Monday, May 30, 2011

Later Day Chypre Quiz

I am busy organising a project on historical "chypres" and the restrictions on oakmoss affecting their status and perception by the public which will involve university students. In the interests of helping me out in this research, I would like you to offer me your insights: Which older chypres in your opinion are ruined and which have remained more or less worthwhile? (even if changed) Which newer, modern chypre fragrances are worth testing and how do they flesh out the chypre concept according to you?

For those who are not sure what a chypre fragrance is, please refer to this link for the definition of chypre fragrances and some historical chypres. Refer to this link for the new breed of "pink chypres" or "nouveau chypres" fragrances. And to this article for what the chypre concept translates to from an aesthetic point of view. (see if you agree or not!)


  1. Marie20:05

    Miss Dior has sadly been ruined. I'm not a nostalgic person and think a certain amount of change is unavoidable, but Miss Dior is in my opinion no longer wearable. It's not what it was - glorious - and it's not become something new, different, but new that could be interesting on its own terms.

  2. Dear E.,
    That's a wonderful idea!

    These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head:

    A so called new chypre worth exploring is definitely EL PC Jasmine White Moss. Even if the base doesn't strike me as beautiful as the oakmoss of a real chypre, it's a great addition to the genre.

    Chanel Cristalle EdP is still okay, but not as lovely as the old version.

    IMO all the older Dior scents (Miss Dior, Dioressence, Diorella) are a mere shadow of their former beauty. They don't deserve being called a chypre anymore.

    I know there are many more that I can't think of at the moment.

    P.S. Yes, my avatar shows my eye. Thank you very much for the sweet compliment *hugs*

  3. Eva S22:23

    My Mitsouko is not what it used to be, but still worthwhile I think, I'm hoping to get my hands on some EDP soon to see if its more like the old thing (currently I own the EDT).
    When it comes to newer scents, like Tabatha I enjoy Jasmine White Moss, it feels properly chypre-like! I also really enjoy Andy Tauers Une Rose Chypré, although I guess it's more in the old style-at least it contains both bergamotte, labdanum and oakmoss.
    Yesterday I smelled Chanels Pour Monsieur in the store-a lovely chypré but I'm afraid it's to masculine for me to buy for myself?!
    Eva S Sweden

  4. I think Agent Provocateur is a really well done modern Chypre. And I agree that although Mitsouko isn't what it used to be, it's still very wearable. I also think Andy Tauer did a beautiful, deep, rich Chypre.

  5. annemariec00:41

    I have vintage minis of Miss Dior and Diorella, although I'm not sure how old they are, 1990s maybe, or earlier. The vintage MD is deeper and richer, more floral perhaps, than the modern, which is dryer and shallower. But I do think the modern is very wearable, not a disaster. The two Diorellas seem very close to me. Today I have one on one wrist and the other on the other, and am not detecting much difference. If anything, the modern Diorella opens even juicier and more joyous than the vintage, but that coudl just be that for the modern I have a spray, whereas the vintage is a dab-on.

    I agree with Melissa that Une Rose Chypree is a complete success as a chypre. Love it. I also love 31 Rue Cambon, although I can't detect anything very chypre-ish about it.

  6. For me a chypre should have citrus and oakmoss. Personally Laura Tonnato's Albi does pass as a chypre to my nose, its a brighter mitsouko/pour monsieur. Eau Savauge too with the murky vertiver-basil basenotes.

  7. sofi11:20

    I think modern versions of chypre can ne considered Hermes Parfum des Merveilles, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile Eau de Parfum, Lanvin Rumeur.But I agree with little fox that a chypre should have oakmiss and citrus. What do you think about Miss Dior Cherie L' eau?Does it reflect the concept of chypre?

  8. Anonymous15:35

    Mitsouko is finished, ruined by this anti-oakmoss craze. Of course, what is peddled as "Bandit" isn't even close to what it used to be, I don't know what to call it. Miss Balmain was still very very good last I smelled it and bought it but I may be in for an unpleasant surprise next time I purchase it. Femme? Well, I am going to have to see how that one was effected.

    Generally speaking, I think that the anti-oakmoss fiat has desecrated some of the world's most profound pleasures and all for nothing. I am appalled at the nonchalant way that some of the world's great treasures have been destroyed and for no sound reason.

  9. Mimi G16:14

    Although I greatly lament the change in our chypres and would have oakmoss back in quantities like we used have ....
    i think there are many chypres out there that are still 'worth it' though changed.

    Mitsouko - not ruined but different now. I 'm hanging on to my vintage but I wear the new Mitsouko well .
    Miss Dior- I actually do not feel there is too much of a change apart from longevity but that's just my perception.
    Cristalle - still wonderful in EDT . EDP is a different character but still lovely.
    No. 19 - I can't really say this is very chypre like anymore but still very wearable.Longevity is not the same though as the vintage.

