July 9, 2015

Carlos the Brooklyn Fragrance Lover

Perfume obsessives, by which I mean those who pursue the pleasures of perfume wholeheartedly, know that it's an impractical expensive and extravagant interest.  Even so, perfume's great pleasures, especially for those who have cultivated both a wide and refined taste for it, are so inspiring and seductive that it can come very close to being something like an addiction.

Now that perfume creation has expanded into the ever morphing niche and independent categories, experiencing and appreciating it and sharing it becomes, for those who are true devotees, a form of personal expression, like fashion or personality or self-presentation.

Carlos J. Powell aka the Brooklyn Fragrance Lover
Carlos J. Powell lives a life which is one of the most deeply imbued with perfume that I know of,  speaking as someone who has come to know a range of perfume enthusiasts as well as perfumers themselves.  He talks, thinks, pursues, wears and engages others in perfume as much as possible.  His civilian job as a salesman has trained him to be a great advocate for perfume to others, and he shares that enthusiasm with energy and enjoyment.

He is one of my favorite "perfume personalities".  I have spent time with him at several NYC perfume boutiques, and discussed perfume with him over the past few years at every encounter. I've seen him conduct interviews with perfumers, watched and read his thoughts on perfume. I've visited his apartment and seen and sampled from his extensive collection of full bottles, decants and samples, that run across every category from the classics to designer to niche to high-end indie to mass-tige hits. The basis of it all is, as he often reminds me and others, from the Biblical quote: "perfume and incense bring joy to the heart" and that the pursuit of aromatic beauty is a way to refine and uplift one's life experience.

We've discussed his interest in bringing more people, especially men, into the perfume orbit, which has to do with relating perfume to the "regular" guy.  We both agree that there is no such thing as an authority on taste in perfume, because everyone as an individual has their own unique inner perfume profile, which they can uncover and develop at their own pace and in their own most rewarding way. His generosity in sharing his perfume enthusiasms by both in spreading the word and also sharing perfume itself is among the best in the true perfume geek tradition.

Some of the Goodsmellas
Carlos has been much involved with the group the Goodsmellas, which has been noticed by the mainstream media, and also created his own video channel on YouTube called Brooklyn Fragrance Lover.  He also writes perfume reviews under the same name.

He visits perfume boutiques and department stores almost every day, popping in wherever he happens to be, to try just about anything.

This has created a wide inner library of perfume experience across the categories, high to low end. He has told me that has began to re-approach the so-called "designer" perfume category, that is those perfumes known to most people through department stores and mass marketing, and has found it rewarding, showcasing the gems that he then shares with his many social media followers.

I found and got to know Carlos at first through his social media group PLP (Peace Love and Perfume) on Facebook, which he aims to keep as a space of pure appreciation, as a safe space for both the experienced and newbie perfume lover, to talk about their current perfume experiences. It's something like a daily social diary for perfume obsessives like himself.

Several perfumers have participated in his beautiful project creating perfumes for the PLP group (I have written about these perfumes already and there are more to come) in order to express the Peace Love and Perfume theme of the group.

His focused energy and capacity for perfume amazes me. He can and will try many perfumes a day.

Over the years he developed an extensive personal collection that has become a perfume library and personal history from which to choose every day, according to mood, weather, season.  This is something that most dyed-in-the-wool perfume obsessives do, but I find his range wider than most.  I find that many perfume enthusiasts tend to limit themselves to a certain style, or notes, or perfume family or types, or even a small number of perfumers, but Carlos is exceptionally open-minded and tries everything he can and spends time with all the perfume he can reach. I think this is unique.

I have asked Carlos where does he see this going, how long does he think he may continue to put so much time, work and energy into this, what some might consider an unusual and extravagant obsession, and his reply was so typically spontaneous of him.  He immediately responded that it's so much fun, and that he loves it so much, it makes him happy.  That he doesn't know exactly what may or may not come of it all over time, but he does know it's good for him and that he is enjoying himself.

There are now several perfume groups on social media and those perfumistas that know each other in real/face time, and more and more people on social media are learning from, sharing with and encouraging each other in enjoying this new modern Renaissance in perfume in a way that combines the development of both soul and sensuality.

Carlos is that kind of true perfume enthusiast, one of those who is working hard but with pleasure, to share the beauties of perfume with as many as he can reach.  I see him as tireless in his pursuit of beauty and appreciate that he combines it with fun, and so fully integrated into his everyday life.

Carlos with Jean et Claude
For more, please see his video blog at Brooklyn Fragrance Lover on YouTube
and his blog also called Brooklyn Fragrance Lover.
A video of Carlos' recent visit to Twisted Lily discussing Rubini,
Imaginary Authors and Bruno Fazzolari
The Goodsmellas article in Elle.
the PLP Perfume Project on this site

Photos above taken with permission from Carlos J Powell's online sites

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure:  As noted above, I know Carlos personally and belong to the PLP Facebook group. As it happens, we are both Brooklyn Fragrance Lovers; we both live in Brooklyn.


Brooklyn Fragrance Lover said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I appreciate if from the bottom of my heart xoxo

Lucy Raubertas said...

Carlos wishing you a lifetime of beautiful perfumes

Shelley said...

Carlos has contributed enormously to both perfumers and to the perfume community. As one of the early adapters on Facebook, he trail-blazed a vital community and infused it with his own unique brand of enthusiasm and inspiration. I hope to someday see his perfume library too!

Thank you for a lovely article. It was great to learn more about Carlos.

Laurie Stern said...

Great article, Lucy! I loved learning about Carlos! Jean et Claude are divine!


RusticDove said...

Carlos is a gem. Lovely profile of a dear person.

AustralianPerfumeJunkies said...

Hey Lucy & Carlos,
I LOVED reading this and can't wait to come back to NYC to hang with you guys.
Lovely read, and insight, I smiled through the whole piece.
Portia xx

Lucy Raubertas said...

Deat Portia and Australian Perfume Junkies, yes indeed Carlos brings much with him wherever he goes, with a whole heart.

Rustic Dove, thank you!

Shelley, I look forward to the day you visit and we can all have a great perfumed dinner together!

Laurie Stern, I quite agree that Carlos, Jean et Claude are a team.

deana sidney said...

What an interesting man, Lucy. How good of you to tell his story. I never thought about a club for perfume with men!! What a marvelous thing.

Lucy Raubertas said...

Dear Deana -- Thanks. It does seem that American men especially are culturally resistant to perfume but when they get over the barrier they are into it all the more. Carlos and his friends are fanatics for perfume and get into collecting it like others collect wine.