Category Archives: Olivier Durbano

Tauer – Lonestar Memories, Olivier Durbano – Black Tourmaline, ELdO Vierges et Toreros

Birch tar.

That is what this post is about.
So, these 3 probably aren’t the first that jump to mind when I mention this note, but they are definitely 3 worth mentioning, and 2 which I really enjoy…

Lonestar Memories opens with a huge nose attack of hot rubber, tar, and an gorgeous sharp menthol note. The menthol note drops into the background quickly, ready to come back out later, releasing a slightly herbal carrot seed and green herb note that adds an astringent edge to the tar. The birch tar is often used as a leather note, if this is leather, it is a rough, dirty leather, but to me, birch tar is birch tar, not leather…

Anyway. I love this opening, it took some wearings before I loved it, but after my ongoing exploration into challenging fragrances, this is now just something I consider easy and loveable, but in reality it is anything but that. It is addictive, powerful and masculine, and so, so appealing and familiar.

Lonestar Memories is incredibly smoky, it’s like a face-full of bonfire smoke, but the rubber note actually mellows it out and makes it more comfortable. As this calms down, the base begins to peek through, along with that menthol note again – to be honest, I normally always get this menthol note quite strong, but it’s on my hand now and I’m not actually picking it up that strongly, I’ll mention it anyway :’)

The base is “Tauerade” again, but the smoky tar is powerful enough to entwine with the base to create a beautiful, sweet, smokey fragrance that lasts and lasts – just like all the Tauer’s. The warmth of amber, exotic incense, woods and vetiver create an intense, modern base which drags the smoky start throughout the entirity of Lonestar Memories’ life.

I didn’t love this straight away, it took me some wearings. It wasn’t a case of uncomfortable notes (many people say this has a barbecue note of cooking meat but I don’t quite get that), for me initially I thought this wasn’t enough, I wanted it to be overtly powerful and unbearable but it wasn’t, instead I began to find it an easy wear which I would reach out for over and over. It’s familiar, unusual, and very sexy. (And since writing this review I ended up buying a bottle :))

Everything about Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline oozes “cool”. The bottle, the black juice, the little rocks floating around… it’s very impressive. The scent however, for me, doesn’t quite live up to all this.

Other reviewers describe this opening as challenging and intensely smokey (birch tar) and full of rough leather. This opening is nowhere near as intense or full as Tauer’s for example, the birch tar is quite sparse and there is an instant underlying sweetness of velvet smooth amber, woods and incense. So yes, so far, it sounds identical to Tauer’s, but it’s not. It is sweeter, paler, and more woodsy. It is a pleasant smell, but in the genre it’s trying to make a statement in, it is far from the greatest.

The birch tar in Black Tourmaline fades relatively quickly, and half an hour later or so and the most prominent notes are the woods and amber with some smokey incense and leather in a gentle haze over the top. It is pleasant, very easy to wear, and just unusual enough to scrape you a compliment here and there.

For the price of this scent and the statement you would be trying to make by wearing it, I think there are much better options out there.
It has also been described by a few as “a cross between Lonestar Memories and L’Air Du Desert Marocain” but without a doubt, not as good as either.

Vierges et Toreros opens with a beautiful floral bouquet of ylang ylang, and a hugely synthetic, rubbery tuberose. However, this all tumbles downwards in a spiral of tar (leather), animalics and peppery vetiver within seconds. The first few times I sampled this, the floral opening was so quick and fleeting I missed it, but after numerous wearings I’ve understood this complicated composition more and more…

The mentholated aspects of tuberose pop their head through to support the tar notes and this reminds me of Lonestar Memories when this happens. Vierges et Toreros literally splits in two in the heart. The tropical florals return, lactonic and cloying (in the best possible way), with a hugely synthetic rubber vibe pushing up front. In the other half, is a toned down version of Lonestar Memories – birch tar and pungent vetiver creating a pitch black smoke. The two halfs are complete opposites, but they somehow work. A typical Etat Libre D’Orange metallic accord is pierced through the middle, dividing these two further.

Throughout the drydown, these two halves never fully merge, and are constantly uncomfortable (I love it!). The power of each of them is never balanced and sometimes the florals come into the foreground, only to be pulled back by the intense draft of smoke. It’s a brilliantly creative composition and one of the best in the ELdO line.

Vierges et Toreros doesn’t have the amber and incense base that Tauer’s LM has but yet remains sweeter from the gentle animalics and florals that keep managing to show their face every now and again.
It’s a wonderful, playful fragrance and as always, Etat Libre D’Orange prove they are more than just a kooky brand with playful marketing.

I was going to write these reviews as a comparison, but I think they kind of compare themselves there. I highly recommend Lonestar Memories and Vierges et Toreros, unfortunately, not so much Black Tourmaline – sorry Olivier. They are great rough leather fragrances and both entirely unique. I truly believe that these two are standouts in the genre.

Tauer Lonestar Memories 50ml EDT – Euros 79.70 RRP
Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline 100ml EDP – $190 Luckyscent
Etat Libre D’Orange Vierges et Toreros 50ml EDP – £52.50 Les Senteurs

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