I have another review for all of you today. I'm going to start a discussion on another niche fragrance. One of the best parts of going on the fragrance journey is to sample fragrances. And I hope my reviews help you come to a decision on what to sample, what to buy and what to avoid. For those who don't know, I have specific standards for reviewing and rating fragrances. Oh, and what I write is purely my opinion, and not fact that is set in stone. Thanks in advance for reading.
Today's fragrance is L'Air Du Desert Marocain by Tauer Perfumes
For those who don't know, Andy Tauer is an independent perfumer (who sells his perfumes at MIN New York). His perfume line received a lot of respect from the fragrance community after his fragrance L'Air Du Desert Marocain (LDDM, in short) was hyped by the community on the forums, social networks and youtube.
Is this fragrance as good as it was made out to be or is it a classic example of a fragrance that is victim of over-hyping?
This scent is spicy, aromatic, floral (with rose) with a woody base. Far from a clean smell, but an intentionally dirty smell. Tauer envisioned the winds of a Morrocan desert blowing toward him as he stands at a terrace, and below, a town with several bakeries creating a pleasant smell of baked goods traveling across the air.
This fragrance is warm and dry, redolent of a desert night. It's dirty and dusty, smells like soil and sand, but that's the point of the fragrance. It's a desert. That's part of the atmosphere. Dirty not as in putrid, but rather as describing of nature.
I feel that the amber note is overpronounced, and in the drydown there is a strong vetiver note, where vetiver completely takes over. While the amber note is quality, and the vetiver note is one of the best vetiver notes I ever smelled, both of those heavy notes lack accompaniment, so of all notes, they stand out the most. I usually prefer notes like amber and vetiver to be part of a fragrance, but not the main parts. Yes, there is ambergris in the drydown, but it's subtle.
However, through most of the longevity of LDDM, a vanilla note is present and it is a quality vanilla note, along with a few other sweet spices that give it a gourmand vibe. This, in my opinion, is what prevented this fragrance from becoming stale and too focused. It supplemented what the fragrance didn't have. The vanilla note is by far, this fragrance's greatest strength. It smoothened an otherwise sharp and shrill fragrance. Best of all, it used vanilla the right way. It used a very small (but readily detectable) amount of it, instead of using vanilla as a crutch like some fragrances do.
The notes transition excellently and it shows the amount of time and dedication Tauer put into perfecting this.
While I cringe at many of the fragrances that claim to envision a certain atmosphere just to promote sales, but this one actually does. It takes you to an entirely different world. It's very easy for me to imagine exactly what Tauer described, watching a small town on a terrace at night with the wind of the desert in the distance pushing toward you. This is more than a scent to be packed and bottled. It's a portrait, and it's a painting.
Sure, there are fragrances out there that use the notes in this, but not with this structure and organization. It's not something so bizarre that it's completely different from anything ever made, but the small details show a meticulous effort to make this something that is still significantly different than most of the stuff out there.
This is Desert Marocain's greatest weakness. This is harder to wear during warmer weather. The high projection will be too shrill for some people to handle. I definitely don't think this is tame enough to wear during work (but if you do, wear very little of it). The average consumer could very well find this too unconventional. I don't think the younger generation, 15 to 25, will appreciate this one (though I'm in my early 20's and I appreciate it).
People around you may not appreciate this as much as you do, especially the ones that prefer fresh, fruity, aquatic and safe colognes. This fragrance does give a dirty soil and rock vibe which will turn people off. And it would be easy for some people to see this fragrance as smelling like a cheap incense stick. If you are looking to wear a dirty unclean woody masculine scent, this definitely is much better than most of the designers out there.
Most people, maybe 99% of people, won't take notice of the detail and sophistication that went into this. This stuff is very masculine and would have had a greater home in the 70's and 80's. But in the end, this isn't a fragrance like maybe Armani Code that a young guy could wear to get compliments from women. It's a fragrance that you wear because you like it. It's more of a fragrance you want to smell than smell like. You wear it because you appreciate it, and not to please people around you. This is not to say it will offend a lot of people (as long as you don't spray too much).
To me, it's not something I would wear daily (and I'm guessing that many of you probably wouldn't wear this daily either), but I would wear it when I'm in the mood for it. And when I'm in the mood for it, I love it. Even having the atomizer by my side to smell and it elevates my mood. Smelling the atomizer is pleasurable, but wearing it is an entirely different thing.
The projection on this is very loud at the opening, one of the strongest out there. So, you should probably wait a little while before leaving the house after you apply this. The projection is very loud for an hour, but after an hour, it gets softer and smoother, but still projects very well. 6 or 7 hours in and still projects just like it did during the 2nd and 3rd hour. For this reason, you only need to spray once or twice and that's all you need for the day. I don't recommend spraying 3 or more, unless your skin is very bad at projecting scents.
This gets excellent marks on longevity, and it develops well throughout it. It's very interesting to analyze how it changes over time. This lasts over 10 hours. If you spray at 8AM, it will likely take until 6PM until it starts getting close to the skin and slowly fades away. This means once you decide to wear LDDM for the day, you can't wear anything else.
You are paying $120 for 50ml. Yes, there are some designer fragrances that I feel are better for 2/3 the price, but compared to many niche fragrance, this is cheap. Most niche fragrances are $150+ (many of them in the $200-300 range). And this fragrance is not only a good value because it's relatively cheap. It's not just good for the price, but it's quality juice regardless of the price.
The ML to price ratio is ideal. Tauer could have included 100ml and charged $200+ for it, but he knew that many people are on a budget and people with big collections may never need more than 50ml of any fragrance. Even if it were $200+, it would still compete very well in that range as it already surpasses a number of fragrances in that range.
Is this worth buying? It depends. If you are someone who doesn't want to own a lot of fragrances, but just wants something that's versatile that people the people around them will love, I can't say this is a must-buy. But if you are working on a big collection, already have versatile scents (maybe, you've grown bored of many of them) and you want to give it something that it doesn't already have, then this is a great value.
Overall Rating: 4/5
(on a niche scale; not an average)
This is not for conventional minds or people who want to stay on the safe side. This is for people with broad minds who want to expand beyond their comfort zone. This fragrance is essentially what niche is, to challenge you with something bold, daring and original, where many of the designer fragrances may have started to bore you. Many people who are non-Basenoters won't understand the artistic value of this masterpeice, and they won't care for it. And that's too damn bad for them because LDDM is a fragrance that will find a great place in the homes of many people who do relish a challenge.
LDDM is a masterpeice. It's a work of art that would rather sacrifice some utility than destroy the purity of it's concept. Any flaws this fragrance has isn't a mistake in design, but rather a natural consequence of such bold vision and artistic dedication.
Verdict: I highly recommend you sample this.
And, now , I turn this over to you.
I really enjoyed this one.
What are your opinions on this fragrance (and this review)?