Reviews for Coty Chypre are somewhat difficult to interpret because there are actually two separate fragrances - the original Chypre de Coty which influenced Mitsouko, and the later re-interpretation [which smells nothing like the original]. In an effort to sort this out, I've reviewed both fragrances on my vintage perfume blog. It's quite long so I can't copy and paste the text but here's a link to the post:
Hope this helps some people who are interested in Chypre de Coty.
This review is for the original 1955 Doblis Eau de Cologne, which I sampled from The Perfumed Court.
The top notes are badly damaged, as it starts off smelling like burnt rubber. As these degenerated top-notes fade, the more normative rubbery 'leather' note Isobutyl Quinoline comes into focus, paired with a team of soft florals: rose, jasmine, and...violet? There seems to be a violety ionone note here that I never see mentioned in connection with Doblis but on my skin it seems like it's strong and dominating to the point that this vintage Doblis EDC reminds me at times of lower concentrations of L'Heure Bleue. Eventually vintage Doblis dries down to pure, sweet sandalwood. Sometimes people call this a chypre, but there is no chypre accord here to speak of. It reads to me as a floral leather or woody floral.
I would love to be able to smell this in parfum (or just a higher concentration) to experience the truest iteration of the fragrance and to get a better sense of it, but this is my perception of the vintage EDC. And the closer I stick my nose into my wrist, the lovelier the scent is.
Revised March 2011: Timeless starts out very much like the heart of a classic chypre, with warm, mossy spices and florals, but then it soon fades into a slightly sweet oriental (or, more accurately, a "balsamic chypre", like vintage Miss Dior, but with cheaper ingredients and not as much complexity), with its slightly powdery, dry amber base. It's very pretty. I initially wrote quite a negative review for this but now it's growing on me quite a lot.
Composed by perfumer Bernard Chant (who also did Cabochard and Azuree) Clinique's Aromatic Elixir opens with a bracing, polarizing burst of herbs and citrus, which will have the people in your general vicinity either fleeing in abject horror or turning in your direction to face the beast, intrigued. After this medicinal blast begins to die down, which happens very quickly, the prettiest rose emerges on my skin. Incredibly lovely and fairly realistic, it is a growing, blossoming rose at home among the loamy, moist earth from which it sprang, dirtied up as it is by patchouli and oakmoss - but it is dewy and unmistakably floral nevertheless. At this stage it reminds me a lot of a much stronger, (i.e. more detectable) version of "Y" de YSL's drydown. Lovely stuff if you have the chemistry for it and can wait a few minutes for the bitter top notes to fade.
Azuree is an old school leather chypre, similar in scent and character to vintage Bandit and Miss Balmain respectively. My vintage Azuree starts out immediately upon spritzing with an enticing burst of tar, which literally lasts only a couple seconds before segueing into a bitter herbal citrus: bracing, green, almost acrid. Under the surface lurks a sharp twist of dry florals and herbs, and it is this distinctive, somewhat suffocating [when inhaled up close] herbal-floral accord that forms the heart of the fragrance. All of this is enveloped by a rough approximation of leather via the 'leather note' Isobutyl Quinoline, whose anise-and-motor-oil aura wraps the high-pitched feminine floral notes in its cape, forcing them into submission with a crack its whip. Again, my review is for the vintage version, which contains copious amounts of rather animalic nitro-musks lacking in today's version (they were banned around 1980). A challenging and even troubling fragrance by today's standards, Azuree has her face turned backward into the past, when bitter was good, leather suggested feminine strength, and chypres were at the top of the food chain.
Stone cold chypre, almost mentholated in its musty coolness. Like walking at dusk at the bottom of a forested ravine, where there is riparian arbor overhung with moss, and a thin plate of ice forms on the surface of the valley stream. Nice.
Fragrances -Estee Lauder - Estee Super Cologne Spray
hadas 1/30/2011 5:07:00 AM
My review is for the vintage Estee Super cologne. I understand that it was reformulated around 2008 - and not in a good way.
