People reading this post belong to one of two groups: those who are familiar with Andy Tauer's work and those who've never sampled any of his perfumes. I almost feel like I need to break this review into two parts according to these groups, because if I'm going to talk about Andy's recognizable Tauerade, his familiar ambergris accord or make comparisons to Incense Rose, some of you are going to get all glazed eyed and hear Charlie Brown's teacher blahblah-ing in your head before clicking away from here. On the other hand, if I go into lengthy description and explanations of the way the orange and mandarin joyfully explode in the opening to reveal a dry terrain, a pathway you take on a hot day on your way to the beach, smelling salty breeze and the dried grass and weeds baking in the sun, the other group might get impatient and want to know the difference between the citrus top notes here and in Incense Rose, is there any incense here and how dry is Orange Star compared, say, to L'Air du Desert Marocain.
So let's take another approach. I'll start with the bottom line: Orange Star is a terrific perfume. It can appeal to both men and women and is wearable outdoors on the hottest days while having enough substance to be interesting in arctic airconditioned spaces. It has a reasonable sillage even after the supernova of the opening notes calms down and a 24 hour staying power. With these details out of the way, let's go one level deeper.
I feel like in creating Orange Star, Andy Tauer has achieved a new level of elegance. I'd never use the word minimalistic when describing a Tauer perfume, but there's something deceivingly haiku-ish and streamlined in this fragrance until you start paying careful attention to its nuances. Its uniqueness doesn't hit you on the head right away and it can serve as a getaway to other perfumes in the line because it would allow the wearer to get acquainted with the quality and richness of favorite Tauer themes one by one and maybe with a little less challenge along the way (though take this statement with a grain or two of salt- I've been wearing the entire line for several years now and have the skin chemistry that allows me to spray Lonestar Memories on a steamy August day and enjoy it).
Which brings us to what it smells like and the emotions/story Orange Star evokes.
The big bang of carefree sweet citrus places Orange Star in the uplifting category. It shares the optimistic characteristics of Incense Rose but is a bit less exuberant and romantic about it (the lack of rose, most likely). The sunshine is all there, though, and it feels like opening your bedroom window on the first day of summer vacation as the season stretches ahead of you with no end in sight.
The first thing to do is pack up your stuff and go to the beach. I used to do that a lot in my late teens and early twenties. Pack my bag, get on the bus and within 45 minutes I'd be right by the sand dunes and the path that goes down to the beach. I could smell the dry earth, weeds anid shrubs growing between the rocks and that unmistakable salty sea air (well, on a good day, when there was an actual breeze and the air didn't carry the smell from the town's sewage, but why spoil the fantasy?).
Let's make one thing clear- there's absolutely nothing aquatic, marine or whatever you want to call it. The sea and salt are part of the ambergris accord and are delicate and light as the elusive breeze in the heat of summer. It feels like an open sky with nary a cloud, and this lightness is supported by the clean floral notes. They are listed as violet flower and orange blossom, but don't expect a bouquet or anything either lush or delicate and dainty. It's more like pale wildflowers growing here and there along the path and surviving the sun and salt.
Orange Star is anchored with a little wood, some resinous shrubs, mineral-like earthiness and a hint of sweet incense that will smell familiar to those who tried LdDM and the two incense perfumes. It has more inhibitions and incense isn't even listed as an official note here, so those with frankincense and myrrh phobias need not worry. It's this base that should have a wonderful appeal even as the weather cools down. The sweaters I wear when the a/c gets the best of me have been holding on to it and smelling utterly delicious.
Orange Star ($120, 50ml) is available from Luckyscent.
Art by Pamela Sukhum