Something weird happens almost every time I visit the CB I Hate Perfume gallery in Brooklyn. I go there intending to buy a specific fragrance and end up getting another. I was going to get I Am A Dandelion and but home with Greenbriar 1968 (probably a mistake, and I still want that odd creature, Dandelion. It's much better than what you might think). Then last fall I was all about AmBrosius, but fell for A Room With A View after wearing it for the 15 or twenty minutes it took for its true face to reveal.
The opening of Room was instantly recognizable. I came to think of it as Brosiusade because it's so prominent in many of Christopher Brosius' creations (though not in some of my most favorite- Revelation and CB Musk). But Patty of Perfume Posse identified it as the perfumer's oft-used hay accord and she's right, of course.
The magic happens once the wet hay dries down a little and makes room for the other notes: fennel, dusty earth and some of the most romantic violets I know. Brosius was inspired by a scene from the E. M. Forster novel- the first time George kisses Lucy in a violet field on the hills above Florence; a kiss that begins Lucy's path towards freedom and true love. I remember the Merchant-Ivory movie starring a very young Helena Bonham Carter (pre-Tim Burton and Bellatrix LeStrange and oh so beautiful) and how it made me sigh wistfully. The perfume has a similar sensibility and delicacy- it's not the equivalent of a costume drama, but a soft projection of emotion. Speaking of his love for this scene, Brosius says:
...the point of this passage, and the reason I love it so, is what it represents: the moment when one simple beautiful gesture can transform an entire life.
A Room With A View smells like a simple beautiful gesture. It's understated in comparison to many other violet scents, has none of the too popular purple candied sweetness or creamy wood notes. It's light but not airy or watery- instead it takes into account all the accompanying smells one might encounter in a real violet field. It makes you wish you were there.
A Room With A View (M4) by CB I Hate Perfume ($90, 15 ml perfume absolute. Also in a 2m travel size for $17) can be found online (cbihateperfume.com). I bought mine at the gallery on 93 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Art: Field of violet flowers by Italian painter Paul De Maria