Common Scents

I once watched a design show in which the host commented to the designer that the front door handle she was suggesting was shockingly expensive.  The designer replied unapologetically, “It’s something you will touch everyday.  This is where to spend the money.”

I’ve never forgotten that: it’s something you will touch every day.  It seems such remarkably simple advice about luxury.

greenbriarOn my recent trip to New York, I took myself off for an afternoon of the height of luxury: a visit to Christopher Brosius’s I Hate Perfume Gallery.  His perfumes have become an obsession of mine, and I could not wait to experience all of his fragrances.

I discovered  C B I Hate Perfume when, quite by chance, I found myself in the only store in Toronto that stocks his perfumes.  He makes a fragrance called In the Library, and I was beside myself with excitement to try it on.  The smell of a library, bottled?  Bring it on!  As it turned out, I did not like it, or it did not like me, but two of the scents that make up this amazing idea are Smoky Tobacco and Old Leather, sold individually.  Those I fell in love with, and I wore Smoky Tobacco and Old Leather while reading Sherlock Holmes and felt myself transported.  It was winter, and curling up with a classic mystery and the smell redolent of a gentleman’s library were absolutely the most luxurious experience for my harried pre-Christmas soul.   I would have similar experiences with Grass in summer (the smell of a freshly-mowed lawn–you wouldn’t think it would work on the skin, but it does, oh it does!), and Burning Leaves in fall.

I came home from New York with a fragrance for spring: Black March, which smells of soaked earth, rain, wet twigs, and the hint of something floral.  It’s nothing short of magic how this man has captured the world in a bottle of perfume, and then made it something wearable, and I revel in his wizardry.  Almost as wonderful as the fragrances are the stories behind them.  (Follow the links to the perfumes and read about what goes into bottling a memory.  Greenbriar is a biography of his grandfather in perfume.  Stunning.)

These are my daily, seasonal luxuries:  common scents from the world outside that I can bring inside and onto me and that have an unfailing ability to lift my spirits.  Every day.

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5 thoughts on “Common Scents

  1. Oh my gosh. These sound divine. I love the idea of wearing particular perfumes whilst reading particular books! I actually had to go and buy French Brandy to drink whilst reading a medieval book, add to that a scent- amazing!

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