Andy Tauer is a proposition towards this very end.

Incense Rosé was announced as
"A fragrance that breaths
in the tradition of perfumery,
capturing the floral beauty
hiding in smoking frankincense".

Andy Tauer spent months measuring CO2 extracted Frankinscence (Boswellia serrata)in large cylinders, the shining golden viscous liquid aromatizing the Swiss laboratory into an immense church. And out of the shadows, there came light: lux in tenebris.

(uploaded by Catholiques)

A big dollop of clementine, juicy, dribbling down in all its exhuberant glory is greeting me as I spray Incense rosé on. Sustained for the length of its life span much the same way carbon deteriorates little by little in all living matter to leave but a whiff of its quinta essentia . Floral elements of a rich, lush and dark rosiness (never too sweet and with no powderiness or makeup feel) emerge from the depths of the woody and resiny embrace of viscous labdanum and bitter myrrh. Labdanum resin, the dark brown material of an illustrious past and the reigning star of many quality orientals was a first for Tauer as he had never included it in one of his unique fragrances before per his words. Here it makes for a 4% diluted slowly in ethanol, which acts as a counterpoint to the brighter, hesperidic elements, anchoring them and giving them a soft darkness like the velvety glove of an approaching night.

Complex, with a spicy herbal touch like bay, consisting of 35 materials of an inherently multinuanced character as they are natural essences, Incense rosé takes one into the crepuscular trail of light that illuminates a sunny autumnal afternoon. Its warmth and radiance are especially simpatico to those cold, cold days we are having, lending them a bit of its mirth. The more the fragrance stays on the skin the more it melds into frankincense smokiness. Much more orientalised and opulent than Incense Extrême of a lone monk chanting under his horsehair shirt (but I personally love it so!), Incense Rosé is intended for those who are not quite willing to leave the earthy delights just yet.

In the Eau de Parfum concentration it has very good tenacity and is quite unisex, although at the same time rounder than Incense Extrême which might be perceived as more masculine.

Official Notes for Incense Rosé:
Clementine, bergamot, castor,
Bulgarian rose, orris, Texan cedar wood,
incense, labdanum, myrrh, patchouli, ambergris.

Front cover illustration of flyer: by Dezsö Bödi, hailing from Eastern Europe is a good friend of Pascal, the shop owner of the Medieval art & life shop in Zurich. "When he is bored he makes arabesque drawings", according to Andy, just like the one on this flyer for Incense Rosé.

I especially like and respect Andy's thinking:
"I start wondering where we are heading with all these luxury things going on around us and that maybe it would be time for a contra punto. Something subversive, like a fragrance that everyone wants, that is selling for almost nothing, but that you can not get if you are an oligarch or otherwise rich.
And I think about another contra punto: Make a really good, rich fragrance, with lots of really good rich ingredients, reduce the entire packaging to a glass bottle and nothing else. The simplest bottle you can get. And sell this as zero fancy line".

His fragrances are indeed quality potions in spartan packaging with zero fluffiness: to the point!

For Tauer's other incense fragrance, Incense Extrême click here

For an in depth examination on Incense fragrances, please check our Incense Series, clicking here.

Incense Extrême has juct launched.
Incense rosé will come out in March.
Available through Andy Tauer site, Luckyscent, Luilei and First in Fragrance.

Pic of clementine by citrusboy/flickr. Flyer from Andy Tauer's site.


  1. Anonymous13:50

    dear e. :)
    i´m already craving this one rather badly ;) & your review didn´t stop me at all LOL
    it sounds really gorgeous!

    as i´m already a huge fan of incense extrême (i really didn´t expect to like it that much & but its coolness is very charming indeed) it´s hard to wait until march!

    at the moment i´m exploring rose fragrances & found out that the darker ones in which the rose isn´t too pronounced but well blended suit me better.
    your comment that the rose in this one isn´t too sweet nor powdery makes it look like a winner :)

  2. Dear C,


    Incense Rosé is really the polar opposite of Incense Extrême: one is an opulent, festive High Mass dressed in rich liturgical brocades, while the other is a cold monastery out of stone, on the mountains, seen through the mists of a cold early morning.
    (I should probably incude this in the review, LOL!!)

