I am very privileged

Because... I sometimes feel very lonely the way I do things. And because I feel that my kind is dying out. I am almost 100% vertically integrated, which means I produce, I pack, I ship, I send emails, I communicate, I pay the bills. Another reason why I sometimes feel like a fossil: the way I compose. When I follow some 'industry insider' talk that trickles down to Facebook, and I learn about the frightening details of some perfumes being created with a pressure on price that makes it virtually impossible to create something outstanding, I often find myself baffled. [...] Finally, let me say this straight: I admire deeply - very deeply - every perfumer who manages to emerge from a '$75 per kilo' brief and create something nice-smelling. I am very privileged.

— Andy Tauer of Tauer Perfumes, explaining why he feels like a fossil, in part 2 of a 3 part interview with Persolaise (here's part 1 and part 3).

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Top 10 Summer Fragrances 2014

tall roses

For some reason, I’m easily irritated by the question, “What are your plans for the summer?” As my husband keeps reminding me, it’s just a harmless conversation-opener, but somehow it never fails to set my teeth on edge — more so than ever this year, when my “plans” involve nothing more than unemployment and job-hunting. Maybe we’ll do some day-trips, but it’s hard for me to feel as though I’m on holiday when I don’t know what comes next.

In that cheerful spirit (with apologies to Robin, who assigned this post to me without knowing my current frame of mind!), here is a list of ten fragrances I plan to wear regularly this summer, as I try to enjoy myself. I won’t be shopping for perfume much over the coming months, so I’m relying on my current collection and stash of samples to raise my spirits.

I’ve worn Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau every summer for the past decade…

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5 perfumes for: a Desert Sun-seeker

desert

Like many kids — including, currently, my daughter — in elementary school, I dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. We lived in Steeltown, Central Canada, but my parents humored me by giving me books on whales and sharks. Then, when I was ten, we moved to the Pacific Northwest, to live within walking distance of the ocean, and my mother realized humoring me now was going to involve keeping tanks full of weird, wet, smelly sea things in our laundry room. She was a good sport about it. Eventually, I went away to do half my double major in biology as an undergraduate and in the meantime, my parents had moved to the other coast. I spent two university summers living with them, working for an Atlantic fish conservation agency, and those months spent in hip-waders, prying errant eels out of fish ladders and tagging traps, cured me of the childhood career dream. But my love affair with the ocean has not wavered.

For a while after I left home, then, I was suspicious of any vacation destination or employment opportunity that lacked access to saltwater. Once I was married, though, my husband coaxed me into moving to Alberta. After I got over the nosebleeds, I found I enjoyed the famed high blue skies of the west, and day-trips to the badlands to the north and in Montana suddenly appealed. Again, I started reading, desert stories like The English Patient and Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines, books about Mexico, Wilfred Thesiger, the Battle of the Little Bighorn and, oddly, Los Alamos. The reading led inevitably to vacation plans and traveling, trips to New Mexico, North Africa and to the arid edge of the South American altiplano…

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Tauer Perfumes Phi Une Rose de Kandahar ~ fragrance review and a quick rose poll

rust-colored rose

Phi — Une Rose de Kandahar is the latest from indie niche line Tauer Perfumes, and when my sample arrived last year, I sprayed it once, then put it right into the purgatory basket, where samples go to languish when I can’t decide if I like them or not. And Phi did not capture my affections right away. It’s the second fragrance to join Tauer’s Collectibles series (the first was Zeta), which is based on rare natural materials. Since the scents are dependent on specific harvests, they may change slightly from batch to batch as new materials are sourced. As you might have deduced from the name, Phi was inspired by a natural extract of a rose from Afghanistan.

Anyway, I did not love Phi — I wasn’t even sure if I liked Phi — so I let it sit for a few weeks, and then a few more, and then I came across it at random and gave it another shot. Maybe it’s the colder weather, or maybe it’s that I wasn’t in the right mood the first time around, but now it seems perfect.

The first thing you need to know about Phi (assuming you haven’t already smelled it, and many of you probably have) is that it’s not a big floral rose, nor is it a feminine one…

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