7 Billion Reasons to Love CBIHatePerfume

A Short Tale of Brooklyn and CBIHatePerfume..and 7 Billion Hearts, one of the Best Vanilla Perfumes on the planet.                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Anybody who’s ever spent time in New York knows it has one of the best subway systems in the world.  Yes, it’s one of the oldest – and hoofing it up and down steps first poured in the late 19th Century can chap a gal’s cheese, especially during rush hour, when said gal’s wonky knee says ‘are you kidding me?  MORE steps?” – but hey, getting from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn for $2.25 has its charms.   And emerging from the subway, into the (now) charming area that houses CBIHatePerfume (and 7 Billion Hearts), was worth every step.   March and Patty have long tried to convince me that this line was one to really explore but I was skeptical – why on earth would I want to sniff a perfume that smelled like burning leaves when I have an OCD neighbor who, every Saturday, sets everything afire but himself and his house….tomato leaf?  I have a garden full of ’em.  Meh.

A short walk to the CBIHatePerfume ‘gallery’ has shifted that opinion.    After meeting Christopher Brosius on the way  (“March?  Is that you?” – I mean, c’mon, what are the odds?) he promised to return within the hour so we could all chat – in the meantime Russell, his charming gallery manager, was kind enough to shepherd me through several of the scents…I finally ‘get’  Burning Leaves – it’s not that it smells like burning leaves that makes it so evocative.  It’s that when you smell it, you are transported back to the time when life was simpler and autumn was full of excitement and anticipation…and bonfires and burning leaves were the rite of the season, rather than an illegal act.  Black March smells like dirt – but it’s not what it causes me to ‘feel’ like I’m smelling.  One whiff and I’m inhaling the scent of the first hyacinth buds, after a particularly brutal winter.  The dirt is wet, tinged with the promise of life renewed.

I now ‘get’ CBIHatePerfume.  And I love it. 

Which brings me to 7 Billion Hearts.   A lovely chat with Christopher who, in that way that happens, gets even more attractive the older he gets, dammit, gave me the 411 on his smoky vanilla scent.  I told him that I really don’t like vanilla perfumes overmuch and he told ME that it was probably because I’ve been sniffing some ugly-assed synthetic vanillas (okay, he  didn’t say ‘ugly-assed’  but I’m sure, from the look on his face, that ‘ugly-assed’ was exactly what he meant) – anyway, he dabbed a bit of the 7Billion Hearts absolute on my wrist.  I inhaled.  I nearly wept.  Real vanilla…well.  Real vanilla is not sweet.  I know this from baking (and it’s why, besides the cost, a lot of bakers use artificial vanilla flavoring, to amp both the vanilla ‘scent’ and the implied sweetness).  Real Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla, smelled through a haze of woody, resin-y smoke, is as far from cupcake-sweet as a velociraptor is from a puppy.  And it’s a seamless composition.  I spent a long time with this one and there is no line, no time, no ‘place’ where the vanilla leaves off and the smoke comes in or anything else.  It Just Is.   In fact, this one totally explains the whole CBIHP ethos to me (whether I’m right or not is irrelevant).  When I smell this, I smell humanity.   Life.  Love.  Longing.  Connection.   Perhaps to the 7 Billion other souls on the planet.  Or perhaps to just one.

This is a warm, enticing, sensual skin-scent.  YourSkinButWAYBetter.   All the way back to Manhattan I kept huffing my wrist, thinking “If I could smell like this naturally I wouldn’t ever need to wear perfume”, which is probably precisely the point.  But I can say that if everybody on the R Train smelled like this, the subway – and the world – would be a way better place.


Note:  fuggedaboutit.  They don’t give them.  Vanilla + smoke = human, hearth, comfort, love.  That’s all you need to know.

Price (which you do need to know) :  15 ml Perfume Absolute ($225) or 100 ml Water Perfume ($200) through the CBIHatePerfume gallery.   I smelled both.  They are both gorgeous.


You can sample both at Surrender to Chance.