This fragrance, if worn extremely sparingly, is stunning. Composed in the late 1960s by perfume legend Bernard Chant, who also composed Cabochard and Aromatics Elixir, Estee begins as a thick bouquet of lily/rose/carnation, pollinated by waxy aldehydes, and dries down warm and woody. This cologne is incredibly strong, concentrated stuff with big monstrous sillage, so I'm lucky that my vintage bottle is the splash bottle so I can control the amount I apply. I shudder to think of people actually spraying this. Please believe me when I tell you that literally only half a drop touched between the wrists is enough. When worn sparingly in this way, after drying down for a couple hours, the most subtle, sublime scent of autumn leaves and burnt woods (my father says it smells like "oak bark". lol) begins to emerge, wafting up seductively from the wrist. I take this accord to be composed of cedar, oakmoss, styrax, and musk. It's truly breathtaking and mysterious. But when over-applied it smells like and remains for a long time a cloyingly fresh floral, heady and headache-inducing, and loses much of its charm for me. A great slogan for this fragrance would be: Just a half a drop - if considering more, STOP.
I have tried both the vintage EDT and vintage Parfum, and unfortunately I found the scent to disappear very quickly on my wrist even with the pure parfum concentration. After some gorgeously elegant green, fruity, spring-flower top notes, the scent seems to vanish into imperceptibility. But I am overstating the case. The truth is, although I cannot really smell it very strongly when I put my nose to wrist, I do get soft wafts of it drifting up at random times, and when I do I am absolutely entranced. The drydown, light as it is, is a lovely hint of rose, civet, and a bare hint of patchouli, set against an oakmossy chypre base. I can forgive "Y" for drying quickly down to such a subtle state, because the gentle caress of this perfume is all the more precious for its fleeting, peekaboo nature. Where other perfumes cry out from the wrist, Y merely whispers. Sublime is the word. Chypre lovers, this is a must-try. Just be patient with it: Like the rare event of a butterfly landing on your shoulder, bask in the elusive, precious moments of this perfume's perceptibility.
Holy labdanum, batman... This is a glorious spicy amber-oriental, perfect for winter; if you have had the pleasure of being in a home heated with real logs in a wood-burning stove, you may recognize the characteristic scent that fills the house in this fragrance. When I first sniffed it I immediately went back to that distinctive childhood smell. Getting more specific and more technical, "amber", as distinguished from ambergris, is a traditional middle eastern blend of resins used in perfumery, usually benzoin + labdanum + styrax. The term "amber" is also sometimes used as a shorthand for any of these ingredients used on their own. Amber oriental fragrances are those that feature this traditional resinous accord prominently, and DK Black Cashmere most definitely fits the bill. The fragrance smells primarily of labdanum absolute: sweet, deeply resinous, warm, woody, mildly medicinal ...But Black Cashmere is accented with hints of pepper, clove, cedar, etc, all complimenting and elevating the dominant labdanum note into heights of 'cold-weather-perfect' complexity. A real beauty, it was discontinued for a couple years, but has now been brought back in a different bottle.
When I first began frequenting the MUA Fragrance Board in 2006, this perfume was talked about in such reverential tones, as if the perfume itself was a koan...or possibly even a litmus test of people's sophistication. Posters would talk about "getting Mitsouko" or "not getting Mitsouko." I was terribly intrigued, and so as I boarded the bus into downtown Minneapolis that would take me to Nieman Marcus and Macy's, I began my fragrance journey with a goal of tracking down a tester bottle of the famously elusive Mitsy . I had in my pocket a list of various fragrances that I wanted to test that day...but Mitsouko had a large star next to it.
To my great joy, at Nieman Marcus the SA was able to procure a test bottle of Mitsouko, and as she grabbed a cardboard blotter to spray it on, I stopped her short. "No. Right here, please," I said procuring my wrist. This was a special deal. I needed to experience this one bodily. I don't know what formulation it was, probably EDP (from the time just before the oakmoss was banned from the formulation), but after she sprayed me, I waited 20 seconds or so to let the alcohol dry down. Then I smelled my wrist: The fragrance was a blazing autumnal fire of wood, rose, a soft hint of clove - the whole thing was high-pitched and complex in a fierce way, and quite honestly it left me reeling. As it dried down further it conjured to mind mahogany shelves holding decaying leather-bound books with long-dead roses pressed between the pages: a strong sense of history. And warmth...deep, mysterious, dry warmth. And dead leaves in Fall, trod upon, raked up, and set ablaze. And then I felt with certainty that I "got Mitsouko." I am not all that interested in what the official notes are, I am more interested in my own perceptions of this strange beauty. I don't wear it often because I don't want to ever get used to it, but when I do it is usually in the cooler months and it is always a profound pleasure.
