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quinta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2016

Perfume Review: Andy Tauer's Lonesome Rider

by: John Biebel


There are few fragrances that have been mapped, both literally and figuratively, for the wearer. Andy Tauer, the artisanal perfumer from Switzerland who has created modern monoliths like L’air au Desert Marocain, and Eau D’Epices, has walked many meters in real and imagined grassy pastures and plains to create his latest perfume,Lonesome Rider, and has provided such a map for us. Because the journey to this fragrance has been long, he’s chosen to lay this map out on a site created specifically for the perfume. At his Lonesome Rider blog, the whole universe of this new creation is there: reflections on its genesis, drawings and paintings by Tauer that depict the world of the Lonesome Rider, discussion of the perfume’s notes, investigations into the world of this character, this place. It’s a map that explores the idea of strength through solitude, but at the same time, like so many stars in a night sky, illuminates this idea though the brightness of many small ideas gathered together.
Andy is a generous perfumer in that he’s willing to discuss, share, inform – it’s a welcomed resource for those who want to know what’s behind his work. He tells us that this latest perfume, Lonesome Rider, has been in a state of creation for over a decade, and was in some ways begun with the creation of the perfume Lonestar Memories, and a limited edition from the same year, Orris (both from 2006). Lonestar Memories, which embodied a leathery, smoky core, is an interesting beginning place from which to travel. He once described the imagined wearer of Lonestar Memories as having finished “a long day on the horse in the dry woods, preparing his coffee on the open, smoky fire.” Lonesome Rider feels like the same character, awake again the next day, starting out on a long trek across a vast ranch, possibly spending days in thoughtful solitude.
Grasses Prairie Andy Tauer
One can’t help but conjure the poetic notions that surround the stories of cowboys and their lonely journeys. Volumes of poetry and song evolved from this period of time in the Americas, and cowboys still exist today in some of the larger ranches in both the Northern and Southern continents and in Australia. The Roy Bennett / Sid Tepper song “Lonesome Cowboy”, made so popular by Elvis Presley, sums up much of this mysterious figure in our folklore:
Will I ever leave this lonesome valley?
Really see the lights that shine?
Gotta find what lies beyond the mountain
Gotta rope and tie that dream of mine
I am just a lonesome cowboy
And I’m traveling all alone…
 
Lonesome Cowboy Tauer RIder
Lonesome Rider is a perfume of spaces. Whether it is a thick and deep wall of smoke, leather and citrus, or a long, lingering trail of ambery florals, it evokes sensations of the space around us, either very close or in the far distance, like a speck on the horizon.
The scent opens with a bold rush of vibrant, opaque notes: a mélange of citrus (from grapefruit and bergamot) which is interwoven with pepper and clove. This initial doorway into the scent is complex and swirls around rapidly between dark and light, not stopping at any note out of fidelity or expectation. It’s a dense and wooly experience of an opening; a kind of democracy of components as a supple wall of nuance rises and we slowly feel the emergence of a leather perfume emerge.
Tauer has chosen to revisit leather as the heart of his perfume.  Although this is also the case of the perfume’s progenitor, Lonestar Memories, it also shares some DNA with the lovely scent Incense Rosé. It may be his skill at mixing rose and spices, but this similar intermingling of pepper and rose in a new perfume is like a friendly nod between travellers on a trail under the stars.
Within two hours of the initial application of Lonesome Rider, the perfume comes fully into its being, revealing a leather core of wistful and shadowy recollections. Many of my own memories of leather articles came to mind at this stage: jackets, gloves, luggage, an overstuffed chair. This is a leather that’s been tamed by resins, leaves and teas, but with the slightest tinge of metallic salt. Andy discusses this aspect of leather in the development of Lonesome rider in a recent piece here at Fragrantica: “I love the warm, metallic, sensual, bright scent of orris root,” he says, and these sensations are embedded in the perfume’s leather. 
Added to reinforce this central element are an interesting triad of sandalwood, ambergris, and vetiver. Together these three create a tawny, tan-shaded, whispery grass sensation that is felt as much as smelled. Castoreum (from a non-animal source) is added in a minute dose to increase the sensation of smokiness, and to add overall richness.
This middle period of Lonesome Rider sees nearly all the perfume’s notes make an appearance, some trailing off and others just beginning to rise. It is the nature of leather to have both an acrid pungency and a warm resinous character, and both rise from the skin at the same time, evoking a richness that is usually only guaranteed by the passage of time. Yet here, the melding of aged leather, fresh roses and citrus successfully translates on the skin and rises smoothly, steadily, with a marked precision and knowing glow of familiarity.
What begins as a close, almost nuzzling kind of perfume fades beautifully in a soft and gentle vortex, moving along with a lumber or gait like a horse ambling away over a prairie. This is where Lonesome Rider finds its true stride, and the leather, spice, wood and ambergris all fall into smooth trails of ghostly descent, moving off toward a horizon. The poetry here is very intentional; the perfume itself takes on an increasingly poetic character as it evolves over a day. This is where Tauer has invested his deepest thinking about Lonesome Rider. His perception and aspirations about the perfume, and the resulting sensations, become one story.
Sandalwood, rose, orris, and faintly lingering citrus are all parts in the day of the life of this isolated figure. It comes together as a direct extension of an idea, and we find ourselves contemplating the departure of this figure, in his leather jacket, as he retreats toward the endless sunset.  It brings to mind a beautiful moment in the 1988 French/Cameroonian film “Chocolat” directed by Clair Denis. Near the end of the film, a father is trying to explain to his daughter what the horizon in the sky actually is. He says: “The closer you get to that line, the further it moves. If you walk toward it, it moves away…” I was reminded of this sense of the setting sun as Lonesome Rider evaporated after a very long day.  An evocative smell that is fascinatingly just beyond our grasp, as the rider strides away on his own path.
Of particular interest in Lonesome Rider is the unusual juxtapositions that often fail in other perfumes. Here, rose is used as a gateway or transition from opening to middle, middle to base. Ambergris melds beautifully with sandalwood to create a slightly bitter and ashy, dark leather that is unapologetic in its toughness. Still, this “unrefined” character does not render the leather notes as brash or gaudy; instead, we’re reminded of the resilience that leather communicates; a kind of supple shield that protects but still allows heat to radiate through.
There is a warm heart within Lonesome Rider, and I believe Tauer spent so long creating this scent because he wanted this fleshy, beating heart to remain vital and meaningful despite many years of contemplation and work. The perfume has a long, rich life on the skin, and as such utterly reflects this creative, artistic journey.
“Saddle up and ride, you lonesome cowboy…”

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