Photos from An Evening with Andy Tauer

Andy Tauer stopped by Fumerie on November 18th to debut his newest fragrance, Hyacinth and a Mechanic, and to chat with his Portland-area fans. Over the course of the evening, he discussed the modest beginnings of the Tauer line, the release of his now-iconic fragrance L'Air du Désert Marocain, his overnight success and the impact of Tania Sanchez's 5-star review in Perfumes: The A-Z Guide.

One of the most exciting parts of the evening was the unveiling of Andy's newest fragrance, Hyacinth and a Mechanic. The fragrance is a daring combination of hyacinth, lilac, muguet, leather and petroleum and presented as a 100 ml eau de toilette. Hyacinth and a Mechanic is the first release of a new collection, Tauerville: Stories. Andy released the fragrance specifically for the event and currently has no plans to offer the scent as a regular part of his line.

Attendees were also afforded the unique opportunity to purchase Andy's vaulted fragrances that are normally available only in Switzerland or through the Tauer website.

You can check out photos of the event below. We would like to extend a special thank you to Kat Butler who was kind enough to document the event for us.

Perfume & Poetry

SMELL IS A POTENT WIZARD THAT TRANSPORTS YOU ACROSS A THOUSAND MILES AND ALL THE YEARS YOU HAVE LIVED.

– HELEN KELLER

 

IT IS THE GOLDEN MAXIM TO CULTIVATE THE GARDEN FOR THE NOSE, AND THE EYES WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

– ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

My wife Wendy Bourgeois got me into perfume. She has built her obsession for years now, while I am a total novice. It wasn’t precisely that I wanted to catch up with her nose, but I have my own obsessive ways of apprehending a thing. I began to think about perfume as a problem to solve, and it was out of this need to solve a problem that I came upon the idea to this project.

Patrick S. Rogers

Patrick S. Rogers

Wendy Bourgeois

Wendy Bourgeois

Wendy Noonan

Wendy Noonan

Sara Kolp

Sara Kolp

I had just applied and been accepted to PSU for an MFA in poetry, but at the last minute I found I was two credits shy of completing my undergraduate degree. I had to scramble to find a suitable course of study I could complete by the end of summer. I had been tinkering around and talking with Wendy about the idea of putting together perfume related description writing workshop. She suggested I use that idea as my class. 

I’m pretty heady when it comes to my obsessions and as a result of that headiness I have the tendency to make things more difficult than sometimes necessary. While constructing the class, I thought one way to think about perfume would be to think of each one like a text, or like a novel. I thought what if each perfume acted as a novel for the nose. With this in mind I wanted to bring the perfume to the writers stripped of context. I was interested in how one perceives the very thingness of scent. As a reader of perfume and then to write about them, I didn’t want to be influenced by the maker’s name, or the name of the perfume; I only wanted to read the smell. 

It was then Wendy and I contacted Tracy and André at Fumerie Parfumerie. They were gracious enough to curate the experience. For five weeks straight, Wendy and I devised a different writing exercise each week and each week André put together a package of unmarked samples for us to smell. After the first week, this exchange became like a conversation. We, the readers groped around in the dark trying to find new ways to access meaning, while André and Tracy were our light bringers showing us the way. Each week we came back with more questions, and each week they responded with their own questions: “What about this?”,  “How about these three?” or “What if you thought about this variation on a theme?”.

The work we writers performed is varied and expansive: ruminations on specific memories, philosophical questions of just how memory works, magical realist travel to places in the imagination, animals, plants, sex, love, revulsion—everything from the sacred to the profane. 

Profumum Roma Trunk Show Photos

The evening of October 26 was a celebration of the elegant creations of Italian niche perfume house Profumum Roma featuring special guests Luciano Durante and Fabrizio Cipriani. Durante is one of the founders of the perfume house and Cipriani is a longtime friend of the Durante family and currently serves as the North American brand manager for Profumum Roma.

Over the course of the two-hour long event, Durante and Cipriani discussed the origins of the house, the inspiration behind many of Profumum Roma's creations and what drives the Durante family to create new fragrances. Durante and Cipriani then fielded questions from audience members with Cipriani listening intently and acting as Durante's interpreter.

