Custom Made For Brooklyn


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Silver winter nights are custom made for Brooklyn. Bits of metal in the air and the blue light has no edges. Tiny remnants of pine hide out somewhere between unused snow and glimpses of star. Urgency and all-the-time-in-the-world marks the … Continue reading

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The Devil Wears Snow: Interview With Founder of Ephemeral Scent

One year ago, I found CB I Hate Perfume during a Brooklyn stroll. I’ve long had snow on the brain not knowing I could hit it with a stone. Partly bred in Brooklyn, this siren was delighted to discover the mastermind of an award-winningfamous fragrance in her backyard. Now doubly delighted at the chance to meet Christopher Brosius in December–the month to discuss scent, semblance, sanity and a four letter ‘s’ word.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. “Schneekristalle” Source: German Wikipedia, original upload 23. Okt 2004 by MatthiasKabel (selfmade) (

“Perfume is too often an ethereal corset trapping everyone in the same, unnatural shape…An opaque shell concealing everything–revealing nothing…An arrogant slap in the face from across the room…People who smell like everyone else disgust me.” ~ CB


December–the month to discuss scent, semblance, sanity and a four letter ‘s’ word.
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Me: The sense of smell? How? Why?

CB: Those especially fascinated by the psychology of smell: read Rachel Herz.

Me: How does smell effect us?

CB: While we’re constantly using our sense of smell, we very seldom–if at all–notice the impact smell has on our lives. I know of an individual who lost his ability to smell and suffered emotional trauma and depression. I know of an adult who was born without the ability to smell and through a surgical operation acquired the sense of smell. He couldn’t leave his house–the smell of everything, everywhere, was overwhelming. He hadn’t had the chance to assign qualifiers like “good” or “bad” to scents, so everything he smelled seemed overpowering and repulsive, including food.

“…we very seldom–if at all–notice the impact smell has on our lives.”
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“I know of an individual who lost his ability to smell and suffered emotional trauma and depression.”

Me: Demeter.

CB: Mmm.

Me: You’re moving.

CB: We intend to bring more art through our new space. We’ve got ideas.

Mihail Simonidi (1870 – 1933) – Winter perfume. Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons. This work is in the public domain (

Me: New flowers in the house.

CB: Some florals are nearly impossible to replicate due to their depth. Take tuberose, for example. I’m very pleased with this line. Granted, they’re not inexpensive due to the high cost of materials needed to produce these fragrances. Nor are they for the faint of heart due to how they differ from their commonly conjured synthetic counterparts.

Me: Winter 1972. A signature snow scent.

CB: Each fragrance conjures up different emotional reactions that may be tied to an individual’s memory. “My Birthday Cake” once brought to mind chocolate cake with pink frosted flowers and a hint of candle wax for someone who came through my store. Nothing to do with the plain, simple, unfrosted angel food cake that was my birthday cake. It’s great when someone hones into a scent and owns it.

“Each fragrance conjures up different emotional reactions that may be tied to an individual’s memory.”
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Me: Your fragrance titles lead with a notion. A simple suggestion can lead far and away from your original intention.

CB: Yes, and that’s wonderful.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Me: Do you have a protégée?

CB: I work with many talented people, but I can’t teach anyone what is in my head nor the way I work. When I attempt to convey what I want, my hands may wind up above my head while I’m saying “No, this way!”

Me: The devil wears snow?

CB: Yes, sometimes.

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Love CB I Hate Perfume? Here’s your chance to show your support.

This interview is not a direct transcript and has been edited for brevity and creativity. 

Snow kings and queens: share your comments.


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Bygones and Brilliance

Sirens are a sensitive breed. We point to things just below the surface that shimmer and shine, echoing down down down to the depth of our souls. Deep and dark is our dance. We harp on history under waves of nostalgia. Too much so. Filling our eyes and lodging lumps in our throats. Laughable to some. Downright akin to others. In honor of kinship we’ve rounded up five favorite crafts that speak the unspeakable language of memory…long-gone moments we carry, can barely find words for, though art may have a chance of conveying. Enjoy their innate and understated brilliance, the beauty and bauble and how it all feels here and now.


CB I Hate Perfume

Stroll Williamsburg, Brooklyn, though not the busiest block, and you’ll find the high-beamed gallery of scent-monger Christopher Brosius. The original nose behind once-undergroundish line Demeter (you remember “Dirt”) rules the roost of his own accord since opening his gallery to the public in 2004. Enter and inhale “In The Library,” limited-edition “Gingerbread,” our favorite “Old Leather,” and the note that made Demeter’s “Snow” famous buried somewhere deep in “Winter 1972.” His website is a work of art in itself.


D.S. & Durga

Small batches of exquisitely designed notes catapult us back to Italian citrus fields that have no notion of cars, top-hat wearing dandies, fur-toting entrepreneurs, and wintery countesses in full ballroom regalia. Sold online and internationally, and heavily Brooklyn-based. Thank Heavens.


Curandera NYC 

Curanderas are traditional Latin American healers who serve their communities as doctors, healers and psychiatrists. Founder Josie writes “Living and working in urban metropolises can deplete us of vitality, heart, and spirit. Curandera NYC addresses the major urban ailments of this lifestyle — monkey-mind, stress & lack of spirit.” This capsule collection of hand-crafted, plant -based folk remedies includes tinctures, essential oil blends, healing balms and unique body essentials on Etsy. We have a small vile of Shiva for dancing and Woodland stashed for escaping.


Nicola and the Newfoundlander

ma·ieu·tic: adj. Relating to or resembling the Socratic method of eliciting new ideas from another. To paraphrase: to give birth to new ideas. These and other re-found words affix to reclaimed wood taken from Brooklyn watertowers, Coney Island boardwalks, and pickle and wine tanks in the form of magnets. Two artists (Nicola and the Newfoundlander) craft resurrection and redesign. When hunting for that perfect piece of whatever hidden way back on the second or third shelf in the fridge, don’t chalk it up to an undignified episode of scavenging. Consider urt: a little leftover chunk of something.


EAT Greenpoint

Each season brings different designs in a kitchen keeping things close to home with locally-sourced, high-quality ingredients from small producers. As if the chef visits neighbor after neighbor asking “What’s good?” and brings baskets back filled with whatever is freshest and fairest that very day. Long tables and benches best serve family-style eating while pots and pans clang in an open kitchen. Their website states: Eat’s mission is to promote and preserve a handmade life. This does not just include food. All of our furniture, metal work and ceramics are made by owner Jordan Colón and other regional artisans. They sell wood-fired pottery, too.


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