The Pierre Benard Challenge Continued: Burning Leaves

Ever since I started writing these pieces, I have been more attuned to the scents of the world around me. A couple nights ago as the poodles participated in the twilight bark, I observed a haze in the air. Once my nose caught up to my eyes, I knew someone was burning leaves nearby.

Burning leaves is a characteristic smell of autumn. Because nature provides the fuel. After you spend a few hours raking them up. The act of placing them in a fire pit to burn has a primal feel to it. When my neighbor does his burn, I usually end up chatting with him while the flames rise. Last year I realized this is one of the last shared moments of the year. The temperatures will get colder and we will most likely not spend time talking until spring returns.

What I enjoy about the smell of burning leaves is it doesn’t have the weight of a bonfire of wood. Woodsmoke bites. The scent of burning leaves has an inherent sweeter component. The smoke also seems less oppressive. There is something magical about watching the leaves rise on the thermals trailing sparks as they immolate. I usually get a reminder of the smell for a few days after as my sweatshirt holds the scent.

There is only one great perfume which gets the difference between woodsmoke and burning leaves. That is CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves. Perfumer Christopher Brosius is at his best in creating a perfume which captures the difference.

I expect I’ll be spending an evening with my neighbor in a few days. Looking through the flames to the Holidays and the New Year.

Mark Behnke