I have two bottles of mitsouko: 1. mitsouko extrait, a modern rendition from a 2013 batch, which has gotten decent reviews perhaps due to re-engineered oak moss; 2. mitsouko parfum de toilette, vintage. Both make me very happy, and together, with all of my other bottles of perfumes, the mitsouko I own is a lifetime supply.
The vintage parfum de toilette spray is louder and dry down is slightly more powdery (because of the spray aeration, throw and greater amount being dispersed). I have a small decanted portion of PdT which is in a dabber vial. If applied by dabber, the PdT is close to the current extrait on my skin. A dab of the extrait results in less product, and a soft delicious spicy skin scent effect. I have not experienced vintage mitsouko extrait or EdT in vintage or current formulations. Neither of the versions I have tried is musty. I cannot understand how reviewers get musty when they smell mitsouko. Maybe it's skin chemistry.
Finally, although mitsouko is classified as a fruity chypre, it's not fruity the way I think vintage diorella, vintage rochas femme, or vintage patou colony is. Nor is it classic mossy chypre - which I think could be interpreted as musty - to me. (Rather, I think of it as spicy, golden sweet (but not sugary sweet or caramel sweet) burst of fragrance that is somehow classic and also incidentally unisex.
EL vintage spellbound extrait, released in 1991, squat squared crystal dabber bottle with stopper and liquid that is golden to dark amber (not light green) has similar rounded carnation spiciness without the peach or the guerlain dry down.
Queen of Chypres
There isn't much more to add to what has been said. We know it's significance. It has it's place in history of perfume, it's been called the best of all time etc.
It's oakmoss and peach and rose and many other things, it's like a secluded garden in a forest full of flowers, with the smell of rain still in the air. Jacques Guerlain wanted to evoke with this "the smell of a womans skin". I understand what he was trying to do.
I also don't see how anyone would not like this. It's floral, fruity, but so deep and earthly and rich and very hard to describe. I find it very unique. A wonderful mossy, beautiful fragrance, and a wonderful experience to smell. I really think everyone should try this. I don't think "old lady" or other labels. It really doesn't smell like much else and it was the inspiration (like Jicky and Shalimar), for not just many other classics, but also much of what we have today in the world of perfume.
I think this should be preserved forever as something really special. It has no gender, time or place. It should stand as something for all and everyone, and for all time. Real art in a bottle. Wonderful stuff!
I kept thinking about this fragrance as it is so well reviewed and described on mua and one weekend I finally saw it at a large department store. I sprayed the little card with it and some managed to get on my little finger. I smelled it and then the card and put the card in my bag. Wow what a fragrance no wonder so many people think so highly of it, it is strong however the strength doesnt make a person go into spasms, what it does is have quite a lingering presence. I didnt buy it because I had no time to wait for a sales person to accomodate me but brought the sample card home. The scent didnt stay long on my finger bec I wash my hands quite often. Now I have to be honest here, the card held the beautiful scent of peaches, incense and a lot of florals and it lasted actually on the card that I had on the side of my tub for 2 weeks, I kid you not. At least twice a day I would pick up the card to smell this lovely scent. I cannot go into detail about the flowers that make up this scent but I also smell deep citrus, deep oakmoss and no wonder this perfume has been around this long bec it lasts and lasts even on paper. I will purchase the next time I am able to get to this dept store. This is a beauty and it actually reminds me of the warmth and deepness found in another favorite of mine Paco Rabanne Metal. Only Mitsouko is much stronger.
Edit: It has become far and away my favorite fragrance. I only have 10 ml so I hoard it. It was recognizing that it smells like a homemade, rich spicy peach pie that helped me understand it, and now it's the most decadent thing I have and I'm crazy about it. This is probably my HG.
Four wearings now.
Today was the first day I could even detect any peach.
The first wearing, the chypre was too much for me. It's so not-sweet, not easy. it's a heavy, serious smell.
But I tried it again. The second time, I noticed that the drydown smelled an awful lot like horehound candy, or sarsaparilla. That was intriguing enough to keep me interested.
