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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Perfume Review: CB I Hate Perfume I am a Dandelion, Greenbriar 1966, Under the Arbor, Wild Hunt and Eternal Return

Review by Tom

Christopher Brosius is of course the New York perfumer who specializes in the most unperfumey perfumes imaginable. He is also the creator of one of my four best American perfumes (from July 4th), Musk Reinvention

The italics are the descriptions from his website:

Eternal Return

Eternal Return is the scent of sailing toward the shore. It is a blend of Fresh Ocean Air, Wooden Ship and a faint hint of Cypress Trees growing on the cliff above the water

Not nearly as strong as the name would suggest, I do get the ocean note right off: actually I can't really call it ocean- it certainly doesn't smell like the ocean as I remember it and thankfully don't smell like the usual "ocean" notes in other perfumes. It's a pleasant note that makes me think of still, clear waters. I don't get woods initially, but the woods do come, as well as the barest whiff of the cypress. Will someone want to slug me for writing that I'd love it in a room spray, but I don't really need to wear it?

Greenbriar 1968

This scent is a memory of my Grandfather, the sawmill that he owned and the stone house where he lived.

Starts off disconcertingly sweet, metallic and oily, as if Grampy had a side business taking his cotton-candy machine to local fairs in the back of his Chevy Greenbrier. He writes It is blended with Sawdust, Fresh Cut Hay, Worn Leather Work Gloves, Pipe Tobacco and a healthy amount of Dirt. There is also a faint whiff of cotton overalls covered in Axel Grease. I wish I got there. I get candy-covered Corvair.

I am a Dandelion

The simple scent of a Dandelion newly picked from the lawn

Well, yes you are in fact. It has the intense green pepperiness of dandelion greens and the milkiness a dandelions sticky sap. Then it starts to bloom into something more: it becomes heady, with a touch of white flowers and the barest hint of rounded fruitiness. I also think I smell a fair amount both his famous dirt accord and his Musk Reinvention in the base. It settles itself a bit as it finishes, becoming rather sweeter in the drydown: it is also absolutely gorgeous and it must come live with me right now.

Wild Hunt

Wild Hunt is the scent of an ancient forest in the heat of a summer afternoon. It is a blend of Torn Leaves, Crushed Twigs, Flowing Sap, Fallen Branches, Old Leaves, Green Moss, Fir, Pine and Tiny Mushrooms.

Well, yes, this is that. There's aslo a wisp of his smoke in there, the memory of a decades old fire. He's not listing dirt in there, but I smell it (does anyone do dirt or smoke better than CB? I think not.) and, yes, Tiny Mushrooms. As out there as this reads, and as true to its place (the forest glade) as it is, it works for me as a scent that I would wear in ways that some of his others don't, perhaps because so many other scents would use parts of it in a more conventional way to make a cologne. However, not even CdeG with their studied sense of Avant-Garde would dare hand you a forest primeval, complete with Tiny Mushrooms. Thanks be that CB does.

Under the Arbor

Grape Leaf is a scent that reminds me of some of the most beautiful places I have visited in California, Italy and France. But mostly it reminds me of the old grape arbor that grew in the yard of the house were I lived as a child. I so loved to sit under it on a summer day quietly reading a favorite book curling my toes in the cool moss...

Another winner: quiet, slightly sweet green leaves, grapeseeds, earth and very arid wood. Although I am usually fonder of his oils, this cries out for a water perfume version: it would be utter perfection on a hot summer day, and a perfect veil on a warm summer night.

These are at CB's website at the following prices for the oils:

Under the Arbor $55 15ML $11 2ML
Wild Hunt $55 85ML $17 2ML
I am a Dandelion $65 85ML $13 2ML
Greenbriar 1968 $60 15ML $12 2ML
Eternal Return $85 15ML $17 2ML

The 2ML sizes are deceptive: being oils these are very concentrated, you can easily use one of the "samples" for months. Smaller samples are available at Fragrant Fripperies.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Maria B. said...

Why does CB have to be so damn creative? My list of must-tries is way too long. Wild Hunt has intrigued me from the start. Not so with I am a Dandelion (hey, not me). I have almost as many dandelions in the yard as I have gophers.

Tom, I appreciate your suggestion that Under the Arbor be tried in the water perfume. I sometimes wonder which version to try. I'm thinking Wild Hunt should definitely be the absolute.

11:54 PM EDT  
Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Tommo - you are a dandelion. That has a certain ring to it (I always imagine dandy lion...).

