“Out of the bottle, into the street.” Here’s what happens when perfume intersects with history and activism.
Christopher Street is the first fragrance by Charenton Macerations, a house devoted to giving us perfume with a story. Christopher Street is named after and inspired by the bohemian, beatnik and historically gay area in New York City, home of the Stonewall Inn and the location of the Stonewall Riots of June, 1969 (this is why Pride is every June). I could go into the story, but Charenton Macerations site and blog tells it better than I ever could. I want to talk about it but that would make this review 5000+ words…so I’m going to keep it simple.
Blast of tipsy green citrus shielding a spicy leather. Sweat dripping off skin. Clove cigarette smoke. Cumin sprinkled orange blossoms. Acrid incense. Damp alleys. Smoky patchouli. Dusty bookshops. Skin-like musk. This is my kind of fragrance.
Christopher Street has a vintage feel reminding me of popular fragrances of the 1960’s and early 1970’s; however, it has more “umph” and a certain sense of “otherness” making it unique. It’s aggressive, not angry, but it’s proactive. It’s the longest wearing citrus heavy fragrance on the planet. It’s persistent and it should be to correspond with the story of Christopher Street (and every single liberation movement that occurred in the 60s-70s). It goes against the current fragrance trends, there are no worries about a demographic. Christopher Street exists to tell a story and it does. It’s a rebel with a cause. Remember, we’re not the problem. The problem with the social attitudes of the people around us. This applies to perfume. Wear what you want. OK, I promised myself I wouldn’t turn this into a gender + fragrance rant…this is about Christopher Street. And it’s a perfume that successfully tells a story.
Notes listed include alcoholic lime, bergamot, bitter orange, leather, tobacco, cinnamon, clove bud, “dance on skin”, orange blossom, poet carnation, incense, moss, musk, myrrh and patchouli. PERFUMER – Douglas Bender in collaboration with Ralf Schwieger
Give Christopher Street a try if you are looking for a citrus with a backbone. Or if you like perfumes like Vero Profumo Mito, LUSH Dear John, Child Heir, Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet, Caron 3rd Man and/or Lancome Magie Noir (the vintage stuff). Christopher Street is unisex leaning more towards the masculine (in comparison to mainstream perfumes). I like to wear it when I’m dolled up in femme clothing and red lipstick. It provides a needed contrast that represents me and my personality. I also spray it on my denim. It does wonderful things on the fabric of denim cowboy shirts.
Sillage baby. Projection and longevity are above average.
Opening this bottle really is an experience. Every detail is planned out and it also has the “secret society” feel (works with the story here). The bottle comes in a cardboard tube and is wrapped in suede. At the bottom of the tube is a sachet of dried patchouli leaves. It’s a multi-sensory experience of texture and smells. It’s world rocking. What other brands are paying this much attention to detail?
The 1 oz bottle retails for $100 at Charenton Macerations.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Boozy citrus over spiced leather and liberation (which sort of smells like sweat and incense). Perfume activism. There’s symbolism galore in this fragrance! Watered down booze to compensate for the costs of buying off the vice squad, underground symbolism (like carnation), notes of the rebellious 60’s (incense and patchouli)….It should be mandatory sniffing in all queer studies courses around the globe. It should be mandatory sniffing for anyone that loves perfume. I love it.
*I highly recommend viewing the 1980’s documentary “Before Stonewall“.
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