    I was quite taken with the Extreme.
    Despite the name (Rosé), I do not get the traditional rose smell and I am thankful for that: I have usually the same trouble with you ;-)

  3. Anonymous22:11

    Gosh, I found Incense Extreme pretty opulent (I don't think 'sparse' is Andy's style), so this one is a mesmerising prospect.

    Rose is not my favourite note, so it's fascinating to hear that it's not pronounced in Incense Rosé.

  4. Anonymous00:57

    Beautiful review, as always. The combination of incense and juicy clementines sounds yummy. Making me wait even more anxiously for my sample, which should be arriving any day now.
    I like the way you described the IE, lone monk with horsehairshirt. Very fitting. The image I got was of modern architecture with a sparsely furnished room, very minimalist.

  5. Anonymous01:09

    I beta tested Incense Rose, and I'm hoping Andy hasn't changed it too much because both my DH and I thought it was perfection. That clemenine-bergamot opening is amazing.

    When I read in your review that Andy hadn't used labdanum before, I had to go to his Web site and check on the ingredients of his other fragrances. I thought I remembered there being labdanum in Lonestar Memories, but he lists the likely note as "Cistus." I wonder what the difference is--absolute (labdanum) vs. essential oil (cistus)? I must find out.

  6. Anonymous05:15

    A beautiful review--I will have to try this one!!

  7. Nina,

    then you're in for a surprise: IR is much more ooomph. More orientalised, for sure.
    I didn't perceive the old-fashioned rose in IR, but then Tauer doesn't do old-fashioned roses anyway.

  8. Sabina,

    thank you for your compliment on my writing :-)
    I like your image just as much!

  9. Maria,

    the opening is what caught me too. I didn't expect it!! Those two Incenses are betraying their names, but they have a reason!

    Regarding the labdanum matter, apart from my article which is linked in the review, you might find this useful:

    Labdanum gum gives Labdanum Absolute with a certain process: First a concrete is made (using a solvent like hexane or heptane). Then they extract Labdanam Absolute from the concrete using alcohol.
    Also 2 essential oils are produced, (generally named "Cistus"): 1)steam distilled from the gum and 2)by steam distillation of the dried and fresh leaves and twigs of the cistus ladaniferus plant (but this latter has little use in perfumery because it has an off odour, I hear)

  10. Billy,

    thank you for your kind words. Yes, you should definitely try it, it's quite unusual. Shaal Nur had combined lemon tones over incense and it was unique, but sweeter citrus hadn't been done AFAIK.

  11. Anonymous10:42

    High Mass? No, I don't think so - IR is much too joyful for that. If anything, it's St. Aignan in Chartres, a crumbling little church which made me giggle and laugh with surprising and uenxpected joy when I entered it: it's painted all over, floor to highest point in the ceiling, nook and cranny, with naive, exuberant flowers. THAT'S what faith should give us: joy. That's what IR gives me: joy. I agree with Maria, it's perfection (again), and surprising and unexpexted, as Andy's scents usually are.

  12. Dear Z,

    I love your visual. Not very religious/pious myself, but I do consider to be spiritual. And I do love traditions, incense being so integral to my culture.

    I also got joy out of IR, but then I specified festive High Mass, which in general isn't a gloomy affair at all for our churches. I realize however that for someone of a different faith that might not ring as true. Hmmm.

  13. It's hard to restrain the love, isn't it ?
    IR is a delightful, ephemeral thing, and I love it as well.

    It's very refreshing to see that many independent perfumers recognize the virtues of good jus without a lot of effluvia.

    Given the choice- I'd far rather enjoy something exquisite in a simple flask.

    [ You can't wear the bottle- even if it's gorgeous]

  14. Dear I,

    my collection of incenses is mostly darker and more mystical, but there is a place for a ray of light too.

    I very much appreciate the concept of quality in jus vs. luxury of presentation: sometimes I feel that in the cases of the latter, a part of the formula has been robbed of the best it could summon...


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu, below text box (Anonymous is fine too!) and hit Publish.
And you're set!

This Month's Popular Posts on Perfume Shrine