Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A.Tauer Carillon pour un Ange: fragrance review

The newest fragrance by Andy Tauer, Carillon pour un Ange, takes its inspiration from a material that is often described as angelic, lily of the valley. Hence the working name during the creation process was Gabriel. Actually, truth be told, lily of the valley (or muguet as the French call it) is not exactly chastity material as a recent study revealed. Still, the piercingly sweet, very clear and green aroma creates the impression of puerile innocence, of tender cheeks and pouty small mouths.
A carillon on the other hand is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 cup-shaped bells played from a baton keyboard using fists and feet, its sound chiming with piercing clarity, much like the aroma of lily of the valley pierces the air with its declaration of spring's final assertion. So carillon pour un ange, a carillon for an angel... The seraphic allusion is certainly not lost, the fragrance is quite lovely.

The greeness in Carillon pour un Ange is delightfully tinted with the darker, oilier hint of hyacinth as was the case in a former Tauer scent, Hyacinth and a Mechanic. Even though the latter was an experimental batch, serving an SOS purpose on its bottle-message across the world (more details here), it featured at least two of the elements which infiltrated themselves in Carillon: the green hyacinth and the leathery note. In Carillon the leather is very subdued. Instead one almost loses the lily of the valley field for the hesperides grove at some point. Tauer has fetish materials which he uses over and over to great effect: I seem to feel his mandarin peel materialise again and again; it's such a great lifting note that it makes for immediately inviting openings, often coupled with rose as in Une Rose Chyprée, or Incense Rosé. (click for reviews of both)

The challenge with lily of the valley is twofold: One the one hand, it's so easy to lapse into the "salle de bains" hygienic note or the Aisle of Glade (as March puts it), due to its ubiquitness in functional products via several synthetic replications (natural extraction is not cost-effective or yielding enough). Andy Tauer is using a combination of IFF's Lyral and Lilial for his own creation, bypassing the problem of sharpness by the injection of a sweet note reminiscent of violets and lilacs (pink jasmine might be actually creating the lilac impression, the two share a bubble-gummy nectarous headiness).
One the other hand, there is the sacred Diorissimo, an über alles classic if there ever was one; impossible to surpass and one would be wise to not even try. Then again, now that Diorissimo is not recognizing itself in the mirror all too clearly these days due to multiple surgical interventions, one might reconsider. Still, the cleverness lies not in trying to create a limp-wristed or sharp rendition of lily of the valley, nor a pastoral gouache, but to boldly propose a third path: that which marries the white bell with other flowers and which contrasts it with elements to which it is naturally emerging from: the decaying leaves being eaten up by fungi, the woods where it grows, the green tapiserrie on which it sprouts its minuscule bell-shaped blossoms. Thus the base of Carillon pour un Ange takes on woody and skin-soft nuances, mossy, non dirty really (it would be paradoxical, after all), with the shades of love, death and rebirth winking to a theatre full of children watching mesmerised a play of magical marionettes.

Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner says "For me there exists only one music -good music"...and "I compose what is close to my heart". Substitute music with perfumery and you've got Tauer to a T.

Notes for Andy Tauer Carillon pour un Ange: Top: rose, ylang ylang, lilac
Heart: lily of the valley, jasmine, leather
Base: ambergris, moss, woods.

Carillon pour un Ange is available as Eau de Parfum Riche (which lasts very well) in small hand-poured 15ml bottles directly from Tauer Perfumes or on Luckyscent. Samples are available here. We're hosting a giveaway for two full bottles, comment to enter.

Painting Sleep lost in Dreams by James C.Christensen via morgenthruston
In the interests of full disclosure I sampled the perfume through the generosity of the perfumer himself; his is well documented.


  1. Tamara*J16:41

    Hello, I am always interested in how you put such a scientific spin on your reviews, I appreciate them.
    I adore Andy's work but so far can only wear URC with pure pleasure.
    I am waiting patiently and also counting pennies as I think I will crave his URV too, a gourmand rose is one of my favorites.
    I would love to try his LotV even though I am not all that familier with that note, so please enter me for the drawing and thank you for the chance.

    Truly, Tamara Jackson

  2. Anonymous21:26

    Your review is beautiful and the music choice to accompany it simply divine.

