Tauer Perfumes Zeta : Fragrance Review

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by Suzanna

Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer burst onto the niche perfume scene in 2005 with the stunningly atmospheric L’Air du Desert Marocain, a breath-of-the-desert scent that twisted bergamot and petitgrain through a hot floral-woody core.  This was when Andy had just two perfumes (the other was Le Maroc pour Elle) and those two scents were available only on the Tauer perfume Web site and had to be posted from Switzerland.

Six years later, Andy has produced 21 scents, two of which (Ingrid, Loretta) are not yet released. He was especially prolific in 2011, a year in which he released six scents.  In this number was one of the most ebullient summer-sunshine perfumes you are likely to encounter, Zeta

 Zeta is like standing in the middle of a lemon grove, holding a honeycomb in one hand and a ray of sunshine in another.  It’s stunningly yellow with its lemon, bergamot, orange blossom, and neroli notes.  These Andy cuts with linden, and beneath that, honey. Rather than the troublesome honey employed elsewhere, this is the kind of honey they sell in Florida, so clear you can see through the jar, like captured sunshine.

Zeta opens with a freshly peeled citrus; the lemon-orange skin is zipped down fast so that the oils immediately release their particular sweet astringency.  There’s a wonderful segue from citrus oil to citrus/honey floral to honey itself (linden and orange blossom both have honeyed facets).  Half an hour into the wearing, the most marvelously warm and edible honey note floats up as if Andy has coaxed it right out of the flower and sent it sailing past your nose. Nevertheless, Zeta isn’t terrifically sweet. A light green note from the linden keeps this from being edible or “chewy” and exhibits a slightly raw, green edge.  Where Zeta might be thick and syrupy, it is shot through with light. Still, it feels luxurious, as if conjuring an expensive summer fantasy place and the quality of sunshine within.

Sandalwood serrates the mix early on, and it’s powerful, expensive sandalwood that makes Zeta more woody-floral than straight-up floral. The amount of sandalwood is impressive and it takes Zeta out of the sweet zone.  It’s radiant, but it quiets to minimal diffusion. That is just what you want at this time of the year when odors are heightened anyway. Why isn’t everyone talking about Zeta? It’s the best under-the-radar summer floral out there. The citrus/linden/sandalwood combination is a knockout. Try it. Zeta has displaced a couple of my summer favorites as the thing reached for most often—or at least until my samples run out.

Zeta is the first in Tauer Perfume’s “Collectibles” series that uses the finest raw materials. It features notes of lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, ylang, orange blossom absolute, neroli, linden blossom, rose, orris, sandalwood, vanilla.  Available at Luckyscent or at www.tauerperfumes.com in 50 ml eau de parfum.

Image: Joshua Tree sketch for Zeta Tauer Perfumes

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50 Comments

  • Kathleen: “Zeta is like standing in the middle of a lemon grove, holding a honeycomb in one hand and a ray of sunshine in another.” = Genius writing!

    This review makes me want to dab on some on my sample of Zeta, but I think I need a snuggly vanilla again today. :-\ (Is this REALLY June weather?) June 5, 2012 at 7:24am Reply

    • Suzanna: Kathleen, thanks! I can give you some of my June weather if you’d like some. It’s hot and muggy and the sun is too bright so there is plenty to share.

      I love vanillas also–my fave is Profumum Vanitas and I need a bottle soon. June 5, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

  • Zazie: I love your description!
    Unfortunately I really hated Zeta – while the opening was sunny and bright, as you describe, I found the heart and drydown of the fragrance to be lacking substance. The drydown especially felt generic (watered down Tauerade).

    I was disappointed because I would love to find one of my favorite floral notes, linden blossom, highlighted in a fine perfume. I gathered that Z would be such perfume, but it wasn’t… I get my linden blossom fix from OJ frangipani (esp. from the body lotion), but it is not enough! Any suggestions? June 5, 2012 at 8:36am Reply

    • Suzanna: Zazie, I was struck completely opposite you. It’s so interesting how impressions differ, and in this case radically.

