Okay, I must be getting slow in my old age. I know I wrote about these back somewhere on here or PST (or did I just comment?) but something made me remember them and in doing so to want to give them another whirl.
CB I Hate Perfume as you all I am sure know is the creation of Christopher Brosius, who refers to himself as an “olfactory artist.” Now this sort of thing would normally have me rolling my eyes so hard my equilibrium would be permanently affected, but in his case it is more than backed up by the brilliance of his creations.
There’s a passage in Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” where the un-named heroine says, after a perfect afternoon with Max de Winter “If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
This is what CB I Hate Perfume has done, at least with these three.
Memory of Kindness is a paen to the scent of tomato plants: it’s tomato leaves and citrus and basil (I think) and sweet, fresh tomato flesh with a good sized helping of sun-kissed but still fecund dirt. My sister back in the day had tomato plants that she cared for and loved nearly as much as the pets and horses she liked more than most people: the plants in turn popped ripe tomatoes well past the point that the autumn cold snap should have put them to sleep. MoK takes me right back to those plants and the summer days in the garden. Oddly it really has nothing tomato-ey in it; it’s not memory of beefsteak. It’s also very wearable and really lovely.
My sample of At the Beach 1966 was from Surrender to Chance and at first I thought it was mislabled- I was getting an initial hit of something like hyacinth? But then the tide started coming in and it was more as I remembered it. At the time I was almost disturbed by it: I had tried a few of them in a row and they brought so much memory back it was as if there was some sort of shared but undiscovered bond: as if the perfumer was some sort of lost relative or I had found, like Rachael in “Blade Runner” that what I thought were my memories were merely programming to help keep me sane. But of course it’s At the Beach 1966 so it will play off my memories of Bain du Soleil, sand in my Jantzens and the surf of Long Island Sound circa 1979. It’s not something I need to own a full bottle of but it’s wonderful- like briefly putting on my pre-teen flesh. If only in scent.
Burning Leaves is a little different than I remember it as well: now I get first off that crackling fire, quite startling with its intensity. That starts to calm and becomes more the scent of leaves and embers. Anyone who grew up in New England will know the scent of this- my parent’s house was completely ringed my large maple trees that provided enough shade in summer to keep the worst of the brutal heat (and Massachusetts can rival Mississippi in the summer ick factor) and in fall turned into riots of blazing color, then fell in the yard and had to be raked. Us kids would play for hours in those leaf forts scattering them back across the lawn, only to have to rake them back up. My parents didn’t burn them (we were at the end of the time one was even allowed to) since my dad bought a gadget that sucked them up and chopped them into bits that were used to cover the flower beds over the winter, but neighbors did and the smell was glorious. I know that in the interest of breathing and not having the climate change so much that Maple trees will just combust spontaneously this sort of practice needed to go away, but it is a smell that I miss. Luckily we can revisit it without affecting the environment.
Have you tried any of these? Others in the line you like (I’m crazy about his musk..) Let us know in the comments.
All of these are available at the CB I Hate Perfume Website. I purchased Burning Leaves and Memory of Kindness there. At the Beach 1966 was from Surrender to Chance. Photos are from Pexels and my iPhone.