moss: 3 posts

New Style-Chypre Perfumes

Chypre perfumes that rely on an intricate interplay of citrus, florals, moss, woods and musk are among the most intriguing and complex. As I’ve described in Revolutionary Perfume : A Brief History of Chypre, it attained the form we recognize today in 1917 with the creation of Coty Chypre, although the idea of a mossy-citrusy accord is much older. Many iconic fragrances are classified as chypre, from Guerlain Mitsouko to Chanel No 19. However, given the IFRA-mandated restrictions on the use of oak and tree moss in perfumery, the classical chypre is an endangered species. Its dark, warm accord contrasted with the effervescence of citrus can’t be achieved without the inky richness of moss.

For a perfumer, however, the only choice is to experiment with ingredients that can evoke a chypre-like effect. Patchouli, oud, musks, dark woods and woody-ambery aromatics can in part produce the unique sensation of a good chypre perfume–I describe it as the crinkly feel of raw silk. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, for instance, is an excellent new style chypre, even if it doesn’t include moss.

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Caron Nuit de Noel : Perfume Review

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Nuit de Noël was my introduction to the house of Caron, and what a wonderful exploration it has charted out for me. Caron creations seem unusual to me; they are carefully balanced, possessing a dark languid undercurrent that immediately conjures visions of classical French couture. I do not want to use the term old-fashioned since it is liable to negative connotations, but Caron’s creations have a classical aspect that I do find appealing, if slightly nostalgic.

Nuit de noel

Nuit de Noël was created in 1922 by Ernest Daltroff for his lover, Félicie Vanpouille, who loved Christmas Eve and the scents associated with it. Indeed, it is a quiet, whispering fragrance, conjuring perfectly the silence and the serenity of the night before Christmas. “Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…” (by Clement Clarke Moore). Nuit de Noël is one of my favorite Caron scents because of its interesting composition and exquisite dry down. Overall, Nuit de Noël is a soft wood-based scent with a floral heart. The top notes are very classical rose, jasmine and ylang ylang–dry floral notes rather than a creamy modern composition. The most interesting changes take place after the fragrance dries down slightly. Suddenly the floral blend is dissipated by the wetness of oakmoss. Then the spicy notes become apparent, albeit remaining very soft and intertwining with sandalwood and vetiver. The fragrance does not lose its dry quality which is wonderful and comforting. I imagine walking around in the city as the snow is falling softly.

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Guerlain Mitsouko : Fragrance Review (New and Vintage)

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Guerlain Mitsouko is the scent of golden autumn days, ripe peaches and burnished wood. Created by Jacques Guerlain in 1919, Mitsouko was a variation on the avant-garde fragrance of the period–Coty Chypre.

Mitsouko

Chypre was based on the startling contrast among the bergamot top notes, the jasmine heart and the richness of oakmoss. Though undoubtedly beautiful, Chypre was brutal in its impact. Guerlain took the idea behind its famous forerunner and made it elegant and refined. A soft accent of peach skin gives Mitsouko a tender quality and a teasing gourmand impression. A classical Guerlinade accord of tonka bean, vanilla, iris and rose further refines and rounds out the composition. Mitsouko is a kiss to Coty Chypre’s slap in the face, and for this reason, its popularity endures to this day.

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