Come Play With Me!

Y’all are killing me.  Where is everyone?  Here I am, waxing all poetical and sh!t about Art and Feeling and whatnot and …. crickets. Throw a b!tch a bone!  Tell me about your favorite CB I Hate Perfume fragrance.  Or, have you tried any other nude scents (or makeup) you’d like to share with me?  Come play, I’m home with the kids and bored.

As part of my Happy Nude Year research for my last post, I wanted to smell Glossier’s You, another close-to-the-skin scent.  Glossier is an on-trend makeup/skincare brand appealing to a younger, sleeker, more fresh-faced consumer, and You is its signature scent. Their website touts “the ultimate personal fragrance with musky base notes + iris + pink pepper top notes;” it was a Fragrance Foundation finalist in 2018.  It’s $60 for 50 ml and I think the bottle’s cute and I was tempted to do a blind buy.

Why it’s special, according to the website: “Unlike traditional fragrances, Glossier You is heavy on warm, creamy base notes (musk, ambrette, and ambrox) that transform and smell a little different on everyone” – as if regular fragrance didn’t do that, but I get the gist that they’re suggesting it’s a personalized scent – you know, more you.  Also, two bullet points down: “It wears evenly, so the way it smells when you first spray it is the way it will smell throughout the day”—as if a slow, delightful unfurling and development of the notes is something to be avoided at all costs.  Okay dude, whatever.

Anyway, I chickened out at the last minute and bought a carded sample (so I could spend the rest of the money on an eyeshadow palette, full disclosure), and I’m glad I did.  I’ve smelled more interesting laundry detergent —although that’s not entirely fair, is it? Glossier’s not suggesting their scent’s going to be interesting; quite the opposite.  For what it is, though….. when I first put it on it smells a bit like a knockoff D&G Light Blue with less metal shavings, and it dries down into something approximating Prada Infusion d’Iris, only Prada Iris is (for all its carefully-constructed lightness) so, so much better – and it’s five bucks cheaper online.  I can’t speak for everyone, but Prada Iris is much more me than You.

I keep mulling the skin scents ouevre, however.  Let’s continue, in my usual meandering style.  I’ll be your slightly loopy Beatrice, keeping you on the path as we move through the hidden dangers and noxious miasmas in the ever-expanding hellscape of modern perfumery.

One of the odd delights, in retrospect, of being a perfume harlot back in Ye Olden Tymes of the early aughts was: you couldn’t get everything so easily.  The world wide web wasn’t quite as efficient as it is now, and so we’d read about some impossible-to-get scent in Moldavia Wakanda Lithuania (hello, Josef Statkus!) and we’d have to strategize:  did we have any friends there who could mail it to us?  Someone in the EU who could travel there and pick a bottle up?  Friend-of-a-friend, maybe?  We’d end up with these crazy frag-mule situations where there were handoffs in, say, Berlin and Paris.  Finally getting your mitts on it, whatever “it” was, was just that much more rewarding.

Now there’s so, so much, and it’s all right there in your face, and like the proverbial all-you-can-eat buffet, it gets less appetizing the more you consume.  I watch a lot of makeup YouTube (don’t judge) and it’s interesting, the same thing is happening now in cosmetics.  There are a lot of new indie brands (which is great!) and new, superstar brands and established brands and the rate at which they crank things out is getting ridiculous.  A new Anastasia or Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette drops and everyone screams– and not from joy, necessarily.

So. If I were your Beatrice, guiding you through the inferno these days, where would I shine my lamp?

Some of my strongest, most transcendant moments of fragrance bliss have occurred over the years with CB I Hate Perfume, including being in the actual shop when it was still in Brooklyn.  I’ve joked forever that Black March was created for me (it wasn’t – but it could have been, it’s that perfect) and when I look back on my long road of perfumery, CB is a brand that stands out not just for its oft-breathtaking beauty, but for its place in my life.

CB (for the unitiated) is Christopher Brosius, and he started the whole capture-a-single-fun note perfumery trend with Demeter.  Then he moved on, and his creations became …. larger somehow, more starkly beautiful. Holier.  Sure, the magic tricks are still there (how does he so perfectly create the smell of tomato leaf?) but once you’ve admired that side of his artistry, it’s time to step back and sniff and ponder the unmatched beauty of his vision, reflected in much of his line.

I’m not going to pretend to “understand” or speak for Christopher, so I can only speak for myself: you owe it to yourself, if you have the time and opportunity, to explore the line.  Yes, there’s a lot on his site, but he’s not just cranking them out; they’ve been imagined and then created over years/decades.  Do some reading on the website.  What sounds good?  He sells 5ml trial sizes, which is enough to let you really experience a scent.

This post is long enough already – so Part 2 will be suggestions for some of my favorite skin scents from CB.  See you then.

  • cinnamon says:

    Always read your posts. On CBIHP you can no longer get it here (I think some were in Liberty or some other frou frou place for a bit). Only sampled a few but love In the Summer Kitchen.

