Perfume Review: Black March (CB I Hate Perfume)

March, being my birth month, has always been a favorite time of year. The fact that Spring usually makes itself known during March only makes the month more special.

One of the best things about Spring is the smells of the earth. Even before I woke up my nose, I enjoyed the scent of wet, fresh earth; the first Spring blooms - hyacinths, daffodils; the heady and overpowering blooms pushing free of the trees and shrubs. Even a diehard fan of Winter like myself can appreciate these optimistic signs of rebirth.

Maybe you read my post "Scents I Love"? In it, I named fresh soil as one of my favorite scents. Even inside the house I enjoy it: the fresh and dirty combination of highly oxygenated air and moisture coming off of just-watered houseplants makes me close my eyes and inhale each and every time!


I'm not alone in my enjoyment of this odd scent, this quirk. Perfumer Christopher Brosius began his former company, Demeter, with the hyper-realistic fragrance Dirt. It's still a big seller from the line, from what I understand (I haven't had the pleasure of smelling it, yet).

His second and current business, CB I Hate Perfume, springs up from where Dirt left off, giving us Black March. Based on the poem Black March, by Stevie Smith (who died 4 days after I was born),  the perfume epitomizes all of the things I love about the beginning of Spring.

Brosius says, "I have thought about a perfume that reflects this poem for years. Now it's finished. Both the poem and my perfume contain a secret that you must discover for yourself. That's the metamorphosis of Black March."

As amazing as the poem is, the perfume is possibly more so.

When I first put it on, it's like opening a bag of damp potting soil and taking a sniff. On me, it evolves beautifully, like Spring. I smell soft greens pushing out from bark and budding flowers erupting from bulbs planted deep in the soil. I can almost hear the tiny twigs snapping as I lean in to examine the plants, maybe pulling a weed or just enjoying the smells. After a bit of time, I realize that it has just rained. There's no rainshower - no ozone or marine downpour - but magically these new flowers are covered in the dampness of rain. And so it stays until it's gone... a breath of fresh air.

I have read speculation that the subject in the poem is death, that the perfume smells like a fresh grave... Maybe. I'm dense about metaphors and poetry1.

It's not nearly so somber or dark as all that in my mind. I smell no death, no endings (but I'm a Pollyanna). To me, I smell new beginnings. Hope. Renewal. Though, they're not necessarily incompatible ideas, now are they?

House: CB I Hate Perfume
Fragrance: M #2 Black March
Perfumer: Christopher Brosius
Notes: Rain Drops, Leaf Buds, Wet Twigs, Tree Sap, Bark, Mossy Earth and the faintest hint of Spring
Sample: purchased from Lucky Scent

Final Word: Art. Olfactory sculpture. A must-have.

Other reviews of Black March

[1] Apparently a common theme in Smith's works was death, so what do I know?

my little lilac, doing its thing

early daffodils

Header image via; all others are mine unless noted otherwise. 

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