I Hate Perfume
New York perfumer Christopher Brosius, the olfactory visionary behind fragrance house CB I Hate Perfume, discusses his unorthodox approach to scent and his cult conceptual fragrances.
Released on 6/13/2013
I hate perfume.
Perfume is too often an ethereal corset trapping everyone
in the same unnatural shape.
A lazy, and inelegant concession to fashionable ego.
An arrogant slap in the face from across the room.
People who smell like everyone else disgust me.
Everything that we think, everything that we feel
really generates from a very ancient ability to smell.
Organisms could sort out immediately,
and at a long distance, what was going
to be good for them and what was going to be dangerous.
So, smell is really a function of survival.
I Hate Perfume really did come from my experience
as a cab driver.
It was back in the age of the power perfume.
So, women would frequently get into
the back of the cab after leaving work,
and they were going out for the evening,
and they had drenched themselves in some horrible crap.
And I said, This is not what perfume is supposed to be.
It's supposed to be elegant and alluring and intriguing.
It is not supposed to be an offensive weapon.
I have done a series of perfumes that
are based on very particular moments from my own life.
In the Library is one of my most popular perfumes.
Books have always been very, very important to me
and I still love and collect them.
It's based on a note to match one of my favorite novels.
People will think, Who wants
to smell like a musty old book?
Get over the object and really focus on how it smells.
Beautiful Laundrette is an interesting smell.
And I think because of the sort of puritanical background
of this country, advertising has always focused
on pushing people to make sure their houses,
their clothes, their furniture, their cars,
their breath, their hair, their skin is clean.
So Beautiful Laundrette was really about
the smell of clean laundry with
a little bit of what it's like to walk past
a laundromat and get just a whiff
of the exhaust from the dryers, the water that's in there.
Well At the Beach, 1966 is one of the most popular.
For me, that perfume was really about
the moment when, as a very small child,
I was first conscious of seeing the ocean.
The smell of old Coppertone sunscreen
and the sand, and the sea, and playing in the water.
The process of creating a perfume for me
is paradoxically simple and also very complex
at the same time.
One of the new perfumes that I'm working on now
is all about the smell of a particular moment
on the river with my family when we were boating
and I was just sort of pretending with my cousins
that we were in an episode of Jonny Quest.
The smell of the river and the banks.
Those things are very, very important to me.
People ask me, How do you know when it smells good?
And I'm like, Well, I do.
It's in the same way that a painter
knows when the painting is finished.
[Man] Got it?
Pretty doesn't interest me.
Nice is really not enough.
I think people should take the whole trip.
They should explore as much as they can about themselves
and perfume is a very interesting way to do that.
(classical orchestral music)