If aldehydes add fizz, sparkle and a dusting of glamour to perfumes, they also impart a foamy aspect – like whipped cream without the fat if that were possible. They are funhouse mirrors, bending other more nature-inclined notes into surprising shapes.
These qualities are all present and correct in Noontide Petals, a sunny, quicksilver creation that plays with the nose. The opening is a gust of aldehydes through which the richer floral and woody-resinous elements are perceived singing with vocodered voices. What does it smell like? Initially a bit like those Indian agarbattis (incense sticks) which depart from the traditional themes like rose or sandalwood and go for a fantasy feel with a range of aromatics crammed into one.
The tartness evident in much of the perfume’s evolution is worth remarking on – a lemony aspect to the aldehydes that modulates everything else. It took me a while to get used to and to decide whether I like it or not (I do). Through these lemon shades Tauer’s sweet florals (roses and jasmine among them) and resins take on curious hues, not quite themselves, but intriguing nonetheless. It’s only in the late stages when the aldehydes are losing their power that sweeter, calming tones like vanilla start making things a bit rounder, a little less edgy.
It goes without saying that Noontide Petals evokes aldehydic perfumes of the past, but that may be a response triggered by aldehydes per se (a bit like the bell to Pavlov’s dog). I’m hard pressed to find a specific firm point of comparison with particular perfumes – Noontide Petals is pretty much itself.
Want to know what Noontide Petals smells like? Shake a can of ice-cold 7-Up, hold it up to your nose, and open the tab. As the aldehydes and bergamot shoot up your nose, you gasp for breath, and then you laugh. I can think of no better formula for summer joy than this. But this is no one-hour wonder. It lasts all day and keeps you on your feet as it shifts between its stages of development. The fizzy top notes give way to a heart that will be familiar to fans of Andy’s Incense Rose and L’Air de Desert Marocain, a mixture of bone-dry woods, spices, rose, and incense. The best way I can describe the “Tauerade” base to someone who hasn’t tried his scents is this: take a hot boulder in the middle of a dessert, add a few tears of Frankincense and shards of desiccated cedar, sandblast it all down to a powder, and fire it off into outer space. Why wear a boring cologne water when you can wear aldehydic space rock dust? Just the thing to suck the moisture out of a humid summer day.
If a fragrance could sparkle like a fizzy drink, this would be it! Andy Tauer strikes again. Took a whiff of this and was blown away. It is a classic aldehyde fragrance and demonstrates what can be done with a bit of imagination. Sparkle, dazzle, zesty magic!
In line with the pillars of classicism (the resemblance with Joy Patou for instance is effectively unquestionable, though in a less animalic and elevated way) Noontide Petals is an old-school aromatic/floral chypre with a classic aromatic/fougere opening (bergamot/citrus lavender/geranium), with powdery/aldehydic notable accents, a floral exotic soul and a semi-oriental vanillic/incensey chypre dry down mastered by iris and by an almost lacteous soapy vetiver. The aldehydic/freshly botanical/orangy introduction is plain and soon radiant playing a role of support towards a soon emerging floral olfactory kaleidoscope. The tuberose/ylang-ylang couple masters over a yet notable more conservative rose/jasmine pair in the core of this complex aroma while a whiter iris lifts its whiffs in the air along the soapy-powdery dry down. The base notes are in my opinion also characterized by a really heady note of cool/powdery patchouli linked with a powdery sandalwood-vanilla conjuring me Coco Mademoiselle more than vaguely though in a less heady and "minty" way. Extremely romantic and dreamy juice. In the middle between classic and neo-classic modern refinement, yes with Joy Patou/First and at once for instance Tom Ford Arabian Wood/Iris 39's accents and nuances. I have to disagree with the optimum friend of mine Drseid as i don't "see" a particularly overwhelming aldehydes assault, since i don't find this aroma so synthetic on the skin and finally because in my opinion the note of tuberose, iris and probably also ylang-ylang are more influencing the achieved aroma than the rose itself (the soapiness is mainly provided in here by an exotic/laundry ostensibly synthetic ylang-ylang than by the yet present rose itself and the scent Une Rose Vermeille which i tested recently provides a different floral approach under my humble nose). In conclusion, riding the time of Hypnotic Poison and the Jacobs's chemical poisons i tend to appreciate and support these modern sensible attempts to retrace the old-school olfactory footsteps in a cleaner and probably less "stale" way, re-orchestrating some old-style recipes in order to reproduce learned and thoughtful aromas.
