With their woody, warming and somehow familiar characteristics, here are the best - and most iconic - chypre perfumes.
Chypres (pronounced ‘sheep-ra’) are based on a mossy, floral accord. Despite there being some record of them dating back to Roman times, it was Francois Coty who made them popular when he released one in 1917. Perfumers have been concocting chypre-styled scents ever since, giving rise to a whole new olfactory classification.
Here’s our rundown of some of the Stylist beauty team’s favourite cult, niche, artisan and luxury perfumes that take their cue from Mr Coty.
The top 10 chypre fragrances
Miller Harris Citron Citron Eau de Parfum
Lyn Harris’ first fragrance is built upon a chypre base of green moss, cedar and cardamom. Harris took it in a resolutely ‘summery’ direction by adding lemon, orange, lime and sprigs of cool mint and basic. Delicious.
Miller Harris Citron Citron eau de parfum
Jo Malone Vetyver Cologne
Named after the street number of Jo Malone’s first London Boutique, this fragrance is a warming combination of vetiver and nutmeg along with zesty notes of mandarin and grapefruit.
Jo Malone London 184 Cologne
CK One Eau de Toilette
On the lighter end of the chypre scale, this sheer and understated fragrance is pretty much the olfactory equivalent of Bradley Cooper; it has mass appeal. On top of a musky, amber base there’s a string of notes that are just so fresh and so clean, namely green tea, violet, tangerine and lavender).
Calvin Klein CK One Eau de Toilette
Chanel No. 19 Eau De Parfum
This minty-hued chypre is not made up of 19 ingredients (the name derives from Mademoiselle’s birthday, which falls on 19 August). But the notes we can account for are mostly crisp and green, there’s also powdery iris accents and a cedarwood and vetiver base.
Chanel No. 19 eau de parfum
Tom Ford Noir de Noir Eau de Parfum
This sultry chypre has a distinctly oriental character; saffron, black rose and black truffle notes are layered upon vanilla, patchouli, oud and ‘mossy’ accents. It quickly melts into your skin and definitely mellows in minutes, but spritz sparingly all the same.
Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir eau de parfum
Clinique Aromatics Elixir Eau De Toilette
The juice’s dark hue gives it an almost-medicinal, tonic-like quality. In fact, when it launched in the 1970s, it was the first aromatherapy scent; a blend of soothing rose and chamomile, with stirring jasmine notes and seductive patchouli, vetiver and amber.
Clinique Aromatics Elixir eau de toilette
Guerlain Mitsouko Pure Perfume
True to its name (Mitsouko means ‘mystery’ in Japanese), this fragrance is impossible to pin down (even a century after it launched). It somehow oscillates between punchy fruit notes and mellow, dry and spicy woods.
Guerlain Mitsouko Perfume
Citizen Queen Juliette Has a Gun
This covetable French fragrances manages to imitate typical Parisian style in that it’s bold but not flamboyant. A rich labdanum base note (labdanum is a dark, bitter resin from citrus shrubs) is warmed up by a creamy leather heart, topped off with aldehyde notes (aldehyde is a natural compound, credited as the magic ingredient which gives Chanel No. 5 it’s ‘sparkle’).
Juliette Has a Gun Citizen Queen eau de parfum
Clarins Eau Dynamisante
This zingy citrus chypre definitely qualifies as a cult classic. It combines a strong herbal accord with lavender and ginger accents, on top of an almost bitter patchouli and moss base.
Clarins Eau Dynamisante
Sisley Soir de Lune
A lesson in not making snap judgements, especially when a fragrance is still wet on your wrists; top notes bergamot, lemon and coriander hit you straight away, but warming mimosa absolute and a honeyed, woodsy base take grip before long.
Sisley Paris Soir de Lune eau de parfum
Images: courtesy of brands