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Fragrance talk

L’Air du Desert Marocain Fragrance Review: A Masterpiece from the Desert

What is it about the desert that is so transfixing, so mesmerizing, so magical, yet so mysterious? Many writers, artists, composers, and other creatives have attempted to convey the soul of the desert through their works, but what about perfumers?

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L’Air du Desert Marocain

One perfumer truly deserving of merit in this respect is Andy Tauer, originally a chemist, then an aspiring self-taught sculptor of olfactory ingredients hailing from Switzerland. His first fragrance was Maroc pour Elle, a rich fragrance resplendent with Eastern sensibilities and intrigue. But it was his second fragrance that was to cause quite a stir in the world of perfumery – the now legendary L’Air du Désert Marocain – when it debuted in 2005. Quite simply the name translates to “Moroccan Desert Air”, which seems rather mundane at first glance until one actually smells this masterpiece.

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L’Air du Desert Marocain

An apt first descriptor would be arid. The nose is filled with spices and dry woody, semi-herbal tones, with cumin being more prominent than the spices. Many people associate cumin with the stench of body odor, particularly that of a sweaty person, but here cumin is rendered in a way that it comes off as being dusty, exotically ephemeral, yet grounding, dare I say reminiscent of sand. I will remark that it has somewhat of a culinary implication here as well, which will be mentioned later.

L'Air du Desert Marocain
L’Air du Desert Marocain

Very soon, some florals emerge to give some volume to the parched aridity in the form of jasmine and geranium. Along with this an accord very similar to the meditative aroma of frankincense probably resulting from a cleverly concocted interaction between petitgrain and labdanum is plainly detectable. Yet overall, LDDM is still quite dry and stark at this point.

As the perfume gradually shifts into the dry down, it takes on a more ambery profile – a shimmer of lingering desert heat absorbed into dry, desiccated woods embellished with a hint of the herbal verdancy that flashed forth in the opening and a puff of smoke.

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Despite being classified as an amber fragrance, L’Air du Désert Marocain never becomes sweet, syrupy, or overtly resinous. It must embody the desert after all. When wearing this beautiful creation, my mind is filled with images of vast expanses of sand being greeted with the majestic splendor of a sunset. Somewhere off in the distance is a village, from which drift redolent smells of flower gardens, the beckoning aromas of dinner being cooked over a fire, and snatches of fragrant incense. Soon the first stars of twilight begin to twinkle in the sky as you sprawl out onto the still warm sand to ponder the mysteries of the heavens above – a solitary being hanging between the celestial and terrestrial realms.

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I encourage everyone to experience this awe-inspiring masterpiece of perfumery at least once. It will certainly be an acclaimed classic for years to come, an echo of the mystical Moroccan desert.