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