Mugler : Les Exceptions – Chyprissime

Mars and Venus of Cyprus Surprised by Vulcan (1827) by Alexandre Charles Guillemot

Mars and Venus of Cyprus Surprised by Vulcan (1827) by Alexandre Charles Guillemot

Created by : Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Hérault

Date : 2014

Genre : Fresh woods

Concentration : eau de parfum

Do you remember the advice teachers gave you when answering a quiz?  Do the easy questions first!  So… let’s get Chyprissime’s genre out of the way right off the bat.  This is not a chypre… not by a long shot.  It’s from the woods genre.  It’s not even chypre-ish!

You know… before I had my own bottle of Chypre by Coty, I had trouble with the chypre genre because the chypre family is so varied, it’s difficult for beginners to pick out.  I used to go by elimination.  When it wasn’t citrus or floral or leather or amber or fougère or wood… then it was a chypre.  But this one pretty well shouted woods to me the minute I sprayed it on my skin and it never waivered.

I’m not going to say much about this one because I didn’t find it very interesting.  Yes, it’s somewhat smoky.  Yes, it borrows a powdery facet (slight mind you) from the chypre genre and, yes there is a menthol or eucalyptus note in there to keep it fresher than fresh… but all-in-all, it’s a somewhat boring, two-dimensional masculine woods scent… nothing to write home about.  There are literally dozens of woods that are more interesting and so I’ll name just a few… Guerlain’s Vetiver, Chanel’s Sycomore, Creed’s Royal Oud and L’Artisan’s Parfumeur’s Premier Figuier.

I’m slightly to blame for this mediocre review because my hopes were probably too high. Buoyed by my review of Supra Floral which gives Chamade a run for its money, I was expecting an old-school, broad-shouldered feminine chypre.  Maybe even a leather chypre! Alas, no!

So… we move on.  Have a nice week everyone.

Addendum (August 10, 2014) : I just smelled Chyprissime on FiveoaksBouquet and I was totally taken aback… spices, patchouli, vetiver, some smoke… definitely a powerhouse and, yes, a chypre on her.  On my skin, it went all woods.  So… test this one.  I’m wondering if quantity might also make a difference in addition to skin type.  I remember now testing it from the store bottle a couple of times but I probably only sprayed once or twice.

Addendum (August 16, 2014) : Because Chyprissime smelled so wonderful on a friend, I decided to go back and retest it twice this past week.   I thought that perhaps I had originally picked up the wrong bottle (you see, the bottles are not identified)… or that maybe there was something there that I didn’t pick up the first time.  It was definitely the right bottle but after two more testings, it still didn’t come off as a chypre on my skin… more of a dark, patchouli-laced smoky wood.  That said, it’s quite wonderful… great longevity and it has a sublime smoldering quality about it that I loved.  So… this is the kind that you really have to try and judge on its merits but just don’t be surprised if you’re not getting the chypre accord either.


Mugler : Les Exceptions – Supra Floral

The Death of Hyacinth (1769) by Nicolas-René Jollain (click to enlarge)

The Death of Hyacinth (1769) by Nicolas-René Jollain (click to enlarge)

Created by : Olivier Polge and Jean-Christophe Hérault

Date : 2014

Genre : Hyacinth soliflore

Concentration : eau de parfum

Over the years I have read and heard many references made between Thierry Mugler and Guerlain fragrances… not least of which is Luca Turin referring to Angel as the Shalimar of the Nineties.  And a very smart perfume enthusiast I know immediately recognized a nod to the famous Guerlinade in the first version of Angel… so I wasn’t completely surprised when I first sniffed Supra Floral and Chamade came to mind even before the sales associate said it was Mugler’s take on hyacinth.

