Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Today's Sample: Pecksniff's Green Chypre

Feeling slightly scent-shy this morning after yesterday's debacle with Chinatown, I decided to try something I had sampled over Memorial Day weekend but was unable to smell because of a horrendous allergy attack: Pecksniff's Green Chypre.

I listed the notes for this in a previous post, but here they are again, just so you don't have to click all over the place:
Top: pink grapefruit, mandarin, lemon, orange, galbanum, and bergamot
Heart: freesia, water lily, orchid, pink pepper, geranium, violet, rose
Base: musk and sandalwood

By now you must have learned that I like almost everything, as long as it likes me back. (I'm looking at you, Mitsuoko EDT. EDP, we'll see about you later.) I think I should learn a bit more before I start making pronouncements. I do have preferences, though...And this fragrance definitely falls somewhere at the top of the list. The opening is very fresh and citrusy, to me a little more sweet than green, and the pink pepper comes through quite nicely. Because I'm lucky enough today to "smell it through," I find that it has dried down to something green (geranium?), woody (sandalwood), and sweet (rose). Yes, I can definitely still smell the rose, and I like it this way. The green note along with this rose in nothing like what accompanies the rose in L'Ombre dans L'Eau...it's more watery. It may be the water lily and not the geranium, in that case.

Clarification: I realized I used "sweet" twice, and meant two different things. In the opening, the citrus is not sharp or tangy, nor is it cloying and overly-fruity. I meant sweet like orange rind, but then, not only orange. (This is helping, isn't it? Ha!) The dry down "sweet" of the rose, mixed with the sandalwood and the hint of green, is a fresh, elegant powder, not a heady rose.

Do I like chypres in general? I don't know. Bois de Jasmin lists Mitsuoko as a chypre, and if I had only that to go by, I would have to say no (or again, that they don't like me). But that's not the end of the story. According to Wikipedia, a chypre "[builds] on a similar base consisting of bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum. This family of fragrances is named after a perfume by François Coty by the same name. Meaning Cyprus in French, the term alludes to where this base was inspired. This fragrance family is characterized by a scent reminiscent of apricot and custard."

Apricot and custard?

Reading reviews of chypres, I find the category seems much broader, and even if a fragrance has all or some of the three main notes that make it a chypre (as listed above), I wonder if it depends on where they fall in the composition, at the top, heart or base of the fragrance, that determines how the fragrance is labeled. The most common note I see listed as qualifying a chypre is oakmoss, which is also a key ingredient of a fougère. Experts, feel free to educate me.

But specifically, I think I am hooked on this Pecksniff's Green Chypre, whether I end up loving chypres as a class or not. In fact, I'm putting it on the "Happy Birthday to Me" short list of possibilities!

For a review of this fragrance and also Pecksniff's Classic Chypre, visit
Now Smell This.

What's your favorite chypre? Or your favorite Pecksniff's fragrance?

*photo from LusciousCargo