      Victoria and I were just talking about D’Orsay Tilleul, so perhaps that might be a good linden for you if you don’t already know it. June 5, 2012 at 10:01am Reply

      • breathesgelatin: I like linden, and I like Zeta and D’Orsay Tilleul. The only hangup some have with the D’Orsay is the melon note. But I really love that one, too. June 5, 2012 at 1:22pm Reply

        • Suzanna: The D’Orsay is pretty scarce now. I need to buy a bottle! June 5, 2012 at 8:31pm Reply

    • breathesgelatin: Another idea: I believe Zeta was developed through Nathan Branch’s “letters to a fellow perfumer” project. Andy was corresponding with Mandy Aftel, and the fragrance she developed was Honey Blossom. So you might try that; I haven’t had the opportunity to try that one. June 5, 2012 at 1:26pm Reply

      • Sara: Honey Blossom is gorgeous. I love Zeta too, but I wear Honey Blossom more often. Nothing is more summery to me than linden blossom. June 5, 2012 at 1:38pm Reply

        • Suzanna: I’m glad to see Mandy’s scent mentioned in context with Andy’s. Both should be sampled by those in search of linden. June 5, 2012 at 8:32pm Reply

      • Suzanna: breathesgelatin, thanks for mentioning Mandy’s scent. I am not familiar with it, but Victoria mentioned it to me in a discussion we had about linden (a fave note of mine that is underused). June 5, 2012 at 6:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Zazie, I have a linden blossom tag here, where I classified a few linden perfumes we’ve reviewed, so perhaps you might find some more things to try:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/note/linden

      Ditto what everyone already said about Aftelier Honey Blossom. I love this perfume. MAC Naked Honey was likewise wonderful, but it’s impossible to find. June 6, 2012 at 4:28am Reply

  • Vanessa: “Sandalwood serrates the mix early on” – what a great expression! I do find Zeta a “trenchant” kind of citrus, certainly – quite literally with a metallic note to my nose. And I get the same thing with Carillon pour un Ange – a case of galvanising the lily, if you will.

    Zazie, two other linden scents you might care to try if you haven’t already are Ajne Printemps and MAC Naked Honey, though the former is wildly expensive and the latter discontinued. : – ( June 5, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

    • Suzanna: Vanessa, thanks for making the suggestions to Zazie. I hate to say that I had Naked Honey and swapped it, in pre-linden-liking days! June 5, 2012 at 10:04am Reply

    • Zazie: Thanks for the suggestions!
      I wasn’t aware of the Ajne line – the description of printemps sounds truly wonderful!!!
      even more so as I do associate linden blossoms with urban landscapes (and smells).
      I really wanted to try naked honey when it launched, but it never made it to my country 🙁
      Maybe I’ll be lucky on ebay, who knows?
      😉 June 5, 2012 at 10:21am Reply

      • Suzanna: In hindsight, Naked Honey was luscious. It was a lot denser than Zeta, too.

        Perhaps I will get lucky on eBay myself! June 5, 2012 at 10:38am Reply

    • Marika: I’m a Tauer fan but I detest Carillon pour Un Ange. What is that reeking metallic green note (so I known to avoid it)? June 5, 2012 at 9:22pm Reply

      • Suzanna: Sorry, Marika, I’m not familiar with the Carillon scent. Can anyone else weigh in on the note Marika references? June 5, 2012 at 9:37pm Reply

  • Morgen: “It’s stunningly yellow with its lemon, bergamot, orange blossom, and neroli notes.”

    It’s so funny that you mention yellow, as lately I’ve been in love with two scents for that very reason – they are so YELLOW to me, and so evocative of sunshine and brightness, that they positively scream summer – Nostalgie by Sonoma Scent Studio and Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne.

    Now there’s one more I might have to add to my collection!

    Lovely review, Suzanna. June 5, 2012 at 10:21am Reply

    • Suzanna: Morgen, I have had my eye on that Atelier and now will have to try it.

      I’m testing Ames Soeurs by Joya for an upcoming review. It’s a citrus/floral/musk oil that I tossed into my purse and find myself using quite often for refreshment during the day. June 5, 2012 at 10:40am Reply

      • Morgen: Oh, you should! It smells just like a bitter orange, and than has a lovely musky dry-down.

        NST just reviewed Ames Soeurs, and it sounds delicious – apparently there’s a nice ginger note in there? I like that it has a story behind it, too. June 5, 2012 at 5:48pm Reply

        • Suzanna: Morgen, I didn’t find the ginger note in there, but I’ve been suffering a bit of seasonal allergies that might have affected my sense of smell.

          I’m really enjoying it–and it’s nice to find something on the lower end of the price spectrum.