Admittedly, I was ripe and ready for Supra Floral because I had been looking for a green floral for the past several weeks.  I always look for green scents in the spring and in late March and early April I threw myself into an orgy of green chypres and green fruity scents such as Premier Figuier. In addition, I must have tested half a dozen green florals including Estée Lauder’s Private Collection, Fidji, Bel Respiro and Romance by Ralph Lauren… even pulling out my Chanel No. 19 on occasion to keep me grounded.  I once said that white florals were the Holy Grail of  perfumes because they are so difficult to do beautifully.  I now think that green florals are even trickier.  Too much of one or two ingredients and the perfume comes off smelling like window cleaner!

So what does Supra Floral smell like?  I decided to use Chamade as my yardstick because most people have easy access to Chamade and the Les Exceptions collection is still only available in Canada and Italy as I write this post.

Both Supra Floral and Chamade highlight hyacinth but Chamade lists hyacinth only in the topnotes (according to Michael Edwards’ Perfume Legends : French Feminine Fragrances) while the promotional material for Supra Floral refers to the fragrance as a hyacinth soliflore with amber and incense.  So they definitely both share some DNA but they are not meant to be direct competitors.

On my skin, both Supra Floral and Chamade came out of the starting gate similarly because of the hyacinth note with Supra Floral being greener and more stark and Chamade boasting a powder note.  Supra Floral made me think of an early-morning stroll through a field of spring blossoms on an ultra-dry day… when sights and smells are surreal.  It awakened my senses all day long when I wore it.  Chamade reminds of later in the season… an early August late-afternoon stroll in the same field but on a VERY HUMID day with not only hyacinths but also other field flowers having grown in… maybe a few rose bushes here and there and jasmine in a neighbouring field.  Where Supra Floral is highly concentrated and saturated, Chamade is diffuse. Both Supra Floral and Chamade are wonderful… and both are complimentary.  If I had to choose one on any given day, I wouldn’t.  I would start my day with Chamade and then layer Supra Floral overtop for evening drama… and bump up the volume, so to speak.

As for classification, I would be very surprised if the Société française des parfumeurs puts Supra Floral in their “ambré” category even if Mugler says it has amber in it.  Apart from a discreet vanilla note at the end of the day, I think this is a hyacinth soliflore through and through… well worth testing.

To read about the Greek myth behind the genesis of the hyacinth flower, click here.





Dior : Dior Homme

Clark Gable - click to enlarge

Created by : Olivier Polge

Date : 2005

Genre : Iris tobacco

Concentration : eau de toilette

Evidently, Olivier Polge has inherited some of his father’s creative genius.  Although this recent version of Dior Homme is not as gorgeous as the original when it was launched in 2005 (according to sources), it’s still absolutely lovely and I find it so very encouraging for men’s perfume, today and in the future.

Dior Homme smells rich…  it is well constructed AND it has top notes, a heart and bottom notes!  WHAT A CONCEPT… EH?!?  (Can you tell I’m Canadian?)

Polge’s creation starts with a fruity-iris accord that I don’t think I’ve ever smelled before.  The iris is not the vegetable version we find in Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist… it’s the powdery, grey version that is melancholic, suave and classy!  And the fruity notes provide a mouth-watering backdrop… too bad they don’t hang around very long.

The heart is an iris-tobacco accord with a distinct vanilla note weaving itself in and out of the mix.  There is plenty of space between the notes and you can’t help but be in awe as to… how do they do that?  Although I don’t smoke tobacco, I like it in perfume as long as it’s balanced with other notes and the vanilla-tobacco drydown is exquisite.  And so… I love this one so it’s difficult to write about it.  Words are scarce.

As for perfume classification, Michael Edwards calls it a Soft Floral.  Michael, I love ya baby… but I’m not getting it.  (Can you tell it’s Oscar night?)  I’m calling it a Wood – Crisp.

I don’t know why I never bought this one before but I’m really happy it’s in my magic closet now.  I’ll be wearing Dior Homme when I want to project a badboy image… because DH is as close to smoking tobacco as I’ll ever get without coughing my lungs out.


Image : Clark Gable

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