What is that smell?

Okay, readers – I have sent out samples of CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention, and here is some feedback:

“Gloriously mucky. You smutty little minx. It’s enough to make a man hetero…” — Leopoldo

“I found it to be much scarier than anything I’ve tried recently. I don’t layer, but I think this would be difficult to wear very often without camouflaging it a tad with something less grotty. On me, it smells like that moment when you wake up in rumpled sheets after a particularly debauched night clubbing: smokey hair, potently feral breath, dried sourish sweat in cracks you don’t want to think about. It is by no means bad – I felt almost nostalgic for a moment, since those days are a distant memory for me now – but it does stir some troubling thoughts of where natural musks come from and what they are used for. Thanks for sending it, I think.” – Tigs

“I would say that it smelled like buttcrack, with a musky ‘after sex’ smell. I guess that’s the best way to describe it, March. But, I definitely think you should do a review on it. To be honest, I’m not woman enough to wear it, even layer it, but I am holding on to it to sniff and lightly tamp on my skin from time to time.” — Violetnoir

“At first it smells like my husband which is good. It feels familiar, sexy, and comforting. But then the perfume evolves into something much more disquieting like a prowling presence in the dark. I just know there is danger and this feeling is not accompanied by the thrill of seduction. The scent does not seem to respect conventional olfactory and social boundaries and it makes me think of a marginal world, that of unclean homeless men and…rapists. Someone a little mad has spotted me on the street and is following me. The situation is dangerous because this person although sick is very intelligent. I let the perfume develop on my skin but it was borderline unbearable. It is a truly powerful scent but not necessarily wearable for me. It would be appropriate. I think, to use it in a movie theater to illustrate scenes of lurking (sexual) danger. I also imagine that Christopher Brosius would be the perfect nose to issue another (more readily available) collection of scents based on Perfume, The History of a Murderer.” — The Scented Salamander

And this snippet, from a review on Colombina´s blog: “…the smell of the kinds of sexual doings that will shock even the most liberated individuals…”

CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention

Join me, please, in the Gospel of CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention – Christopher Brosius’ ne plus ultra of Skank. How skank is it? Even Colombina the Terrible, she who loves many terrible smells (along with yours truly) pronounced it “impossible to wear on its own.”

I emailed Christopher Brosius, its creator, about this recently, and he parsed my original question into sections, which he answered. So today´s post is a pseudo-interview regarding CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention.

March: Hi, Christopher — it has been more than a month since Patty and I came and played with you at your shop — we’ve been talking up various CB fragrances on our blog. I’m behind a one-woman drive to get everyone on earth to try CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention…

CB: good luck with that – i knew it was going to be a love it or hate it / you get it or you don’t scent and it certainly is so far. i’ll be very curious to see what happens when it goes onto my new website later this week. in the meantime i’ve used it as a base note in one of my new perfumes (a blend of white floral absolutes inc 5 jasmines, tuberose, & jonquil) which i’m really pleased with.

March: …which is why I’m writing you. When we visited, I was so overcome with joy I didn’t take any notes on the many interesting things we talked about. I would like to do a post on our blog on CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention, because I’m still fascinated by it. My muddled recollection is that you were trying to create a smell that was all things human, the idea of what musk conjures up, but not using any actual musk components… okay, how garbled is that?

CB: actually you’re right – i set out to reinvent what i’d always imagined real musk to smell like from descriptions i’d read in certain novels. i find mine to be a very animalic smell but others have their own opinions

March: What does Musk Reinvention represent to you? More specifically, do you find it/mean it to be a “dirty” scent in a sexual way? Or something else entirely? For what it’s worth, I find it profoundly moving, and I am still trying to sort out why. There is something primal about it to me — some sort of first-smell-memory.

CB: i like that description a LOT – and i see what you mean – CBMUSK is a very primal smell but then i’ve always been fascinated by ancient smells – like incense which i love. and i seem to have a talent for tapping into the collective olfactory unconscious much of which genetically may well be about “first smell memory”.

