The next semester at university is centred on perfume and fragrance. Whilst we were in New York, we were advised to go and visit the CB I Hate Perfume Gallery. The space is located in Brooklyn, in a slightly rough looking neighbourhood. I was apprehensive when we got to the door and pressed the buzzer for the third floor. A man’s voice answered and let us up to the studio. I was, however, pleasantly surprised when I walked in to find a small beautiful workshop like room, with lines of perfume bottles and packaging on the back wall.
‘Perfume for people who want to smell something different, experiential, emotional, private.’ In other words, I Hate Perfume is an entirely new approach and the brand shows that there is far more to perfume than most people may think. The fragrances are all made by innovative, award-winning olfactory artist, Christopher Brosius.
Perfume is too often unnatural, repetitive, lacking meaning and unimaginative. I Hate Perfume completely changes this and their manifesto shows this perfectly:
PERFUME IS A VEIL THAT REVEALS THE SOUL
PERFUME IS THE FANFARE OF OUR INDIVIDUALITY SOUNDING DIFFERENTLY TO EVERYONE WHO LISTENS
PERFUME IS A SIGNPOST TO OUR TRUE SELVES – A DIFFERENT JOURNEY FOR THE BRAVE TO TRAVEL
PERFUME IS THE WEATHER OF OUR INNER WORLD BRINGING LIFE TO A PERSONAL LANDSCAPE
PERFUME IS AN ART THAT SHOWS US WHO WE CAN BE IF WE DARE – AN INVISIBLE PORTRAIT OF WHO WE ARE
I now realise that perfume should take you on an adventure back in time of memories you have experienced in the past. It should encourage you to be yourself and expand yourself, rather than hide behind a scent. It should allow you to have an experience. Perfume should be emotional, connectable and is more than an accessory; it is Art!
Brosius’ ideas for his scents can be sparked by his imagination or it can come from something or someplace he has actually smelled at some point in his life. This approach gives each scent a powerful reality. To make this happen, he thinks about the aroma materials needed to capture the smell in mind. He then spends time, mediating on each ingredient and imagining how best they can be arranged and combined to perfectly capture the smell he is after.
Whilst we were in the gallery, we asked the assistant a few questions. We found out that everything about the perfumes is handmade; the stickers for the bottles, the packaging, the perfume itself, etc. The perfumes have a higher price point but this is because of the hand-craftsmanship that goes into making the scents as well as all of the real flowers and other natural ingredients that go into each bottle. Only a couple of the fragrances are artificial.
The bottles come in three different sizes and the brand has over 40 different scents. The thing that I loved the most was that the names are based on a concept and each has personal individual stories. When I was smelling some of the bottles, some of them brought back memories from my childhood, and returned me back to my own experiences; I found a couple of them in particular very relatable. This for me is what makes the brand stand out; the perfumes are tangible, based on reality. Based on something you love. Reminds you of something personal.
My favourite fragrance was definitely Eternal Return 701. This is a fresh scent and is a scent of sailing toward the shore. It is a blend of Fresh Ocean Air, Wooden Ship and a faint hint of Cypress Trees growing on the cliff above the water. This was the one for me that had a sort of power of evoking emotion. It reminded me of weekly Sunday walks with my family around our local country park and lake. I really wish they did international shipping so I could have had a bottle for next Christmas. Unfortunately they only ship to America and Canada at the minute.
At the end of our visit to the space, the owner came in and told us that he, ‘Looks at what everyone else is doing and does the opposite.’ I now understand what he meant by this, there is a lot more to it; it is not just about smelling good. It’s about feeling good. I am drawn to the brand as I love the ethics behind it and the concept of going against the industry norms that have never been done before.
I would recommend checking out their website and social media to experience a different side of the perfume and fragrance market.