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Bruvuvu – woody and cozy and evocative

One of the fastest-growing categories of niche scents today are ones that conjure winter all year round. We're talking about the smells of a cozy fireplace crackling away in a log cabin blanketed with snow, in a pine forest in winter: burning wood, bracing cold air, smoke, and often booze. Think the forest and wood-smoke of Dasein's Winter Nights or the burning wood and chestnut smell of Maison Martin Margiela's By The Fireplace. Some writers call this category Lumberjack Scents, some call it Log Cabin scents, but no matter what we call them, they all have two things in common: they tend to be woody and unisex.

You'd think such fragrances are purely seasonal, best suited to cold weather wear. While there is some logic to that since cooler skin allows smoky, heavy scents to evaporate more slowly there's this:

'Franco Wright, the co-founder of the popular Los Angeles boutique Scent Bar and the online retailer Luckyscent, has seen a demand for perfumes that smell like being swaddled in lumberjack flannel, even in a city that stays balmy all year round. By reminding us of simpler times and pleasures, even the most powerfully rugged winter scents can gift us a feeling of extreme coziness," he said.' The evocative feeling of coziness these fragrances give trumps temperature.

This is why I'm sharing Bruvuvu, from indie American niche house, January Scent Project, with you at the end of February just as March is on the horizon. I suspect I'll be wearing it for some months yet.

The founder of January Scent Project and the nose behind Bruvuvu is self-taught perfumer John Biebel. Biebel is also a fine artist with a BFA in Painting and Photography, musician and a former contributor to Fragrantica. Bruvuvu, the ninth fragrance in the line was launched in 2018. As for the name, Biebel likes to make up the names for his fragrances so they have an identity beyond just one language like English, say or French. For Bruvuvu, he wanted a name that "captured the sensation of what a fuzzy geranium leaf felt like between the fingers. So, it had to have a cozy, humming, buzzing sound to it, something like a purring or a cooing, sexual sound."  

On me, Bruvuvu opens with a bracing bright note of fresh ginger and a camphourous burst of aromatic red cedar. It is immediately familiar - ah, yes, the smell of the cedar drawers in the bureau of my childhood bedroom. Geranium joins in, green and herbal, boosted by anisic basil, it becomes heady when it combines with the cedar. As it calms down, the rose facet of geranium introduces a note of rich, lush Turkish rose that enhances the cedar that's been brushed with honey. The interplay between the rose and the cedar takes place against a backdrop of earthy patchouli. I also smell mushrooms, and it takes me right back to mushroom hunting in the autumn forest. Take about creating a sense of place. then it gets warm and spicy from cinnamon and peppery angelica. It’s as though we’ve come inside after a walk in a pine forest. Soon the smoky, tarry aspects of Texas cedar appear – a whiff of smoke from the chimney of a log cabin. Then this gorgeous woody fragrance stretches out into a sensual, animalic beast by way of musk and castoreum, tamed with a sweet, cozy note of amber.

Bruvuvu is my new crush, a rich, dark aromatic forest scent that tells its story languorously over time, drawing you deeper into the forest with each whiff.

Bruvuvu is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.

Image - Wikimedia Comons - Paul Itkin, November 2016