CB I Hate Perfume: Black March, Burning Leaves, Tea/Rose and Musk
Our two-day CB I Hate Perfume special continues…Yesterday Tom reviewed three perfumes from Brosius’ Secret History series, and deemed them ”interesting, exceedingly well done, and even evocative in a way that's so shockingly personal I almost feel as if I had an intimate relationship with this man.” Testing Black March (and to an extent, Burning Leaves) I had much the same reaction as Tom. I felt that somehow the perfumer tapped into the darkest, the most painful and disturbing memories of mine and channeled them into his creation.
Black March, described as “a fresh clean scent composed of Rain Drops, Leaf Buds, Wet Twigs, Tree Sap, Bark, Mossy Earth and the faintest hint of Spring Flower Bulbs”, starts with a note that is not in the least depressive, a brisk, earthy, vegetal accord that makes me think of freshly picked, still dirty vegetables (for those familiar with S-Perfume Sloth, in the middle of that scent, there is a note that smell just like this, only softer). That smell of dirty potatoes, beetroots and courgettes reminded me about a summer spent in a Labor Camp … Believe me, there is nothing sinister behind that name, even though it sounds like something straight out of Solzhenitsyn’s books. In Soviet and post-Soviet times, Labor Camps were summer camps for teenagers, they combined rustic sort of work (weeding, gathering potatoes, zucchinis, carrots, or any other sort of vegetables and/or fruits) and the usual sorts of simple and, at that time in one’s life, exciting camp activities like disco nights, talking with your friends till early in the morning and having a crush on a boy from the next dormitory. I’ve only been in a Labor Camp once, I am a city girl at heart and generally abhor too much fresh air and am uncomfortable without en suite bathroom, but I remember having a blast. If Black March stayed the way it was in the beginning, bracing, fresh, green and happily soiled, I would have ordered a bottle straightaway if only for the nostalgic reasons. But it started to grow darker, it became somber, it had a strange, looming quality about it. It was the earthiest perfume that I have ever encountered. It smelled like a freshly dug grave. It was a smell of gazing into the black abyss, of utter despair and loneliness, of all the nevers and if onlys, of life without a future. I am all for the thrills and chills in perfume, but such an olfactory catharsis as the one that Black March has given me is frankly too much for my fragile nervous system.
Burning Leaves. "The world is changed; I can feel it in the water, I can feel it in the earth, I can smell it in the air” …Burning Leaves is the scent of autumn, of fires burning in the chilly darkness, of anxiety and excitement. It could have been easily called Fall 1917 or simply Revolution, because there is something disturbing and thrilling there, and rather dangerous, the smell of imminent changes, for better or for worse. Compared to Black March, it is much more wearable for me. It is actually rather delicious even; the sweetly smoky note of almost-candied wood is very appealing and, in the drydown, quite cozy. Note to self: never again layer Burning Leaves with Black March. The result, evocative of freshly dug graves AND revolution, is too unsettling.
After the misery of Black March and the dangerous excitement of Burning Leaves, what a pleasure it is to inhale a scent of freshly brewed Rose Congou tea. That is exactly what Tea/Rose smells like on my skin, like subtly sweet black tea strongly scented with rose. There is also a very green note there reminiscent of the flower stems rather than petals. The whole effect is simple, refreshing and very attractive.
When I was writing this post, the postman brought another CB I Hate Perfume sample (thank you, March!), Musk. Now, I am someone who finds Muscs Koublai Khan to be completely wearable and not even that dirty anymore. My tolerance for skank is, I believe, quite high. But apparently not high enough. If you ever wandered what is that skank that March and I so often speak about, please try CB Musk. However, proceed with caution. What you are about to smell, might disturb you. Musk is the smell of the kinds of sexual doings that will shock even the most liberated individuals. It is perverse, dirty, it smells unspeakable. I found it impossible to wear it on its own. Layered with some innocent little scent like Kenzo Amour or a luminous, angelic floral like Un Lys, it adds depth and richness and, yes, skank and gives an unexpected, X-Rated ending to the composition.
Black March ($70.00), Burning Leaves ($35.00-$55.00) and Tea/Rose ($95.00) can be ordered online. I believe that Musk is only available at the store and costs $25.00.
All images are from cbihateperfume.com.