  • Koyel says:

    March, I love reading your posts, even if I am not commenting 🙂

    I was put off of Glossier in general when I went to a boutique and the SA called it “glossi-yay.” Really? We’re going to Frenchify it? But then a good friend of mine got You, and it smelled fine at first, pleasant even. After a while, though, I wanted to gnaw off my nose–there is just something about the PERSISTENCE of the musk that killed me. I have since asked her never to wear it around me again. The stench followed me; I imagined it everywhere for weeks. Maybe I just didn’t like it on her, but maybe it’s just a highly disagreeable scent to my nose.

  • Ann says:

    Hi! I’m here, dear, just a little late! Love this post! I have long enjoyed 1966 At the Beach and A Room With a View (tried it because that is one of my all-time favorite movies), and one of his Christmas tree scents, along with several others whose names aren’t floating to the top. And thanks for the reminder of Josef Statkus — I remember loving that too!

  • Jessica M says:

    So many!! At the Beach 1966…A Room with a View…Winter 1972…and Tea/Rose, to name a few. There’s only one CB!

    • March says:

      Oh, it gives me shivers, just reading your list.  I remember like it was yesterday, standing in his studio, sniffing away and thinking WHOA these are AMAZING

  • gwenyth2 says:

    I’m here, I’m here!

    I love your posts, March, and I read everything you post. I look forward to your “poetic waxing” (sounds like a beauty prodedure, right? haha) 

    I’ve discovered many wonderful perfumes via your words…and lippies….and candles…and other great stuff! Thanks!

    I have read much about CB perfumes and have been very interested in them since I discovered online perfume blogs and fora (forums?) about 10 years ago. My perfume collection has expanded hugely….but I’ve never sniffed any CB I Hate Perfume offerings. I am definitely going to order some samples, posthaste.

    I ordered some lippies yesterday because of post.

    Keep writing. I’ll keep reading. Deal?

    • gwenyth2 says:

      I remember the heady days of yore….Josef Statkus, et al….but by the time I was excited to try his perfume, it was nowhere to be found.

      I’ve been on the search for “Nude” perfumes because I like the idea of a “stealth” perfume to wear in contrast to many of my heavy hitters. I’m a fan of Kenneth Cole White and Bill Blass Nude. I’m going to search out some Glossier You, also. It sounds like something I’d enjoy.

      I found a good combo that I wear as a “nude” perfume. It is SJP Lovely worn along with some Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk oil. Nice!


      • March says:

        That sounds like a fabulous combo.  I was sniffing SJP the other day and on me, I always feel like it needs something but I don’t know what!


    • March says:

      Deal!  It’s weird putting this stuff out into the void, it’s always nice to know somebody’s there, looking back, you know?  The CBs are just….. so cool, and so unlike anything else I own.  HAHA I bought some more lippies too, oops!

  • SpringPansy says:

    Ha – love these posts – keep waxing poetic. I was waiting for Part II, but okay, I’ll jump in now. My CB favorite: In the Library. It’s totally me, maybe the way Black March is you. Woodsy with a very soft, sweetish leather finish. Bitter leather and I don’t work well together, let alone play well – I’m looking at you Bottega Veneta–I tried hard to like you…

    And I would already have ordered more In the Library (I had a small decant that I’ve finished), but have you seen CB’s shipping cost? I get it from his perspective, but I can’t quite justify it from my wallet’s perspective. I keep thinking I’ll get to NYC some day and make an appointment so I can stop by and buy it in person. That would be fun on several levels.

    Another (and probably my most) favorite skin scent is Narciso Rodriguez Musc for Her Oil from 2007. I love it. From the sensuous way the oil drips onto my arm to the incredible lightly floral musk that lasts and lasts, becoming a part of my skin. I can’t believe it’s discontinued.

    • March says:

      I feel like there’s some Murphy’s Law that whatever flanker or iteration of a scent I like best is the one likely to get axed.  I still have my bottle of the regular NR and go through spurts of wearing it…. and In the Library is one of my favorites, so welcoming and cocooning.  I did NOT look at the shipping, that’s a bummer.

  • maggiecat says:

    Oh dear.  I haven’t explored this line and now I need to…

  • ExoRank says:

    Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  • Dina C. says:

    You can be my perfume Beatrice any time March! You’re already my lipstick guru. I found a wonderful Huda lippie in Honeymoon, a rose pink shade I’m wearing just about every day. So glad you mentioned Prada Infusion d’Iris. I always have liked that one. Looking forward to part two!

    • March says:

      Ha!  Don’t you feel like everyone must have a shade in there somewhere?! OK lipstick guru update, only mentioning because I keep seeing them at Nordstrom Rack and they go on sale online all the time:  Laura Geller Bowery Ballerina and Prince Street Pink — they’re lighter than they look on line.  They are LOVELY soft pinks and the formula is fantastic, very emollient but they don’t wind up all over my face.  I actually have two of Ballerina, one at home and one at work, lol.  On sale they’re like $12.

  • Musette says:

    CB’s work is absolutely like nothing else on Earth! My/our afternoon in his Brooklyn shop …. What an amazing experience! I hated vanilla in scents…until I smelled 7Billion Hearts!!! I’d probably still be in that shop…except he moved 😉