Why would anyone start a perfume blog when there are so many perfect blogs out there in the blogosphere? I asked myself this same question exactly two years ago and I ask it again now.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve met some extraordinarily passionate people both in person and on the net recently and their passion is just too contagious to ignore. Or, maybe it’s because I now own more perfume than I can wear in a lifetime and this blog is a kind of making sense of an obsession that seems to occupy more and more of my time. Or, maybe it’s because I have my own ideas of what is beautiful perfume and what is not so beautiful and I want to share my opinions with other fans to see if anyone agrees with me… or not. Actually, my reason(s) for starting this blog is a mixture of all three and I’m kind of hoping that you’ll come back on a regular basis and share your opinions with me.
To write this post, I created a talisman to guide me. From my fragrance collection, I selected a bottle of Joseph Marie François Spoturno’s Chypre (aka Chypre de Coty). It’s a bottle I acquired from Denyse Beaulieu who was gracious enough to deliver it to me personally in Montréal on a cold December morning. I placed a drop of the cologne on a smelling strip and I inhaled. There it was… a perfect voice from the past talking to me today. How true this 60s bottle is to the 1917 original, I don’t know but it was anything like my bottle, it is easy see why Chypre is considered as one of the great watersheds in perfume history. Its abstract trio of oakmoss, labdanum and bergamot blend seamlessly giving us today a family of magnificent fragrances, Guerlain’s Mitsouko, Givenchy III and Chanel’s Pour Monsieur to name just three.
Chypre reminds me of François Coty’s contemporary, Enrico Caruso. They were born in 1874 and 1873, respectively, and both had superlative talent and vision. Specifically, both knew how to harness the technology of the day to showcase their talents and both rose to worldwide acclaim. When I think of Coty’s Chypre, I’m reminded of Caruso’s 1904 recording of Je Crois Entendre Encore from Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles. Both perfume and recording hover between the crude and the sublime. Much has been written lately of Chypre’s unrefined finish but it is clear that both it and that early recording are proof that Coty’s and Caruso’s voices were clear, inspired and prophetic of greatness, despite the less-than-perfect technology of the day.
And so I’ll end this post with a recording of Nadir’s lament from Les Pêcheurs de Perles and hope you’ll come back next week to read my first perfume review.