“It has been a great year with many highlights but the first thing that comes to mind is when I visited the store Tigerlily in San Francisco where I launched Rose Flash and Vanilla Flash. It was amazing to see how many of my friends and perfume lovers where there. They were actually thanking me for coming to San Francisco because when I’m in America, I usually visit Los Angeles. It was a great experience so I definitely want to go back.”
In 2015 you launched Sotto La Luna Tuberose. Could you tell us a little bit more about the story behind this fragrance?
You learned the art of perfume making yourself. What do you think has been an advantage and disadvantage about this?
“I always tell people that not going to a perfumery school has been very helpful since you are free to do what you think should be done. Maybe it’s easier to come up with your own handwriting when you teach the art of perfumery yourself. However it might take longer because there is no teacher who tells you what not to do. I learned to create perfume by trying, falling on my nose and getting back up again. What I also realised a while ago is that when you go to a perfumery school, you are surrounded by other students and so you can start building a network. I was very lucky because when I started, the niche perfume industry was very different from what it is today. There were less players on the market and so it was easier to be seen by suppliers, other perfumers, clients and the press. It’s amazing to see how the name of the game has actually changed.”
What do you think makes a good perfumer?
“I think a good perfumer is a creator who tries and who manages to come up with innovations and new solutions without leaving the track of what can be worn. What I mean is that it’s very easy to create a perfume that is shocking and provocative but you can’t really wear it. A great perfumer makes a step into a new territory but still stays in a territory where the consumer and perfume lover can follow him.”
When you compose a perfume, do you have a prototype in your head or do you follow your instinct and your nose?
“It’s actually both but not for the same perfume off course. Sometimes I just use a picture or put colour onto a canvas and start working from there. For instance with Rose Flash I had an idea of wanting to make it thick and heavy but still wearable and I already had an idea of how I could do this. But then there are other perfumes like L’Air du Desert Marocain where I try to tell the story that is in my mind. It’s both very rewarding in a way.”
L’Air du Desert Marocain is actually my all-time favourite perfume, could you tell me the story behind this scent?
You also have an inspiring blog where you share your thoughts, what message do you want to send out with the blog?
“I started the blog more than ten years ago and back then I wanted to share what it’s like to create a perfume. So initially it was more about the creation part but over the years I learned that if I talk too much about my new fragrances, then some perfume lovers could be disappointed because not every perfume I’m working on will eventually go to the market. So I reduced this a little bit and talk more about how to build a brand. The blog also really helps me to focus and it’s great to have the interaction with my readers.”
What are some of your favourite base notes in perfume and why?
“Patchouli is one of the base notes that I usually come back to because the texture is amazing for a fragrance. You will also see me using ambergris, vetiver, tobacco notes and sandalwood which is so rewarding to work with.”
What has been the biggest challenge that you had to face as a perfumer?
“One of the biggest challenges was when we couldn’t ship bottles to most places anymore. It happened a few years ago when the restrictions for dangerous goods in Switzerland were implemented and they are very strict. For me that was a big challenge because back then I was shipping a lot of orders to the United States and therefore I had to build up a warehouse structure and change the entire logistics system. The biggest challenge that I face as a creator is when I have a new scent ready and just want to hand it over to the perfume lovers. But you have to kind of say no because sometimes it needs some more time, the market has to follow you. Another challenge is to know when you are done because at some point you are so biased and uncertain that you are only looking for the mistakes. Quite often I then talk to friends and let them smell the fragrance, their opinion really helps.”
What are your plans for 2016?
“There will be a couple of changes next year. I started to discontinue some of the fragrances in the Tauer perfume line since I need to make a little bit more room for new things. For the spring I’m planning a new fragrance in the classic Tauer perfumes line. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be like but I can tell you that it’s going to be interesting because I’m basically looking back at ten years of Tauer perfume. There will also be a new Sotto La Luna fragrance in 2016 and for Tauerville I’m planning on creating a new line. It will be a very exciting year.”