Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CB I Hate Perfume Wild Pansy

Holy cow is it nasty outside. (Yes, I really say things like "holy cow.") So far the summer has actually been quite pleasant. At first we had drought, and it was warm but dry and quite nice. Then the rain came and cooled things off a bit, and even though it's been wet and gray--especially on weekends--it's wonderful to be entering the second half of July having seen only one day hit 90 degrees. But today the rains came again and instead of cooling things off, it caused the humidity to soar, and now it's like a steam bath outside.

Of course, you didn't drop by to hear about the weather. You are wondering about the perfume. I admit, for some reason I felt a little shy about trying CB I Hate Perfume. It's one of those perfume lines that seems so advanced, so conceptual, that it's difficult to know which ones to choose. I took the easy way out: I picked one I knew I would get, for the notes are wild violet and grass. Nothing else. No burning leaves, no paper, no leather, no suitcases, no...snow (although with the stifling humidity today, a perfume that smells like snow suddenly seems a terrific idea). Just flowers and grass.

This seems to me to be the one in the collection that might make some perfume fans roll their eyes. Flowers and grass. So conventional. But I think half a dozen other perfumers could do flowers and grass and not do it so well. Personally I think this scent has a simple beauty, a freshness, a lightness of being. The wild violet has the clarity of the light tinkling sound of a glass bell. It's not a powdery scent; it is instead the embodiment of the colors purple and green--crisp, sweet, damp, uncomplicated. I've been craving this sort of clarity in fragrance this summer, and the only other fragrance I've found that comes close is Lys Mediterranee. L'Artisan Verte Violette is another green violet I enjoy, but even with a green base, it maintains the candied, slightly liquor-ish undertones of violet, so it lacks the coolness I long for.

I'm also impressed with the lasting power of Wild Pansy. So often more ethereal scents made to represent such natural states of things fade after a few hours. I could still smell this even after my afternoon exercise. I wish Christopher Brosius would sell his secret to Diptyque. All their scents tend to disappear on me, and it's a shame.

I'm tempted to explore a bit more, although I still cannot imagine what he's captured in a bottle. Even reading other reviews, it seems impossible to tell how anything might smell, because the scents all seem to evoke something so personal for the wearer. Wild Pansy brings me no memories, no scene of a spring evening that took place long ago, but it helps me to imagine. Perhaps that's enough.

*photo from luckyscent