I’m actually working on a collection of “archetypes’ at the moment – these are all scents that influence all perfume either singly or in combination – many of these are very ancient indeed… the sensual smell of skin is definitely among them.

March: I find it sensual, rather than sexual (I seem to be in the minority) and very, very comforting. I keep layering it with different things — in addition to Jasmine (your recommendation) it layers beautifully with strong leather and/or smoke scents…

CB: i’ve found that many people in america are put off or scared by overtly “sexy” perfumes. and lord knows as a nation we have plenty of sexuality issues of all kinds – frankly the english seem free spirits by comparison… i think of musk as sensual as well but then i think it’s a fine line between sensual and sexy and the two should ideally go together.

March: Anyway, my thanks again for one of the most pleasurable of afternoons.

CB: my pleasure – i enjoyed it!

How do I feel about this scent? Well, I love it. I have to keep my 15ml bottle in its little hazmat drum or the smell perverts my closet, but I have been wearing it pretty regularly. It´s wonderful layered with jasmine. Scents with intense leather (like Lonestar Memories) or smoke (Kolnisch Juchten) are great combos with Musk´s naughty sweetness. One or two careful drops on my skin last until the following day. CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvention is available  on the CB I Hate Perfumes website (which, FYI, was down for renovation when I added this link), I believe it´s $75 for 15ml. Go on. I dare you.


CB I hate Perfume Musk Reinvention samples are available at Surrender to Chance

  • March says:

    T — aHa! I KNEW you were man enough for this one!^:)^

  • tmp00 says:

    I bought this one blind because of yours and Marina’s comments. It’s wonderful, and I would wear it on it’s own, but I tend to neuter skank scents. At least I think I do…. wait, where did everybody run off to? Hello……?? 😉

  • March says:

    BBliss — there is room for a little skank in everyone’s life.:x

    He’s also a really nice, accessible guy, which I appreciate.

  • BBliss says:

    After reading Patty on MKK and now this CBMusk -I definitely need some of this shameless skank in my life!

    Love CB’s responses and his newly redesigned website, too – v. intriguing guy!

  • March says:

    Vi — it’s okay, hon. Plenty other fish in the sea. I’m really eyeballing the Violet Empire… how did I miss that one at the store?:-?

  • Katie says:

    Fantastic post! And what an awesome and thorough response from CB himself. How cool is he? Neat.:d

  • violetnoir says:

    Arrgghh–And, I’m still not woman enough to wear it, March! :”>


  • March says:

    P — I got your buttcrack, baby!

    Apply LIGHTLY — a dab (maybe two) from the vile. It is TENACIOUS. And for God’s sake don’t spill it!

    If you can stand it, try layering with that DK Jasmine. Or your favorite leather. It would be stunning with Faggot. I bet layered with MKK it would Rule the World.

  • March says:

    Tigs — would LOVE some Nav! Do you still have my address? I try very hard to avoid buying unsniffed over $50, as I am frequently disappointed…

  • March says:

    Ina — it’s really different than MKK. It’s sweeter, first of all – but not in a gourmand way, I can’t think of a good way to describe it. I can’t really compare it to anything — it’s not MKK’s sweaty-feety funk. It’s more, um … post-coital? This is my recurring problem, I can’t think of any way to convey its particular kind of muskiness that doesn’t sound disgusting. It’s not disgusting — I mean, it’s not a fecal smell, either. But it does have a human-parts smell that, I guess depending on your POV, is either way over the line or sort of cool.

  • Patty says:

    Was I not paying attention? I think I didn’t put this one on or something. Now I have to go back and try it again (begging for a sample from my BFF, March) :d

  • Tigs says:

    March, great to see CB’s intention with this. I thought it was kind of apres-sexual, and I find sleeping in (though not hangovers) to be quite sensual, so maybe we are on the same page. I’ve been over to Marina’s this morning -would you like me to send you a sample of Eau du Navigateur? Nasrin at the online Perfume Shoppe is normally great but a little slow on the samples lately….

