When I tell Christopher Brosius, the respected master perfumer and founder/owner of CB I Hate Perfume, located in a transformed garage in an obscure and intriguing nook of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, that he seems to be a man with no fears, he laughs off the assessment.
He tells me to "read the childrens' book The Phantom Tollbooth, in which the kid, Milo, has to rescue two princesses named Rhyme and Reason; only after he succeeds does he learn that the quest was impossible. That's my secret."
Brosius just smiles benevolently when I describe favorite smells that I wish could be bottled.
They include my husband's neck, the bitter earth beneath the hedge of my childhood home, September in Provincetown, invisible sweet smoke from a neighbor's chimney at dusk in autumn, floor cleaner sloshed onto tile by a London janitor, and mimeograph.
Oh, to smell a freshly distributed mimeographed 3rd grade test again. Could Christopher Brosius create those scents? Yes, he can, but the success of his business means that he is not currently taking on private clients.
He has welcomed me into his stark shop (the lab, on an upper floor, is off limits) where we are surrounded by white shelves of bottles with fascinating names like At The Beach 1966 (with the scent of Coppertone from the 60s,) Cradle of Light, Memory of Kindness, In the Summer Kitchen, Gathering Apples, A Room with a View (think of Florence,) Beautiful Launderette, and even two special blends that are "Hors Serie" (not in the available series) that he created as a joke but demand to be tried, Faggot and Here Piggy.
For the rest of my profile of Christopher Brosius, please check out page 8 of the current issue of The Mirror, a national glossy produced by South Florida Gay News.