          Thanks for your thoughts on the Atelier. Sigh–just when I remove one thing from the wishlist, another appears :–) June 5, 2012 at 6:02pm Reply

  • marsi: Another great review from Suzanna! I think that you might be my scent twin, because I enjoy most of your recommendations. I no longer live in my sunny and warm Spain, but I still like perfumes with citrus. June 5, 2012 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Marsi, I think Florida and citrus are as natural scent partners as they are commerce partners. Citrus scents are a must here. Heavier scents–the orientals-with thick vanilla and ambers are simply too heavy most of the time here.

      Glad you enjoy the reviews! June 5, 2012 at 6:03pm Reply

  • Marla: Andy’s perfumes are high on my Admire List, but not high on my Wear List. Zeta is an exception. It’s very wearable and unique. It’s one of my top Tauers along with Pentachords White and Incense Extreme. June 5, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Maria, I am a fan of L’Air du Desert Marocain and have been since the beginning, and I also love Incense Rose and Zeta. I will have to try the two you mention as being your “top Tauers” bec. I have not tried. They sound great and thanks for mentioning them! June 5, 2012 at 6:05pm Reply

  • breathesgelatin: I’m a huge fan of Andy’s, and when I first tried Zeta, I was a bit iffy on it… it just seemed so… light… compared to his other beloved creations. However, this spring I found myself craving a bit of Zeta, and I had used up my initial sample. Undina kindly sent me another one, and now I’m going through that… I think I may be falling under Zeta’s spell! June 5, 2012 at 1:25pm Reply

    • Suzanna: breathesgelatin, that “lightness” you mention is what attracted me to Zeta in the first place. It’s just right for me and is the ideal summer scent–and it’s so pretty, too. I can almost measure the temperature of the golden light streaming through it! June 5, 2012 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Elisa: I just figured out that the very fragrant trees blossoming in my neighborhood right now are lindens. Then I was compelled to dig up my as-yet-untried sample of Zeta — but I can’t find it! Tragical! June 5, 2012 at 1:48pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Elisa: Uh oh. Worth ordering another!

      Lucky you with the lindens. We don’t have them here! June 5, 2012 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Therese19: Suzanna!

    Your review makes me want to buy without smelling. Something I never do!

    Great stuff. Keep it coming. June 5, 2012 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Therese19, I am sure you would enjoy a sample–perhaps you can start there! Thanks for commenting! June 5, 2012 at 6:06pm Reply

  • Austenfan: Thank you for this lovely review. I have been waiting to order a sample of this. I really must now. I quite like a few of the Tauers and there are 2 that I love. Le Maroc pour Elle and Lonestar Memories.
    I am glad he has slowed down a bit this year, because that was a lot of perfume to put out in one year. June 5, 2012 at 4:04pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Austenfan, good point about pace of releases. In general, I personally get lost or outright lose interest in perfume in general when there is too much (this is a very subjective measure, of course). I used to sample all the new releases and then it seemed like an onus. Also, chat/discussion on forums and message boards was no longer as fun because there were fewer weighing in; fewer trying the new releases means a diluted discussion pool.

      Therefore, Zeta slipped under my radar until recently, and how unfortunate that is! I suppose this is what blogs are for: we are reminded or given evidence of what is out there that we might seek out and enjoy. We’ve now had a nice group discussion here on BdJ because of this scent that was not even recently released, which some had not tried. June 5, 2012 at 6:11pm Reply

    • Marge Clark: The main reason I haven’t broken down and ordered a REAL LIVE BOTTLE of Zeta is that I can’t decide btwn Zeta and Le Maroc pour Elle. So I keep sampling and sampling and sampling. June 21, 2012 at 7:27pm Reply

      • Suzanna: Tough decision, Marge! While I personally would lean towards Zeta, I also love Le Maroc and eventually would wind up with both. June 22, 2012 at 6:33am Reply

  • Eva S: I love Zeta (own a FB) , and I’ve always thought of it as captured sunshine, you review is pefect! I especially enjoy the drydown (the sandalwood is to die for!). June 5, 2012 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Eva S., so glad you commented that you own the frag. Also, seconding on that fantastic sandalwood drydown, which is an unexpected surprise considering the sunny floral and honey at the center. June 5, 2012 at 6:07pm Reply

  • Amer: the lindens are in bloom where I live. Their super-diffusive scent fills the air with euphoric and sometimes headache inducing effects. I love it!