    New Chypres
    Gucci by Gucci - that fruit-patchouli ,leathery feel to it - it has a bite which I really love.

    Estee Lauder's Jasmine White Moss-quite good stuff but I didn't think it was very chypre like at first.

    31 Rue Cambon - lovely.

    Sisley's Eau de Soir- it has a great bite as well . Has this been re formulated since 2008 ? The version I have is truly gorgeous though Mr Turin may not think so.

  10. Mimi G ...again16:21

    Forgot to mention ,sorry ...

    Ormonde Woman - a chypre ?? a dark chypre ? It's great stuff and took me a long time to warm up too.

    Jubilation 25 ,Profumo and The Party In Manhattan - lovely chypres that are very worthwhile IMHO. They carry that really tradtional chypre vibe . Profumo- I find mouth watering.

    Memoir Woman - this was described as chypre but really I don't know- it didn't seem very chypre like on me. More incense - oriental and fails as a chypre on me.

  11. Jublilation 25 is an absolutely gorgeous chypre, as is Roja Dove's Diaghilev. Diorella doesn't make me crazy, like Diorama, which was completely ruined. As someone else said, it's closer to the original than I would've imagined.

    Femme is great - a totally different animal from the vintage but beautifully executed (sweaty, though - not always the best selection for work, imo)

    Current Mitsouko is fine - as long as you aren't on personal terms with the vintage :-) Sad that I can only say it's 'fine' but at least it's not totally destroyed, like Miss Dior.

  12. This is such an important subject, because chypres as they used to be with all the glories of oakmoss are, to all intents and purposes, d-e-a-d.

    Among them, there are no words foul enough in any language dead or alive for what Dior has done to most of their line of former beauties. Miss Dior has become a travesty, Dioressence nearly the same. I'm rather hoping their karma will come back to bite them!

    Piguet's Bandit - surely another immortal chypre - was reformulated, but I was quite surprised that it wasn't, so far as I could tell, butchered beyond belief. In fact, the newer version is softer and a tad less unforgiving than the original, and perhaps, dare I say it - easier to wear?

    Jacomo's Silences - another perennial favorite of mine - I haven't had the chance to try reformulated, but the original is everything I love in a chypre.

    Chanel no. 19 - some say it's ruined, I say it isn't, but it's true it doesn't last as long as it used to.

    I've loved Lauder's Jasmine White Moss as a new interpretation of the genre. Yes, it doesn't have oakmoss, but it's still meticulously crafted and very, very good.

    Un Rose Chyprée by Andy Tauer is...heavenly.

    But the one that had this green-chypre lover all hot and highly bothered is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz' 'Vert Pour Madame', which is everything, everything a green chypre used to be, should be, can be. We who love chypres should personally thank her profusely. When I get depressed over the state of oakmoss, I'll have this. In every permutation, please!

    Ormonde Jayne's Ormonde Woman is another seriously great chypre, and even if I can't wear it personally, I can appreciate it on those who love it! (And I'll wear its darker, greener sibling, Ormonde Man!)

    I haven't had enough time to spend with Amouage's Jubilation or the chance to try Memoir, but I'd certainly love to try! Likewise Rue Cambon 31.

    What I think is most unsettling of all is that this fragrance family is overlooked by both customers and perfumers alike, and despite my personal stance that says few things give me quite so much confidence as a chypre. Is this symptomatic of some sinister backlash? ;-)

    Or should we rally behind the few perfumers who love them as we do ourselves - and celebrate them because of it? These examples prove that it can be done - is the market so dire for the unusual and different?

    I don't think so. That does give me hope!

  13. I do think Ormonde Woman has a chypre feel although it's more incense/amber. A version of the same idea with more sunny chypre character is Estee Lauder Private Collection.

    A few others: Safari, SSS Jour Ensolleile, Gucci Rush, PdN Week-End a Deauville and, though no one is talking about it as a chypre, I think Puredistance Antonia qualifies.

  14. .. I just bought some Jicky, which I believe figures heavily into the SHEEP-ruh discussion. I love it, but Lucia van der Post says it's not the same Jicky that she was married in. I'm going on eBay to find some old. Bon chance, Karen in CT

  15. I can't speak to the original formulas of "the Great Ones," but as for modern chypres I have always loved Caleche (which I think of as "the friendliest chypre"), 31 rue Cambon, which is a stunning fragrance and would have been considered great whenever it had been released, and my favorite modern chypre, Enlevement au Serail, which I think is the finest example of the type available. (Yes, I prefer it to Mitsouko. Call me a heretic, I don't mind.)

  16. Anonymous21:27


    cabochard - a ghost of its former glory.

    givenchy III - there were two re-do's - neither had its original power.

    which chypres have survived? hard for me to say, since i tend to stick with vintage formulas - but maybe the fruity chypres - like Y and Yvresse are able to survive better. just a notion.


