Andy Tauer Sotto La Luna Gardenia: Under The Microscope

sotto la luna

 Andy Tauer keeps me interested in several ways:

1. Andy is approachable and appreciates his fans: always happy to share information about development news on his latest product.  He gives a human face to Tauer perfumes, rather than being a faceless organisation with an unrelated spokesmodel who has been picked for a specific look  The buck stops with him.   Andy is autonomous: he doesn’t make perfume to please a global marketing conglomerate that will sell millions of bottles to a targeted (and usually young) market.  He makes scent that he is curious about and that he is passionate about, and then hopes that we like it too.

2. The quality of Tauer perfumes is indisputable- longevity and quality ingredients are consistent. As a customer you never feel cheated.

3. I don’t love all of them, but those I do love, I love passionately, which makes Tauer an interesting journey of discovery.




Sotto La Luna Gardenia is this year’s brand new offering. I have been looking forward to it enormously as I know what Andy has done with Roses. Imagine what he can do to my beloved Gardenia, I thought.

Well interestingly, it wasn’t love at first sniff.  My first impressions, unedited and straight from the top of my head as I was sniffing it, were these keywords: biscuits, mould, Battenburg cake, mushrooms, cream, nuts, Gardenia, Ambergris.

Then I went to bed, wearing another few sprays and thought about it again in the morning (it was still there).  Today I am on my third wear (I was the only one wearing it for the school run that’s for sure!) and my thoughts can now be edited into some sort of sense.

battnburgThe opening notes do indeed smell of plain, crumbly biscuits, like shortbread.  There is vanilla and butter at first.  Then some almonds pop out, which is what made me think of Battenburg Cake- that chequered pink and yellow cake covered in a layer of marzipan ( Mmm, I really want some now. Lisa, are you thinking what I’m thinking?).

The middle phase was more Gardenia, but with a faint mould smell, like a dusty musty blanket.  Unless I’m imagining things I also got celery and mushrooms, The celery note is common in earthy Lily scents and it didn’t surprise me that it was in Sotto la Luna.  The mushroom scent was new to me, but not unwelcome.  It gave this an earthy, salty, savoury tang that seemed to frame the creaminess of the Gardenia.

The base note was trademark Tauer with that background of Ambergris. It gave it a spiky heat that balanced the creamy Gardenia out with a hint of prickliness that reminded me of Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle as it loses the antiseptic heat and moves into a different phase.

gardeniaNone of this in unpleasant.  It’s as if a Gardenia flower had been dissected, examined under a microscope, divided up into different components, displayed and then put back together again, like a jigsaw.  I thought I knew Gardenia and now I have seen it up close and in High Definition.

It won’t be my favourite Tauer (Carillon Pour Un Ange is in my heart forever, along with about nine others), but its so interesting that I can’t seem to leave it alone.  I’ve never smelled anything like it, and I mean that in a good way.

In the UK Sotto La Luna is available from Les Senteurs, Scent and Sensibility ( where I got my sample- thanks Ronny!) on mainland Europe you can get it from Tauer Perfumes, and in the USA Lucky Scent has some in, if you want to try it out.

Look out for Sotto La Luna Hyacinth in 2015 and Sotto La Luna Tuberose in 2016.

Andy Tauer talks about Sotto La Luna Gardenia at les senteurs, London

6 thoughts on “Andy Tauer Sotto La Luna Gardenia: Under The Microscope”

  1. Lovely review and your honesty is refreshing. I don’t always love the Tauer perfumes, but this was a must buy for me. You’re right, it’s not something that is an immediate love and the journey is fierce. The ride is a roller coaster if there ever is one. This will be polarizing …I’ve seen big love and big hate on the blogs and boards. The middle notes were my favorite… all creamy and dreamy! xoxoxo Steve

    1. Thank you Mr Hound!

      I agree this will be divisive and it’s interesting that you like this but don’t normally favour Tauers, whereas I love a Tauer but didn’t fall in love with this.

      What I admire about it is that he hasn’t prettified it, but rather broken it up into components you wouldn’t normally see in a commercial gardenia. And I wouldn’t change Andy’s risk-taking for the world!

      best wishes
      Sam xx

  2. You had me at Battenburg! Yes, I do think we should get together for one of our infamous smelly coffee mornings very soon. 🙂

    And this is the sample I want to try first. I’ve read a lot about Tauer’s Gardenia, but I like your review best. It sounds as if it is a very complex and interesting perfume, and I love that you mention the mushroom aspect – apparently (well, according to Luca Turin) Gardenias do have a mushroomy element to their scent. (Interestingly, Turin also mentions that Lilies have a hammy aspect to their perfume and you know what, I rather think they do.)

    1. Ok so you bring the Battenburg and I’ll get the good china out. I’ll be interested to see what you think of this one as you and I often go in different directions when it comes to perfume stuff, occasionally agreeing wholeheartedly, but often “begging to differ”.

      See ya Thursday!

      Sammy xxx

  3. I also got a celery note! I am glad that I am not alone in this. I thought it would be my favorite in the line, but it isn’t. I will have to test I several times before I write a review. I love Andy’s fragrances. .I also have my firm favorites!

    1. Hi Jennie and welcome!

      Yes, it’s not one of those perfume that you can wear once and make a decision on is it? It unfolds like a story over a whole day.

      I think with this one I admire rather than enjoy it, and I think it’s taken a bit of a critical battering, but one thing you can say is that Tauers are never poor quality and always long lasting.

      It might well grow on me. After all, I didn’t fall in love with Lonestar Memories first time, but I totally get it now.

      Oh and do send me a link to your review, I’d love to read it.

      best wishes

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