The common "desert" name of course suggests that Tauer Au Coeur du Desert is similar to L'Air du Desert Marocain, and it's largely a safe bet that if you like one, you'd like the other, and vice versa.
I find ACDD a bit drier, a bit stronger (which makes sense, due to the increased concentration), and less sweet and a bit less inviting. Artistic and challenging, but less wearable, ACDD involves the same dry amber accord that dominates LDDM but applies more spices and woods, just not the exact same coriander accord that factors in so strongly into LDDM.
Performance seems fine--equal to if not better than LDDM--so it should definitely be tried by fans of LDDM, and most would benefit from trying it out if they could anyway as it's an interesting composition even though, like LDDM, it's not quite for me.
6 out of 10
Similar overall to L'Air du Desert Marocain, but not as pleasing to my nose. The opening has a note that is almost identical to Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford. It is an oiled leather smell and I was amazed at how much it reminded me of TL. Cinnamon came on within the first 30 minutes or so, and the figgy smell I picked up from LADDM came on within about an hour or so. This is a nice fragrance, but I like the notes in LADDM better. It just wore better on my skin than ACDD, but that's not to say that this isn't very nice, because it is.
I like Au Coeur du Desert. Starting with L'Air du Desert Marocain as a reference point there are cooler drier spice, deeper amber, more patchouli, less cedar, less smoke, less vetiver. The fragrance ends in amber woods whereas L' Air du Desert ends in sweeter amber/cedar. I could easily ascribe mystical implications at work in the creation of this fragrance - it resonates with greatness! Andy Tauer has taken a good fragrance and changed most aspects by slight degrees to end up with an all new but better similar styled statement fragrance. It wouldn't surprise me to find that changes in the raw materials that might have occurred over time invited an all new reworking of the original idea for this one. A new and improved effort - a "knowing what I know now" second chance at redemption sort of redo. I prefer Au Coeur du Desert to LADDM and don't really think it is all that similar as it turned out. This is an excellent fragrance.
23rd November, 2016 (last edited: 26th November, 2016)
To my nose and on my skin, this fragrance is quite similar to LADDM, but with differences that I would summarize as follows:
LADDM = dusty spices + dry woods (mainly cedar) + sweet amber. The spice is most prominent in the opening, cedar in the heart and amber in the dry-down. For most of the life of the fragrance I get wood + amber with a slight residue of spices. Projects pretty well and lasts all day.
ACDD = LADDM minus the spices. More specifically, the spices are still detectable but way in the background. Instead, the top of ACDD gives the impression of something burnt. The notes are crumpled into a compact ball, and it takes about 10-20 minutes for them to unfurl and breathe. I need to test further to pinpoint performance differences, but I can at least say that performance is either very similar or somewhat more powerful.
Given that LADDM's performance is already stellar (in my experience), I'm not sure that ACDD is worth the 50% price premium, unless you're not particularly fond of the spices in the initial phase of LADDM. I love the spices, so I prefer LADDM.
Au Coeur du Desert is the extrait version of L’Air du Desert Marocain. But certain nuances have been dialed up and some down, so that while it is recognizable as a twin to the original, it is definitely a fraternal rather than identical twin. Those who love L’Air will love Au Coeur too; but maybe those who found L’Air too demanding to wear may find a version that suits them better in Au Coeur.
The petitgrain in the topnotes has been turned up a pitch and extended far into the heart. This drenches the scent in a bracing, citrusy sourness that momentarily reads as very masculine, petitgrain being a popular feature of fresh, lemony aftershaves. The citrus is so bright and piercing that it throws the other notes into deep shade, making the cedarwood and patchouli seem darker. If L'Air du Desert Marocain was the red-gold of the desert sands and the harsh glare of the sun, then Au Coeur is a melting chocolate brown, the color of the long shadows of a log cabin lit only by the fire.
The spice notes are searingly dry – cumin and coriander seeds dry roasting in a cast iron pan over an open fire. The coriander in particular seems to have a very dirty edge, and teamed with that bright sour petitgrain, there is a brief impression of a lemon rolled in dirt. This sudden maleness, a slight undertone of male funk, was always present in L’Air du Desert Marocain, though. The spicy funk survives in Au Coeur intact.
The tinder-dry, papery Atlas cedar has been strengthened, and there is also more patchouli, but it the dry, clean type of patchouli (possibly even patchouli coeur, an extraction of patchouli that takes the clean, dry part and discards the damp, chocolatey facets). I am also convinced that there is an iris-leather accord hiding in the heart, because there is something of Lonesome Rider’s bright, dusty leather here.
All this creates that familiar feeling of being surrounded by smoking, papery cedar trees. Except whereas L’Air du Desert Marocain puts you outside in the desert with the smell of cedar trees on the hot air, Au Coeur conjures up an inside space: a log cabin with a crackling fire, every piece of furniture made with dry, aromatic cedarwood.
The greater focus on the woods (cedar and patchouli) means that I would call Au Coeur de Desert a dry, aromatic, spicy woods fragrance rather than the dry, aromatic, spicy amber-incense fragrance that is L’Air du Desert Marocain. To my nose, the ambroxan has been turned down a bit in the extrait, so instead of the dry, sweet n' salty crackle of ambergris, the smoky cedarwood and spices simply fade out, getting softer and slightly sweeter with time.
The increased dosage of certain materials – the patchouli, the cedar, possibly iris – has the effect of rendering the texture of Au Coeur denser and slightly moister than its big brother. By no means would I call Au Coeur creamy, but it is certainly less parched.
Of course, this has an effect on the overall feel of the fragrance. Where L’Air du Desert Marocain is airy and scaled to cathedral proportions, Au Coeur has less air between its molecules and is confined to a smaller, cozier head space. It wears more closely to the body and although its longevity is truly stupendous, it speaks with an indoor voice. The same dry heat connects them both, but their expression of that heat is different.
It must have been a helluva thing, creating a flanker to an acknowledged masterpiece of perfumery. It would have to land exactly on that sliver-thin wedge of the wheel between the magic that made the original so great and something new to chew on. I think Au Coeur du Desert more than succeeds. I don’t think it will convert the haters, but it will surely give those of us on the fence a little push. Warmer, plusher, and more intimate in tone, if anything, Au Coeur will bring more women into the fold.