Here I’d like to go into the more scientific side of perfumery related to the creation of fragrances.

A perfume, before arriving in the bottle, travels through a path characterised by the experimentation, research, analysis, development and study of raw materials and olfactory families.

In particular, I want to dedicate an in-depth study to the CHYPRE Olfactory Family.

In Italian, it has always been erroneously associated with the word “Cipriati”, meaning powdery fragrances.


What does Chypre mean? What do you call it in Italian? “Cipriato” (=powdery)? NO! In fact, it means “Cipriota” (=from Cyprus).

But let’s start from the beginning!

The French word Chypre means “Cyprus”: that is the Mediterranean island where Venus, the goddess of beauty, was born. The scents of Cyprus inspired the very famous Chypre perfume by Coty from 1917.

With Coty’s Chypre the Chypre Olfactory Family was born.


Chypre is an olfactory homage to the Greek island so loved by the eclectic genius of Coty.

Coty with his talent started a different and more modern concept of perfumery and artistic fragrances. His Chypre, one of the first genderless perfumes, was born as masculine (at that there was a big difference between masculine and feminine perfumes), but over time it has increasingly met female tastes, becoming mainly for women.

Coty was for sure the father of the Chypre olfactory family, creating a new olfactory genre.


Coty’s Chypre is the progenitor of what has become a real olfactory family that evokes the scents of the vegetation of Cyprus, the Mediterranean island, characterised by

• a woody base of Patchouli and sandalwood, moist with oak moss, resins such as labdanum combined with the sweet olfactory notes such as vanilla and coumarin,

• a warm, enveloping floral heart that makes it more feminine

• and very fresh top notes of aristocratic bergamot.

Surprisingly innovative for its time and a source of inspiration for many perfumes after it, this is the typical accord found in the perfumes of this family, with a strong character. It is often considered unisex, for example with green or leathery notes.

Chypre fragrances are silky, precious, sharp and with a strong personality. Fragrances that make a lot of noise!


The confusion is therefore purely linguistic. Verbal assonance easily leads to confusion.

CHYPRE is inspired by the Greek island of Cyprus, an island to which Coty dedicated his perfume in 1917, thus giving birth to a new olfactory family. Chypre is therefore an accord of bergamot, patchouly, notes, oak moss. To this accord you may add powdery facets such as vanilla and coumarin or resins such as labdanum. The facets are subtle and graceful additions that have nothing to do with the olfactory family.

“TALCATO” in Italian means powdery, an olfactory note that truly recalls the face cosmetic powder of the grandmothers of the past, composed for example of notes of iris and violet. It is powdery and velvety.

The powdery fragrances recall the comfortable sensation of the skin, with a veil of talc. In other words, they are among the discreet scents that smell clean.


Some Chypre fragrances? Examples are Mitsouko from 1919, followed by the leathery Chypre Shocking by the extrovert Elsa Schiaparelli, Miss Dior from 1947 who later became a fruity Chypre in 2005 with Miss Dior Cherie, preceded by Polo Ralph Lauren a green Chypre launched in 1978.

The famous Calèche of Hermes dates back to 1961 with a flowery heart raised by aldehydes and more masculine notes of leather and woods at the bottom.

And how can we forget Clinique’s Aromatic Elixir from 1971? A celebration of the hippy scent of Patchouly combined with an aromatic, unique and distinctive floral heart.

And I conclude this exceptional roundup with Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle from 2001, often considered flowery but which has the Chypre accord in spirit.


Chypre perfumes represent the timeless elegance of classic French perfumery. Today they have become rarer than they used to be. Especially for the new regulations relating to the use of ingredients to create true Chypre fragrances.

Sophisticated and discreet, Chypre fragrances remain an ideal of immortal and precious beauty. 

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