Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sample Month Day 7: CB I Hate Perfume - In The Library

Years ago, I came across mention of a perfume called "In The Library" and dreamed of making a trip to the CB I Hate Perfume headquarters in Brooklyn to sniff my heart out. While I haven't had the opportunity to do that yet, last year I was able to purchase a tiny vial of In The Library Perfume Absolute and satisfy the intense olfactory curiosity.

Source

Like many bloggers, I've loved books and libraries forever. As a child first learning to read, libraries opened up world after fascinating world beyond the little house and community I lived in. Later, as a rather shy and quiet adolescent and teenager, it became a place of great excitement, unlikely refuge and budding hope. Every time I have to go deeply into the stacks in the main library on campus to do some research, I pause to inhale the musty book smell and delight in the mind's journey. 

From the CB I Hate Perfume website, in the words of Christopher Brosius (yes, the "CB"), creator:

The Scent
 

In the Library is a warm blend of English Novel*, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish

*The main note in this scent was copied from one of my favorite novels originally published in 1927.  I happened to find a signed first edition in pristine condition many years ago in London.  I was more than a little excited because there were only ever a hundred of these in the first place.  It had a marvelous warm woody slightly sweet smell and I set about immediately to bottle it.



Bookbinding is an art I had a vague interest in a while back but didn't end up pursuing, other than to examine a few manuscripts and original pieces at the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto. (Well, and to consider programs such as this which is much more competitive than one would think.) In any case, I wish I had paid better attention to the scent of ancient manuscripts and books, because the materials used to make books have changed so much over the course of history that I assume scents of different types of books must be varied as well. But generally, I think we can agree that most libraries smell of aging paper and poor ventilation while new books smell more of ink.

Source

The library that In The Library brings to my mind is a Western patriarch's library with wall-to-wall shelves, deep, plushy leather armchairs and whiskey tumblers lying about. It's a library I know from books and movies, but not one I am personally well-acquainted with. The overwhelming note despite the "hint of" is the wood polish which translates to whiskey-like booze on my skin. Coupled with the leather, it creates a warm, masculine scent. Before it veers too far into the unwearable territory for women, it's rounded out by an unidentifiable sweetness and what might be the very faint simulation of worn cloth and papers.

I held up my scented wrist to two other people to get their opinion on it without telling them what it was supposed to smell like.

Mom's reaction: "YUCKY MAN'S COLOGNE. ACK ACK." [Note that she hates all scents and perfumes, period.]

Brother's reaction: "Aftershave? But kind of sweet."

It's not a scent that I want to wear so much as sniff at from a candle. In fact, I'd love it if In The Library was offered in a candle form. I'd light it while wearing my glasses and comfy sweater, sip a very good single malt and attempt to read some Tolstoy. If this sounds horribly familiar and clichéd, it's because nostalgic romanticizing of books and libraries is exactly that. If that was the aim, In The Library delivers. The originality of the concept is flattened somewhat by the execution, but luckily, I like leather and booze and sweet masculine scents. There is so very little left in the tiny vial I ordered, but I think that I'll wear it to my "perfume-free" office tomorrow and see if it garners any special attention.

Sample was purchased at The Perfumed Court (now closed) and available at CB I Hate Perfume.

20 comments:

  1. I think I was oohing and aahing throughout your entire post, all "whilst" nodding my head in agreement at all points mentioned (I was looking for a way to incorporate "whilst" -- perfect timing!)

    I love masculine scents and anything vanilla-y or musky; I'm not much for florals, as they make me think of heavily scented old ladies, so this sounds just my type.

    Added to the fact that it's different and not mass-produced, and that dives my interest up even higher (for the record, I never buy my perfumes from places like The Bay - I hate the thought of smelling like a million other people).

    As to the whiskey (my first cat's name, by the way!) I'll join you in a tumbler - in front of a roaring fireplace, with the shadows lengthening behind us....yeah, now you've got ME doing the whole cliché thing too, lol!

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    1. "Whilst" seems to be one of the first words that North Americans pick up when they become British-fied. :)

      I can't really tell, but to me the sweetness isn't exactly vanilla and the masculine effect isn't from musk. Still, the effect feels similar and I think this one is right up your alley! Damn, where is this fantastic library where we can hang out at??

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  2. Oooh, interesting! I think CBIHP scents are more 'smells' than perfumes. I haven't tried this. I do like leather but the wood polish sounds iffy. I'll be soon going to a physical store (a book shop in London), the only place that has the line in the country and I'll be trying this and Burning Leaves, which I am dying to try!
    The sample you tried, was it an absolute or water perfume? How long does it last on your skin?

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    1. Hi, Su!

      I'm so jealous of that book shop in London trip! It sounds fantastic. I'd love to hear your take on this after you've sampled. I mentioned up at the intro that it's absolute. It didn't last as long as I thought that it would, but maybe it's because I used such a miniscule amount. It was a few hours before bed time so I can't testify to the exact length of time. :<

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  3. I love this post! Libraries are beautiful. There's a great book I found in an interior design section that showed unique looking bookcases and I instantly fell into a drool coma of love. I'm not wearing any scents lately because I haven't found anything I would love wearing everyday. I usually like Lise Watier's perfumes but lately found them too strong...

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    1. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to libraries and some are just exquisite. I want a nice, big library in my future dream house. :)

      It sounds like it's time for experimentation! I kind of like those pockets of times when I don't wear the same thing all the time and float around sniffing this and that.

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    2. Your Libraries board is SO AWESOME! I would like a candle scented like that for sure

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    3. Thanks, Nicky! I think this comes in a room spray form. :)

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  4. I think I'd love this one! It would go with my book knee. :P

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    1. Hahahaha, I love your book knee story. Hope you get to try someday. :D

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  5. So, here's the thing. While I love old books in theory, in reality they make me sneeze and wrinkle my nose. I don't know that I'd want to smell like them. I agree that a candle might be interesting, and I like Su's comment about them being more smells than perfumes.

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    1. I don't want to smell like old books either, but the idea was too interesting to pass up! I love the "smell" concept of recreation of memories and feelings rather than perfume-perfumes, but if it's scented and meant to go on the skin, I don't think it can be avoided being called "perfume" by the masses. I think that they do have a room spray of this, which might be nice to have.

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  6. Mmm. Warm, masculine, and leathery? Sounds perfect :o)

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  7. Be jealous - I get to work in a public library =) This perfume intrigues me.

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  8. The idea of this scent in candle form sounds perfect Liz. Warm and wonderful, and nostalgic in that old book kind of way :)

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    1. I really wish I had it today. It's supposed to be rainy and kind of grey all day. :(

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  9. Sounds really interesting. Do you know where I can smell the CB I Hate Perfume perfumes in real life???

    Though, honestly, I think I'd rather smell an old library than smell like an old library...

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    1. In Brooklyn, yo. (You're in Buffalo now - so close but so far away!)

      I think the CBIHP HQ is definitely worth a visit in the future. Keep in mind for your next trip to NYC!

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