Today was a scorcher in NYC à¢â‚¬” just absurdly hot, 103 degrees forecast. I don´t know if we made it to a record, but it sure felt like it. If I get started on all the ways I love New York I’ll never shut up — you know how windbaggy I get — so I’ll try to concentrate really hard on the sniffage. BTW Patty and I took turns writing this, so it’s a little weird in terms of point of view. Do your best. — March
Patty and I met up at noon-ish and headed for Christopher Brosius´ store in Brooklyn, CB I Hate Perfumes. I´ve loved his work since he was the dude behind Demeter’s early, sublimely strange frags (Dirt, Thunderstorm) before he left the company a couple of years ago. CB is his solo work of love, and it shows in the many fragrances he´s developed. If you´ve been to the website, it´s a little daunting, because where do you start with dozens of scents? My biased suggestion is this: if you´re dying for a single note (cucumber, say, or blood orange), knock yourself out. They´re evocative and frequently hilariously spot-on, like the gingerale. But if you really want to smell what I love best about his work, choose one of his blended fragrances meant to evoke a time and/or place. To me, those virtual-reality nose trips are Brosius’ special gift to perfumery. (snap over there is March and Christopher)
Our personal favorites in no particular order were: Black March (earthy, early Spring), Memory of Kindness (a tomato-vine garden stunner), Winter 1972 (snow and other winter notes, gorgeous layered with Black March), Burning Leaves, and Gathering Apples à¢â‚¬” not the smell of a single apple, but the smell of the whole trip-to-the-orchard in the fall shebang. It´s wonderful (and great with Burning Leaves!) We also loved Russian Caravan Tea.
(March) What did I buy? My first musk. His CB Musk Reinvention is one of his blended fragrances, and as I recall he said he was trying to evoke human, skin-type scents. It is radically different from any other musk I have ever smelled, and I had to have it the second I smelled it. Think the opposite end of the spectrum from, say, Kiehl´s à¢â‚¬” it´s sweeter, spicier, and there is something sensual and (big surprise) animalic about it. Layered with his jasmine absolute (he has three) Jasmine Grand India, which to me was the skankiest, it is pretty much pudeur heaven.
(Patty) March did not pick the Jasmine up while we were there, but she´ll be calling back in for it within two weeks. I snagged a couple of his limiteds and Memory of Kindness, and I thought I had a Black March, but must have grabbed a bigger Burning Leaves, so I need to snag that later. The jasmines were just gorgeous, and I finally understand what indolic means. If you are ever in NYC, take the bump over to Brooklyn, it´s well worth the effort.
(March) Christopher played with us for three hours, off and on between customers, and he was so much fun. I wish I´d taken notes, but I was too busy just listening and yakking à¢â‚¬” he was full of interesting facts (the chemical compounds present in various common smells, how he goes about creating a custom fragrance for someone, the variety of fragrances which many people can´t smell at all,) very generous with his time and attention, and told funny stories. He´s revamping his Incense line (veeery exciting for us) and he´s working on a linden blossom scent and a white flowers scent, and working on a book about smell, which he hopes will be out about Easter of next year, which will include smell strips to illustrate various points, and how cool is that? It was a scent bender of the best possible kind à¢â‚¬” other enthusiastic participants and a chance to hear things explained by someone who understands scent so well.
Then it was off to Takashimaya, where we smelled an obscene amount of stuff, so we´re limiting it here to the highlights:
(Patty) Il Profumo Tougregh is the winner from Tak à¢â‚¬” we both loved this, and it´s from the men´s side. A spicy mix that just deepens and smells better and better the longer it is on. Sexy and spicy, get it for yourself. It´s one of the few that we both had to spritz on, and it, mingling with an arm full of CB´s Jasmine and Burning Leaves, is just heaven. God I smell good.
Went through all the Fragonards. Fragonard Mensonge is a gorgeous incense. Skin real estate being what it is, I saved some some square inchage for other spritzing and did not spritz it — mistake! I’ll need to fix that tomorrow. I think that one may be FBW, and it definitely needs a skin test. Fragonard Cyprian is another good one. A little green, we should have found a place to spritz that too. Out of all the Fragonards, those two were the standouts, everything else was making our noses fall asleep.
March loves the Divines, they smell like divine hell on me. Truly Madly Deeply, is someone pulling my leg with that one? I don´t get it. Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia, Tubereuse Criminelle after the Tubereuse got drunk and fell off the ship. Love it or hate it, you won´t forget it, and though I´m not sure it deserves to be in my collection, it´s an interesting scent that needs to be sniffed. Il Profumo Chocolat is another one I wish I had spritzed. It´s a very sophisticated cacao, not sweet, and it needs a skin test, but spritzing on anything chocolate is fraught with peril because you´ll either love it or despise it, and nothing is worse that being covered in chocolate smell that you hate. March smelled all the Yoshes and found the Ginger Ciao to be dab-worthy.
(March) Of course I was in a skirt, so I could take advantage of the extra skin on both knees. I can’t believe P’s dissing those Divines — L’Homme Coeur and L’Homme Sage were also divine, although Coeur reminded us both very much of something at its opening and we can’t think of what — any ideas? (BTW I am too tired to check my fragrance spelling, laugh away at my gaffes, they’re close enough, okay?) I used my left knee for that Touaregh, and my right knee for freaky Nostalgia, which is a must-smell for weird frag fans — how did stuffy ol’ SMN come up with this? Right wrist — Yosh Ginger Ciao, gorgeous and still going strong. I re-dabbled in the Delraes — Bois de Paradis is all growling, animalic floral/sandalwood/incense in the opening, but goes through a boozy middle I don’t like at all before settling into a decent incense. Left shoulder — Delrae Amoreuse (should come with a warning label) is a dirrrrty floral — okay, detecting a trend here, is this trip turning into Skankfest for me? Hmmmm… I too am thinking not trying the Fragonard Cyprian and Mensonge was a mistake, but, hey — as P says, there’s always tomorrow…