Sunday, July 15, 2012

Coty Chypre is punk rock

me in 1981
Yep, I realise that this post title may have perfumistas saying 'what!?!'

I'll explain in a bit. But first I had to figure out what the heck is a chypre to begin with.   So I'm researching away, and getting all kinds of confusing and not specific information, so I go to the site where I should have gone to the first place - the wealth of information known as Perfume Shrine.  Check our Elena's marvelous Chypre Series here.

Elena says "Back on point, the basic chord in a classic chypre however is always bergamot-oakmoss-labdanum. (Whatever other notes the sites/guides mention , those must be in there for it to qualify as a classic chypre). "

Okay, so Coty Chypre notes are, well wait a minute, they're actually hard to pin down, but suffice it to say, the chypre trio is in there (at one time or another).   

I found this quote on Ebay:  "The Coty Chypre women’s perfume holds the aura of Venus. The top notes of African Orange flower, Bergamot, Amalfi Lemon and Orange of this Coty Women's Eau de Toilette mark the entry of the Goddess of Love. Lilac, Jasmine, Rose and ylang-ylang at the heart of this Women’s perfume slowly unravels her presence. Lying at the base of this Coty Women's Eau de Toilette, Patchouli, Oakmoss and Musk leave all mesmerized with its warm soothing earthly fragrance. It’s about time you don the aura, it’s about time let out the Venus in you with Coty Chypre."

Coty Chypre starts off in that typical chypre-ish way.  Kinda pointy. Kinda 'stay away from me, you fools.'   Kind of  "woah, don't get too close to me!"  I can totally understand why Dorothy Parker wore it (if she did indeed wear it, which makes perfect sense once I tried this perfume).

Then is dries down to its innermost niceness.  Like every single person I knew from the punk rock scene back when I was a young one.  No wonder that, when standing in front of the perfume counter at Halle's in 1980, trying to choose between  Chanel No. 18, No. 19 and No. 22, I chose No. 19 (a chypre).

To me, it's punk rock because Chypre was startling, a little bit scary, but oh soo tender once you get past the prickle of what is chypre.  Now of course, given that I was involved in the punk rock scene, and not in the Dada scene or any other 'shocking' culture, I view it as such.  If I had lived in another era, the title would have been different.

There is a Coty similarity in the dry down with both L'Aimant and Chypre. As L'Aimant is my new-found love, do I have room for Chypre, too?  Of course, my heart has room, but my bank account does not.  And I want to thank Pat from Olfactarama again for sending me a glorious sample of it!

I'd also like to send you to a terrific review from Pat  And here's a quote " Although Coty Chypre is discontinued now, the classification “chypre” lives on in the name of a perfume family, based on that same oak moss/labdanum/bergamot trinity that has been disparaged in recent years as an “old-lady” scent. Puh-leeez! Kids, there is nothing old-lady about it."

No, it's not old lady - it's PUNK ROCK!

Here's more great reviews- one from Yesterday's Perfumes and another from Olenska

PS: please excuse the formatting flaws on the page - even after all of this time, I still have trouble getting fonts to all match up, esp when I cut and paste.


  1. I love this like you have NO idea. You're spot on in saying that Coty Chypre is spiky on the outside and sweet on the inside-- and I have no doubt that the Round Tablers were ALL reincarnated at CBGBs. From one hardcore chick to another, hail Chypre!!

    1. Now I'm TOTALLY hearing Joey Ramone sing in my head: "Chypre is a punk rocker, Chypre is a punk rocker, Chypre is a punk rocker NO-OOO-OOOW!:"

    2. ooh I'm glad!!! I hoped you would like, M! Hail Chypre indeed. Someone is bidding against for on EvilBay for a bottle - I had to give up though

  2. LOL now I have that stuck in my head too! :D

  3. Replies
    1. Pat, I love it so much I bid and won a bottle on Evilbay!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  4. I can't say I've smelled the original Coty Chypre, but I like Mitsouko, Aromatics Elixir, and other perfumes in the chypre category. Maybe it's punk rock because it was completely original and non-femmey....anything new and gritty could be construed as punkish I think.

    Great point!

    1. Hello Joan!! It's very Mitsouko-ish; I'm sure you'd like it. Exactly - non-femmy and original (though the dry down is a bit soft and femmy but not at first!!) Thank you!

  5. LOVE post entries that involve memories and awesome vintage pictures! I just recently discovered that out of the numbered Chanels I love #19 the most but that doesn't surprise me since that I dabbled in punk in the late eighties in my early teen!

    You rock!

    1. YOU rock!! Isn't it neat that we were drawn to the same Chanel and the same scene!? :)


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