Christopher Brosius didn't invent the genre of ambery incense perfumes, but his AmBorosius, a 2009 release from his Reinvention series, is his own very personal take on the subject. AmBrosius is not just a word play on his last name, but also a version of a personal favorite. Here's what the perfumer tells us on his website:
I've always loved this particular incense and have used various ambers a lot over the years. And bizarrely, my own last name is derived from the ancient Latin word for "amber" although at some point through the centuries, we managed to lose the "am"...Incense and amber can go anywhere- from the most meditative and ritualistic (OmBrosius?), to the extremely cozy and snugly cashmere blanket in front of the fireplace. The former can be almost cold, ashy and stony; the latter tend to run sweet. But this is a CB I Hate Perfume creation, so one should expect not just a very personal fragrance, but also some twists and turns that make it interesting and emotional.
Recently, I decided to rework a version of an amber scent that I'd been wearing myself for a while.
Brosius said he was going for a smolder and crackle effect. He certainly achieved that. But AmBrosius opens up a little more round and plump than that description. The resins are almost sweet and have a touch of supreme quality cognac as they unfold. But just as you think AmBrosius is your typical winter night in a cozy room during the holiday season fragrance it introduces incense and smoke. Yes, some of it is still indoors and opulent, the beautifully decorated room that hosts the gathering is lightly perfumed with high quality incense someone brought from a recent trip to the Far East. But all of a sudden you find yourself out in the cold, walking down an urban street late at night, smelling whiffs of smoke wafting from chimneys, sneaking glances into the well-lit rooms full of happy celebrations.
There's a touch of melancholia there, maybe the stranger walking at night wrapped in a heavy winter coat is hurrying to one of those parties, take off the coat and scarf, accept a glass of brandy and join the laughter. Or perhaps he's on his way back home, to a small city apartment, where he'll light a candle, burn some expensive incense and sit by the window, reading a book but getting easily distracted by thoughts and memories and the view of the bridge over the dark river.
Notes: Amber Resins, Labdanum Absolute, Cistus Resin, Benzoin, Black Pepper and Spices.
AmBrosius by CB I Hate Perfume ($19, 2ml perfume absolute or $125 for the full size 15ml that will last you until the end of the days) is available at the CBIHP gallery on 93 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and from cbihateperfume.com.
Photo: Brooklyn Bridge by Edward Steichen, 1903