Today is my final day in Zurich (and also my birthday!) and I’ve loved it here so far.
On the first day, I visited Osswalds – a perfume shop in the city centre which has one of the most impressive selections I’ve seen, they have EVERYTHING.
So after a bit of walking around sniffing, I realized I wouldn’t be shopping in Zurich because the prices are soooo expensive! Lutens’ and Parfum D’Empire? You’re looking at about £110+ a bottle. So, quite scary – but I’ve found that almost everywhere in Zurich. It’s such an expensive city I’ve been on the biggest budget ever here. The little bar under my hotel wants the equivalent of £18 for a burger…. it’s insane. But I guess that’s been a good thing really, more money to spend in Paris and Rome!
Ok so, last night… where do I begin? Well, last night was my arranged dinner with Andy Tauer and Vero Kern, all very exciting stuff. So after having some preliminary “nerve calming” red wines back in my hotel, I hopped on the tram and amazingly, managed to not get lost.
I could smell Andy’s house literally before I walked through his front door – a light Tauerade pretty much filled each room.
So, Andy is lovely – he made me feel right at home, which I was hugely appreciative of considering I hadn’t had a proper conversation with anyone for nearly a week! We chilled, drank some beer, and chopped vegetables, shortly followed by a tour of his pad.
So Andy and Werner (his partner) showed me where all the backstage stuff happens for the Tauer brand, and it’s totally true when Andy says he runs everything from home. His little studio in the backroom behind the kitchen is overloaded with a big bottles of aroma chemicals, samples galore, there’s fridges full of raw materials, there’s vintage bottles of his own fragrances and other brands’ perfumes scattered around the cupboards… overwhelming, but a bit of a paradise really! I just wanted to dig my nose into everything. I also got a little tour of their office and library; Andy and Werner seem to have an absolutely perfect set up, having your own studio in your house seems like a dream environment to work in. What’s amazing is the solid relationship Andy and Werner can have when also working in such close proximity all the time (Werner is also the book keeper and Andy’s right hand man when it comes to large orders and all the complicated stuff with the Tauer brand) – they were both charming company. It was fascinating chatting with Werner too, considering he had no real passion or interest in fragrance until Andy started creating, and suddenly in a matter of years has found himself immersed in a world of perfume. I have to admit I felt a little guilty constantly keeping the conversation on fragrance around Werner as I could only imagine it must drive him crazy with everyone wanting to ask Andy questions, but he’s embraced Andy’s work so thoroughly and his insights and knowledge was fascinating.
Vero arrived a little while later with pretty much the most adorable dog I’d ever seen – a little black brussels griffon (I think) called Izi(sp?). At this point the fizzy was cracked out (wine…beer…fizzy, I hope you’re keeping track too) and we pretty much had a big natter about everything – upcoming brands, Basenotes members, favourite frags, perfume construction, particular bloggers, what brands are doing it right, and which ones aren’t, upcoming releases – endless conversations covering every aspect of life as a perfumer. Oh and during all this, gradually getting more and more pissed as two bottles of red wine vanished in a matter of hours and the cherry schnapps to go with the cherry-schnapps-soaked cake seemed to keep refilling in my glass.
Vero spoke about her upcoming work which I’m extremely excited to sniff – it sounds wonderful. We also spoke about her previous ideas for her line and what direction Mito was originally going to go in, it was fascinating hearing all these ideas that could have come to light but didn’t – but new paths mean new things and it sounds like she has some great new things for us up her sleeve.
We spoke briefly about the construction of some of her work and the differences between creating the parfums and eau de parfums, how the formula’s needed to be altered and why her passion fruit signature from the first three fragrances didn’t work in Mito (it was changed to peach).
Andy and I spoke about Lys Du Desert for a bit and how it’s so “old school Tauer” – I’d been wondering since sniffing it why he hadn’t taken a drastic new direction for the Decennial scent. He said though that he knew he wanted to create this fragrance for a long time after visiting the Joshua Tree each time he was in LA – he didn’t really give a true answer other than saying “That’s just how it turned out!” which is actually, completely fair! I really love the smell of Lys Du Desert – and I think when you try the newer work of Andy, you forget just how awesome his Classics line really is – and Lys Du Desert is like a new, classic Tauer – I have a bit more of an appreciation for it now!
But on the topic of new directions for Tauer’s line… well, my mouth is zipped, but my nose is d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e for more! Trust me – keep your noses peeled, something awesome comes!
So originally I planned to ask particular questions, and I took my laptop to jot down answers and stuff so I could make this post be an interview – but I’m so glad it didn’t work out like that. It just… wasn’t right. The company of Andy, Werner and Vero was nowhere near as formal as I thought it would be (no need for those pre-drinks after all), it was so relaxed and laid back that I didn’t crack out the laptop or the notepad once (apart from to show them my itinerary and what shops I’m visiting in Paris and Rome – they gave me some more “must visit” places). So I left just after midnight, I can’t quite say I remember my tram ride back to the hotel… but a lovely birthday-celebration night it was!
Vero has invited me to her pad this afternoon, and Andy is doing a talk later on white florals which we’ll both be attending (although I won’t understand any of it, I said I’d just nod along and smile!). So more posts to come! Yay Zurich! And tomorrow… off to Paris