So I wondered what part of Mitsouko was vetiver, and set out to Nordstrom and Surrender to Chance and did vetivers. I love vetiver now. And even though I've learned that vetiver isn't the main note, I love the note that is there a lot.
The thing about Mitsouko is that it gives different impressions all day long. I'll catch a whiff and think, mosquito spray. And then I'll smell that chypre. And then I'll get that root beer impression.
Today I smelled the bottle itself and yep, there it was. Not a fresh juicy peach. A spicy peach pie. A really nutmeg-y, rich peach pie. Now I'm catching hints of that, in with the chypre.
Over the course of four wearings, I've become strangely addicted to the odd thing. It's a far, far cry from the modern offerings at, say, Kohl's. Those all smell like varying flavors of daquiri to me. I had no idea there were perfumes like this after a steady diet of Escada and Pink Sugar and various Burberry bottles.
This is a very non-trivial scent.
Right from the start, I never bought this perfume, just tested it.
And as you guess from this statement, I´d never buy this perfume for me.
Finding a new perfume is alway a chore for me. Right now, I have exactly 1 perfume I´d buy again and 2 others I don´t bother to buy again.
I thought I´d stray from my usual clean-scented perfumes and find something completely different for me.
Most perfumes smell awful on my skin. It´s just my skin´s chemistry and I don´t blame the perfume. I´m very sensitive towards fragrances too and get a headache easily from bad perfumes.
Mitosuko was not meant for me. While I wore Samsara several years, Mitsouko smelled really bad on my skin..
One perfume review described Mitsouko´s smell:
"Mitsouko is one of the well known aromas of chypre olfactory group with cool top notes and oak moss in the base. But it also has a note of a juicy peach, which gives a clear and quite gourmand nuance. It features bergamot, peach, jasmine, may rose, spices (cinnamon), oak moss, vetiver and wood."
I definitely couldn´t smell any of the mentioned flowers or spices on my skin.
Hate to say it, but it smells like mothballs or rather clothes, that hung in a mothball filled closet for years.
It had no development on my skin, no depths, no undertones, just a flat powdery scent clinging to my skin.
In fact, it was overwhelming powdery on my skin and the whole day I wore it, I couldn´t detect any of the described undertones and basenotes.
I´d strongly suggest to test this perfume as it is a very classical scent from 1919 and if you´re used to "modern" perfumes, this migth be a olfactoric shock to you.
I got the EDP during a 6 hour wait at cdg airport after smelling some - quite frankly - atrocious scents (that's you, poeme by lancome!) and I'm glad I did.
I didn't want to rush into buying it so I spritzed some on and took a long walk to let the scent develop on my skin properly. I wasnt wowed at first spritz but when it dried, it evolved into this complex mesh of glamorous feminine elegance. I'm not usually one for powdery scents but there's truly something special about this. I find it quite alluring and it grows on me more each time I wear it. The staying power is fantastic as well.
Mine came in a classic gold box that I found quite refreshing given how busy perfume packaging can be.
If I ran out, lost or broke my bottle in a freak accident, I would definitely re-purchase
I've tried a few Guerlain perfumes over the years namely Shalimar, Samsara, L'Heure Bleue and Idylle. Samsara and Idylle smell divine on me but the rest (even though they smell good in the bottle) end up smelling putrid on me. I guess there's something in my DNA that just doesn't mesh well with Guerlain perfumes. Despite this, I decided to try Mitsouko mainly because I was on a Jean Harlow kick (this was reportedly her favorite perfume) and partly because I went through a very short lived phase of buying perfumes I've never smelled just because I could (By the way, this is a very silly practice and I don't advise any one do it unless you like collecting perfumes you don't use or you're super rich and simply don't care).
