Back in 2007, on the kind of extremely hot Saturday that makes New York in May feel like the 5 boroughs of Hades, my best friend and I went on a hunt for adventure outside of Manhattan. Several million subway transfers later, we ended up at the CB I Hate Perfume Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There we found, in addition to a respite from the heat and stench of city streets, a small studio whose walls were lined with tiny glass bottles we could open and sniff to our hearts’ content. For a perfumista, it was a version of heaven, both because there were so many scents to smell—water perfumes, absolutes, home sprays, and marvelous accords—and because we were left to get on with it without sales person censure or pressure. So we took our time. Between us, we probably smelled every accord Christopher Brosius makes, and their inventive clarity was intoxicating. And the perfumes! I fell for many scents that day, but the one that stole my heart was CB Archetype No. 4: (forest) Wild Hunt.
The experience of wearing Wild Hunt reminds me of those motion-lapse photography films we used to watch in science class back in the Mesozoic Era, when I was in grammar school. To me, the perfume spans three seasons. It starts off with dirt and mushrooms: sharp, pungent, unmistakable, and barely out of winter. Violets next emerge from the dirt, first unfurling their green leaves beneath green-smelling hedges, then showing their sweet bright faces as spring swings into full bloom. On my sweet-enhancing skin, the violets grow in intensity so that, for a time, the fragrance hits summer amidst sweet, powdery flowers. This is the biggest the perfume gets on me—most of the time it stays very close to my skin, but the flowers bloom for others to smell as well. Eventually, the flowers recede and I smell more of the green leaves and some moss as well. Finally, autumn arrives with damp leaves, dark earth, and rotting branches. This forest floor scent lingers on my skin for a long time, cool and eerie.
For reasons I can’t recall, I didn’t leave with Wild Hunt that day: Memory of Kindness and Violet Empire came home with me. But Wild Hunt stayed on my skin for the rest of the afternoon. It persisted as my friend and I strolled beneath the strident sunshine for what felt like a thousand miles on our way into Queens to visit the Noguchi Museum. (I don’t recommend the 3 subway rides and endless walk to the museum—at least, not during a heat wave—but I definitely suggest you visit, if you can.) Throughout, Wild Hunt cooled and distracted me from the sweaty, stinky, cement city, reminding me, as we stumbled forth on our triboro hunt for adventure, that even New York City was once verdant uncharted territory.
My original experience with Wild Hunt was at the CB I Hate Perfume Gallery; for this review, I reminded myself of its wonder through a sample purchased from Surrender to Chance. CB Archetype No. 4: (forest) Wild Hunt is available online at www.cbihateperfume.com for $17 (perfume absolute 2ml), $100 (water perfume 100ml), and $115 (perfume absolute 15ml).
Photo credit: Caroig, via Wikipedia.