The aldehydic floral perfume is iconic. Jean Patou Joy is remembered by many as the greatest perfume of the 20th century, and Chanel No 5 is the definition of perfume to generations. The mythology of the aldehyde is somewhere between urban legend and factoid thanks to No 5: someone dumped buckets of aldehydes into a floral base and the baby Jesus was born.
But the floral aldehyde does have its risks. At one end of the spectrum is the punch in the face, Estée Lauder Lauder White Linen, and at the other, the limp handshake, Guerlain Chant d'Aromes. Granted, this leaves a large middle ground for success, but in that middle ground is another risk: the nondescript perfume. Throngs of faceless perfumes led entire generations to think of aldehydic perfumes as soapy and nondescript.
But look at the successful perfumes. The aldehyde serves as an important modifier, but because it seems to work differently in each perfume, it comes off as a wildcard to the perfume wearer. To Van Cleef and Arpels First, it gives backbone. It allows the perfume to hold together green, animalic and bright white tones without flying apart. In Robert Piguet Baghari, the aldehyde gives that electric shock, like someone's just grabbed your ass. To No 5, aldehydes lend a specificity, an unspeakable clarity. It's hard to put words to it, but you'd never mistake No 5 for anything else.
It Noontide Petals, the rush of aldehydes at the opening of the fragrance gives a tremendous feeling of acceleration. In one nose-full you're carried straight to the center of the fragrance. Once you’re up to speed, you recognize parts of the aldehyde package. The sparkle, the pristine quality, the smile. In Noontide Petals, the aldehyde does exactly what it was intended to do. It focuses your attention on the flowers. The buoyancy of the aldehyde makes the rose appear hyperrealistic at first, but with time I realize the aldehyde and the flowers are balanced just so. They merge and just as they become indistinguishable, the base of the perfume surfaces. The expansive quality of the aldehydes reverses and the resinous basenotes turn inward and suggest reflection.
Starting by moving outward before ultimately looking inward, Noontide Petals reminds me of the premise of Erev Yom Kippur. Before seeking forgiveness from god you must ask for forgiveness of your fellows. And here is aldehyde's specific gift to this perfume: Noontide Petals is a study in thoughtfulness. It shows that tenderness is grounded and deliberate. It’s an attribute, not a lack of deficits.
24th September, 2013 (last edited: 18th May, 2015)
Modern twist on floral aldehyde
On my skin, Noontide Petals is a bright feminine scent with 8 hour longevity from 1 large dab or two sprays. As mentioned in other reviews, it has a vintage feel due to the aldehydes. But in Tauer's creation, the aldehydes are a sparkling uplifting mechanism that results in the composition having a feeling of sunshine. The artistry is that the aldehydes do not make me feel like I've been attacked with a can of AquaNet hairspray, as the creations of the midcentury scents did. Smells divine and expensive (which it is).
Noontide Petals opens with a good dose of aldehydes, but these are not overwhelming- I suspect the bergamot and geranium notes for toning them down.
The middle is dominated by the ylang and tuberose with a subtle rose presence. Vanilla and Iris start to show up to foreshadow the drydown.
Besides the vanilla and iris mentioned above, the dry down also presents just enough sandalwood to ground the fragrance and there is very little patchouli and vetiver to add some greenness.
This is a very delicate, almost powdery, scent that wants to transport me a few decades past to a "classic" era- whatever that means. The earlier stages of it tend to lean to the feminine spectrum, but the finish dries down to more neutral ground.