Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeepers Chypres!

It takes a lot to excite me. Chalk that up to New York jadedness or whatnot. In a world of perfume junkies (bless their hearts) who constantly talk up the next new “masterpiece” and who throw the word “lemming” around with such abandon as to give the animal-rights folks a fright, it takes a real shiver-me-timbers scent to make an outstanding impression.

It was, then, with a great sense of fear and loathing that I ordered some samples of the super-exclusive line of “vintage-ey” extraits de parfums from Auguste, an unknown French perfumer who purports to have used les anciennes grimoires to concoct a chypre, an oriental, and a cuir de Russie. Grimoire, I love it. (Cut to a gallic Gargamel in front of some bubbling Turk’s head.)

What does it mean, this chic for vintage? Is it a cry for an authenticity (of the emotional sort) so lacking in the development of today’s perfumes? I dare say it isn’t some rummage-sale sort of mentality. Face it, people want designer clothing; they want labels, names if you may, not quaintness; but they want authenticity in the foods they prepare and the scents they wear.

Auguste, despite the sanctimoniousness of its venture (its almost audible straining at Preservation), has done something very, very right in the genre of the vintage chypre. Esprit de Chypre is like a miniature stumbled upon in some provincial museum. It communicates the chypre concept in an appealing and very wearable way. It isn’t an academic exercise, a caprice of the genius-mind gone amok. From the start, with its sucker-punch of lemon, bergamot, through the floral heart (lovely ylang ylang), down to the leathery labdanum and oakmoss (yes, oakmoss) base, Esprit de Chypre is a Twenties flapper who wants to get behind the wheel and drive straight through the night to Vienne. Lovers of vintage Tabac Blond, Sycomore and En Avion, not to mention the cut of an old Chanel original, will swoon over this. It’s like smelling back into time while perched (firmly) on the precipice of the future.

Ahem, lemmings, if you buy one thing this year, let it be this. Who knows how long it will be around for. Such a pity, then, they didn’t get the bottle quite right.


Blogger chayaruchama said...

Sweetness mine, you NAILED it, for me-
So, where do I sniff this gem, hmmmmm?


April 30, 2008 at 3:10 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Thanks, Chaya. I must get you that decant of the Coty. MD will provide a vial cette weekend.

Right now, Luckyscent has it for 40ml at $245 a pop. Samples, too. Also, on the Vente Privée (rares et exceptionnels) section of www.auguste.fr

April 30, 2008 at 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feigned royal here..LOL.

I have loved the fragrances from Auguste for months now, I fell in love with the Esprit de Cuir about 6 months ago and just had to buy a bottle. At the time, Auguste didn't even hace the Esprits listed on her website so I had to get mine from a small perfumery in Germany, who I think were the only other stockists in the world. By the way, the bottles are all hand produced and numbered.

All 3 of the Esprits are worth sniffing, I'm sure they will transport you to another era when things were a bit more elegant and refined.

April 30, 2008 at 10:25 AM  
Blogger carmencanada said...

The Prince tipped me off some months ago, but I only just tracked down the perfumer, Catherine Fructus, and am now impatiently waiting for samples. It would be lovely to have fresh batches of old-style perfumes -- the vintage hunt is such a Russian roulette...

April 30, 2008 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

MD chided me over a remark I'd made that Onda made Esprit de Cuir superfluous. It doesn't. Each has charms that the other hasn't, and Onda has that terse ginger-vetiver thang that Catherine Fructus' scent replaces, quite wonderfully, with absolu de jasmin.

Barry and Denyse- to your point, yes, these all deserve sniffing. I'm very happy that Franco at Luckyscent had the foresight to get them all. The vintage perfume world is fraught with hazards and disappointments. But, heck, there's something about the endless search that keeps the vigor in our blood.

April 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, I can't wait to smell these little devils.

Finally we get to smell (approximately) Vintage WITH the top notes. How delightful.

Truth be told - I want to hate all of these b/c if I love them, I know I'll have to own them all. And we all know I don't need anything else on the must-have list - as it is, its longer than the 9/11 Commissions Report.

Now to the bottles - The Esprit de Chine is the ONLY one they got right. There does exist in the world of fine bone china patterns through the ages some exquisite designs that are entirely androgynous. It must be really good to get me to purchase that garish little snuff bottle. We'll see soon.

April 30, 2008 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger Vida said...

OH, that bottle! It is SOOOO perfect--for a rosey perfume! But a Chypre belongs in CRYSTAL. Can't wait to try these, and I'm with Chaya, "Where"? BTW, you are SUCH the writer!

May 1, 2008 at 12:53 AM  
Blogger Six' said...

That does it.

I need to sniff this chypre, now.

To tell you the truth, the bottles kind of made me reluctant to try these - they look so 18th century, much more befitting an ancient floral composition than a leather or chypre... but you sold me on these with the sole mention of vintage Tabac Blond!

May 1, 2008 at 2:21 AM  

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