I'll say this much, Mitsouko is not your run of the mill, peppy fruity/floral perfume that you'll smell on every other woman if you're at the mall. As with almost all Guerlain scents, there is something moody and haunting about it. There's a darkness to it that is mellowed by the peach note and it is rather heavy. It actually is a very lovely scent that has amazing lasting power but on me, this just smells awful. Other people think it smells lovely on me but there's something in it that I just don't like. It also gives me a raging headache even if I spritz a tiny amount so, unfortunately, this will just sit in my drawer. I do take it out from time to time because the bottle is beautiful but as far as wearing it, I just can't bring myself to do it again.
If you're looking for something off beat yet classic and sophisticated, I would recommend this. I can easily see this being the signature scent of someone who can pull this off because it is an usual and unique scent that people remember.
Fun fact: Jean Harlow, in addition to Ingrid Bergman, wore this fragrance as well!
I was so excited to get my hands on a small sample vial of Mitsouko EDP. The notes in this vintage fragrance sounded fascinating and Im a big fan of chypres. On me it smells warm, herbal and a bit dirty. The peach in it is not sweet at all, but a dry, subtle peach. I like the oakmoss base but unfortunately, at least on me, it smells like my hair if I didnt wash it for a week. That realization was sort of funny to me because just the week before I received my order I thought to myself "Hey, it would be super interesting if someone made a perfume that smelled like unwashed hair!". I like that scent (yeah, yeah, dont judge!). Some scents (like Costus or Civet) come off that way.. but there isnt any in this formulation. I guess its the spices or wood or just my skin that makes it smell this way. The fragrance didnt ever settle on my skin, it sort of changed every hour.
This isnt an easy fragrance to wear and its not for all occasions. Its definitely not boring! but a fascinating fragrance. It lasts for hours (just with a dab behind each ear) and the projection is average.
I thought of Mitsouko on Saturday, while I was watching the movie "Indiscreet" (1958) with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. They say online at several sites that Guerlain Mitsouko was Ingrid Bergman's favorite perfume. I have also read that Charlie Chaplin wore it.
There is a scene toward the end of "Indiscreet" -- in Ingrid's bedroom -- and she's sitting at her vanity -- and Cary Grant is stomping around the room (they're fighting). And on Ingrid's vanity are many small crystal bottles, but there is one *massive* bottle on her vanity, shaped just like one of the old-fashioned disc-shaped Guerlain bottles -- with a domed pointy gold lid. You can't see the label, but if Mitsouko was her real-life fave, then perhaps this prop was her personal choice? - a representation of her own favorite perfume?
Personally, I've tried to "get" Mitsouko -- many times. I've owned EDT, EDP, and parfum versions. No, I just don't like it. So sorry, I know it's a huge fave on this board and others. Not for me. Chypres are very hit-or-miss for me -- I only like a few.
It's just too oakmossy -- like straight-up oakmoss + vetiver to me. Someone once said it smells like "pickle juice" on the board, and LOL, it really does! I totally see that. It seems to have a salty, almost briney or soy sauce quality, to me.
I just don't understand all the references to melancholy, rain, gloom, mystery, and art -- all of which appeal to me greatly. As an introvert, I feel I should love this -- but I don't get those images & feelings from this fragrance, sorry. It doesn't even really smell like perfume to me, and I long ago gave up trying to learn to appreciate it.
It came out in 1919, means "mysterious" in Japanese, and here are its notes, per parfumo.net:
Top Notes: Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, Citruses
Heart Notes: Lilac, Peach, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes: Ambergris, Oakmoss, Spices, Vetiver, Cinnamon
When I first sprayed this perfume on, my stomach basically dropped. I was SO disappointed. It reminded me of an old cheap perfume that I found in my mums garage when I was 4, and even as a small kid I thought it smelt gross & like an old lady. I had such high hopes.
But then, I sorta stopped thinking about it and resigned myself to washing it off later. Then, shortly after, I was like holy S**T what is that amazing smell?! It was me!!! I only used one spritz and its the perfect strength, especially for an EDT.
I'm not gonna harp on about base notes and what I can smell in this, since I am useless at that, but what I can say is give this a go, wait for the dry down and don't freak out when you first spritz it. You won't be disappointed.