December 16, 2014

House of Cherry Bomb-Brooklyn Atelier Perfumes

DUMBO Brooklyn, NY
The House of Cherry Bomb collaboration of Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl has put together a collection of what they call Atelier perfumes, in limited edition or made to order as necessary, as seasonal responses to how they feel and what's on their minds. The new ones are released at intimate perfume parties at their Brooklyn studio.  

I have collected most of them myself; and happy to find they are deliberately kept well priced so they remain affordable as a collection to their fans. Available only directly through them at the Brooklyn DUMBO Atelier, or online, layers of mark up are avoided and their strong word of mouth much reduces the work of marketing.

I have written about most of them before, but I thought I would bring them all together in one post so they can be referenced as one collection.  They have a sophisticated lyrical minimalist spirit, the presentation is an elegant leather band wrapped around an etched spray flacon, and their tone is focused and direct.  Many of them layer with each other in an appealing way. They are lovely to experiment with, and easy to love.  These are not perfumes that are difficult or that you must develop a taste for; they are immediate pleasures for the aromatically inclined of all levels of experience. Then can be worn applied either lightly or with abandon and work both ways.

Cardamon Rose is a favorite of mine for hot weather but good anytime. Cardamon and rose water is a traditional Middle Eastern combination, and in this form ornaments the skin with a dessert-like dry champagne effect that is not sweet at all. Effervescent in nature, it mixes with whatever humidity is in the air to turn it into something refreshing.  If you know cardamon through the tea, that distinctive tone is here, inflamed by a dewy rose, a hint of orange and a whisper of spiciness, holding itself onto you with a coolness that recalls the structured vintage summer dresses the perfumers wear with bright red lipstick, wrapped up in their elegant vapors. If it's not summer I recommend trying it in your hair, as it will be tenacious there and lovely in cooler weather. 

Tobacco Cognac is at the other end of the perfume spectrum, slanted to winter and masculine in a manner that would not stop a true lover of deep and dark perfumes, of whatever gender. Using the house specialty of fossilized amber, and the last of their vintage Arabian musk, tobacco, cognac, and a little smoke, it's deep but still maintains that clear as a bell style that incorporates energy and the depth bomb effect they favor, as do I, of deep sultry notes. 

Cognac brings up the brightness and energy, so that it's not an over heavy aromatic burden but a warm cloak to draw about for comfort and depth.  I think of the wallpaper in Sherlock Holme's study, imbued with his pipe smoke and the vapors of many nights of drinking before the fire with the fog outside and crime around the corner.

Swanson by Steichen
When I found out there was a Tuberose Tobacco Cognac version, a further permutation on the deep dark scale with the addition of a soprano honeysuckle and Moroccan tuberose, I thought these two perfumers were reading my mind because this combination of dark and light is one I often pursue myself, with layering when I have to. The wide contrasts bring out the details in each. This freshness of heady florals set beside the earthy tobacco and aromatic brandy is a Valentine's Day celebration in liquid form, and somehow even though all the ingredients are traditional, the romanticism is modern because it is so pure and itself, especially presented as the transparent veil it is.  Watch the carnival pass by through the black lace of your mantilla and think about having a smoke.

Violet Green Tea Honeysuckle calls out to the spring, even as a winter floral. I'm getting that forced narcissus in the heated room effect that I love. A tiny amount of powdered dust from the crumbling rained-on old blue slate pavements, Ray Davies' voice singing Waterloo Sunset, limpid eyes, green gunpowder tea exerting a little control over the potentially unruly headiness, indeed adding a spine with good posture. Again not sweet though growing a little sweeter as time goes on, this is a simple and direct form of elegance, staying in the heady lane, without crossing the wider modern bounds of sophistication.  In other words, the essence of an adult longing for spring sans sentimentality or going overboard with too much lily of the valley. 

Pink Haze is from the PLP Project, about which I posted last time, so I'll start by quoting myself, to say this one captures Brooklyn's very specific city and earthy metallic feel, lightened by cherry and apple blossom petals, to be an infusion of the natural into a man-made environment. There is a glow that comes through clearly within the perfume, inspired by those pink sunsets over the rivers and reflected in the glass of a million windows. There's a relation to Violet Green above, with tones of lilac, stone, and beeswax making it earthier and more romantically emotional.  

Coffee Amber Vanilla is a full rich rendition of these three soothing sensory stimulants all together, veering close to the intoxicating end of the olfactory scale, in the house style.  A gourmand liqueur that might fuel a winter's day and night, entering into the spirit of black/brown sepia that sinks into the skin like an ink stain. It dwells the longest in the upper register of a new kind of incense that burns coffee and amber vapors so that you may then give yourself up to the worship of the concentrated brunette beauties of dark vanilla, chestnut, agar and oud. Try this and hopefully get it worked into your sweaters and scarves, and enjoy the cashmere softness it will veil over your winter wools.

There's a discovery set available, as a nice gift to yourself or others.

I know the perfumers well and follow their work, and this post has been based on perfumes I have purchased with a couple of samples provided by the perfumers. 

Please follow the links to their online sites for more details and to order.

Copyright 2014, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved,

Images of the perfumes from the perfumers.
Image of DUMBO found online w/o attribution, please let me know if you know it.  Gloria Swanson in the iconic photo by Edward Steichen.

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