It seems Francois Coty’s iconic fragrance ‘Chypre’, based on a mossy, floral accord, really struck a cord; perfumers have been concocting chypre-styled scents ever since, giving rise to a whole new olfactory classification. Here’s our rundown of the cult, niche, artisan and luxury perfumes that take their cue from Mr Coty.
Words: Charlotte Jolly
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.
Citron Citron Eau de Parfum, £65 (50ml), Miller Harris; millerharris.com
Jo Malone Vetyver Cologne
A warming blend of vetiver (a given), bergamot and cedarwood. Jo Malone’s obligatory quirky notes come in the guise of Nutmeg and cinnamon. Utterly enveloping.
Vetyver Cologne, £38 (30ml), Jo Malone; jomalone.com
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).
CK One Eau de Toilette, £23 (50ml), Calvin Klein; boots.com
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.
No. 19 Eau De Parfum, £67 (50ml), Chanel; 020 7493 3836
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.
Noir de Noir, £135 (50ml), Tom Ford; selfridges.com
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.
Aromatics Elixir Eau De Toilette, £33 (45ml), Clinique; clinique.co.uk
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.
Mitsouko Pure Perfume, £84 (7.5ml), Guerlain; 01932 233 887
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’).
Citizen Queen, £68 (50ml),Juliette Has a Gun; selfrigdes.com
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.
Eau Dynamisante, £30 (100ml), Clarins; clarins.co.uk
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.
Soir de Lune, £75 (30ml), Sisley; houseoffraser.co.uk