– a review of Tauer Perfumes’ ‘Orange Star’
Associations can be a dangerous thing. When I close my eyes, touch my nose and think of the word ‘orange’, very definite memories come to mind.
I grew up in Southern Florida, and at that time, you would be hard-pressed to find a backyard anywhere that didn’t contain at least one orange tree. These oranges did not look like the oranges we’re accustomed to buying every winter. They were more green than orange, with definite orange blotches, and even now, I can close my eyes and conjure up their taste of tart, sweet sunshine, or the smell of the blooming tree in all its white-green-gold bridal glory…heady, indolic, with a zesty hint of the wonders to come lurking in the blossoms.
I can remember another memory…a roadside stand somewhere on the road to Delphi in Greece on a blustery January day and a farmer selling bags of gargantuan, softball-sized oranges that glowed like jewels far down that road, oranges flavored with all the heat and toil of that blazing Mediterranean sun.
I think ‘orange’, and I automatically think ‘happy’ and I think ‘joy’. Both of these words and any of their synonyms all add up to…
I’m the world’s biggest sucker for…orange. Orange zest, orange blossom, neroli, petitgrain…whatever way it’s used – and indeed, orange on one incarnation or another is one of the most ubiquitous notes in perfume – will find me day-dreaming at the thought of inhaling happiness in a single sniff. I own not a few…a bell jar of Serge Lutens’ ‘Fleurs d’Oranger’, Bertrand Duchaufour’s ‘Orange Blossom’ for Penhaligon’s, Atelier Cologne’s Grand Neroli and Orange Sanguissime, Dior’s ‘Escale à Portofino’, the delicious orange accords of Aftelier’s ‘Candide’, ‘Tango’, ‘Oud Luban’, Doc Elly and her interpretation of the orange cattleya orchid…
Yes, I love, love, love orange! Now, if someone would ever dare to make a smoky, sultry orange-themed chypre…
Therefore, I was an accident waiting to happen when Andy Tauer launched ‘Orange Star’ in 2010. The idea of Andy+orange was enough to make me swoon with anticipation in front of my laptop as I read one glowing review after another. Somehow, a few drops managed to find their way to me, and it was…love. That tiny sample vial was gone in nothing flat. When I finally remembered to review it, I had nothing left.
This was no way to do an orange – or indeed Andy Tauer – the justice they both deserve. Recently, a decant found its way to my mailbox, and I was one happy blogger as I tore open that envelope and sprayed.
And hated it! Soap! LOTS…of super-luxe, beautiful, glorious…soap!
On the wall in front of me, I saw a neon sign blinking two very depressing messages.
“Philistine!” said one in Da-Glo orange neon. “And you dare to call yourself a perfumista!” said the other in equally pulsing Las Vegas orange.
Oh, the shame of it! My perfumista street cred would never, ever live this down!
But before I could pack up all my samples, bottles and decants and send them off to more sophisticated, appreciative, far less Philistine homes and noses, I took a deep, deep breath. I know enough by now to know that first impressions can be misleading. I packed it away for a few days. It could have been the day, my mood, or my hormones playing tricks on my perceptions.
Over the next few weeks, I straightened my spine, re-schooled my nose, steeled my resolve and tried again. At some point, this orange finally dropped.
‘Orange Star’ is…there is no other way to put it – an orange pulse bomb. Take that as literally as you please.
Because this is every aspect of orange, every quintessence of Citrus Sinensis you could possible think of. A stop-motion orange movie played backwards in slow motion.
It’s biting into an exploding sensory orange bomb as you would bite into an apple, the bittersweet perfume of the rind, and the wet, sweet glories of the flesh as the juice runs down your chin. You are engulfed in some alternate universe of orange, mandarin and Clementine that fills your senses as far as you are able to perceive, and best of all, this marvelous stage lasts for quite some time, far longer than most other orange-centered perfumes I can name. Those thirty-second summer colognes with their thirty-second moments of glory turn green with envy.
The fun is nowhere over yet. A good long while later, as you revel in your own wafts of orange magnificence, this perfume begins to bloom, first softly and imperceptibly, like a far-off, ghostly memory of orange blossom, and then, those blooms open wider and wider, and you lie in sated bliss beneath the canopy of an orange grove in full bloom, swooning in that heady, sensual scent. The sun is shining, the birds are singing in the flawless blue above, and orange blossoms rain their delectable nectar down upon you as you inhale deep with every breath, joined by that earthy, bittersweet dark green of petitgrain and heated earth – this must be the lemongrass listed in those notes – and if optimism has one perfume note, this would be it. I don’t know how anyone could be blue as they breathe in that scent. All I know is I can’t. Blues? What blues? Happiness…is orange, and as any visual artist knows, the complementary color to blue is…orange!
Hours and hours later, you are still there in that mythical orchard, still with the ghost of juice running down your chin, still breathing in those staggering, beautiful blooms, still so happy it’s a wonder you can stand. Only now, ambery, incense hints creep in through the shadows deepening in the sunset of this perfect day, a suggestion of smoke, of sultry, sexy patchouli, a feather-light touch of vanilla glowing on your skin, glowing in the corners of that perma-smile on your face.
I’ve never known a perfume like ‘Orange Star’, never met an orange like this one, and I’ve never encountered an evolution like it. Forget everything you know about top, heart, and base notes…this one swirls and dances and bounces for hours, one constantly evolving, burnished surprise. When I inhale and think my happy thought of ‘amber-patchouli-and-is that tonka bean?’, it winks its zesty, saucy wink, and when I think ‘zest’, a puff of orange blossom takes my breath away. Like not a few Tauers I’ve encountered, this has the half-life of some radioactive isotopes. Not for the commitment-phobic, it will last, and last, and last, and l-a-s-t.
Not everyone will love this, and I can see why – there is a definite scaffolding of the famous ‘Tauerade’, which works for some people and not for others, so I can only state what I always say…try before you buy!
Back in my day, I planted Andy Tauer in my Perfume Pantheon for the genius that is ‘Incense Extrème’. Thanks to ‘Orange Star’, he’s still there, just glued a little tighter to that pedestal…I blanche to contemplate his many other creations…
If you have ever loved an orange, you should try it. Give it time, give it more than one chance, give yourself a chance to get to know it.
Let ‘Orange Star’ explode upon your skin, and blow those winter blahs to smithereens!
Because happiness…is an orange bomb!
Top: Mandarin, Clementine
Heart: Lemongrass, orange flower
Base: Ambergris, tonka bean, vanilla
Incense isn’t listed, but I swear it’s there…