Apparently (and here that means 'I don't know if this is true') Japanese tourists to the UK are often bewitched by the bright and beautiful proliferation of dandelions in British lawns - a plant lawn puritans (am not one of these) are always making efforts to clinically excise...

5:23 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Augh!!!! Clearly I now need to get with it and get some Dandelion (anything with the Musk base, you make it sound like heaven) and probably Arbor.

Also, we were gone on July 4, I just went back and read your post. I love your list -- fellow musk fan! And Barneys The is one of those things that I think gets ignored because it's been around awhile and ... well, you know. It's passe or whatever. It's delicious, perfect for summer. (The women's version is yech, IMHO.)

7:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Dandelion sounds very, very appealing. Like Lee, I also always imagine dandy lion when I hear the word "dandelion" :-)

7:46 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Love CB! And, you're fight, no one does smoke or dirt better than he does.

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger lilyofbp (Judith) said...

Wonderful to read this! I have been dying to try Wild Hunt, and I have a sample of it coming soon (can't wait)--and also one of Greenbriar. Sounds as if I should have asked for Dandelion instead of the latter, though! You make it sound incredibly appealing!

8:11 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Dandelion was probably the one I was least looking forward to, but it is a really great scent. I get lots of dirt and lots of green. Wild Hunt is still waiting to be tried, but otherwise, Dandelion will easily be my favorite of the bunch.

11:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Ina said...

Confession: I had samples of all these and only sniffed them from vials, completely reluctant to try them on skin. I don't know what it is but CBs and I just don't click. I guess I'm not a dandelion...

11:30 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

maria-

he is creative, damn him. luckily he makes those satisfying "sample" sizes, which considering the strength are a value.

12:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Lee-

I always loved dandelions and could never get why people went to such length to eradicate them in the 'burbs..

But I do not Lawn.

12:52 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

march-

The does get ignored. Too bad.

I think you will like the Dandy Lion, to steal from Lee.

12:53 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Columbina- you can just run into the city and try it! Lucky!

That is if the Subways aren't under water- hope that storm didn't drown you guys..

12:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

elle-

No, nobody does. I like his musk too

12:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

judith-

Greenbriar didn't do it for me. But if one has sweet-eating skin it may be wonderful..

1:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

nowsmellthis-

It's my favorite too. By far.

1:02 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

ina

I think you should try them and tell us all about it.

1:03 PM EDT  
Anonymous Prince Barry said...

Wild Hunt is the one that I would really love to try. It brings visuals of Herne The Hunter to mind.

Wish it was easy to get in the UK.

1:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

I had such great expectations to CB I hate perfume - and I was so disappointed after sniffing the samples of Winter 1972, Revelation and Just breath.
Just breath is - well, just unpleasant to me. It reminds me a strong cleaning product and people around me don't want me to use it (I thought I at least could use it as air freshener...). Revelations begins pleasantly strong & fruity but I can't stand its dry-down (which somewhat vulgar to me). Winter 1972 has something sharp & irritating in it (it reminds me the smell of a brand new and massive wool jumper...). What's wrong with me ?
Tom, big THANK YOU for giving me the fragrant fripperies idea (I haven't heard about them yet - but I just placed a huge order for Serge Lutens samples...).

1:57 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

I love the man, and need to sample these.
Some, you want simply for the olfactory image / memory...

1:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

prince barry-

let them know: the more interest there is the more incentive there is

3:26 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

jane-

Those aren't three of my favorites. If you like smoky or musk, you should try a few of his- he's a master of smoke

3:27 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

chaya-

You really do, don't you? Some are just liquid happy!

3:28 PM EDT  
Blogger greeneyes said...

Oh...two more CB I Hate Perfume for the list to try: I am a Dandelion and Under the Arbor. mmmmm

4:52 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

I don't remember most of these very well (i was trying to smell all his perfumes in less than an hour at his boutique) but I *do* remember liking I am a Dandelion- what a darling scent- sweet and unaffected

7:32 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

greeneyes-

I think you'll like them

7:43 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

lavanya-

Next time I am in NYC I will definitely have to go to his shop!

7:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Lucy said...

Wild Hunt really intrigues me from the description, sounds exactly like what I would really love, dense and loamy. I must make the pilgramage to Williamsburg to get into the shop, as soon as the weather gets more bearable...terrific reviews.

4:24 PM EDT  
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Blogger Eric said...

These descriptions just sound strange to me. I don't want to smell like a dandelion. They're weeds. Maybe I'm a little old-school, but I think perfume should smell like perfume. Very creative though. Have to give him credit for that.

6:07 PM EDT  
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