Part of PerfumeShrine's regular Underrated Perfume Day feature, I'm inspired to talk of Calyx because it strikes me as the Prometheus of hardcore (if such a strong word can be used for the genre) fruity fragrances that have dominated the late 1990s, the 2000s and 2010s market so far (and in part a culprit for the emergence of fruitchouli). Coming out as far back as 1986, an uplifting tart tropical punch splashed all over a tan California blonde right out of the shower, it subsisted on the other edge of hope, pitted as it was against the likes of Coco by Chanel, Opium by YSL, Dior's original Poison or Giorgio Beverly Hills.
This assertion is in a nutshell the axiom of feminine mental submission. In a way these fruity scents seem to me as if they're not so subtly introducing a regression on feminism. Woman becomes a pliable little girl again, fresh and unknowing in her virginal, not yet sexualized body, which awaits the all prescient male to do the plucking. It is important to note that contrary to similar concepts of youthful, nubile allure brandished in European brand fragrances of the time (such as Loulou by Cacharel) the girl in question is never presented to be aware of her own erotic capital as an authentic Lolita would be. Rather the innocence is poised as a halo around her, a scent message of total abandon of control. Where's the temptation of the knowledgeable apple, I question.
Calyx doesn't smell of apple either. It smells of a neon cascade of grapefruit (though like with Un Jardin sur le Nil with its illusion of green mango there is no essence of the illusory fruit in question in the formula), boosted by guava and papaya (which give an almost overripe scent bordering on garbage if you really notice it) and a cluster of more traditional, zestful fruit notes (namely the citrusy mandarin and bergamot for uplifting elegance and the lactonic peach and apricot for comfort & skin compatibility). The weird thing with Calyx is that the standard cool-steam-room of lily of the valley heart with its transparent florals from a distance is flanked by a little berry underpinning on the bottom and transparent woody notes that rely on bombastic synthetics. The feeling earned nevertheless is one of celestial, mental awareness rather than one of tropical languor on Bora Bora sand dunes all smeared in Coppertone lotion and for that unique reason it deserves a place in the lesser pantheon of perfumes worth giving a second chance to, feminism aside.
The full list of Notes for Prescriptives Calyx includes:
Top: mandarin, passionfruit, peach, mango, bergamot, grapefruit, papaya, guava, mint, cassia.
Heart: cyclamen, lily of the valley, jasmine, rose, neroli, marigold, melon.
Base: vetiver, oakmoss, sandalwood, musk, raspberry.