One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

History Lesson: Miriam by Tableau de Parfums

The Christmas season is rocketing towards us, but you still have eleven chances to win a present from perfumer Andy Tauer, whose annual Christmas giveaways make the season even brighter (or at least more bearable if you're not the Christmas type). It's an Advent calendar for grownups:  each of the first 24 days of December gives you a chance to win a sample set, a bottle of his newest Cologne du Magreb, or even the bottle of your choice from his oeuvre.

Naturally, I'm entering every day, because who doesn't love free scents? And I have already been a winner. The first year of the Advent calendar, I won a my choice of a full bottle: I was waffling, but Andy himself (he seems so friendly and chummy that nearly everyone seems to call him by his first name) said, "You should choose something you've already tried and know you like, rather than taking a chance on something you might not," so I got Lonestar Memories, which I adore.


Andy's recent Miriam is based on a short film of the same name, the first in a projected 10-year series called "Women's Picture". It's a slightly modernized aldehydic floral, the kind that dominated the first half of the twentieth century; it doesn't feel vintage, exactly, certainly not old-fashioned, but it clearly references vintage scents. It opens with a brilliant show of citrus, aldehydes, and that eighties standby violet leaf, making for an almost radioactively bright and expansive scent which calls to mind Chanel No. 5 (of course), but just underneath is a comfy rose-and-violet accord which is a dead ringer for the 2002 relaunch of Givenchy's L'Interdit, itself a much updated reference to the 1957 original. It's not a fusty floral, though, because there is also a very modern sugar-candy quality which provides a brittle edge. Later — much later, because this is a durable scent — Miriam relaxes into a haze of vanilla and sandalwood, all rounded surfaces and warmth.

Andy's the perfumer, but he doesn't sell the fragrance on his website: you can buy it here, though, or at Luckyscent, the source of my sample. It's $160 a bottle: not cheap, but not out of line for a niche scent, and absolutely worth checking out if you're one of those lucky people who can wear vintage clothing and not look as if you're wearing a costume.

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