Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
L’Air du Désert Marocain created by the Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer is a great illustration of the affinity between amber and patchouli. The two notes both have contrasting and complementary facets, and while their marriage is fascinating, arriving at the right balance is tricky. In L’Air du Désert Marocain, the harmony is quite striking—the resinous darkness of labdanum is wrapped around the chocolate bitterness of patchouli, with accents of woods and spices lending the composition a radiant quality.
L’Air du Désert Marocain was launched in 2005, and among Tauer’s fragrances, it is one of the most successful. This popularity is not surprising, considering that not only does it weave an interesting story, it presents its oriental theme in all its opulent splendor. By contrast, most of the big oriental launches of the past few years have veered into the direction of fruity gourmand (Yves Saint Laurent Belle d’Opium, Jimmy Choo Eau de Parfum, etc.) Those who love the velvety darkness of classical orientals and miss it in the latest fragrance offerings will find L’Air du Désert Marocain to be a great discovery.
On skin, the amber-patchouli accord is noticeable upon the first inhale. The typical voluptuous aura of a classical amber (which is a combination of vanilla and labdanum) is very appealing in this context. Despite the richness of materials, L’Air du Désert Marocain has a surprisingly radiant quality. The citrus notes give it a sparkling lift at the top, while the cool woody accents dispel the heft of amber in the drydown.
There is an exotic quality to L’Air du Désert Marocain, and while it is a modern composition in its refined, streamlined structure, it hints at another era. It is not a fragrance to throw on mindlessly as one rushes about getting ready for work. It tempts one to slow down and apply the dark gold liquid with a few careful touches on one’s skin. And careful one must be, for L’Air du Désert Marocain is a potent blend with excellent tenacity. A couple of drops suffice to perfume me for the whole day and serve as an excuse to dream of sun warmed stones, jasmine crushed between hot fingers and other trappings of my own oriental tale.
Tauer L’Air du Désert Marocain includes notes of coriander, petitgrain, bitter orange, lemon, bergamot, jasmine, labdanum, geranium, cedarwood, vetiver, vanilla, patchouli and ambergris. Available at Luckyscent, First in Fragrance, The Perfume Shoppe, as well as directly from Tauer Perfumes. Eau de Toilette Intense 50ml, $125.
Sample: my own acquisition