During a trip to Los Angeles, I stopped in at the LuckyScent scent bar to see what all the fuss was about--but there was such a cacophony of smells competing for my attention that Tauer's fragrances didn't get the time they deserved. Stupidly, I decided that they must not be my thing. They hadn't knocked my socks off, so how could they be all that, I figured. This is a bit like saying Shalimar is inferior to Britney Midnight Fantasy because the latter sticks with you like blueberry gum, drowning out the former, along with memory, desire, hunger, and sex drive.
Dissolve. Months later, I received a little sample atomizer of Incense Rose in the mail. I think every perfume lover has those moments where he realizes how very little he knows, despite relentless exposure to everything from Guerlain to Lutens to Parfum D'Empire to Axe Body Spray. We smell so many things so often that we can sometimes mistake overkill for sophistication. Sometimes, we can discern what the average consumer can't--the finer points of Jicky, maybe, seeing past the civet. Other times, we're too jaded or distracted to recognize the quiet voice of greatness.
By itself, Incense Rose stood out. It rang out, really, and I was inspired to revisit all things Tauer, realizing that, in my rush to smell the trees, I'd missed the forest altogether. Incense Rose is pretty straightforwardly lovely, and truly unisex, a rich, calming blend of rose, frankincense, cardamom, coriander, and cedar, among other things. Osmoz.com classifies it as "Chypre - Floral". There's certainly a bit of an old school feel about it, a textured resonance associated with vintage classics, right down to the patchouli and ambergris in its base. But Incense Rose is unmistakably about frankincense.
Castor and labdanum add touches of honeyed leather, a subliminal undercurrent of the animalic. Orris bridges the distance between the more medicinal and astringent aspects of the incense, spices, and cedar and the buttery floral warmth of bergamot and Bulgarian rose. Incense Rose is so well done, so perfectly constructed, that you don't realize how complex it is, how adeptly all these materials have been selected, measured, and applied. Frankincense is treated in such a way that the overall radiance feels fairly straightforward, sort of inevitable, as if simply characteristic of the note. It's only when you compare it to other frankincense-based scents that you really see how epic Incense Rose is, how heightened and dynamic a fragrance, how advanced Tauer's artistry has become. None of this gets at the weird balsamic heft of the construction, mind you.
Incense Rose uses high quality ingredients. One smell of any Tauer perfume and you won't need me or anyone else to tell you that. Next to Lonestar Memories (another personal favorite) Incense Rose seems to last better than anything else in the Tauer arsenal on my skin. It sticks with me all day, fluctuating with my moods. There are only a handful of fragrances I'd never be without. Incense Rose has a firm place among them.