Images: foodtangclan.com, kevineats.com

  • Lynne Marie says:

    I had never sampled a CBIHP fragrance until a few weeks ago. I had resisted the whole idea – thinking they were singular, one-trick ponies of perfumery. I was dead wrong. Gathering Apples wasn’t just an apple scent ( as I wrongly assumed). It was the dead leaves on the ground, the smell of cold dirt and hey, is someone in the neighborhood running their woodstove? And apples – but the smell of apples when there are dozens and dozens of them on trees all around you and the sun is shining and the air is cold. I’m hooked. I know I have a sample of 7 Billion Hearts ( ordered after the vanilla extravaganza) , now I have to toddle off and go find it…

  • Patty says:

    Hahahaha! You have been turned to the dark side. See? One trip there, fully sniffing away at everything, and I defy anyone to not walk away with 1-2 things they love.

    • Musette says:

      I know (blushes). I am such a a bonehead. And you and March, so patiently listening to my whining about “if I don’t want to leave Little Arabia, blahblahblah)….you KNEW what was going to happen! LOL! I could’ve hung around in his gallery for a few hours more and happily!!!

      xo A

  • kathleen says:

    Interesting. I haven’t sniffed one thing from this line

  • EasilyEnabled says:

    The NY CBIHP shop is on my bucket list. I have many of his samples, but only have the fb of Patchouli Empire. I must now try 7 Billion Hearts. And I agree with everyone about Black March- the scent of Mother Earth is a reminder of what is to come. Great review and it sounds like y’all had a fabulous time!

  • Samantha L. says:

    I love CBIHP and since I have full bottles of both Black March and Winter 1972 clearly I like to smell like wet dirt! It’s just that every one I’ve smelled is so interesting..not department store blah in any way. They’re the kind of thing that I love to put on just for me and my personal enjoyment.

    • Musette says:

      I think a lot of CBIHP are best enjoyed personally. That’s not a put-down. The best, most evocative scents are that way, imo.


  • Kathryn says:

    It was really a thrill to bump into all of you Posse gals at CB I Hate Perfume last Friday and to see you all having such a great time together. And now I’m even more thrilled to have you concur in my opinion that 7 Billion Hearts was one of the best things I smelled in a weekend of intense sniffing. I came home with all sorts of samples and a few other bottles, but they will all have to wait for awhile because this is the one I want to keep on wearing. It’s perfect. Just perfect.

    • Patty says:

      Kathryn, it was so good to meet you there, and such a nice surprise! 7 Billion Hearts is one of the best things CB has done. I think it is a beautiful bridge between his reality nonperfume perfumes and something for people who just don’t want to smell like tomato leaves, though I really can’t imagine why not! I’d rather smell like a tomato leaf than powder. 🙂

  • mals86 says:

    I don’t get the CBIHPs. I mean, yeah, I get the concept, and I like it. I love me some Proper Perfume, as you know, but I also live for those times when Proper Perfume becomes a looking glass for life experience – like when vintage Magie Noire whisked me back to a rainy windy evening, post-choir practice, my first year of college, when we’d been singing “The Coolin” by Samuel Barber. Or when Tabac Aurea drop-kicked me into the first time I fell in love.

    But everything I’ve tried from the line has just sorta… SAT there on my wrist. Lumpish. Not telling me stories or serving as the Magic Carpet Ride to somewhere/somewhen. Burning Leaves didn’t take me back to the times when we’d burn our own leaves. Room With a View didn’t sweep me off to the meadow full of purple flowers and passion. Tea/Rose was pretty but unmoving. I can’t remember the other one that just sat there, lumpish, sullen… oh, yes, Russian Caravan Tea! but after those four, I gave up.

    I am still intrigued by Winter 1972 and Greenbrier 1968. And Black March, I’ve never smelled that either. Hmm. Okay, FIIIIIINNE, I may possibly have been testing the wrong ones, I dunno…

    • Musette says:

      I think CBIHP is like any other House. The right ones speak to you and the wrong ones don’t. Or…it may be that NONE of them will, Mals. And that’s okay, as you know. I can’t love Caron to save my life. And I reread my post, wondering if I gave an incorrect description. What I was trying to say (and probably failed) is that CBIHP does not whisk me or transport me to a place, as do so many ‘perfumes’ – it IS the place. Not all of them work for me, though. March says Memory of Kindness moved her to tears. All it did for me was remind me I still have 5 quarts of tomatoes to process.


