First of all, I am very lucky to have been able to test this legendary fragrance in the first place. This frag, especially the earlier stuff, is getting ever more rare and hard to find with each passing year. The version I got a sample of is apparently from 1925 or at least that’s what’s printed on the card that came with the sample that I bought from PK Perfumes. The card also has a picture of the bottle. As you can see, I only bought half a milliliter as it is pretty pricey juice at $24 US for just a few drops.
For being roughly 91 years old, the juice really seems to be in incredible shape. Chypres are known for aging well though. But I have tested vintages half that age that were very “off” so this has obviously been stored properly and very well taken care of. Afterall, a lot can happen in 91 years lol.
Upon application, the dark juice is rather flat in the top notes but that was something I was expecting. Bergamot, and citrus in general, tend to be the first thing to go in perfumes. It breaks down faster and also evaporates faster. Even now, getting longevity with citruses remains a challenge to perfumers, but I digress.
The top is very heavy with oakmoss and rather tart and sour to my nose. But I wait and give it more time to dry before going back in for another sniff.
I have several oak trees growing in my backyard that are covered thick in oakmoss. The branches hang out over the swimming pool that we keep very lightly chlorinated. Occasionally a small branch will break off into the pool, saturating the oakmoss with water. I try to collect those little branches to scrape off and save the wet, spongy oakmoss whenever I see a good piece floating. Oakmoss is much too leathery to remove from the branches when dry. But I love the way it smells naturally, even though I’m not a huge chypre enthusiast. It’s sweet and earthy. Like walking through a damp humid forest that has a thick canopy. Oakmoss is a lichen though, which is a type of fungus, so while it’s sweet and earthy, there is still a very slight truffle/mushroomy smell to it.
My initial impression of Coty Chypre was of Mitsouko, only less sweet. Way less sweet. Ok minus the sweet altogether lol. Coty is much colder and more savory to my nose than Mitsy but they still smell very similar nonetheless.
After the juice dries and starts to settle, I can faintly smell the hint of rose, which was surprising because rose doesn’t typically age well at all. I can also smell iris, patchouli, and carnation along with the oakmoss.
The oakmoss stays prominant all the way through and after about 4 hours on the skin, the heart begins to dry away and the musky base is left. It’s a little bit smokey and slightly animalic.
I test it again, reapplying a dab to the back of my hand, only this time I dab my vintage Mitsouko extrait on the other hand to compare. I let them dry before sniffing.
In comparing the two side by side, Mitsouko is much sweeter, creamier, warmer, and rounder. The Coty smells a bit bitter in comparison, cold, and aloof. Mitsy also smells a little boozy next to Coty but Mitsy does contain peach and is a chypre fruity.
The influence is obvious though. Coty is definitely the stoic, austere parent and Mistouko, the carefree, adventerous child.
Personally, I think Mitsouko was an improvement, but that’s a story for another day lol.
Overall, I’m very glad I got to try this historical perfume. And even more so that I got to compare it side by side with Mitsouko as they are both legendary perfumes.
I highly recommend trying it out for yourself if you ever get the opportunity. Though neither Coty Chypre nor Mitsouko are perfumes I would generally wear casually in my day to day, there’s no denying their influence on modern perfumery and for that I have great respect for these trailblazers.
I am not only a fraghead, I am also a history buff and exploring old perfumes is really a very special treat for me. Two of my favorite things collide in Vintage perfumes. So for me this whole experience was a history lesson; a fragrant little glimpse into another time. Many thanks to Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes for giving me the opportunity to try this! ❤
Top notes: Bergamot, Orange, African Orange Flower, Amalfi Lemon
Heart notes: Carnation, Rose, Ylang, Jasmine, Lilac, Iris
Base notes: Incense, Musk, Civet, Oakmoss, Patchouli, Styrax