Beauty Without Fuss

Friday 12 August 2011

Andy Tauer Pentachords - Two Reviews (Kinda)

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for a guest blogger to help me write a review of the new Pentachords series from Andy Tauer.  I selected CandyPerfumeBoy because he has a wonderful style of writing, and I knew I'd enjoy his thoughts.  I wasn't wrong.  I also had another reason for needing a guest blogger, and that should become clear as we go along.  I'll let CandyPerfumeBoy take the lead, and I'll interject my comments as and when ...

What I love about Andy Tauer’s fragrances is their ability to surprise. They are never what you expect and the Pentachords are certainly no exception to the rule, all three fragrances in the series are imaginative and each has it’s own distinct and unique character.

The Easy One

CandyPerfumeBoy: White is the easiest of the three Pentachords to love and is definitely my favourite. Tauer has already shown us that he is a dab hand at creating a beautiful floral gourmand with Une Rose Vermeille and White is just that. However, where Une Rose Vermeille is huge and crimson, White is soft and subtle.

White is essentially a blend of iris and vanilla with a touch of violet up top to give it a sweet sparkle. The vanilla is considerably more prominent than the iris and it has boozy, rum-like facets that make it irresistible.

The Iris gives White a soft, velvety texture and although it is not in the foreground, it’s always there. The violet is used with a really light touch and it gives White just the right amount of lift in the top notes to stop it from becoming too edible or powdery.

As White settles the vanilla takes centre stage and the other notes fade into the background. The vanilla is lovely, it smells sweet and boozy but at times it can feel slightly synthetic and harsh.
I will most certainly be saving my pennies for a bottle.

Get Lippie:  At the end of his review, CPB (Can I call you CPB, btw?) uses two words that sum up my entire reaction to this fragrance: "... synthetic and harsh."  When I sprayed this onto my skin, I got a gaggingly sweet rush of boozy e-numbers, which was, to my mind, the perfume equivalent of spraying myself with popping candy  and rum. 

It was shrill, it was strident, and, sadly, it was linear, meaning that no matter how long I wore it, the scent never changed.  In its favour, if you like the scent - and some people will, sweet scents sell by the bucket load - it is tenacious, so it will be with you for a very long time.  Mr Lippie hated it.  And, after a time, my stomach decided it hated it too, which is when I decided to scrub it off.  Sorry Andy, I don't normally have such a visceral reaction to a scent, but, man, this caused a reaction!

The Clever One

CandyPerfumeBoy: At the end of the garden in my childhood home we had a plot of land that was always overgrown; there were patches of nettles, wild thickets of brambles and lots of old trees to climb. As kids my three siblings and I would spend our summers exploring the land, getting lost in the long grass and gaining more than our fair share of cuts and scrapes from the brambles. 

To me, Verdant smells just like our adventures at the end of the garden, like hot sun on nettles, grass and earth.

Verdant opens with intense green notes, like nettles and a ton of spiky pepper. At first it smells slightly harsh and dry but as it develops it becomes sweeter and earthier. Up close I sense the sweet, bruised leaves of garden mint.

The green notes last throughout the entirety of Verdant’s development and they are a pleasure to smell.  The base is sweet and green with vanilla and a touch of leather, which stops Verdant from ever smelling gourmand.

What is really clever about Verdant is that it manages to smell 99% natural whilst being completely synthetic. It demonstrates the genius of Andy Tauer as a chemist and his knack for creating beautiful, intelligent perfumes.

Get Lippie:  I agree that this smells more natural than White.  To me, however, this is still a shrill and strident, rather linear blend of notes that did not work - at all - with my skin's chemistry.  Less sweet than white, I found it pine-y both in good and bad ways (Mmm, forests!  Urgh, toilet cleaner!) but mainly, I found this LOUD.  And, again, exceptionally tenacious.   I didn't hate it, but ... MrLippie begged me not to wear it near him ever again*.  It's a wish I can probably grant, in all honesty.

The Unusual One

CandyPerfumeBoy: Auburn is the odd one in the bunch, it doesn’t really smell like any fragrance I have smelled before. I commend its uniqueness but I’m not entirely sure that I like it, that said I do find myself coming back to it to try and work it out.

Auburn starts with subtle notes of cinnamon and ginger, it’s spicy but not in the conventional way, the spices are muted as if they are hiding behind a veil of milky notes. There is an odd medicinal tinge that hovers in the background throughout Auburn’s development, it never feels intrusive but it feels slightly unsettling on the skin.

At the beginning Auburn smells slightly powdery but as the dry down progresses it becomes warmer and milkier. Just like White and Verdant, Auburn shares the signature Pentachords vanilla base but in Auburn it doesn’t feel as strong.

For me Auburn is just a little bit too subtle, I can’t help but wish the spices had just a bit more oomph and the scent itself had more of a presence. Auburn feels autumnal and the name fits perfectly, I can imagine it being worn as the days become shorter, the weather turns colder and the leaves turn to their wonderful shades of gold, red and auburn.

Get Lippie: Ironically, the one I like most, which I'm sure most of you will be thinking that I'm damning it with faint praise (and I'd probably concede the point to you, actually) right now. But this is warm, a little spicy, and less LOUD AND SHOUTY than the previous two.  Less synthetic and screechy than Green and White, it's more approaching what I would have expected from a Tauer creation, in that it's a little hard to grasp the connections, and it's an interesting puzzler, rather than an in your face concotion.  I'm still not sure I'd wear it again, but it's an interesting addition to my collection, and I'm glad to have smelled it.


Reading CandyPerfumeBoy's thoughts on these fragrances has been fascinating, and it's why I love reading the variety of perfume blogs that I do, no two people ever smell the same things the same way, and, after my somewhat ... extreme ... reaction to two of the scents in the collection, it is why I wanted a co-reviewer!  I was simply physically unable to get past the initial scentings in order to divine deeper thoughts about the fragrances.  I'm very grateful to CPB for his input into this post, and for being able to do what I was unable to.

However, whilst my comments in this post could be construed as negative, it is only my experience, and the things I dislike about the Pentachords may be things other people adore about them. I personally think that what Andy's done with the Pentachord series is a brave experiment, and I definitely think that the fragrances are worth a sniff, but I think that only time will tell whether these end up as classic Tauer material or merely random curiosities.  I'll be interested to see which.

Samples for this post were supplied by Scent and Sensibility

* The words "you smell like Toilet Duck" were used.

This post originated at: All rights reserved.


  1. How does the white one compare to other iris scents (Prada eau d'iris)? Love a good iris and so hard to find.

  2. Hi Jessica, to be honest, I wouldn't compare it to other iris scents at all, it's certainly extremely different to the Prada fragrance, and, in all honesty, I'd stick with the Prada.

    Other people might disagree, of course!


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