August 29 2014

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Exclusive: CB I Hate Perfume Is in Rare Form


PHOTO-0501-HR“It’s a very unusual collection,” Christopher Brosius, founder of CB I Hate Perfume, says of his latest release of six floral absolutes titled Rare Flowers. “These are all strictly natural and, unlike the ready-to-wear perfumes, are comprised of one single solid material.” For Brosius, unusual scents are par for the course—the perfumer is known for bottling brilliantly obscure scents, from the existential Where We Are There Is No Here to the more mundane In the Summer Kitchen (though puppies’ feet and gasoline have eluded him), and Rare Flowers is indicative of a return to basics, as nature intended.

The flowers, including night-blooming jasmine, neroli, tuberose, narcissus, Indian champaca, and Moroccan jonquil, undergo a laborious process known as enfleurage in Grasse, France, whereby thousands of pounds are picked in their prime and hand-pressed through fat-coated glass to capture each flower’s truest scent. It’s an expensive endeavor that has all the great perfume houses opting for cheaper synthetic notes over natural ones. “When you hold a [chemically composed] absolute to the real one, there’s this vast difference,” Brosius explains. “The real ones are so much richer and more complex, and people don’t really have the opportunity to access that.”

CB I Hate Perfumes makes that access possible from its Brooklyn-based lab, albeit at a higher price point (Rare Flowers ranges from $325 to $500), but it’s one investment that will last, as none of Brosius’ perfumes have a shelf life. “A perfume that goes bad will go bad for two reasons: It was never properly stored or it was never made well in the first place,” he says. Brosius doesn’t filter, clarify, or dye his perfumes to make them “pretty,” either. Each Rare Flower possesses a different lucidity and color once it interacts with its oil or water base, and it remains that way to preserve the integrity of the floral scent in all of its natural complexity. “I’ve never gone for really pretty bottles, either,” he adds. “That’s not really the point…it’s about the experience of the scent.”

His next perfume will commemorate the transition from his current Williamsburg perfume gallery to a larger, new collaborative space in Bushwick. “It will be a highly emotional perfume,” Brosius says in jest, “of blood, sweat, and tears.”

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