Three samples from Andy Tauer’s new line Pentachords arrived at my door some days ago. Two of them would not leave me alone, but kept telling me to write, so I did.
Andy Tauer did the perfumer’s answer to the painter’s restricted palette, and wanted to show how to create beautiful and innovative fragrances out of only five ingredients.
Let me start with Verdant which is an edt with notes of (in his own words) dewy leaves, suave leather, brown tobacco, sweet earth, vibrant amber. This fragrance is quite unlike any green scent I ever smelled before. It is definitely earth and leaves, both moist and heavy with scent. It’s not aiming at transparency nor is it a stylized picture of nature forced into a little neat pastel. This smells like nature when you’re out walking in the rain drenched woods in your mac and wellingtons. The leaves I find are more soaked than dewy and have, together with the rain-wet soil, the slight sense of bitter decay.
Doesn’t sound good? Well, it is. It’s rather marvelous. Because the tobacco sets in and gives the scent warmth underneath the dampness, and the leather makes you feel well equipped for this kind of walk in the forest. The slight bit of amber in the base feels like the anticipation of being home again. For me personally, this fragrance evokes memories of my childhood spent in a daytime forest kinder garden, with no playground and actual playthings, just the grounds and the forest at our disposal. This was in the late 70’s, and I suspect the memory connected with this smell of woods after the rain together with the scent of pipe tobacco which hung in the smoking caretaker’s clothes, to me breathes comfort and safety.
White is an equally surprising white fragrance, which gives the extreme quality bourbon vanilla scent off, so that it almost has a whiff of sweet tobacco, it’s both a tiny bit fluffy and at the same time retains a low sense of gravity, and again the sensation almost of damp earthiness . In contrast to Verdant, and although I think Andy Tauer was inspired by a winter morning run for this one, I feel very much like this fragrance is the one you put on as you’d wrap yourself in a comfy shawl, once you’ve returned home from your country walk. You hang up the damp clothes, make a cup of vanilla scented tea, and comfy yourself up in the sofa with a good book, ah, and then just enjoy.
The violets then kick in, but only after a substantial amount of time with the vanilla, so beautiful and a bit powdery and yet so earthy and rich, a real surprise after the bourbon vanilla. The dry down of ambergris and warm wood, is the lovely base on which the two main players are resting. I like the way as you read the notes, and kind of second guess the fragrance, only to be proven utterly wrong. White has notes of Bourbon vanilla, orris root, violet blossom, amber gris and warm wood, and it’s lovely.
May I suggest if the ‘wildlife’ of verdant is a bit too much for you, that you might try layering. Oh, yes, I know the whole idea was to restrict the perfume to 5, but they do go awfully nicely hand in hand. Both have 8+ hours at least.
The picture I get from both fragrances, the stories they tell, the time travelling is so vivid, so beautiful I can only encourage everyone who reads this: Do go and try all of the Pentachords, I’m sure you’ll find they will tell you your own story, if you’ll let them.