  • You are CLEARLY having a great time. I’m so glad and I am also coming over to CB I Hate Perfumes
    Portia xx

    • Musette says:

      We had a blast! The only thing blastier would’ve been if you’d joined us. You would LOVE CBIHP. Must-go when you get here.


  • Ann says:

    Welcome back! Hope you had a fantastic time. Great post and, as usual, I’m about to spit my morning tea — OCD neighbor!! 🙂 The 7 Billion Hearts sounds lovely — I have not explored this line very much, save for the Room With a View scent, so I will definitely have to remedy this. And the Hearts and Burning Leaves sound like good places to start. Thanks!

    • Musette says:


      The man, bless his hort, cuts his grass in the rain. He cut his grass in a drought, when there was no grass. It’s his ritual. Our July/August drought rendered it moot – even he couldn’t find anything to cut. But now it’s back to growing and he’s as happy as pie.

      7 Bill is gorgeous. If you get Burning Leaves, get a sample of Gathering Apples, too. March’s favorite Autumn combo. It’s ..well, it’s Autumn on your wrist.

      xo A

  • Anita Lane says:

    CB is high on my NY perfume sniffing dream vacation list. I have a sample of Black March that I just love. I don’t wear it but I huff it when I need some early spring.

    • Musette says:

      I think a lot of CBs work like that. Black March would be one of those I would spray on a hankie and carry around with me. 7 Bill, Cradle of Light (ooohhhhh, now that is a beeeeeyouuuteee!), Wildflowers and Honey (the one that broke Miss March’s heart – but I’ll let her tell you about that sometime)…those are serious ‘wearers’

      xo A

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Oh, my Trifecta of CBIHP! Burning Leaves, Black March and 7 Billion Hearts. And Gathering Apples. Wait that’s a quadfecta! Is there such a thing? Can’t be arsed to Google so I am going with it.

    I can’t wait to hear more Sniffa adventures! I SO would have loved to join you all. I mean, sniffing with the Posse Trio?? Awesomtastic.

    • Musette says:

      Are you sure you aren’t March, writing in disguise? That’s her trifecta (minus the 7Bill, which I didn’t ask her about, being so busy rolling my own eyes up in the back of my head)..all three of those are super-lovely!

      xo A

  • Janice says:

    I ordered a sample of 7 Billion Hearts after reading Patty’s guide to vanilla perfumes. (I like many vanilla-centric perfumes, but I totally understand why it’s a category so many people avoid.) I had tried several CBIHP perfumes (Black March, Memory of Kindness, North Atlantic accord) and appreciated them in the sense that “Wow, it’s amazing that someone can re-create the smell of greenhouse/tomato leaves/dead crab”), but I had not wanted to actually wear any of them. I have been wearing this a lot.

    I have not tried Burning Leaves, and must now remedy that.

    • Musette says:

      I think the ones you mentioned are less easily wearable in a ‘regular’ way – you could wear NA accord at home, when you wanted to conceive a day crabbing on the beach but I’m not sure it’s what you want to wear at the office (“is somebody eating seaweed?”)…I would wear Black March out but not to a social event, I think. Then again…..

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I thought my Surrender to Chance shopping cart feature was full but it is now like my messenger bag. Falling apart at the seams because I just added more stuff. I keep meaning to get some decants of CB I Hate Perfume. I’m kind of curious as to why it is classified as a water perfume.

    • Musette says:

      I think (I THINK. I do not persackly ‘know’) but I think the water perfumes are absolutes distilled into …..water? Some highfalutin’ water, to be sure. But it would explain the price/ml/spray/dab differentials. I confess to not asking – I was too busy being overwhelmed by the scents. And to think I almost didn’t join the Posse on that expedition!