Audience members were then invited to sample the collection of over two dozen fragrances, all of which were laid out on the counter. Check out some of the photos from the event below. We would like to thank everyone who attended the event and a offer a very special thanks to Luciano Durante for flying all the way from Italy and to Fabrizio Cipriani for participating in and helping to plan this wonderful night!

Apologies for the low quality of some of the images—circumstances forced us to use an iPhone camera to photograph the event so they aren't as sharp as usual.

Slow Explosions Release Party

Fumerie Parfumerie hosted a release party for the latest addition to the Imaginary Authors range, Slow Explosions. The house's founder and perfumer Josh Meyer was in attendance. He chatted with attendees over drinks and hors d'œuvres and gave a brief presentation in which he discussed the inspiration for Slow Explosions. To celebrate the release, Josh was kind enough to donate a bottle of Slow Explosions for a giveaway. To enter to win the fragrance click here. The winner will be announced at the end of the month. We would like to thank everyone who attended the release party and give a special thanks to Josh Meyer. We are thrilled to feature his line here at Fumerie! Check out the photos of the event below and feel free to comment!

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

Photo: Alexis Tsefalas

July 2016 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Mark E, the winner of our July 2016 Giveaway! You are the winner of a full bottle of Jovoy's Rouge Assassin; we will be contacting you shortly. As we mentioned at the beginning of the month, this was our final giveaway for the time being. We are so happy to have been able to extend our opening celebrations well into summer and to keep these giveaways going for so long. Thank you to everyone who participated—we are so grateful for your enthusiastic support. We look forward to seeing everyone at Fumerie in the near future!

Exploring Ancient Resins

The second installment of our Notes series took place on Tuesday, July 19 and focused on ancient resins and balsams. These materials have been used in perfumery since antiquity and continue to enjoy widespread use in fragrances today. In an hour-long event hosted by Nicole Amzallag-Divine, attendees were afforded the opportunity to familiarize themselves with frankincense, myrrh, cistus labdanum and benzoin. Nicole discussed the history of these materials and their various applications over the years.

The attendees sample the various raw materials and record their impressions.

Smelling strips were dipped in diluted samples of various raw materials and placed in monclins, devices designed to provide the most accurate portrait of a scent.

Nicole describes frankincense resin is harvested from shrubs as an attendee samples the raw material.

Attendees engage with Nicole and Fumerie owner Tracy Tsefalas.

Nicole discusses the modern applications of frankincense and passes around smelling strips imbued with the aroma of fragrances that make use of the material.

An overview of the bar at Fumerie during the Ancient Resins event.

A view from behind the bar; in the foreground you can see the featured fragrances with smelling strips lined up and ready to be passed around to attendees.

Nicole takes questions from attendees.

In the foreground attendees record their impressions while Tracy and Nicole look on.

June 2016 Giveaway Winner

A hearty congratulations to Alison C, the winner of our June 2016 Giveaway! Alison will be receiving a brand new, full 100 ml bottle of Parfum d'Empire's Cuir Ottoman (one of my all-time favorite leather fragrances).

Those of you who did not win can head over to the Giveaways area on our site and enter to win our final giveaway. At the end of July one lucky winner will be receiving a 100 ml bottle of Jovoy's Rouge Assassin. Sign up today for a chance to win!

The Scent of Permanence

Three years ago, I began to seriously contemplate the idea of taking my love of fragrance to another level entirely. What could be a more intentional show of devotion to my passion for fragrance than a tattoo! I’ve always loved botanical illustrations and so I decided on a tattoo designed to represent my favorite notes in perfumery.

Exploring Raw Materials

An inevitable consequence of becoming a perfume fanatic is insatiable curiosity. The world of perfume is shrouded in mystery and each new bottle raises more questions. A vast expanse of unexplored terrain beckons...where do we begin?