This review is for vintage Bandit eau de toilette. I get bitter fruit & green notes melding with sharp florals, and undergirded by the rubbery "leather" ingredient Isobutyl quinoline. Its sharpness and acrid pungency gives an impression of roughness, danger, formidability, & feminine strength...but I was looking forward to a more realistic leather scent. If you are terribly curious what original Bandit smells like, do go to your local Macy's and ask the Estee Lauder gals to hand you the tester for the scent Azuree; it smells quite similar to original Bandit EDT.
I'm not sure why the reviewer below me would say the Madini oils are dirt cheap: at $25 for 6ml they are not inexpensive. Luckily they have a nice sample program.
Alma de Alma is beautiful, perfect for winter. The initial accord of citron + green notes reminds me of the first stunning moments of Guerlain's Vol de Nuit, then it gradually gives way to a slightly animalic amber that's not unlike Obsession. Very pretty and the gorgeous green note makes it unique and compelling. This is my favorite Madini that I've tried, and I'm not normally a huge oriental fan.
As autumn draws closer, I find myself craving Poeme. I first smelled Poeme ten years ago when as a young woman I was working in the clothing section of a department store at the mall. My coworker and I would sneak off and go sniff the fragrances. My everyday fragrance at the time was Clinique Happy, but when I sniffed the sprayer of the tester bottle of Poeme, I nearly fell over. I found it so incredibly unique, melancholy, and mysterious. I remember almost crying because it struck me as such a melancholy and heart-rendingly beautiful scent. I sprayed some on and although I didn't like the grapefruit note, I adored the spicy vanilla-floral heart.
I find that there is mystery in Poeme, even if one of the reviewers below me does not think so. I think the marketing was what suggested that Poeme is a simple, carefree fragrance, but if the juice had been marketed differently, I believe people would be singing a different tune as the scent, while very rich, is definitely quite mysterious, deep, and yes, poetic. The reason for this depth is that underneath the initial grapefruit/citrus note (which, again, I very much wish was not there in the first place) and the white florals, there is a brown sugary quality that lends it depth and richness - at fleeting moments it almost smells to me of pumpkin pie spice, like nose-tickling pepper or cinnamon mingled with vanilla and winter squash...which I guess is the reason I associate this scent so strongly with autumn. It's such a cozy smell. Strangely, Poeme was at one point marketed as being made up ONLY of floral notes, which is absurd: there is definitely a prominent grapefruit-y note at the beginning, and there is certainly some woodiness in the base. Poeme has been reformulated and although the general impression is still the same, longtime lovers of Poeme may notice differences. My favorite is the earlier version, which to my nose seems to be made up of higher quality ingredients. Just apply a drop or two...and I'd recommend wearing it on cool days, preferably in autumn when it is most evocative.
Fragrances -Unlisted Brand - Carven - Ma Griffe Parfum de Toilette
hadas 6/16/2010 2:27:00 AM
I recently found a bottle of vintage Ma Griffe parfum at an antique store and ooh la la, I like this! Oh who am I kidding, I'm in love with it! I mostly favor classic, vintage scents and my vintage Ma Griffe parfum is my favorite of them all. It begins with a perfectly blended lemony green-ness that combines seamlessly with the rose floral bouquet. After a while the lemon citrus aspect dies down and I'm left sniffing the softest loveliest mossy floral. It's really a beauty. I have not sniffed the modern version though.
I LOVE the smell of the Flex products. I couldn't find them anymore at stores and read some people online suggesting that they were discontinued, so I wrote to Revlon. Here is the response that I got:
"Thank you for your recent comments from the Revlon website and your interest in our products. Sometimes, because of fashion trends and limited consumer demand, it becomes necessary to discontinue an otherwise excellent product. Unfortunately, Flex is no longer being manufactured."
So stock up on Ebay girls, as that lovely balsam scent is vanishing forever. Very sad as it is such a gorgeous, spicy, creamy, scent, and very unique. :-(