One of the lessons you learn when you grow up, start a family with children, and enjoy an active social life, is the difference between being lonesome and being lonely. I have two wonderful kids, an adorable wife, and a job I like well enough, but when you’re in the position of having to communicate all day long with other people, you begin to realize that every moment on your own is precious. Don’t get me wrong – I would never want to miss a single moment of my life with my family or my colleagues at Essenza Nobile. I am grateful that I have all of this in my life. Nevertheless, I savour every single minute I have to myself.
Leading the life I do, I tend sometimes to romanticize the life model of the lonesome rider. It must be great to have no obligations to fulfill in your spare time, to be able to spend as much time as you want on your hobbies, to spend every evening in yet another bar, and with nobody telling you what to do with your free time. The perfume Lonesome Rider by Andy Tauer describes how such a happy, carefree, and lonesome (in the best sense of the word) life might feel.
But there is second, much more important, interpretation of Lonesome Rider: independence. Do your own thing, follow your own path until you reach a place that you like. It is about an inner journey – a very personal journey that is only about you and no one else. It is not unusual to live life and simply forget to also take care of our own needs. Virgina Wolf said it’s important to have a room of one’s own. To remember the pleasure and necessity of solitude. Lonesome Rider reminds us of the importance of solitude.
10 years ago, Andy Tauer began his story as an autodidact and outsider. He was going his own lonesome way in niche perfumery but created great perfumes, which earned him worldwide critical acclaim and attention. It all began with a limited edition EdP called “Orris”, much beloved and still sought (in vain) by its fans since its discontinuation. Orris was spun off into a new perfume, Lonestar Memories, and now, 10 years later, it has become the base for Lonesome Rider. Orris has traveled its own lonesome path to get here, in 2016.
The minute you spray it on the skin, you will be reminded of its original blueprint – the great Orris. It is not like a copy, rather, it is a new approach to an old topic, refined by new skills which have grown over the past 10 years. I have always liked Lonestar Memories (find Claire’s recent review here) because the title is just perfect. The balsamic, smoky, and yet tender fragrance evokes so many images and emotions for me. It is a perfume that makes sense on so many levels – it is a pleasure. So as soon as Andy Tauer put up his website for the new fragrance, the entire fragrance community was whipped up into a feverish anticipation.
Tauer was pushed onwards and upwards by online communities, and without the power of the internet, it would have been difficult to grow the type of loyal, global fanbase he has right now. This fragrance is his way of giving back to the community that got him where he is, and the fragrance itself shows that same streak of stubborn independence. From a retailer’s point of a view, it is hard to understand what he is doing here: selling samples for pay-as-much-as-you-want prices and selling bottles at steeply discounted pre-launch prices, which is something that we (the retailers) will never be able to offer later. I guess one or two shops will be a bit upset over this – but then again, Andy Tauer is following his own lonesome path and that is to be applauded. He is self-taught, self-employed and he does what he wants and for good reason. There is a touch of socialism in his actions and this is his THANK YOU to all the people that care about his work. This is the fragrant expression of the wish to give something back to the community. It is his project – completely self-driven and on terms dictated only by him and nobody else. That’s damn brave and admirable.Lonesome Rider Sample
Ok let’s get back to the most important bit: the fragrance. You can really see I am sucker for stories like this, but I know you all want to know how the fragrance itself smells. The topnotes of bergamot and grapefruit come with an important yet subtle emphasis on black pepper. The cologne-like opening would be way too citrussy if not balanced and buffered by that pepper note – the pepper does its job perfectly and puts the fragrance instantly onto its true course. Pepper, cloves, and spices all around – the rose connects to the pepper molecules giving a warm, spicy feel overall. Don’t worry – the head is only sharp right after the first spray, afterwards, it becomes softened by a buttery saddle leather note, like worn saddles warmed by cowboy bums in Mustang jeans after a day-long ride through the desert under the burning sun. And this is where the turn happens.
The fragrance is a play between light and dark, but in a different way than Mona di Orio tried to achieve with her Cuir – this interchanging play is far more dainty. You start with the cologne-like freshness, then the pepper brings it down, and pulls it into the dark melange of spices, clove and smoke. There it remains for some time, connecting with some (artificial) castoreum and jumping back again into a very bright and shining vetiver-Iso E Super-ambroxan base. Actually, it feels a bit like jumping out of the shower and right into a circle of sweaty, dirty cowboys. The leather stays on top of all that, but what stays, once fully developed, is that magical fresh feeling that will hypnotize people in the way that Grenouille’s final perfume induced a fugue state in the townspeople at the end of Patrick Suskind’s Perfume. The elements of roughness are gonecompletely. The fragrance is like starting a walk on a sunny day, and crossing through a dark tunnel to reach the gleaming light that appears more and more with every step, and every sniff.
I do love Lonesome Rider, but if I had to choose just one, I would stay with Lonestar Memories, Lonestar is simply more bold in its statement to my nose. Looking at the story behind Lonesome Rider, I had hoped for more of that drama to translate into the perfume. But Lonesome Rider does smell great, there’s no doubt about that. It is a fantastic, masterful play of notes, the opposite of the very linear and frankly boring progression of fragrances like Byredo’s Super Cedar. It is interesting and fun to follow the path of this perfume. A balm for the soul if you have a lonesome rider somewhere inside you, but live a not so lonesome rider life. And this is another thing a good fragrance does: it plays with your daydreams and visions, making your musings more vividly real to you. Lonesome Rider is the adventure you take on your own.