Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Une Histoire de Chypre by Molinard and Aedes

If there is one fragrance family that has a very specific history and timeline to its emergence it is the chypre one. Perfume Shrine has explored the historical intricasies shrouding the chypre genre as well as its classifications and production, so readers who have been following us know what to expect by now. {for those who haven’t click the links}

Une histoire de Chypre by Aedes collaborating with Molinard is faithful to its name: it encompasses all the traditional elements that contribute to a classic, elegant, warm chypre. Those fragrances have the rare quality of provoking intense reactions to people who come into contact with them and account for an olfactory souvenir that is imbued in the essence of poignancy.

Molinard allowed delving into their Grasse formulae compedium and the Grassois perfumer Dominique Camilli came up with a 1920s recipe which in turn inspired a composition with genuine reverence to the classic genre. Une Histoire de Chypre was about to be born: a limited edition exclusively for Aedes de Venustas who commissioned it, the uber-fabulous boutique of niche aromawonders pioneered by Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner.

According to the Aedes catalogue, Camilli was first introduced to Aedes through an article in the December 4, 2005 edition of Style Magazine (a supplement to The New York Times).
At the time Aedes wasn’t the established, well-known perfume afficionado Mekha yet, so the concept of such a boutique seemed like the wildest dream come true. Very soon the idea of collaboration came up over lunch in West Village and the concept of the new fragrance began to take its kismet-kissed shape. Camilli’s father, also a perfumer, was an acquaintance of Coty, the pioneer who helped popularize the modern Chypre in 1917 (although not the first one to introduce one!) bombasting the mysterious odours of the island of Cyprus into the consiousness of the world through his legendary creation.
Everything fell into place and the venture began under the spell of the best omens. According to Dominique Camilli: “We have kept the heritage/spirit of this fragrance using the finest raw materials and ingredients. A quality one does not encounter often in modern perfumery”.

As Une Histoire de Chypre unfolds its aromatic stanzas on the skin, the green hit of galbanum and neroli with whiffs of bergamot rind oil titilate the nostrils. The introduction is unmistakably chypre and proud of it ~enticing, sensual, warm and cool at the same time. A spicy mid-note like cinnamon or styrax emerges soon after, although not officially listed, which recalls the intriguing counterpart in both Mitsouko and Ma Griffe. Its precarious balance with citrus and feminine blossoms is completely successful as the usual bouquet garni of classic chypres peeks through the dimly lit timbre of earthy oakmoss, warm labdanum and sensual patchouli. The jasmine opulence allied with green tonalities and smooth amber is echoing another Molinard 1849 romantic creation and one of my spring and summer favourites: M de Molinard. The whole is enchantingly old-fashioned in the best possible sense and it will cut through a room full of fruity florals and Nutra-sweet-laden scents like a scimitar cutting through the fabric of memory.

Top: bergamot, mandarin, neroli, jasmine and galbanum
Heart: jasmine, Bulgarian rose, osmanthus, and iris
Base: patchouli, oakmoss, musk, and amber

The classic Lalique bottle with its black bulb atomiser reminiscent of Old Hollywood style retails for $225 for a 100 ml/3.3oz Eau de Parfum. Exclusive to Aedes de Venustas, 9 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014.

And for our readers who have no access to this rare exclusive gem, I have a sample to offer: please enter your name in the comments if you want to be eligible for the lucky draw!

Painting "Death of the Gravedigger" by Carlos Schwabe courtesy of art.com, bottle pic courtesy of aedes.com


  1. Oh my, this sounds absolutely spellbinding, especially for someone deeply enamoured with chypre scents such as Mitsouko! Yes please, if you could include me on your list for the lucky draw, that would be ace - there's nary a chance for me to get hold of it where I am now (in Singapore)...

  2. Welcome Melissa! :-)

    That's exactly what I had in mind: providing a little pleasure for those who have no posssible access to it. You're in the draw and good luck!

  3. Hi there, I'd love to try this. I actually just bought a cheapo bottle of Molinard de Molinard online, and would love to compare them! I heard, and was hoping, the M de M was very green, but I suspect the green one is the older version of M de M. The cheapo online edt is interesting but more fruity than green. Anyway, I always appreciate your reviews, thanks so much!

  4. Welcome Aimee l'Ondee!
    You're very welcome on the reviews: I can only hope they do provide some help and are food for thought. Each one has to then decide for themselves :-)

    Congrats on the find and enjoy: M de M does have a fruity tone, but greener more than fruity I think overall (at least the version I do have which is some years old ~should compare with current stock at some point). It's not a grassy green or a sharp green: it has much florancy from hyacinth and jasmine and a warm base of amber. Very classic.

