Friday, July 22, 2011

When perfume speaks, you can only listen - Pentachords by Andy Tauer

I am happy to be able to host a guest post by Asali who was recently a lucky recipient of some Pentachords samples and I feel lucky she wanted to share her experience with us by writing a post. :)

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.


  1. Asali, between yours and Tara's review on my blog, I know I have no chance resisting the Pentachords, they sound wonderful.
    And Ines - another case of perfumed synchronicity, indeed. :)

  2. Hi Asali, glad to read we are on the same wavelength with these! I agree that they are a must-try.


  3. Hi B.,
    I'm so glad you think so, and I really wouldn't advise you to resist your urge at all :-)

  4. Hi Tara,
    I'm glad you find them a must try too. I noticed that you also had the most vivid pictures smelling Verdant. That one truly transports you.

  5. Olfactoria, I love it when that happens. :) It makes me feel like we are a very connected community.

  6. Asali, wonderful post! I am looking forward to trying these. Thank you!

  7. Tara, I had to check after your reviews if there are any samples available but unfortunately not. :( I'll have to wait a bit more before trying them...

  8. Hi Bloody Frida,
    You inspired me to buy Vintage Replique with your own post, and I love it. Thanks for the tip. And thank you very much for your kind words:-)

  9. Asali,

    Thanks for these very evocative reviews, which I read alongside Tara's, and find beautifully complementary. I am really keen to try these scents now!

  10. Ines, I don't think they're going to be available until September/October I'm afraid. They'll be worth the wait though!

  11. Dear Asali,

    It's nice to meet you through Ines's blog! I loved your last guest post, and I love this one too! I feel like I was out in the woods trampling through the damp forest with you, then followed you to your cottage for a spot of vanilla tea. Andy's scents really capture his love of the outdoors, don't they?

    Thanks to you and Miss Tara at OT, I'm going to have to get acquainted with these Pentachords!

  12. Hi Vanessa,
    Thank you for reading them:-) I'm sorry that you might have to wait a little, since apparently the Pentachords will not be available for sniffing until September/ October (according to Tara). But, to look at the bright side, I think perhaps they are better suited for Autumn than Summer anyway.

  13. Dear Suzanne,

    Thank you for the welcome, nice to meet you too. I'm slightly blushing from reading your very sweet words on my posts.
    I agree that Andy's fragrances very often catch his love of the outdoors, but Verdant is really exceptionally vivid in this regard.
    I think perhaps you were there in the forest with me since you mention the cottage that I definitely saw but didn't write about:-)

  14. In my RSS feed these two guest posts - yours and Tara's go right one after the other which is surprising if to take into the account how many blogs are on my reading list.
    Even though I'm still not sold on the idea, I enjoyed reading your review.
    Will any of them be a full bottle contenders?

  15. Hi Undina,
    Yes, it wasn't planned:-) Great that you take time to read and comment on both, it's much appreciated.
    As to FB, yes, I would like a FB, but as to which...It's a though one, because the one which is most extraordinary, Verdant, is also the least perfumy, I mean smelling like you've just come from a forest walk at the office 9am is a bit strange. Also I would kind of like White to go with it since they compliment each other so nicely, even if you don't wear them at the same time. I think I will need more time with them to decide. I guess for me a travel edition of all three would be ideal (one can but dream...)

  16. Tara, in the end I contacted Mr. Tauer and he said that the samples will be available after the Piti show in September.
    Well, it isn't THAT far away. :)

  17. Asali, if we're lucky, they will come in travel sizes as Andy mentioned recently on his blog that he is considering creating larger sized samples (as in several mls so you can test them properly). In that case, it would be a shame not to take advantage. ;)

  18. Thank you for this descriptive review. Your description of White makes it sound just wonderful. I'm really looking forward to trying these.

  19. Hi APB,
    I'm very glad that you enjoyed the descriptions, and I certainly hope you'll get to try White and hopefully it will live up to your expectations:-)
    Thanks for commenting.