Displayed on the wall of the store where I work are majestic African tribal robes, Indonesian necklaces as big as breastplates, elaborate Japanese altars, and heavy strings of shells from Papua New Guinea. I love the necklaces, especially, and the other day I finally tried one on. It was grand and angular and cold on my skin, and I felt queenly. Then I saw myself in a mirror. I looked like a mouse in a crown. As much as I loved it, it overwhelmed me.
This is how I’ve felt about Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Désert Marocain. I adore the fragrance’s heady, helicopter-over-the-Grand-Canyon feel, but ultimately it's too hard for pallid me to pull off, and I swapped away my bottle. This year, Tauer released Au Coeur du Désert, an Extrait interpretation of L’Air du Désert Marocain. I may have found my tribal robe at last.
Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Désert Marocain launched in 2005 (has it been eleven years already?), and its notes include coriander, cumin, petitgrain, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, cistus, geranium, cedar, vetiver, vanilla, patchouli and ambergris. L’Air is an Eau de Toilette, but only in the way that Mahler writes “songs.” This is one mighty Eau de Toilette.
L’Air du Désert Marocain is a rush of cedar and amber so shimmery and velvety that it feels like being trapped in a tiger’s eye jewel. The rest of the fragrance softens the edges a bit: coriander and cumin add interest and keep the amber from being too sweet; jasmine and vetiver perform the same function as the water in a bourbon on the rocks; and patchouli and cistus give it legs.
The combination is dense and angular, and it wears on me the same way a tuberose can be so narcotically spectacular for half an hour, then I need a rest. Maybe I’m a fragrance introvert.
Au Coeur du Désert is like L’Air du Désert Marocain prepared by a different chef. The ingredients are the same, but Au Coeur du Désert feels smoother, richer, and more elegant. The cedar's edges have been sanded down, and the fragrance’s ambery heart smells less sweet and more subdued. I wonder if Tauer upped the jasmine and maybe added a hint of rose to this one, too. It is rich, rich, rich.
Both L’Air du Désert Marocain and Au Coeur du Désert are maximum-presence fragrances, and one light spray will give you a good taste. Au Coeur du Désert lasts nearly twice as long as L’Air du Désert Marocain — a few dabs from my sample vial sees me from breakfast to sundown, no problem.
Are you a fragrance introvert? How do you fare with “majestic” perfumes?
Tauer Perfumes L’Air du Désert Marocain Eau de Toilette is $130 for 50 ml, and Au Coeur du Désert Extrait is $185 for 50 ml. For information on where to buy them, see Tauer Perfumes under Perfume Houses.