I already gave a full review of my stand-out favourite of Andy Tauer’s Tauerville Flash range, Fruitchouli Flash, which turned out to be a happy modern peachy chypre that reminded me of Mitsouko. I have to let you in on a secret – I think Andy has had another little brush with the classic Guerlain fairy, more of which in a moment.
I’ve tried the whole range and overall I will say that I don’t think these fragrances have the complexity of Andy’s main line. However, this isn’t a complaint, because he has reduced his prices significantly with the Flashes and this must have an effect on the ingredients he uses. As a perennially skint perfumista, I applaud this. To be able to buy niche fragrance at high street prices is a wonderful thing. And of course, affordability also enables people like me to think about getting really funky with fragrance and layering, which is something I think the Flashes would be really good for.
I know what I expect from amber – warm, snuggly, occasionally herbal (Ambre Sultan, looking at you), sunshine and coziness, but Andy gives it a twist. Of course he does! I sprayed expecting something traditional and got… salt, the sea, and then the old, cold stones of a cathedral. What? This isn’t like any amber I’ve smelled before; in fact it reminds me a little of Hermes Eau des Merveilles or Terre d’Hermes. And I have to say, it’s not my kind of thing, as I am not keen on marine notes or those ‘cold stone’ notes.
But Andy wouldn’t disappoint me. (I’m a fangirl, remember?) He slips the amber into the base, so that after a few hours it becomes richer and deeper, developing into more of the classical amber I think of. More resinous and slightly herbal with nothing even slightly jarring, it is smooth, holding close to the skin. Unsweet and completely unisex, I can imagine this as a holiday or summer fragrance. I can see myself wearing it with linen for sightseeing in the sunshine on a hot day, then enjoying the warmer base notes in the evening over dinner and drinks.
Whoa Nelly! Jonesy tries a floral? I know. I am a self-confessed anti-floral, so I looked at this vial of golden liquid questioningly. But it’s a Tauer, and I love some of Andy’s rose fragrances, particularly Une Rose Chyprée, which is one of my preciousssssessss. Honourable mentions also go to Incense Rose and the gorgeous PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. So I trusted him and then managed to spill the sample vial all over myself and my sofa. Doh! Well it was going to be a full-on test after that. I prayed I would like it.
Thankfully this is my kind of floral – very straightforward and easy to read. It’s a garden rose, the rose of rosewater and good Turkish Delight (Rahat Loukom, though not Lutens’ Rahat Loukhoum) and if anyone smelled you when you were wearing this, they would be able to say straight away “you smell like a rose”. It’s rich and luscious in the same way a deep red rose is rich and luscious, it’s not sweetened or hit up with oud or woods, which is why I think it would be great for layering.
As a gardener, I love to smell flowers as I pass by, but by definition those whiffs of scent are fleeting and ephemeral, which is an essential part of their beauty and appeal for me. Perfume, however, lingers on the skin and you are followed around by the flowers all day. Unfortunately this meant that eventually Rose Flash palled on me. Despite admiring its loveliness, longevity and naturalness, it isn’t something I would wear. I think it would be gorgeous on a man though, as I am keen on contrast in fragrance.
A postscript on this is that the t-shirt I spilled my vial all over has since been through the wash and as well as a faint amber mark on the white cotton, there is still a very definite scent of roses to it. I think Andy has created a rose with the power of the Hulk!
The bottle of perfume that I reach for when I am unsure, unsteady or in need of a guaranteed success is L’Air du Desert Marocain, because for me it is the ultimate Goldilocks perfume, perfect any time, any where, in any situation. I believe Andy is the master of incense, so of course I was very excited to try this. It isn’t as gentle as my beloved Desert Marocain, being much more butch, with a good whoof of Tauer leather that reminds me of Lonestar Memories as it goes onto the skin. It warms quickly, but there is very definitely a good saddle leather in it.
After half an hour, the smoke starts to enter the composition. Because it sings in the same key as the leather opening, it is a little difficult at first to register it, but the balance shifts gently until the smoke and leather are singing a gorgeous duet. Like the other scents in the Flash series, this is unsweet, which I love. While I mention that it’s the most ‘masculine’ of the Flashes, that shouldn’t put off women like me who follow the maxim ‘wear what smells good’. I think this could layer really well with the Rose.
For some strange reason I associate the label ‘incense’ with bergamot, and I miss that sparkle in this fragrance. It is fairly linear, but for me that’s fine. It jogs my memory and sits close to the skin, rewarding anyone who gets close enough with a smouldering warmth that wraps around you like a favourite leather jacket.
This is a pretty, floral vanilla that is lightly sweet and a little fresh. I thought I caught a touch of mint in the topnotes, in fact. The floral topnotes are a vivid reminder that vanilla comes from an orchid. As it warms on the skin, the classic richness starts to develop, but importantly without sweetness, so you don’t start to smell like a walking cookie. It’s also not boozy, which is another plus point in my book. I adore Guerlain’s Spiriteuse Double Vanille and its little cousin, Eau des Missions, and I have been known to wear really indigestible vanillas like L de Lolita Lempicka, but they are hard work and can be overpowering, especially in warm weather. Like the roses, I think vanilla is more wearable when it’s unsweetened and just a gentle occasional waft in passing. Vanilla Flash definitely ticks those boxes for me, with its sunny carefree vibe.
I think this would be a fabulous fragrance to take on holiday, or to wear in the summer generally, especially during wedding season. It feels relaxed and makes me think of the smell of Monoi oil and Ambre Solaire, even though it doesn’t actually smell like sun tan oil. It does smell expensive though, and it lends itself to wearing on the decolletage, as I discovered when I tried it. Vanilla Flash would be lovely with crisp linen in the day or a cocktail dress for drinks on a terrace on a warm Mediterranean evening.
The longevity is good, as I kept catching tantalising little wafts of myself over the course of the day and evening. In fact, I kept finding myself turning around to find out who was wearing Shalimar. I am simply not woman enough to take on the Grande Dame of the Guerlain canon; I leave that to my Mother, who splashes it on with glee and cheerfully leaves a three-mile sillage in her wake. I have always envied women who can wear Shalimar and now, thanks to Andy I can wear my own version. You see? I said he’d been visited by the Guerlain fairy again, didn’t I?