    You're in the draw!

  5. Anonymous19:25

    Hi Helg,
    I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and I enjoy it immensely! You write beautifully and the perfumes you review always capture my interest. Reading your blog is such a pleasure!
    I love chypres, but haven't sampled many, so please add my name to the drawing! Thanks!

  6. Dear Molly,

    you overwhelm me with such praise. Thank you.

    Of course I have included you in the drawing. Good luck!

  7. Anonymous21:06

    Great review, as always, I love the artwork too. I have been curious about this one for a while now, wish it came in smaller sizes! I love chypres and would love to be in the draw.

  8. Thank you Sabina. This painting appeals to me a lot too!
    Yes, isn't it a pain when frags only come in big bottles?

    You're in! :-)

  9. Anonymous04:01

    Love Paloma Picasso, Mitsouko, Sisley Soir de Lune but never knew they were chypres - so thanks for a great series about what turns out to be one of my favourite scent categories. Would love to sample Une Histoire. Thanks again for a great blog.

  10. I love chypres. I'm not sure I've ever smelled M.

  11. I adore Mitsouko and another Chypre that has now been discontinued - Parure the Guerlain -Fruity/Floral Chypre!
    What sillage a chypre can give off!
    I tell you Helg - I just hope I NEVER get stuck in a lift with a Guerlain family member or one of Guerlains stupid Exec's!
    Oooh , will I bitch and bitch about how they are doing the Wrong thing there! LOL
    They will be screaming to get out! He, He !

  12. Thank you Kim and I am glad the series provided such entertainment and a case of mild "a ha!" moment :-)

    You have been included to the draw!

  13. Karin,

    I have included you, so if you're lucky you will make sure and maybe get to know another love.

  14. LJ,

    I soooooo agree with you! I also adore Mitsouko and Parure made it on a contest here not long ago: it's trully great and *what a pity* they discontinued it :-((

    You're in the draw.

    LOL about the elevator hypothetical scenario!! Too witty. But I think it might be just as well if someone from LVMH would be in there too (the ones who now own Guerlain)

  15. Chypres were my first loves.
    I love Molinard de Molinard, M, and also have a nice decant of Histoire...

    I find Histoire to feel more diaphanous and fleeting than the others-
    Lots of color, but not as much depth.
    It is very beautiful-
    More flirtatious to my nose than the others.

    Great post, darlin'.

  16. Anonymous11:23

    I am a beginner in the world of scents and I am still learning new things about chypre. And I like Molinard, this brand is very pleasant to me for some reason.
    Very nice bottle!

  17. Dear I,

    your great taste is showing!
    Comparing Histoire to the "modern chypres" of late I found the difference impressive. Perhaps compared to a very old chypre, like vintage Mitsouko or the original Cabochard pre-reformulation, indeed it might smell diaphanous (what a great choice of word!)

    Thank you for the most kind words.

  18. Dear Lavinia,

    there is always something new to discover in this fascinating family: I discover another facet every day even though I have been loving them ever since I remember.

    Molinard produces lovely things: they have a fantastic gourmand, Tendre Friandises and Nirmala, one in the vicinity of Angel, yet much older than that and mellower!

  19. Do you think Une Histoire de Chypre could be considered a chypre standard? A benchmark to compare other chypres to?
    I'd love to smell this - please add my name to the list.

  20. It's certainly traditional enough! If it is a benchmark though, it remains to be seen: longevity, popularity (or cult following) and something that is in tune to an era's sensibility usually account for a "classic".
    I have to say that if one samples this as their first chypre, it's not a bad start!

    You're in, M!

  21. You make me lust for a sniff of this, E, but don't put me in the drawing. I'm hoping that D and I will make it to NYC this spring and I can visit Aedes. Perhaps I'll insist on a bottle as an anniversary gift!

  22. Dear M,

    if you say so!
    I hope you have a lovely time in NYC: it's certainly swell in spring!
    And happy anniversary :-)

  23. This perfume is lovely, but too fleeting on me. Sad, but true. I have become a true chypre-junkie, and I enjoyed reading this review.

  24. Blogbaebe,

    thanks for stopping by and commenting and for your kind words on the writing.
    Chypres are an exciting family of fragrances exactly because they can take so many nuances/subdivisions. I suggest you try out our Chypre for more scent reviews on that theme.
    Hope to see you often!


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