When I first started down this road I struggled to find my bearings. Fine fragrance propels you headfirst into a realm of strange new scents. Of course, you'll enter into this world with a few olfactory touchstones but these reference points depend entirely upon your specific experiences. Growing up in the Inland Northwest I was familiar with the smells of the forest, a handful of basic spices, a smattering of common garden flowers and not much else. As a result, when I first started to seriously think about fragrance, I was stifled by my own inexperience. Add to this the fact that most oils and absolutes obtained from raw materials smell nothing like their source material and note breakdowns are farcical (at best) and it becomes a Sysiphian feat to be able to identify anything in a composition. To complicate matters further, most fragrances are a judicious mixture of both natural materials and synthetics. Synthetics are a class of aromatic components that include natural isolates, reconstructions and aromatic compounds created entirely in a lab. Despite the fact that the advent of modern perfumery is due entirely to the discovery and application of these materials and nearly every composition released in the last 125-odd years contains synthetics, the fragrance industry has done its best to keep the very existence of these materials hidden from the public. As a result, most novice fragrance enthusiasts (myself included) sit down with a note breakdown and a scent strip only to walk away assuming that there is something wrong with their noses as they strain to hone in on anything contained within the fanciful note breakdown.

My saving grace came in the form of dozens of books about the history of fragrance. It was through these texts that I learned about the important scientific breakthroughs that allowed for the isolation of the odorous components of tonka bean, violet, vanilla, etc. As I slowly made my way through the history of synthetics—a history that closely mirrors the history of the fragrance industry—the many pieces began to come into focus. Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez's seminal 2008 work Perfumes The Guide helped to contextualize these discoveries and allowed me to slowly become better acquainted with the raw materials.

Of course, all the books in the world can only do so much. There is no substitute for actually working with fragrances. I was afforded a unique opportunity when I began working at The Perfume House in 2012. I suddenly had access to a vast collection of perfumes. I spent the next few years acquainting myself with the olfactory history of the Western world. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to continue my olfactory education.

The value that I place on fragrance education cannot be understated. When Tracy and I first started pitching ideas for what would become Fumerie we both agreed that providing our customers with access to an olfactory library was of the utmost import. Even the earliest conceptions of Fumerie included an educational component. We both made the best of what was available when we developed our olfactory palettes. We decided that the best way to go about helping others become acquainted with the perfumer's palette was to go straight to the source so we set aside a portion of our budget for samples of raw materials.

We currently have a selection of 50 of the most commonly-used synthetics on hand at Fumerie for our customers to explore. Our most recent event was an attempt to bring this information to our customers in a fun and engaging way.

Olibanum. Source: Herbs Info

Olibanum.
Source: Herbs Info

The first event focused on some of the most well-known and commonly-used base notes. The event was led by our good friend Nicole Amzallag-Divine. As this whole series is a work in progress, we are open to any suggestions from attendees. At the last event we provided each participant with a worksheet detailing the history of the components on which we were focusing that evening and with a page on which attendees were encouraged to write their impressions. The collaborative nature of the event worked well as attendees shared their impressions with one another and Nicole was available to answer questions.

Work has already begun on our next installment in the series and a date will be announced in the coming weeks. We can tell you that the event will focus on resins and balsams. Feel free to leave your comments below or email your suggestions here. I will keep everyone updated with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and the holiday weekend. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!

What is Niche?

Niche is a buzzword. There was a time when the term, used within the context of perfumery, referred to the smaller firms who produced in limited quantities and whose wares were available at few retailers. However, this definition no longer holds true.

Fragrance Swap Recap

Fumerie Parfumerie hosted its first Fragrance Swap on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The turnout was amazing and we had over one hundred fragrances available for swap. Everyone had a great time and walked away with something new. Check out these photos of the event snapped by Kat Butler and feel free to comment below.

Burak & André

Briana & Nicole

Jon

Burak & Andrea (Front), Joseph (Back)

Tracy & André

Tracy & Nicole (Front), Briana, Burak, Brett, Nancy (Back)

Nancy & Sam (Front), Rachel (Back)

André & Tracy

The bar was filled to the brim

Ann & Andrea

Andrea & Nicole

E & Sam

Tracy & Nicole

Andrea, CC, Nancy & Briana (Front), André & Tracy (Back)

Briana, Joseph & Stephen

Rachel & Nacy (Front), Sam & Ann (Middle), Nicole, Briana, Stephen (Back)

Rachel, Nicole, Tracy & André (L-R)

Burak, Stephen & Jon

May 2016 Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Julie W! You are the winner of this month's fragrance giveaway. You will be receiving a full bottle of Neela Vermeire's sublime Ashoka. For those of you who didn't win, be sure to head over to our Giveaways page and enter next month's contest. We will be giving away a full bottle of Parfum d'Empire's Cuir Ottoman (a personal favorite of mine). Best of luck to everyone and congratulations again Julie!