  17. Like others, I lament the loss of the old chypres and find the reformulations to be unsatisfying. The term "modern chypre" is nearly meaningless to me. I understand it, but the overdose of patchouli in most of the fragrances classified as such doesn't substitute for oakmoss imo. It just seems to lend a murkiness, whereas a classic chypre, to my nose, has more clarity.

    As for good recent releases, I also agree with those who have mentioned Jubilation 25 and TPIM. They smell authentic and classic to me. Diaghilev comes close, but I find that it falls apart somewhere in its development.

    In the reformulated category, Femme and Mitsouko, are still quite wearable in their reformulated states, but they aren't as glorious as they once were. The reformulated Profumo is a lovely floral, but if I test it side by side with the old formulation, it hardly smells like a chypre. The Diors have really lost their shine. Sigh.....

  18. Ahhh, chypre's... my love! I have to agree with the other posters, Miss Dior is ruined as are the other Diors mentioned here. Mitsouko, hate the reform and will never buy anything but vintage and that goes for Ma Griff, Givenchy 111, Cabochard, Jolie Madame and a host of others. Thankfully I have quite a few of the ruined chypres in vintage already.

    As to ones not so bad in the reforms I have tried would be Rochas Femme and Halston. I haven't tried a lot, but recently I got a split of vintage Aqua De Parma Profumo and loved it. I compared to the new version and the new has a discordant burned plastic note in the heart that must be what is used to replace something else. It's a strange smell I also noticed in a turned sample vial of Jubilation 25. What could it be? Most people would probably think the redo is still nice, but that note is something I can't take.

    Would love to smell Ormond Jayne Woman!

  19. Mimi G22:14

    Diaghilev - lovely but not quite sold on it , I'm afraid. If I can have Mitsouko - i'll take it any time.

    One other good chypre is Auguste's Esprit de Chypre- very good ,lasting and feels authentic.

  20. Great project! I wish I could participate myself because, as a newbie, I have never consciously smelled true oakmoss.

    I'm following this thread with interest to see if there's still something on the market that has the true stuff - I bet that if I smell it, something will click.


  21. Just to mention a few of my favorites:

    Mitsouko-nearly ruined, but do-able in EDP or pure parfum. Any port in a storm so they say.

    Parure-extinct (it's a SIN this is no longer in production)

    Rochas Byzance (don't know how the reform is, what I've heard it's not so good)
    Femme (not as rich as the old formula but wearable)

    Teatro Alla Scala Krizia-extinct, I think?

    Jacomo Silences, ??

    Cardin by Pierre Cardin-extinct

    Calendre and La Nuit from Paco Rabanne-extinct

    Capucci de Capucci (I hear it's lousy, haven't personally tried the reform)

    La Perla, I need to stock up on this beauty, I fear the reform

    Ivorie, am already stocked up enough on this!

    Yvresse, am already stocked up!

    Personally I try not bother with reformulated perfumes, I go for vintage when affordable. Modern Chypres? Without the moss, it's not a chypre, won't last a fraction of the time on the skin compared to a mossy one.

  22. Anonymous16:10

    Love this blog, especially your essays on chypres, which seem to be the perfumes I gravitate toward the most. For modern chypres-- I am not sure the classifications fall. But to me, Field Notes form paris has that twang (prob the bergamot) I associate with chypres, along with the dry woody chewy notes-- a thread runs through Paloma and Field Notes. Is FN a chypre? I don't know, but it scratches that itch for me. I had a small decant of Diaghilev, which also had that edge, but it was hard for me to think of it as a chypre. Is Niki de Ste Phaille a chypre? To me, it shares an herbal, sage/ artemisia note with Paloma. So dry herbs, dense, woody, with a tangy edge-- that seems to be the modern chypre for me. I tried to post a longer comment, which did not show up--again, love your blog.

  23. Thank you everyone for such wonderful suggestions, it's very much appreciated and a wonderful resource for my research: material to visit or re-visit and a small statistic for what ticks for most people. Your contribution will be mentioned on the paper and I'm sure students will appreciate your help.

    Niki de Saint Phalle is indeed a true chypre: it's full of pine and that gives it a herbal tinge, probably artemisia as well. The link with Paloma is worth noting, indeed.

    Thanks for the kind words on the blog!

  24. Anonymous23:11

    I think EL Knowing has remained fabulous....I did a side by side and a new bottle is virtually indistinguishable from an older (about 7 or 8 yrs. old).

    On the other hand, one of my old favorites (avoiding the tomatoes)...White now unwearable. When it first came out, it was a beautiful, crisp, young, sparkling chypre (along the lines of Ysatis - but more lively) it's musty and rank.

  25. Anonymous06:22

    Sadly the most exquisite fruity chypre is my opinion is Yvresse, has been re formulated La Collection
    Yvresse. Was perfection and now ruined.


Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu below the text box (Anonymous is fine if you don't want the other options!) and hit Publish!
And you're set!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin