As a young lady M., a woman from the Kansai region in Japan, fell in love with a smell, a perfume called Cabochard ("stubborn") by Parfum Grès. Cabochard is a type of perfume called “Chypre”, French for Cyprus.
One of many perfume legends say that at the beginning of the 20th Century a revolutionary French perfumer went to Cyprus and created a fragrance reminiscent of the woody, mossy, citrus landscape he encountered. That man is Francois Coty and that perfume was "Chypre".
Chypre was such a revolution it became a genre in perfumery. It is a rich journey throughout the contrasts of citrus, (a bit of) floral and woody, mossy, resinous notes. To prove the legend I asked two young men from Cyprus whether this combination (without telling them the story) reminded them of home. They said it did.
Lalique Chypre flacon
M., our Japanese lady, sees Chypre as a scent of sophistication, an elegant, evening scent, not necessarily feminine. Passionate about perfume, she has taken some courses and experimented blending her own. Yesterday Marianne (The Perfumer) and I ran a tailor made workshop for her, to create an idea of Chypre.
To begin with, we took a sniff at the Chypre tale that M. had created, a very nice combination of dark, heart and light tones. We introduced a few variations and observed how the new characters played with the existing script. M. was new to the suggested departures, which made our perfume creation more adventurous.
Our perfume workshop
We started from its heart. There we set up an almost neutral floral scene and in front of it we played 3 flowers: a lady with sophisticated personality, a subterranean, powdery God and a green, unconventional gentleman. The green guy was found to be intrusive and was dismissed.
The dark scene was set with underfoot volcanic energy, a dash of balsamic woods and an interesting man-made ingredient that is both soft and hard. Despite the attractive novelty it brought to our story, it was dismissed. Instead, this thick scene was softened by placing a comforting velvet carpet.
The result had still too much heart whereas M.’s intention was to go deeper, somehow more masculine than feminine, hence we turned up the darkness volume. A final, filtered ray of Mediterranean sun gave the scent a lift and we had the picture.
M. happily walked away with her new idea of Chypre and a custom-made dictionary of odours, that she will use to create her next perfume tale. As with the words we may use to write a story, possibilities of expression are endless in perfume. But only the ones that find their mysterious way to our heart will win.
Find your own journey in perfume with us.
Till the next Perfume Tale.
NP / SP