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.


puredistance : M

Created by : Roja Dove

Date : 2010

Genre : Oud leather

Concentration : perfume

When I researched this perfume after wearing it for two days, it didn’t really surprise me that Roja Dove, noted Professeur de Parfums, had created it because M has so many references to masterpieces of French and British perfumery of the late 19th and 20th centuries… the dark rose note from Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet (1872), the smoky-leather accord from Tabac Blond (1919), the cumin note of Eau d’Hermes (1951) and the overly-sexy oud note of Yves Saint-Laurent’s M7 (2002).  Add to all this, a frankincense that popped in and out of the mix throughout the day giving it an oriental feel.  This one, readers, is a lesson in perfume history… and it is gorgeous!

M starts with a deep-orange, mouth-watering bergamot that floated ever so slightly above the heart which is powerful and sexual.  Although not listed, I picked out the decidedly “down-under” male scent that only oud can produce… bringing to mind L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh.  But what is so special about M is the way it evolves… sometimes leathery, sometimes woody, sometimes smoky, but always interesting.  The drydown surprised me many hours later leaving me with a powdery, clean vanilla-musk accord… all the sexy notes gone.

In short, M is intelligent, rich and researched. It feels like a fragrance that Edwardian men might have worn… big and unapolagetic. They don’t make perfume like this anymore, or rarely… complex and controversial and with “space between the notes” as FiveoaksBouquet would say.

When I thought of who might wear it, I thought of King Edward VII and his frequent trips to Parisian brothels, notably Le Chabanais, his favourite room being the Hindu room with its “siège d’amour”.  As depressed as I’ve been about the state of perfumes recently, this one was a very welcome trial.

On both men and women, M could easily seduce both sexes.  Its sublime, fleshy animalic qualities are universal.

Have a nice week everybody!

Top image : Portrait of King Edward VII (1905)

Bottom image : Male nude by Dan Lacey

Tom Ford : Grey Vetiver

Created by : Name not released

Date : 2009

Genre : Smoky wood

Concentration : Eau de parfum

According to Tom Ford, Grey Vetiver is “solid, like the man who wears a custom-made suit or invests in hand-crafted shoes.”  You know… it does have a corporate feel about it and it does smell rich.  It also has great lasting power but it’s not grey (I was expecting iris) and it’s not vetiver… not really.

Grey Vetiver is a uber-smoky wood with a lightspeed citrus opening with the promise of vetiver… but when the vetiver arrives it takes a back seat to a strong wood heart… no more, no less.  For a final act, Grey Vetiver ends like Tom Ford’s For Men… a very incense-centric pine drydown.  One gets the feeling that many of the materials in For Men ended up in Grey Vetiver.  Although it’s not my style I can imagine the kind of man who would wear it because Grey Vetiver has the Gucci aesthetic infused throughout it.  I kept getting images of the recent spate of rich and powerful bad boys… Silvio, Dominique and Arnold.  We’ve read so much about them recently that we know them by their first name.  These guys remind me of bipolar Bacchus… a god and a lecherous drunk!  Power, money, charisma, great body… well, maybe not the great body.

Grey Vetiver reminded me of Henry Kissinger’s infamous quote, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”.  Actually, I wouldn’t know.  Yes, yes… I AM a librarian but we don’t wield the same kind of power as Berlusconi, Strauss-Kahn and Schwarzenegger.

Now, I don’t expect perfumes to smell good much beyond their intended life.  I expect an eau de parfum to behave for maybe 10 hours… so I’m not going to blame Grey Vetiver for getting on my nerves the following morning.  You might want to wash it off, however, before going to bed.

Image : Bacchus (1640) by Peter Paul Rubens

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