April 23, 2013

CB I Hate Perfume - I Am a Dandelion

By Jordan Busson via Wikimedia Commons
CB I Hate Perfume is a line that everyone who loves perfume should do themselves the favor to get to know well. If possible it’s best to visit the gallery/shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where you can try everything for yourself. There are maybe a hundred or so perfumes and accords out at any given time, based on the fragrant experiences of everyday life and many based on daydreams too. It’s like visiting a library of perfumes that are like extracts of experience and moments of happiness and calm.

The site has a lot of information about the perfumer Christopher Brosius, so I need not repeat it all here. I was glad to find he comes from my home state of Pennsylvania, where he played and delved among the lush green weeds in the black earth and the oxygen rich air as a child. The air and the light of where you grow up with all the attendant scents live with you your whole life, and those personal elements and sensations are the basis of everything he makes.  There are accords that closely resemble reality, and then perfumes that are compositions fragrantly describing imaginative narratives.

I’ve written about this perfumer before, but then got caught up in other things and didn’t get back to the gallery again for quite awhile. I made a visit recently (with a fellow perfume fanatic, Carlos Powell) and intend to go back again very soon. It’s been good in a way because now I have more perspective and can appreciate what these perfumes are all the more. These are non-traditional, original, highly creative and very much down to earth.   They are made with both natural and chemical components and range from the floral to the mineral and earthy, containing the air and heat of the sun and many scent components of our pop culture such as lotions and candies and the things we encounter in our travels through daily life.

Christopher Brosius has long been a pioneer in imaginative perfume making in this country and has had a tremendous influence over indie-perfumes generally. Some of his creations are highly refined and remarkably exact portraits of archetypical scent experiences, such as snow or grass, soaked earth or burnt wood, which he calls accords. There are more elaborately composed narrative perfumes of real and imaginary experiences or personalities based on the perfumer’s memories and imagination.

Barbara Regina Dietzsch Butterfly and a Dandelion
They come in two versions, absolute and water based. The absolutes are oil based and dense and last long on the skin, holding close and are a bit softer than the water-based perfumes. The water perfume version evaporates more quickly and so there is a bigger initial burst of the entire fragrance immediately, which then dies down more quickly. That’s fine with me since the water-based perfume has a gentle refreshing quality you can reapply again and again without ever going overboard.

I Am a Dandelion is one I have tried a few times, the last time maybe a year before and then mentally filed it away; I never forgot it. I tried it again at the gallery last week and fell back in love with it instantly. It captures the dandelions I have seen every year ever since I can remember. I find within this perfume the clarity of an astringent green and bright happiness of the simple yellow flower, which is well married to the lively sweetness of the grassy lawns where it grows. The perfume captures the tremendous energy of a dandelion’s life force. A hyper-realistic and addictive dark earth accord is the base that supports this most common of florals.

It’s one of my favorite flowers too. I realize for many it remains an unpretentious if bothersome weed not deserving of so much focus or adoring attention.  There have not been many or really any other perfumes that I know of showcasing its unique characteristics.

The perfume begins with an the initial burst of cool sweetness that's like biting into a green stem of grass in the summer. I am astonished that someone could by hand and discerning skill make such an evocative distillation of the dandelion experience. While understanding and respecting the dandelion experience for being the wonderful thing that it is.

In this part of the world, the dandelion is an important flower for the very young. With virtually unlimited access, so numerous and unimportant to adults, it makes a big and deep seated impression because it's one of the first and only plants children are permitted to explore and have intimate contact with.  They are enthusiastically and thoroughly explored piece by piece, in all life stages, because they are so close to the ground, so reachable and plentiful and go through such a fascinating transformative metamorphosis. This perfume captures the experience of that time of complete and undivided attention to a simple and beautiful thing.  It's brilliant that the perfumer decided to bring that all back to us in perfume form.

The perfume is sold in several places but I recommend you go to the gallery/store in Williamsburg if possible, because then you will have a full experience with the entire line. They all come in elegant but very simple graphic packaging and so are not over-priced for the sake of elaborate presentation. The absolutes also come in a travel size, which makes them affordable enough to indulge a range of preferences and even to play with layering, as you will.

Please visit the site for more information and maybe even phone ahead of a visit to the gallery to make sure they are not too low in stock. Getting ever more popular, there have been times they have run out of enough perfume to go around. Everything is made and packaged start to finish by hand.

Please follow the highlighted links within this post to get to the site for pricing and size information or to find other shops where the perfume is carried, or to order or visit the gallery/store in Brooklyn.

Disclosure: This perfume was purchased by me, and this is my personal opinion. I was not compensated for this post.
Copyright 2013 Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.


Monica said...

This is a charming perfume Lucy and I am glad you like it as I do. CB is so very clever and I do so hope to visit his gallery! I also hope ppl will appreciate dandilions more- the bees certainly love them!

Lucy Raubertas said...

They are such fast adaptors too, the other day I saw many that were flowering less than an inch high to evade the lawn mowing in the park near me. Thank heavens for free flowers. People love to eat the greens, too, I know. I must try that, I imagine it's a smell sensation too, green as it gets.