A Photo Recap of An Evening With Josh Meyer

Josh Meyer, the man behind Imaginary Authors, visited Fumerie Parfumerie this Thursday to describe the creation of his latest fragrance Every Storm A Serenade and host a Q&A session for a crowd of guests. Among other things, Josh discussed his creative process, his early scent memories and his love for animalic perfumes.

Josh brought in the four main accords present in Every Storm A Serenade (Calone, Ambroxan, Spruce & Eucalyptus and Vetiver) and attendees were given the opportunity to smell the isolated accords as Josh explained the role of each piece as a part of the whole.

Attendees also submitted questions for Josh in advance and also asked impromptu questions during the course of the event. For me, the highlight of the night was Josh's particularly poignant response to a question about fragrance chemistry, remarking that the work of a perfumer could more easily be likened to that of a painter than a chemist.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Josh for taking time out of his busy schedule to participate in what we hope will be the first of many guest appearances at Fumerie. For those of you who were unable to attend, Kat Butler took some wonderful shots of the event. Please feel free to comment below about the event or your favorite imaginary authors fragrances.

All photos by Kat Butler.

Exploring Iris Fragrances

The iris flower in all its purple and white glory.

Orris root drying in the hot Tuscan sun.
Image via alcademics.com

A handful of the fragrances mentioned in this post on the counter at our boutique on SE Division Street in Portland.

From time to time we are going to be exploring a different raw material and the fragrances that feature said material. This will hopefully be an ongoing series and, as we grow, we will delve ever-deeper into the void. We begin this series today with one of my personal favorite raw materials, iris. So as you know, the iris is a flower. The varieties used in fragrance are Iris germanica and Iris pallida. One of the things that makes iris such an interesting material is the fact that perfumers aren’t interested in the flower of the iris but the rhizome. The iris bulbs (known as orris root or simply orris) are harvested, cut, cleaned, dried and aged for a period of three to five years. Only after aging does the material reveal its beautiful aroma. Steam distillation of the dried rhizomes produces a thick, oily material known as orris butter.

The laborious nature of the harvest and production of orris butter helps to explain the material’s high price (orris butter from Florence goes for over $30,000 per kilogram) but its intoxicating aroma has made it a staple in fine fragrance for over a century. Due to its prohibitive cost, it was only used sparingly but recent developments have allowed fragrance chemists to artificially age orris root causing orris butter to drop in price and enabling perfumers to use the material in new and interesting ways. Moreover, the discovery and development of dozens of synthetics with iris-like qualities have dramatically expanded the perfumer’s palette leading to more iris fragrances than ever on the market.

Described variously as earthy, rooty, buttery, powdery and bread-like, the aroma of orris root is simultaneously unusual and beautiful. Below I have included a list of fragrances with dominant iris notes. Please comment below and let us know which iris fragrances you love and what you think of this material.

IRIS SILVER MIST. Serge Lutens.
IRIS CÉNDRE. Naomi Goodsir.
ÉQUISTRIUS. Parfum d’Empire.
CUIR OTTOMAN. Parfum d’Empire.
ARZ EL-RAB. Berdoues: Cologne Grands Cru.
ROUGE ASSASSIN. Jovoy.
CLAIR DE MUSC. Serge Lutens.
ESCENTRIC 01. Escentric Molecules.
ESCENTRIC 02. Escentric Molecules.
NUIT DE LONGCHAMP. Lubin.
L DE LUBIN. Lubin.
NORDIC NOIR. Agonist.
LONESOME RIDER. Tauer.
ANGÉLIQUE. Papillon.

