Jean Patou : 1000

Created by : Jean Kerléo (restored by Thomas Fontaine)

Date : 1972

Genre : Floral chypre

Concentration : eau de toilette

It’s almost impossible to create a great chypre today… in fact, it is impossible.  Without oakmoss, you can never really get that earthy, bitter note.  Supposedly Mane Laboratories has an aromachemical which approximates oakmoss, but without the real thing, it’s a shallow victory, if a victory at all.

1000, by the great Jean Kerléo, was undoubtedly a magnificent chypre when it was launched in 1972 because even today, it is gorgeous even without the full chypre accord.  The bottle I have is the current Thomas Fontaine restoration, circa 2014 (after the Procter & Gamble fiasco).  I rediscovered it while rummaging through my magic closet and I’ve been wearing it for the past 2 weeks straight!

Victoria from Bois de Jasmin says,

It packs as much old-school glamour as a reasonable person could take, but that’s what makes it interesting. You can certainly find plenty of dramatic perfumes with a touch of vintage glamour, from Chanel to Frédéric Malle, from Guerlain to Parfums de Nicolaï, but 1000 holds its own next to No 5Hermès Calèche and Madame Rochas.

Claire from Take one thing off says,

1000 is a dry floral chypre, which doesn’t really tell you anything these days. It boasts whole acreages of roses and jasmine from Grasse, as well as fields’ worth of osmanthus in China that Patou allegedly had to buy in order to secure enough osmanthus for the formula. But far from being the orgasmic cornucopia of flowers you might expect – hot and glowing like the nuclear Ubar, let’s say – the effect here is muted and shady, as if all the flowers cancel each other out leaving only the sense of their richness rising to the surface like oil on water.

When I told a friend that I was wearing 1000, she said, “That’s rose, isn’t it?”  I thought, “Is it?”  And, here lies the beauty and complexity of 1000.  It is a very complex floral chypre with a smattering of aldehydes which makes it almost impossible to describe.  It’s most definitely a floral bouquet… but which flowers? On my skin, it reads like Chanel No 5… a sedate floral without any direct link to rose or jasmine or lily of the valley, which it apparently has.  The aldehydes are just enough to blur the image.  No wonder Luca Turin described it as “needlessly complex and hard to read.”

But for me, 1000’s complexity and illusive description is what attracts me to it.  If you’ve read my blog post on beauty, I describe beauty as illusive... almost a feeling.  For my whole life, I have seen so many beautiful things but don’t ask me to describe them.  It’s impossible, like making a great chypre today.

Luca Turin says that 1000 would make a great masculine and I absolutely agree.   There aren’t enough obvious floral notes to send it into feminine territory… and I’m not getting any sweetness nor powder EXCEPT in the drydown, so beware if these notes are not for you.

When I wear 1000, I think of old Hollywood glamour… sort of.  It’s not obvious glamour, it’s more discreet.  If I had to pick an actress, I would say Greta Garbo but not during her glamourous Harlow 30s, slinky-gown days nor her masculine Queen Christina days.  1000 makes me think of a screen test from 1949 (Garbo was 44 years old), 9 years after she retired.


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