Love doesn't have to stink

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    Perfumer: 'We discourage gift buying'

Perfumer: 'We discourage gift buying' 02:24

By Joshua Belsky, CNN

(CNN) - I'm not one to ever quote the J. Geils Band, but this time of year it's difficult for me, when considering Valentine's Day, not to hear the title track from their 1980 album Love Stinks (yeah yeah) in my head.

Before you classify me as one of those jaded anti-V-day celebrators let me assure you I am not -- but I do believe that this time of year, love stinks (yeah yeah). 

I don't blame Cupid for the offending aroma, I blame most Valentine's Day perfume sales -- or at least I used to until I met Christopher Brosius, founder of CB I Hate Perfume in Brooklyn, New York.

Christopher Brosius was our second agent-of-change profiled on CNN's The Next List and his being a self-taught perfumer (he talks about the good and bad of that in the video above) in an industry where people are rarely, if ever, self-taught was just part of the reason he made the list.

Creating hyper-real scents was the other reason. Christopher takes the more heavy, over-the-top floral and fruity smells out of perfume and makes scents like My Birthday Cake, Burning Leaves, Books in a Library and Soaked Earth that smell so real they are practically injected with our own memories of the sources from which they come.

    At the Beach 1966 transported me to the shore's of New Jersey's Long Beach Island where sun, surf, sand and Coppertone converged on summer family vacations. Walking in the Air captures that crisp fresh smell of new fallen snow and had me thinking about walks home from Jefferson Elementary School on a winter's day, homemade toll-house cookies waiting for me courtesy of mom. As Christopher say,s "pretty is nice but real is beautiful."

    Not every connection to Christopher's scents are as personal, but all are very real and intensely familiar and that's what makes shopping in his gallery unlike other perfume purchasing experiences. It certainly changed my view of buying fragrances as gifts (btw Christopher has an untraditional gift buying policy that you much watch him explain for himself in the video above). I'd bet even the J. Geils Band would change their tune (yeah yeah).

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