A Dream: Realized

One of the earliest photos of the space that would become Fumerie Parfumerie.

"2016 was destined to be the year my dreams came true."

Tracy and André look on as contractor Gregor Myers works on the space.

The fragrance wall nears completion behind the bar.

The former exterior of Fumerie before the remodel with its former paint job: brown, taupe and Cuban orange.

The finished exterior of Fumerie. The custom sign and window art were hand-painted by local artist Craig Brown.
Photo: T. Tsefalas

"The space itself couldn't be more perfect."

The finished interior of Fumerie is warm and inviting, just as Tracy Tsefalas envisioned.

A comfortable chair and Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez's Perfumes The Guide—can you think of a better afternoon?

Tracy and André unpack product two days before the soft opening.

For years I have indulged in brief moments of delight, imagining the setting of my fantasy fragrance boutique.

The color palette and overall tone would be one of comfort and refuge. The lines would be simple and clean. No overcrowded cases or shelves would obstruct one’s view of the beautiful packaging and bottles. The carefully chosen fragrance selection would be the focal point of the small, intimate space.

Tracy and André survey the progress of the bar in the freshly-painted space.

A sliding library ladder was always an essential element; it has been one of my desires since childhood. The general essence of a library—whether a private den or a grand library with endless rows to discover—was at the heart of my vision for Fumerie.

Selecting a fragrance is such an intimate experience, one that can be enhanced by a positive exchange with a specialist, who serves as a guide through the process of fragrant discovery. The addition of a classic wooden bar seemed a perfect fit for this hands-on exploration of fragrance. Just as a bartender serves as a confidant of sorts, so too does the fragrance specialist in uncovering the customer’s wants and desires in the arena of fragrance. 

2016 was destined to be the year that my dreams came true. It was time to move forward and realize my vision of a fragrance boutique centered around the artistry of fragrance and dedicated to honoring those who spend their lives creating these olfactory works of art. Our decision to focus on niche and independent fragrance houses reflects our desire to focus on creativity and innovation. In the current world of perfumery, niche and independent houses represent the creative core of the industry. They fearlessly release unique and remarkable fragrances in a market increasingly saturated with endless imitations.

The space itself couldn’t be more perfect. Housed in a 1919 brick building, our intimate 500-square foot boutique has everything I wanted. A cozy and welcoming space? Check! Thick, floating wooden shelves? Check! A library ladder (evoking the charm of Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face)? Check!

The bar is the heart of Fumerie Parfumerie—a place for perfume aficionados and beginners alike to come together and indulge in the finest fragrances in the world.

Through endless hard work and with the assistance of close friends and loved ones, Fumerie opened its doors on February 23, 2016. My vision is finally a reality and I am thrilled to share it with everyone seeking unique, quality fragrances in a setting that feels like a warm embrace. Welcome to Fumerie Parfumerie—the way fragrance shopping was meant to be!

— Tracy Tsefalas

Photography by Kat Butler unless otherwise noted.

The Fumerie Parfumerie Grand Opening Party

Our grand opening took place on March 8, 2016. We had planned for a three hour event and hoped for a good turnout. We were delighted to discover just how excited the fragrance community was to have us in town. We were completely packed from 6:00 pm until nearly half-past 10:00 pm. Below we have posted our favorite pictures of the grand opening. Thank you so much to everyone who attended. We are so thrilled to be here and so grateful for the warm welcome!

The Inspiration Behind Fumerie

As a young girl I remember being completely transfixed by Picasso’s first major effort in printmaking, The Frugal Repast. As the rest of my family wandered the cavernous halls of the Miami Art Museum, I stood alone in motionless awe, experiencing for the first time the transformative power of art. Years later I was to have a similar experience. This time, however, the catalyst was not a print, but a perfume. Thus began my love affair with fragrance—a journey that began with few drops of liquid from a slate-black bottle.

Fragrance Concentrations: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

If you're a fragrance lover you see the terms all of the time: eau de toilette, eau de parfum, eau de cologne. But what exactly do they mean? When someone says a perfume is "oil-based," what does that mean for you? What is a pure perfume? Why do perfumes cost so much money for such a small amount? The answers may surprise you.