Linden Calling – and a giveaway!

– a review of Andy Tauer’s ‘Zeta

Spring…has sprung, and as it has, as it does every time and every year, it takes me by surprise. The Japanese cherry trees are bursting out in all their girlish, pink powder puff blossoms, the morello cherries are dusting off those winter blahs in blinding, bridal white, and everywhere I turn, nature has exploded in every shade of tender green.

Two short months from now, high summer will arrive. When everything that grows and everything that lives is at its most alive and aware, when the trees turn a darker, denser shade of green and the linden trees begin to bloom.

Summer has so many scents and smells. The sharp tang of cold lemonade on a hot day, fresh-mowed grass after rain, the coconut aroma of sunscreen and that salty kiss of sea and sand, the sharp smell of ozone during a thunderstorm or the verdant zing of a tomato plant soaked in earth and sunshine. All of them evoke ‘summer’ in whatever sense of the word, but to me, nothing quite spells ‘summer’ and ‘magic’ quite so much as linden trees in bloom.

In my native Denmark, you will find linden trees nearly everywhere you go. The long driveways of centuries-old manor houses are planted with linden trees and so are winding country roads, city parks are packed with them, apartment buildings have them planted in courtyards and playgrounds. Linden trees and linden blossom everywhere, and no one I know can resist them when they bloom in all their gold-green glory, even for a moment. Toddlers and tearaways alike will stop in their tracks, look up, and for once be entirely present to breathe in that complex, green, heady scent.

This is what Andy Tauer chose to recreate in ‘Zeta’. In a unique correspondance with natural perfumer Mandy Aftel and thanks to Nathan Branch, we have been privy to their creative processes from the beginning, as they both chose their individual interpretations and the challenges they encountered and shared along the way.

Many linden-themed perfumes choose the green route, and forget that linden blossoms positively drip nectar as they bloom, nectar that is often used in linden blossom honey, with a unique flavor and aroma all its own.

Zeta is not one of those. If you’re familiar with Andy Tauer’s creations, you know they are often tenacious, bold and sometimes with the half-life of certain radioactive isotopes.

A bright green zap of bergamot wakes you up right out of the bottle, but this is no usual citrus, because in no time at all, a flawlessly orchestrated linden blossom accord grows and blooms by the heat of your skin, so much, you look around and wonder where you are. It’s much less sharp and loud than most linden blossom perfumes, and right when you, too, are caught dead in your tracks to just this one moment breathe…that honeyed nectar drips down upon you and wraps you in a gold-green glow as soft as a two-ply cashmere shawl, as sweet as a drop of honey on your tongue, and as heated as a perfect high summer day. Zeta isn’t just olfactory sunshine, it is olfactory heat, but it’s never obvious, it’s never loud and it’s never overwhelming. Instead, it’s ethereal as air. I can imagine Titania in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ dabbing this behind her ears, before she quarreled with Oberon.

Meanwhile, one very mortal human – yours truly – is blown away by two things. First, that linden blossom can be so heartstoppingly beautiful, so green, so sweet and so soft. And second…

I am the original Honey Monster. There are a few notes in perfumery I can’t personally stand to wear, and I tend to avoid those when I can. And then there is the one note that refuses to wear me under any circumstances and in any form. (Maybe I was a queen bee in an earlier life. I wouldn’t be surprised!)

Honey. Honey is amped up to 11+ on my skin, it grows and grows and grows like some sentient, alien life form until it’s all I can smell and all I will smell – for days. Even if this honey is unlike any other honey I’ve met in perfumery, even if it’s more blossom nectar than honey…this love affair, alas, is very much unrequited. So I shall take solace in those other Tauers that do love me and my Honey Monster skin, but I say this now – Zeta is as incomparable, as beautiful and as perfect as the warm shade under a blooming linden tree on that one day of the summer that you will never, ever forget.

But once in a high summer moon, a perfume can be created with such care, such love and such utter joy, it takes your breath away and makes you grateful to be alive to share such marvels, to sense and appreciate that alchymistic ease with essence and oil, plant and potion, regardless of whether or not you can wear it. It’s a testament to both the spirit of the concept – the genie in the bottle, if you will – and the spirit of the perfumer, and Zeta has so much utter joie de vivre, I’m amazed to find it confined to such a tiny glass vial.

Therefore, because it’s Spring, because this perfume is Spring personified as well as the liquid embodiment of Summer, and because I am a firm believer in the rule of ‘Give!’, since it rhymes with ‘Live!’, Scent Less Sensibilities is hosting its first ever giveaway. I have two retail samples of ‘Zeta’ to give away to my readers. I could be boring, and let determine the outcome. I could use my magic 8-ball, or even my Tarot cards. I have a better idea. I will send each of those two samples – that I won fair and square myself – to the two most creative continuations of the sentence ‘I love Spring because…’

So I do. Sometimes, it’s pretty…magnificent to be reminded!

For as Pablo Neruda once wrote…

Let the wax raise 

green statues, let the honey 

drip in infinite tongues, let the ocean be a big comb

and the Earth a tunic of flowers…

And Andy Tauer responded:

“Linden shade in June –
sweet rose petals and the light
of Syracusa.

A winner will be announced on May 4th.

