I always imagined Crêpe de Chine to be a dark, mysterious, ineffable creation that I would only admire from afar when I finally encounter it. Non of this turns out to be the truth about Crêpe de Chine (except that its beauty is indeed ineffable!). A vintage half-full bottle of the eau de toilette landed in my mailbox two evenings ago as part of a swap with European perfumisto, and added a lot of beauty to every moment of my life since I could not stop applying and re-applying.
Crêpe de Chine is simultaneously playful and grown-up (but not quite formal, despite the green notes in the opening); an chypre and a luxurious oriental. Weaving through a classic chypre structure are puffs of incense; little clouds of musk and spice. At its heart are gorgeous carnation and jasmine but it's never quite floral. The ending notes are vetiver and tonka - bittersweet, clean and woody.
note: This is for the vintage! I haven't tried the version by Long Lost Perfume.
I scored a vintage unopened box containing the original Millot Crepe de Chine perfume on Ebay. I can't say whether age has affected the notes or not...probably so. I dabbed just a little on, and it smelled similar to Youth Dew (which never did smell quite right on me). The bottle, however, is fabulous!
I've never tried the "dupe" versions of Crepe de Chine, so I can't comment on them, but this was my grandmother's signature perfume and there is nothing that compares! I have a very old (late 1940s) bottle of the parfum that she gave me with a tiny bit of the fragrance in it, and I can still smell it! Words cannot adequately describe this divine fragrance. This would be my HG fragrance if it were still in production. I'll try the dupes (with some trepidation) and review again later...oh how I wish this were still in production!! I'm so glad to see others appreciate it, too.
Of the six Long Lost Perfume fragrances I've tried, Crepe de Chine is by far and hands down the very best. Two words escaped my lips when I first sprayed it: HOLY. COW. This little gem is absolutely gorgeous. She can easily hold her own against any of the great, classic chypres or greens--Chanel No 19, vintage Vent Vert, Mitsouko, 1000, YSL's Y, etc. Is LLP's Crepe de Chine like Millot's original? I have no idea, and frankly, it doesn't matter to me one iota. After one first sprays LLP's Crepe de Chine, the aldehydes fizz around like a sparkler, but they don't last long and simmer down quickly. After that CdC develops in a warm and classic way to reveal depths of green, oakmoss, vetiver and a subtly appealing spiciness, and there are some lovely rose and gardenia accents hovering over the whole thing. Copied directly from LLP's web site: "Crepe de Chine Perfume has top notes of neroli, Italian bergamot, Egyptian basil, oil of Peru and fresh aldehydes. Middle notes of gardenia, ylang ylang, otto of rose, Romanian chamomile and Egyptian jasmine. Dry down notes of sandalwood, East Indian musk, oakmoss, vanilla, vetiver and Indonesian patchouli." There is a good dose of greens in here, too, but they're very soft and appealing, not sharp by any stretch. In fact, CdC is very close to Y, so if you like chypres you will most likely fall hard for LLP's dupe. As much as I love DSH's vintage duplicates, I much prefer LLP's dupe of Crepe de Chine. DSH's dupe is very mossy until much later in its drydown. And who knows. Maybe the original CdC really was that mossy. DSH's full bottles aren't phenomenally expensive, but they're not cheap, either. On the other hand, LLP's scents are all very well priced. For sheer beauty, LLP's Crepe de Chine is the big winner. This relatively inexpensive jewel deserves to be known and loved. Try it. You won't be disappointed.