I have a small (very small) half ml of Chypre de Coty that stands upright in a plugged tester vial that holds another tester vial that holds my trace amount of Chypre de Coty that I would love to own more of. Unfortunately, it is a rare scent and it goes for quite a pretty penny. It is also very, very beautiful.
In Bottle: This isn’t just a chypre. And certainly not the diluted, heavily modified modern chypres of today. Chypre de Coty is the chypre. It’s a genre definer and it smells the part. Green, lush, and somehow personal. This reminds me of a multitude of fragrances that were built around this one concept. Chypre de Coty is at once familiar, generic, classic, and unique.
Applied: This smells like perfume history. Like Mitsouko, with a rich, dry, beautiful soul. I own a new formulation of Mitsouko and it wasn’t until now that I realized how sharp she was, how she’s missing a certain gentleness and refine elegance that Chypre de Coty possesses and, I assume and will soon find out, vintage Mitsouko must have as well. Now I can be frustrated with the rest of the perfumistas! Yay! I mean–why, world? Why? Chypre de Coty goes on bitter and dry and green with a hint of barely there citrus and slowly changes and gets more and more personal on the skin as it introduces dense, clean florals and a fantastic powdered mossy base. It’s a classic chypre all right. I wasn’t kidding when I said this smells like history. And it makes me sad because this is from a fragrance era that no longer exists. And nothing made these days is going to come close due to reformulations and ingredient restrictions. I’m sad to be wearing some of this because it reminds me that none of this exists anymore and nothing like this will exist again.
Extra: Chypre de Coty died sometime in the 1980s. It’s a faint reminder of a time when fragrances like these were statements and masterpieces. These days Chypre de Coty–if someone were to even catch a whiff of it–is “old lady perfume”, a term I really wish people would stop using for things they don’t understand. I hear someone call something an “old lady’s perfume” and I think of people going into a minimalist art exhibition and complaining about how a bunch of lines on a white canvas could be considered art when their child could do better with their eyes closed.
Design: The bottle I’m familiar with is a simple, oval-cylinder glass container with a couple of embellishments on the glass body and a glass stopper. I wish I could say I’ve held a bottle of this vintage stuff but nope. The bottle looks beautiful though. The image pictured in this post is a vintage ad for Chypre de Coty and is not the bottle I describe here.
Fragrance Family: Chypre
Notes: Bergamot, jasmine, rose, patchouli, labdanum, oakmoss.
I’ll happily trade most of Coty’s present day offerings if only they could bring this back in the same formulation as the 1917 juice. There is truly nothing made these days that smells like this.
Reviewed in This Post: Chypre de Coty, circa 1940, Eau de Toilette.