One of the comments made by so many ‘young’ noses upon first smelling vintage chypres is the ‘old lady perfume’ tag (grrr). It’s typically ascribed to the aldehydes in vintage fragrances that were over-used in so many perfumes that followed after Chanel no 5’s aldehyde frenzy. That soapy, sparkling clean feature of aldehydes distracts us from the ensuing collision of florals and resinous dark elements that lurk behind the front door of a perfume.
If you strip away the aldehydes, a few things happen…
Your very first encounter with the natural floral chypre is often a muddled affair where iris hogs all the limelight with its wet earthy just-plucked from the ground carrot aroma, followed closely by the sharp elements of pushy base notes such as patchouli and labdanum. The discord creates a very strange opening – an avant garde theatre performance where the entire audience is desperately wishing it was elsewhere.
Secondly, a sort of perfumery sergeant major somehow appears and lines everyone up and vociferously directs the flow:- ‘Oi …citrus up the front, florals in the centre and base notes at the back. Quick march, left right, left right’ etc etc. Fragrant order ensues. And then the chypre-show more properly begins.
Here is where naturals shine like no other. All the gorgeousness of vintage chypre emerges without all the soap bubbles. The dry-down is stunning; the long-awaited fine feature that places natural floral chypres front and centre within modernity. Superbly real ingredients and timeless elegance all in one flacon.
My new floral chypre fragrance, Chopin, features bergamot, jasmine Grandiflorum, iris, Venezuelan tonka bean, conifers accord, chypre accord and Mysore sandalwood.