Friday, April 6, 2012

Fragrance Friday: CB I Hate Perfume Black March Review

This is one of the perfumes I ordered from The Perfumed Court. It's not the one I tried first (that would be Guerlain Aprés l'Ondée), nor the one I like best (Guerlain Mitsouko), nor the most memorable (Guerlain Shalimar), but it is the one I feel I can actually describe using words besides "I dunno, it smells nice," so I figured I would start with it and hope that my skills at identifying perfume notes will improve with time!

Black March is described by CB I Hate Perfume as "a fresh clean scent composed of Rain Drops, Leaf Buds, Wet Twigs, Tree Sap, Bark, Mossy Earth and the faintest hint of Spring," inspired by the poem of the same name by Stevie Smith, excerpt below:

But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say:

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.
(from here)

Black March smells just exactly like the descriptions would have you believe. It starts with a burst of bright green, like freshly cut grass or new plant growth, which slowly makes way for earthy notes: wet dirt, twigs, trees, all overlaid with dampness. It smells pretty much exactly like the Pacific Northwest in March, wet and green and bridging between death and life. It gets darker, earthier, and sweeter and less crisp as it wears, though it certainly never approaches "sweet"; I think it's like the fresh green growth of spring that is supported by the sweet woodiness of the tree and dirt from which it comes. It's awesome. Not really a perfume in the traditional sense (as in, "makes you smell pretty", though I'm well aware that's far from the only reason to wear perfume!), but a really awesome scent and a great example of a fragrance with a story. It doesn't last terribly long, only a few hours, but it's pretty super cool while it does.

Marina of Perfume Smellin' Things describes the dry-down as smelling "like a freshly dug grave...a smell of gazing into the black abyss, of utter despair and loneliness, of all the nevers and onlys, of life without a future", which is way more somber than what I get. Perhaps it's because I'm from a place where rain, dirt, and greenery are the ambient smells for more than half the year, but I associate Black March with fertility and the balance between the bummer that is constant rain and the joy that is constant greenery (going back east for school meant I got to experience a lack of the former, but also came to realize how much I value the presence of the latter!). Robin from Now Smell This and March from Perfume Posse both have lovely reviews of Black March, should you wish to read other perspectives, and Fragrantica, Basenotes, and MakeupAlley are great resources as well.
$90 for 100 ml "water perfume" (like edp, but with water instead of alcohol as the solvent), $15 for 2 ml absolute (=pure parfum), $105 for 15 ml absolute, available from CB I Hate Perfume. I ordered my sample from The Perfumed Court, $3 for 1 ml water perfume (also available in larger sample sizes).

Have you tried Black March? Any of the other CB scents? What is your favorite natural plant dirt scent?
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