    Thank you, dear E, for making my day!

  3. Great review! Can't wait to try!

    La double vie de Véronique is one of my all time favorite movies! Thanks!

  4. I, too, find it odd that LoTV is so often associated with purity - I love the skanky undertones of this little belle :-) Done right, it can be a seriously sexy flower...in my opinion.

    Would love to be entered in this wonderful draw!


  5. I have loved every Tauer perfume I have tried to date and the perfume has loved me! I can't wait to try this one. Thank you for the draw and I would like to be entered.

  6. Anonymous13:46

    What a wonderful review-thank you
    I love both Une Rose Chypree and Incense Rose-cant wait to try it,please enter me in the draw
    many thanks

  7. Stephan15:58

    As always, your reviews are spot on, providing interesting background information, and above everything else they make enjoyable reading. Thank you for giving me this pleasure so frequently.

  8. Zazie21:42

    Kieślowski is one cherished director of mine. I love many of his movies...
    Tauer is a cherished perfumer of mine. I love two of his perfumes...

    I'd love to try un carillon pour un ange, so please enter me in the draw!!!

  9. I received my bottle from LS yesterday. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I loved Orange Star but not sure about this one...
    It's possible Carillon just not my kind of scent, I'm not enormously into LoTV, but I do enjoy Diorissimo (about 1x per year on May 1!)
    Thanks for all the deets, Helg. =)

  10. Tamara,

    thank you, glad my approach resonates with readers!

    It's a different LOtV all right, so worth exploring. You're in!

  11. Anon,

    you're most welcome, pleased I provided pleasure. :-)

  12. G,

    thank you for your compliment.
    Ain't that a simply wonderful movie? (and a lovely segment to pick?)

  13. A,

    I am with you: I find LOTV has a little naughtiness deep down and Diorissimo highlights it most admirably in its vintage versions.

    Good luck!

  14. PK,

    thanks for stopping by, of course I'm including you!

  15. Katya,

    glad you enjoyed the review!

    Best of luck!

  16. Stephan,

    what a lovely compliment, thanks! It's an honour to have discerning readers like you who can appreciate the subtleties.

  17. Zazie,

    you put it in a most witty way :-)
    You're in!

  18. Abigail,

    thanks for stopping by!

    It's certainly quite different from Diorissimo which is more "realistic", more life-like in its approach. I don't think Andy went for that effect, I seem to lose the LOTV at some points. I get the citrus on top, the sweetness later and a green bouquet, then that woody-ambery base of his. It's a different take.
    Orange Star was very nice too, just like his soap, although I would champion his Eau d'Epices (spicier) being released officially more.
    I will be interested to hear your impressions!

  19. Clare02:58

    I'm a bit late to the party on this one but really enjoyed your spot-on review. This was the last fragrance I sampled from my Tauer "Discovery" sample set and the first one that made the "must buy!" list without any hesitation whatsoever. I'm intrigued and delighted by the other Tauer fragrances I've sampled but find that I more need time with them - every wearing is different. This one, however, came flying out of the bottle and I never questioned it. Utterly drop-dead gorgeous and compelling. Like other Tauer perfumes, projection and longevity are enormous! I'm glad you mentioned the hyacinth note as this is the association I felt with this fragrance - the same sort of lush, juicy, waxy texture with the fresh, floral sweetness tempered by a vegetal quality that feels very real and three dimensional, not the least bit cloying. I've never smelled real life LOTV (it doesn't grow in my corner of the world and I've never seem it in florist's shops) so I can't vouch for the authenticity of this rendition, nor can I compare it to vintage Diorissimo (which I've never tried) however, on its own merits, this fragrance is a beauty that just "clicked" with me the way some scents do for others. I do wish there was a Tauer stockist in Australia as my only option for a full bottle is to buy from a stockists in the US with postage that equates to 30% of the bottle price.

  20. Thanks Clare for posting and so happy you found such a gem! I feel all giddy and warm inside :-)

  21. The name alone, plus your evocative description, makes me want to try Un Carillon pour un Ange. Please enter me in the drawing.
    Now, off to look for my vintage Diorissimo.


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