Based on the few Andy Tauer fragrances I’ve tried, I can tell you I am in love with this Swiss perfumer. I adore his bestseller L’Air du Désert Marocain. I absolutely gush over Orange Star – one of the few citrus fragrances I know of that can both project and last. And Lone Star Memories? OMG, I know it’s not the most practical fragrance, but that tar vibe in that fragrance reminds me so much of slathering ski wax onto my cross country skies, trekking out in the forest and back, and then warming my toes in front of the lodge fire place. And yes, I also like his incense fragrances.
Andy Tauer hasn’t limited his perfumery ventures to his main line at Tauer Perfumes, however. He’s also the nose behind Taurville, a collection of fragrances that are a wee bit pricier, if I’m not mistaken. And he also has (or perhaps I should say had now?) Tableau de Parfums fragrance creations, in collaboration with films from Evelyn Avenue, and I’m going to talk about one of those today.
Tauer’s fragrances usually require deeper pockets, so when I found this Tableau de Parfums fragrance called Loretta on Mercari being sold for a song, I just had to snag it.
This particular perfume is the result of a collaboration between Tauer and film producer/ director Brian Pera of the Woman’s Picture series from Evelyn Avenue Productions. The Women’s picture series consisted of three films, each with a female lead, and Tauer’s perfumes were inspired by those characters. Now, sadly, although the Facebook page for Evenlyn Avenue still exists, their website seems to have pixilated out of cyberspace. This is a shame, as it’s the main place where people could both buy / see the films and purchase the perfumes. I don’t think you can get Loretta retail anymore, but you might be able to find it in the pre-loved market, as I did.
Loretta is the second cinematic portrait in Pera’s episodic collection of female-driven stories. The first perfume was Ingrid, and the third was Miriam. And I’d very much like to see those other short films now, as well as sniff the respective perfumes named after them, because I did rather enjoy Loretta. The CD version of the short film came with the perfume in this box, as did a tissue paper thin poster of the perfume, which I rather like, so I framed it and pasted it to my wall.
So the film is about Loretta, played by Amy LaVere, who is a young woman who works as a maid at the Loomis Motel. She’s withdrawn and non-communicative with her workmates, particularly with one highly annoying character called Joan, who continually nags and judges and mothers her. We see her in the film creating and living in her own fantasy world where she dances and falls in love with a man. She ends up tricking a random man who thinks she’s someone else into sleeping with her, and the man falls in love with her, but not her with him. She has a shady past which is revealed to us when the other maids gossip about her. She appears to have abandoned or dare I say possible killed her children and that’s why she left town and ended up where she is.
Now the press of this portrays Loretta as sensual, sexy and seductive, but honestly… OK, I know I am a heterosexual woman, but this character to me is not sexual, sexy, or seductive in the least. She is attractive, but past that, all I get is a vapid, undisciplined, manipulative, child-deserter. Nothing sexy there, my friends. Interesting, yes, but not seductive. I’ll link below to where you can read a little more about the films and the collaboration.
OK, now as for the actual fragrance. Loretta is classified as a floral oriental. It was launched in 2012, and is only available as 50 ml Eau de Parfum. Here are the notes:
- plum, fruits, aldehydes, rose
- tuberose, jasmine, orange blossom, carnation, cinnamon
- patchouli, woods, amber, ambergris, leather, orris, labdanum
Apparently, some people get grape juice out of this frag. But not me. The thing that dominates right away and continues throughout the life of the scent is good old tuberose. And I am talking the Queen of tuberose here – the likes of Fracas. She’s just imposed her presence front and center in this concoction, and that is why I think this feels is dated, or vintage. Not that this is a bad thing. Fracas is beautiful.
So yes, white flowers, dominated by tuberose with some jasmine and orange blossom in the background. There is some dark sweet fruit lurking there, slathered with velvety rose, but it’s not dominant to my nose. The signature Andy Tauer part of this is the rich and resinous base, I think – you’ve got leathery patchouli, syrupy roots and wood. Not for the faint of heart.
This is all good, but then you spray it on skin, and things go sideways. What the hell? The tuberose is morphing into something… Here is the really dark and weird part of this scent:
I’m in an old, possibly sick building. I walk into a vacant studio apartment and there are indolic white flowers strewn across the floor. The air is wet and heavy and you can see that there is some rot in the wooden base-boards of room, peeking out behind the white blanket of petal meyham. It appears that the sprinkler system had gone off some time ago, and the sun has been bashing in through the closed windows to warm up the room and dry the flowers a bit. But right away I know that it wasn’t water that came out of the sprinkler system. No, it was GASOLINE.
WHAT THE HECK… There is petrol here, and weirdly, it’s not a bad thing. Honestly.
While I’m having a hard time breathing through the potentially explosive heady florals, suddenly the glass of the window breaks and the room gets pelted with plums, I duck to get out of the way and slip on the oily floor, mashing the flowers into the wood and barely miss a plum to the face which explodes on impact on the floor and covers me in sweet purple mash and liquid.
This is what I am smelling. It’s a bizarre dream where nothing is expected or makes sense or has a discernible purpose. I’m in that movie Inception.
Here’s is an analogy for that petrol vide. Bvlgari Black – the famous, likable vanilla bomb with the rubber note. Loretta is strange is the same good way, but stronger. I keep sniffing my arm when I wear this, so again, I can’t say Loretta is a boring olfactory journey.
Obviously, there is no gasoline in here, but I am wrapping my head around what could possibly give me the feeling that it is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be the bitter green notes that have been caramelized by the resin. Fascinating.
I saw a video clip of an interview with Mr. Tauer himself, and seeing Tauer’s interview and reading some press about Loretta, I can tell you that I’m in some disagreement with Tauer and the press about about both the description of Loretta and that of the scent named after her.
But there are a couple of important things that I do agree with. First is the vintage vibe of both the film and the frag. Women’s Picture stories were inspired by the women’s films of the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. Loretta the perfume is definitely not contemporary, either. Second is the complexity of both the character Loretta and the perfume. Although I can’t say I particularly love either, I cannot say they are both interesting or easy to understand. So there is congruence between the character in the film and the perfume on these two counts.
However, again, just as I don’t think the character is sexy, neither can I say the fragrance is seductive. SKANKY, maybe… a tacky, trampy sort of sex appeal. Maybe I can get on board with that. And you know, the flowers in here appear to have been peppered with something hot, in the culinary sense. Oh Loretta, you spicy wren, you! You are a cunning fox, but you are trying to hard to be grown up and feminine and you keep tragically slipping on that musty, oily, plum-infused gasoline slick on top of those flowers. You’re going to wake up with yet another headache next to a stranger in bed…
Loretta, both the perfume and the character, is not easy to wear, and isn’t necessarily here to please the wearer either, I think. This scent is definitely not for those looking to smell discreet or to please everyone. This thing is biiiig. It’s strong, long-lasting, and has good projection. Those are qualities a appreciate in Andy Tauer fragrances. Even though this scent is something I would hesitate to wear out in public, unless I’m in a Halloween costume dressed as Mrs. Adams, I do think that this is an example of olfactory art, and I will continue to spritz it on myself at home when in the mood for moodiness. Well done, Andy.