20 thoughts on “Linden Calling – and a giveaway!

  1. Ah, yes. I love Spring because… while I love Winter more, there comes a time when I have to let it go. It is an essentially spiritual decision, and one that I don't have much of a hand in. Not God, nothing like that, but automatic self-preservation. You can be a dark, gloomy, moody person (and I am a bit of that), but nature has her way of whipping you into shape when you most need it, emotionally. My time has come. Spring has sprung. Thy will be done. Sign me up, Queen Bee!

    By the way, have I told you that I married a Cancer? I am a brood-y sort of Virgo, so you can imagine…

  2. I feel like I'm back in school. 🙂 And I want to finally try that Zeta (I grew up with a linden tree in front of my house).

    I love Spring because it makes me feel alive and part of nature. It's the only season where I can go outside and feel myself part of the nature around me. And the smells! Nothing smells better than the spring, whether it's raining or sunny, in the city or in a forest, smells come alive around you.

  3. I love Spring too – I'm waiting for the confederate jasmine to bloom . Lovely review . I've not tried Zeta but I am big fan of Mr. Tauer .
    I'm in Ines ! Great review and I love quotes too. 🙂

  4. I love Spring because…

    My inner toddler likes nothing better than to prance around the house in nothing but my underpants, and in Spring I can finally shed Winter's layers and forget about them until Fall!


  5. I love spring because… we have 8 months of winter where I live. By the time it finally gets warm, people here go crazy. Everyone wants to be outside all the time. The sidewalks are crowded with tables, and people soak up the sun like it's food and they've been starving.

  6. I am powerless to resist anything that purports to smell like trees that “drip nectar.” I must be the anti-honey-monster. 🙂 Great review!

    I love spring because I don't like being cold, because I like waking up to sunshine instead of an alarm clock, because my friends and I celebrate the start of the season by drinking freezy drinks in the park, and for a thousand other reasons!

  7. I love Spring because life Springs eternal. Spring brings forth the element in Chinese Medicine WOOD~ pushes upward ~ earth energy moves toward Heaven and movement is stirred aft long winter's sleep.

  8. I love Spring because I left it in my Youth…
    Living in the area where seasons change is barely noticeable
    Over a decade I almost forgot that anticipation feeling.
    Visiting places, which have all four seasons, in Spring,
    Eyewitness to the awakening of the Nature
    Should I feel the joy I once felt?
    Probably. But sans suffering through the endless Winter, a
    Reminiscence of happiness because of the cold’s departure
    Is now only that – a tender memory. The feeling itself
    Nowadays is unfortunately
    Gone. I left it in my Youth. I left it in my Spring.

    (I’m not sure if the formatting is properly preserved; each letter in bold is supposed to be in the beginning of the line)

  9. To all of you who have replied so far…

    I am completely blown away by your creativity, and I say this, too – I had ulterior motives, too! 🙂

    The contest is open until Wednesday/Thursday midnight CET (which would be…3 PM PDT, 5 PM CDT, 6 PM EDT, and if I forgot anyone in Hawaii…let me know!

    For now…thank you, each and every one of you, for your wonderful, inspiring and highly creative replies! I already know just how agonizing it will be to choose between them! 😉

  10. I love spring because the shades of green seem infinite as the trees put their coats back on.
    I love spring because all forms of new life burst forth as if fulfilling a promise made long ago.
    I love spring because it makes me happy.

  11. I love Spring because it seems that the world is new.

    I went for a walk this morning and heard the birds tweeting (and the woodpeckers pecking–you would not believe how loud that noise can be!)The flowers are all blooming with color along with the trees that are filled with blossoms. Best of all, are the scents of just about everything–the trees, flowers,leaves, and the dirt. To me, it's intoxicating.

    Spring make me feel that anything is possible.In a warm, sweet-smelling kind of way.

  12. Hi, finally I have got the time to stop and say how very much I enjoyed your review of Zeta. I have never seen or smelled Linden. This seems something so European, and so out of my expeirence. Of course Linden may grow quite well in Australia for all I know, but I am not aware of it.

    So I am going zip across to Tauer Perfumes and get myself a samplple. I've been menaing to get a Tauer sample set for ages anyway. Thanks so much for the prmot, and the great review.

  13. I just saw this post today and wanted to leave a comment because of your use of Pablo Neruda's “Ode to the Bee” – I just got married last Saturday and I wore Zeta – and one of the poems that was read during the ceremony was “Ode to the Bee”! So I love the coincidence of finding that in your post, and I wanted to thank you again for reminding me of a great day.

  14. Anne Marie, I never give much thought to what life must be like on the other side of Planet Earth, but when you say you've never smelled linden, that rather…stops me in my tracks! (That'll teach me! 😉 )

    Really, you have something to look forward to. I hope you get those samples soon!

  15. Matildaben – that is an amazing example of…synchronicity? Zeta and Neruda's 'Ode to the Bee'!

    Serendipity? Both at once? Who knew? Whatever it is, congratulations to you! Thank you for finding my blog and for taking the time to comment.

  16. Carrie – isn't that amazing? I'm a firm believer in Jung's concept of synchronicity, if only because I've seen it happen far too many times to count!

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