    Andy Tauer and Mandy Aftel both created perfumes based on the same linden CO2 extract. Honey Blossoms is Aftel’s take on the material June 5, 2012 at 6:13pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Great info, Amer! Thanks for adding it to the discussion. I will have to try the Aftel; I’m sure I will love it. June 5, 2012 at 6:15pm Reply

  • Undina: After I got over the fact that for the life of me I cannot smell linden (one of my favorite notes!) in Zeta, I realized that I liked it and now I own a bottle of it.

    Your review is very sunny. June 5, 2012 at 7:16pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Undina, I’m glad my review is “sunny.” And your comment made me smile. The linden is in there. I think sometimes it’s just a matter of expecting something to materialize in a familiar way, or in a strong way, or in a way that is recognizable to us. There are many scents in which I cannot find the notes, but since we know that linden was in fact used in Zeta, perhaps it will appear as a genie before you, and hopefully one that will grant your linden-scented wishes. June 5, 2012 at 8:15pm Reply

  • annemariec: Suzanna, how much Zeta do you normally apply?

    I like Zeta, or at least I would, but I find it hard to smell it. I am a light applier anyway, and many of the Tauers are strong so I am extra careful. But perhaps you can be lavish with Zeta?

    I’m alone this evening so after a shower and reading your review I spritzed four smallish sprays from my sample vial. If that had been Marocain I would be calling the paramedics by now.

    I can smell Zeta okay but, well, not strongly … Perhaps it will blossom on my skin soon.

    Thanks for the review. Lovely image too. June 6, 2012 at 4:28am Reply

    • Suzanna: annemariec, I must have be super-sensitive to fragrance, because I can apply a drop of Zeta and still smell it hours later. There have been comments about its lightness, but that isn’t the case for me now. In the past it has been, and what I used to do was to apply the frag, wait half an hour, and apply again. I still do it with ultra-light frags like L’Artisan Mandarine! June 6, 2012 at 6:38am Reply

      • annemariec: That’s a good tip, thanks.

        I’ve been in Zeta for a couple of hours now and it just won’t lift off the skin. I’m worried that if I spritz with abandon I will blast family and colleagues out of the room, even if I can’t smell it myself. So I will have to pass on this one, I think. Sigh. June 6, 2012 at 7:03am Reply

        • Suzanna: Sorry that won’t work for you, annemariec. Zeta after some hours (on me) is a lovely skin scent–quiet whisper of the sweet linden before.

          I am also conscious of blasting people around me and I don’t like to wear any scent at all to meetings so I understand! June 8, 2012 at 9:17am Reply

  • Anna in Edinburgh: “Zeta” is deliciously honey-like and long-lasting on fabric or even on a tissue hidden about one’s person! Definitely has a “sunshine” quality to it.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh June 7, 2012 at 4:40pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Anna, I’m glad you can envelope yourself in Zeta’s honeyed sunshine. I’d forgotten about the tissue trick and perhaps it will work for annemariec. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. June 8, 2012 at 9:18am Reply

  • Annette Reynolds: Suzanna, I have only just seen your review of Zeta, while searching for reviews, etc of Andy Tauer’s “Ingrid.”
    While I seem to have trouble wearing most of his fragrances, I want to love them so much that I just keep trying them. (I think the only one that has worked for me so far is Le Maroc Pour Elle.)
    I’ve just dabbed on a bit of “Ingrid” (part of his collaboration with filmmaker Brian Pera) and think it’s quite beautiful, but again not for me.
    I’m wondering what you and/or Victoria think of his “Woman’s Picture” perfumes: Ingrid, Loretta, and Miriam.
    I loved your review of “Zeta,” though, and am now going to order a sample of it. It sounds heavenly! November 2, 2014 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: I tried only Loretta, a big white floral, and it was very pretty. I only smelled it once, so I don’t recall much else. November 2, 2014 at 11:05am Reply

  • Julie: Hello Victoria,
    I lost my mom a few weeks ago…Therefore, I haven’t been reading much on your website or thinking about scents.
    I tried No 06 Incense Rose (a friend gifted me for Christmas) and I really enjoy it. Andy Tauer’s Zeta caught my eye awhile ago. I enjoy linden. I was reading about it while visiting luckyscent.com online.
    Your review is extraordinary!
    A beautiful description, thank you, Victoria.
    A.T. has an EXPLORER SET, 3 scents, 15ml each that I just may have to buy. 🙂 May 11, 2016 at 10:17am Reply

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