christopher brosius: i hate perfume.

I’ve discovered my new favourite artist. He’s not a painter or designer or photographer – he’s a Perfumer. There’s almost too much to love on Christopher Brosius‘ website – I Hate Perfume.
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These uni-sex scents are for people with an imagination. Instead of making a bottle look like an obelisk or a flower or a penis and hoping that pictures of prostrate models will make you want to buy it, his packaging is stylish. His site is minimal, but passionate. His small bottles have labels that look like they’ve been individually typed by hand on an old typewriter. Each scent has a complete story – not that sort of “I am elegant because I say I am” ubiquitous nothingness of mainstream perfumes – but an actual emotion-inducing tale.

He’s also got a range of “accords”, single-note scents that can be individually blended to create any scent you want. Elementary in both name and nature, I’m having a hard time not buying them all and going to town on my wrists and neck…

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Like he says himself on the site, Brosius’ is an artist. These are scents that are actually discovered; their nascent point is emotional. To explore the site, it’s almost like he’s channeling – just as any good artist he’s creating something simply because it demands to be created.

And not necessarily from the stuff you’d imagine. His goal is to create true scents, ones that evoke real memories, and so ingredients are honest and direct. Notes like “wet sand”, “green tomato vine”, “old leather suitcases”, “dirt”, and “fresh cut hay” help create the true, organic, and almost visceral nature of his scents. At his perfume gallery in Brooklyn, open to the public, you can visit his studio and see exactly how he works, how the scents are created, and find out why “the point of the perfumes I create is to offer you an experience you never thought possible…”. I love this guy.

As with any full-realized art, the names of his scents are just as intuitive and emotional as what they represent: “Just Breathe”, “Cradle of Light”, “Memory of Kindness”, “In the Summer Kitchen”, “Eternal Return”… how can you not want this stuff?

My fave is “At The Beach 1966″. I dare you to resist a description like this…”The prime note in this scent is Coppertone 1967 blended with a new accord I created especially for this perfume – North Atlantic. Imagine it’s about 4 o’clock on a golden summer afternoon and you’ve been at the beach all day rubbing yourself with Coppertone suntan lotion – but Coppertone as it existed in the 60’s, not quite as it is now… You walk into the surf as the waves break on the shore and, bending down to touch the surf, you notice the smell of your warm skin and of the salt water that seems so cold by comparison. It has just the faintest hint of watermelon rind…”

C’mon! How good is that? When I die, please douse my corpse in “At The Beach 1966” and send me to the Crematorium.

Comments

  1. As the son of a Grasse-trained perfumer and a friend of such real perfumers as Christopher Sheldrake, and, through my mother, the late Edmond Roudnitzka, I found all the cutely named synthetics here — aldehydes, ionones, and petrol derivatives all — to be at best attractive, mostly benign, and occasionally noxious. However, they are at least unpretentiously priced, unlike the custom fragrances of charlatans like Roja Dove and the Clive Christian group, or the gragrance equivalent to the emperor’s new clothes at Miller Harris. Fragrance is ultimately about what works for one, what speaks to one, and causes others to respond positively. CB seems able to create fragrances that do these things in an industry where 90 pence out of every pound one spends is going toward hype and marketing rather than toward raw materials.

  2. Ola Kupka says:

    April 2009 – I visit Christopher’s website often, as I might visit an art gallery or museum – I spend a moment to revisit from time to time, the way I might take a favorite volume of poetry from the shelf – just to hold it and enjoy it and browse. Do send for some of the small sizes to sample and then get what speaks to you. His scents touch the mind and spirit and reach into the portals of the past and yet they are not about nostalgia alone – each day and each fragrance combination that you are able to put together from CB’s fragrance collection creates an experience. He even created a fragrance interpretation of Stevie Smith’s poem Black March — “I have a friend at the end of the world and his name is a breath of fresh air…” That is Christopher Brosius – a breath of fresh air in the world of art. He is beyond perfume and in another realm – CB is a living treasure!

  3. I hope to be in Brooklyn soon (born and raised there) and will have to stop by the Gallery. I love the idea, want to experience the scents.

    Thought there could be a lucrative market in designing individual scents for brides (and grooms) for their wedding day.
    Forgive me – I’m in the wedding industry – and a new idea is rare!
    Let me know if you’d like to talk about a business!

    Naomi

  4. Oh my god! I love them…. have you ordered any of them????

  5. I love these! I want the whole set too!

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