  • Judith says:

    LOL! I thought it was pretty strange that March was writing to herself. That is what too many ‘fumes will do to the brain. Please do not send me anything more; I have mailed you. . .

  • Ina says:

    So, how does it compare to MKK? Super curious to try.

  • March says:

    Okay, I seem to be posting messages to myself now… what kind of weird glitch is THAT?:-\

    Marina, is that you? It links to your blog.

    Rubber, huh? Well, you can’t beat the price!

  • March says:

    March, here is the thing…I bought my DH a bottle of Demeter Rubber…because it was $2.50 at Sephora and because the name was kinda…fun. So…it smells Just Like CB Musk. I mean- identical on me. That is to say, it does nto smell of rubber…or if it does, it’s that kinky sort of rubber, not, say, rubber car wheels or whatever.

  • March says:

    Leopoldo — I think that is an excellent observation, the sweetness does render it more “female.” It is extremely potent, obviously, but that primal aspect makes it inviting to me. I am looking forward to his series of archetypes, I think they sound like a wonderful idea.

  • March says:

    Judith — I am annoyed about that. I’ll send you some more. Is it just me, or does a fair amount of product handled by the USPS disappear? I double-bagged it, just in case it leaked…:-w

  • chayaruchama says:


    I’m going to kiss you, for a VERY long time…jouissance, indeed !

  • March says:

    Sariah — B.C.’s reaction was both unprintable and favorable. #1 daughter said “it smelled like something crawled out of the bottle and died.”

    To be fair, sticking it under someone’s nose is just cruel. A better technique would be to stand in their general airspace and ask for feedback.

  • March says:

    Elle — I think you would love it. On its own it’s a lot to handle. But it does layer beautifully, and I’m not even a big layer-er of fragrance. And that little bottle would last a looong time.

  • March says:

    Chaya — I am so happy for you! Burning Leaves and Black March is one of my favorite combinations.

    I timed my post poorly — CB said they were doing a major website switchover, and I guess this is it. But I’m pretty sure if you call or email they’ll answer.

  • Leopoldo says:

    Sensual / sexual – I’m not sure where i’d put the line. This either means I’m liberated, depraved or dumb, but it doesn’t matter. CB’s Musk is pretty incredible – there’s nothing else like it, yet it’s so strikingly familiar. I think it’s definitely female rather than male – a distaff and more potent MKK maybe. Love this idea of primal scent meories – I guess that’s why our eyes roll back, and we lose ourselves a little bit in jouissance.

    Love you, M.

  • Judith says:

    ARGHHHH!!! I am dying here! I want to try this SO much! And an angelic person took pity on me and sent some–BUT it seems to be stalled in the mail (either that, or I now have a very funky smelling postal carrier);)!

  • sariah says:

    Fab interview March.

    What was the BC’s, and #1 daughter’s reaction to this one? Or are you trying not to scare them?

  • Elle says:

    Want. Need. Crave. Primal works for me. Always. And CB’s scents always work for me too. Yep, I see this as a future HG.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Soulmate mine-

    Get out of my head ! [shades of ‘Dune’]

    My 10 [or so] samples arrived from CB yesterday, and you were on my mind…I even made my family smell them, and they had to admit that CB is truly amazing…

    I went to bed with Burning Leaves and Black March [see- I DO love you !] on my wrist, smelling like Eau de Groundhog veiled in NEW Polska Kielbasa ! What a blissfully happy girl I was !

    I’m miffed that the website is still under construction, I think DH wanted Fir Tree and Burning Leaves [those men and their sausages- REALLY …]

    Bring on the buttcrack, baby…

    Can’t wait to try, and undoubtedly, buy..

    Kisses to you and the beasties…