CB I Hate Perfume: Mr. Hulot’s Holiday & Russian Caravan Tea

CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea fragrance

Today I am trying two perfumes from the CB I Hate Perfume line. The fragrances are perfume absolutes in an oil base, and like most oil-based formulas, they stay relatively close to the skin. They are very long lasting, and evolve slowly.

Mr. Hulot's Holiday: This fragrance was inspired by the movie of the same name (which I have never seen, but which is now waiting patiently in my Netflix queue). It is described as "the salty breath of the breeze off the sea, driftwood, rocks covered with seaweed and the smell of old leather suitcases".

Mr. Hulot's Holiday starts very bright, with the tangy-salty smell of sea air and water. It mellows and deepens over the next hour, adding woody undertones, and later still, a very subtle hint of leather — I'm not sure I would have noticed it if I wasn't looking for that old leather suitcase.

I am not usually fond of marine fragrances, other than Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Aqua Motu, which I wear for nostalgic reasons. But this is very nicely done, cheerful and summer-y, and completely without the expansive ozonic-marine note that announces ocean in many fragrances, and that I always associate with air freshener.

Russian Caravan Tea: Described as "Smoked black Indian tea, bergamot and the hint of shelves full of old books." Like Mr. Hulot's Holiday, this starts very bright. There is lots of citrus, and just a hint of black tea. Over the next few hours, the tea notes intensify and take on the dry, slightly smoky aroma that comes from a freshly opened tin of loose tea leaves.

This will be a full-bottle purchase for me, once my wallet recovers from my latest buying spree. I love tea scents, but sometimes they are too realistic (Comme des Garcons leaves series: Tea), sometimes too short-lived (Comptoir Sud Pacifique Ecume de Te), and sometimes there just isn't as much tea as I would like (Elizabeth W Sweet Tea). This is a nice balance between dark and bright notes, and enough of the bergamot remains into the dry down to bring to mind a nice cup of Earl Grey.

For buying information, see the listing for CB I Hate Perfume under Perfume Houses.

Tomorrow: CB OUTSIDE (a natural bug repellent) and orange blossom scents from Jo Malone, Bourbon French, and Fragonard.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Anonymous says:

    R, I scooted right over to the CB website after reading your interview on Monday, and all the scents sound fascinating! I am especially anxious to try Cedarwood Tea, Russian Caravan Tea, and The Fir Tree. I seem to be the only person in existence who loves and wears Comme des Garcons Tea, so I wonder if the CB Russian Caravan Tea will be too weak and not smoky enough for me. What is the texture of the oil base like? I am generally not a fan of oil formulations, because they are greasy, sticky, unabsorbable, and often the oil smells off and ruins the fragrances for me. We totally need to go to Brooklyn. I've wanted to go there ever since I saw Newsies, anyway.

  2. Anonymous says:

    no comment re 'fume, but when you're done viewing “Holiday,” get “Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe,” HILARIOUS Hulot/Tati! xoxo

  3. Anonymous says:

    Russian Caravan Tea sounds like something I would like. I have the same problem with tea fragrances you do. Creative Universe Te was not bad though.

  4. Anonymous says:


    Cedarwood Tea is an interesting scent, but I am as always so behind. Didn't spend enough time with it to write a decent review. I want to buy the wardrobe version in any case, as we have a real clothing moth problem in our house, and I hate mothballs. You can spray it on your clothes before you pack them away for the season.

    Russian Caravan tea: guessing it will be too light for you. CdG I love in an abstract way: it smells great to me for a few minutes, after that, I feel like I am drowning in tea leaves.

    The oil base is comparatively light. The consistency is similar to regular, alcohol-based perfumes (in other words, looks & moves like water in the bottle), but it does leave a bit of a film on skin.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks M! My Netflix queue runneth over…

  6. Anonymous says:

    I like Creative Universe Te too, and her newer Element of Surprise. This is less green, less sweet.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hate the smell of naphthalene too. Do you know that moth hates the smells of ink they use on newspapers? It really repells them, as I can attest, after I came back from Ukraine and by accident brought a particularly hungry Soviet moth with me. It ate through all of my cashmere and wool. I lined floor and shelves with newspapers, and it seemed to work really well.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If you love tea scents, you must try Annick Goutal's Duel, if you haven't already.

  9. Anonymous says:


    sorry about the film on skin problem. oil-based absolutes are definitely far longer lasting than alcohol but they take some getting used to.

    I've actually narrowed down the bases I choose to use in the absolutes to three: isopropyl myristate (derived from corn oil) jojoba oil (actually a wax) and squalane (from olive oil NOT shark)

    each of these is not only stable but are as close as nature can provide to matching the oil of the human skin – especially Squalane which is the most compatible but annoyingly the most expensive as well. they all bond the fragrance to your skin and allow the scent to properly interact with your own chemistry.

    the best way to apply the absolutes is to dab lightly on the pulse points and then smooth into the skin – if you still find the myristate base a bit too heavy let me know – I can do custom versions in squalane. there's a bit of an extra charge for that but not outrageous (generally it's an additional 10 bucks)



  10. Anonymous says:

    Really??? I'll try that too. We seem to get hit every 3 years. Last year was a nightmare, we ended up dry cleaning every piece of wool in the entire house. Ouch.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Christopher! I don't find the “film” objectionable at all. It doesn't stay on top of the skin and then melt in the heat the way my (beloved) Body Time Egyptian Musk does.

    But nice to know there are other options.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi T, Duel is a great scent, but the powder-leather-tobacco combination in the dry down doesn't suit me. The dry tea top note is wonderfully done though.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Darling, I don't have anything half-way intelligible to write because I got distracted by VIP Room. Are you feeling the same way?

    I apologize.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi R! I don't have that excuse because I haven't tried it. Afraid to now because it is limited edition, isn't it? And have been too chicken to go look at the price. But everyone is certainly raving about it…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Man, I just ordered Mr. Hulot the movie and am so eager to try the scent, too! NST, this is fascinating stuff for the francophile.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I haven't tried it either, but I am thinking about picking up the phone to call Franco and order a sample. I'll get one for you, too, okay?

    Yep, it's a limited edition for $120. And it's an EdT!! Sounds pricey to me…but the raves! Yikes!


  17. Anonymous says:

    $120. Oh dear. I don't always love leather, so hoping I'll hate it, but you know I can't resist a sample offer!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I'll call him later today and check it out for us.

    In the meantime, have a great afternoon!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The tea one sounds interesting to me too. I love bergamot so it sounds like a winner. I do also love Eliz W.'s Sweet Tea, a summer favorite. I have another Tea scent, it's Italian, but I can't recall the maker right now.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The movie looks hysterical. Hope you saw Mireille's movie rec above too.

    Will post again when CB starts their sampling program :-)

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wild guess: Speziali Fiorentini?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Drat, that drydown is my favorite part. Oh well!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh now I want to try the line even more! Earl Grey tea is my least favorite tea to drink but I love the way it smells! I can't wait to hear more on this line!

  24. Anonymous says:

    S, I don't drink Earl Grey much either, but do have some bergamot green teas that are similar, maybe less smoky. This smells closer to black tea. Think you would like it :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    smells more like lady grey than earl. lovely.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What is Lady Grey tea? Just lighter on the bergamot?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Actually it's L'Erbolario Te Verde.


  28. Anonymous says:

    Ah! They have a boutique near me, I will check it out.

  29. Anonymous says:

    lady grey tea is like earl grey but with citrus. twinings in the peacock blue box. cheers! :)

  30. Anonymous says:


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