Having read the advertising copy promising an original approach to citrus, and on the evidence of a portfolio that includes L’Air du Desert Marocain and Lonestar Memories, I half expected Andy Tauer’s Orange Star would be a caramelized mandarin peel, smoky incense, and spiced amber concoction along the lines of Lutens’s weird, rich Mandarine-Mandarin. It’s nothing of the sort.
Instead, Orange Star opens on a very tart citrus that’s almost more grapefruit than orange, and a blast of aldehydes fully worthy of White Linen or Chanel No. 22. I may be hypersensitive, but it’s the aldehydes that matter here, far more than the citrus, which they far outlast in any case. Orange blossom and a bittersweet, woody violet soon step in for the citrus fruit, with no diminution of the attendant aldehydes. Orange Star’s aldehydes are of the waxy, soapy sort, and their overwhelming influence leaves the fragrance smelling very close to lipstick. Their effect is also profoundly “perfumey,” in a very 50s retro manner.
Sillage and projection, as so often the case with strongly aldehydic perfumes, are impressive, and Orange Star plugs along without much change for a few hours before the aldehydes finally commence their retreat. When it finally arrives, the soft amber and patchouli drydown feels uncharacteristically (for Tauer) bland and shapeless. I can’t help but wonder if more assertive base notes – especially the labdanum contained in Ambreine - would have rendered the aldehydes more palatable. While Orange Star is an interesting composition, it offers no effective counterweight to those blaring aldehydes, and so winds up feeling awkwardly unbalanced.
Note: It’s instructive to compare Orange Star to another aldehyde bomb, Chanel’s No. 22. The Chanel succeeds in balancing its stupendous aldehyde content with equally lasting and potent frankincense and white flowers, and hence satisfies my nose to a degree that Orange Star does not.
Tauer's Eau d'epices with a sprinkle of Fanta - not much else to say, if you are familiar with that (both Fanta and Ed'E). A bit messy.
I've written about a couple of orange perfumes recently. (Bond no 9 Little Italy and Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine) Neither one of them was satisfying, and both did orange an injustice. Come to think of it, I do know another solution to the orange problem perfumery. Robert Piguet Baghari seems to keep a shadowy, candied orange alive forever but this kind of magic seems to have a Faustian quality to it, so I'll leave it be.
I think Andy Tauer has found a solution to the orange dilemma.
The two perfumes that failed the orange tried to treat it like a lemon and make Eau de Cologne out of it. Citrus is bright, and citrus olfactory notes are volatile. Focusing on the lightness but trying to make it last feels a bit desperate, like the search for an eternal appearance of youth. I call this the red shoes approach. Keep dancing and maybe you'll convince yourself of eternal youth.
Tauer’s solution seems more realistic but no more prosaic, and likely more repeatable to anybody who would care to investigate (ie. imitate). He neither candies the orange, nor tries to make a cologne out of it. He preserves it. In stretching out the life of the orange, Orange Star trades some of the fruit’s tartness for a luscious hint of salt, but in finding endurance it also appears to have concentrated the flavor. Playing with depth and thickness instead of sweetness, Tauer fastens citrus to amber, and finds a middle ground that is both refined and lasting. With amber’s inherent lushness Orange Star glows more than it shines. Perhaps it has less wattage than a short-lived cologne, but it also has a lithe, like sun-kissed-skin quality that makes it both playful and kinda' hot. I’d love to smell this on someone else.
I am not sure about this one - I want to love it, but when first sprayed, it has a rsther overpowering cheap bath bubble/soapy top note that stays on for an hour or so. It is very, very strong. Then it settles to spicy very sweet orange, violet and fizzy pop. A very femininine scent, too feminine for me, and perhaps a bit too overpowering for my workplace. A nice date scecnt, though.
I cant fully make up my mind about this one.
I like the fact that, after an initial and somewhat confused outburst of fruity/green flavors, in the body of this scent the orange and citrusy notes in general are smoothened by a softer layer of vanilla and the likes.. The sweetness that remains uncontrasted towards the end however tends to bear too faint a resemblance to the picture I had drawn in my mind, inspired by such a bold label as Orange Star.
Worth a try still.