CHYPRE, by COTY ( 1917 )









I have not smelled it.




But this EXQUISITE bottle, priced at an excruciating ¥78,000 (of course the owners won’t let me smell the contents), is still there, taunting me, in an upscale Shinjuku antiques shop.





Have any of you readers out there ever tried this legendary original?







Filed under chypres

27 responses to “CHYPRE, by COTY ( 1917 )

  1. rprichpot

    Only $800?!!

  2. I have not. Would love to. Why won’t they let you smell it?

  3. Grayspoole/Maria

    Gorgeous bottle, Neil, but it is good to have limits. I’ve smelled the 1986 reissue only, and it was nice but not spectacular. I console myself with vintage Crepe de Chine parfum (which is wonderful, as you know).This Chypre bottle looks just like a vintage Emeraude parfum that I have, but I have never seen that type of label on a Coty before. Is it printed paper? And is it 40 gr. for grams = 1.14 oz? Do you think this was labeled for the Japanese market?

    Don’t know if you have already read this, but this blogger offers some excellent comparisons of the original Chypre to the 1986 reissue and a DSH recreation:

  4. How flusterating that it cannot be smelled! I am composing a story in my head about the person who pays that kind of cash… If you buy it I hope you will write one of your delicious emotionally rich about the experience of buying as well as about the scent itself.

  5. OnWingsofSaffron

    Quite honestly, that’s a leap into the darkest dark. The meagre few really old vintage scents I have (Chanel, Caron: perhaps 50-ies, 60-ies?) at the end of the day were always a let down. Too much was gone, had dissipated.
    And: What was completely novel say 100 years ago, just—perhaps—might have been redone a wee bit better by the next generation of perfumers? Just because it was the first, doesn’t mean it was the best ever.
    IMHO I believe that 600 Euro can be better invested.

    • It was a purely hypothetical question actually as I just don’t physically have that kind of cash to throw about at the moment, but I think you are probably right.

      LOOK at it, though…

  6. Renée Stout

    Hi Neil, I faced this same dilemma upon discovering a 5 ml bottle of The original Coty Chypre for sale on ebay a few years back. I had already had the 1980’s reissue and wanted to compare it with the original so I gave up the $100. In looking back on the review I can now say that the original is nice, but also overrated.

    Here’s the review I eventually wrote on a perfume review site. I apologize ahead of time for posting something so long on your blog, but I thought it might help you decide for yourself whether that bottle is worth it or not (lol):

    “The first Coty Chypre was introduced in 1917, but since there was a reissue of it in the 1980’s, reviews of it can be confusing and even conflicting since one needs to know which version is being reviewed to really understand the comparisons people are making to other chypres like Mitsouko or Miss Dior. I have the 1980’s reissue of Coty Chypre in EDP and when I first smelled it I could see why people have said that it contained the “bones” of Mitsouko, etc. It’s not sweet or pretty in any way and anyone who leans in the direction of fruity floral type scents, should not bother as it will have you screaming and running to the sink for the soap. You have to be a lover of bold chypres to fully appreciate it. I love it and think of it as a “handsome”, meaty, herbal scent. However, reviews for the version BEFORE the reissue state that the two versions of Coty Chypre are actually two different perfumes. Some reviews lead me to imagine that the original was startling and almost brutal. Some said that it was a complete let-down after they finally smelled it and the the reissue was an improvement. Like everyone here, I’m obsessed with perfume, so my curiosity got the best of me and I had to compare the two for myself to understand why the reviews were so mixed and conflicting. I finally managed to nab (spent more than I should have)a small mini that is most likely from the late 1950’s (judging from the style of the cap). When I received it, I immediately dabbed it on and let it play out. I would smell my wrists frequently as I moved about the house, working. My verdict is this and it wasn’t at all what I expected: At first I was a little underwhelmed by the original version, as just out of the bottle and onto the skin, it’s not nearly as bold and neon as the reissue. Instead it’s rather quiet and subdued until it’s warmed by the skin. There’s definitely oakmoss right from the start, along with a soft rose. There is a big, unexpected, note of vetiver. As I wore it I was puzzled because I was never reminded of Mitsouko, in fact, the surprise for me was that this veered more into Djedi territory, so much so, that I applied Djedi to the back of my hand to compare. “What!?”, I know you’re saying by now, but that’s what I’m getting from this original version of Coty Chypre: the “bones” of Djedi (1927) and not Mitsouko (1919). And I also think that the 1986 reissue of Coty Chypre may have been inspired by a combination of Mitsouko and Miss Dior. The Original Coty Chypre and the reissue are definitely two different scents. Which do I like best? It’s hard to say as it’s like apples and oranges. The reissue is one of my most cherished and satisfying chypres in my collection, but the original is so strangely beautiful, interesting and unexpected that I’m enjoying the pondering of it and already fretting that my new little bottle is not enough.”

    At this point, I know that I only like the original version, because it I can see Djedi in it, but Djedi was the improvement on this in my opinion. I really do think that after Coty went under, Guerlain took many of its formulas and tweeked them as there are too many similarities between a few early Coty scents and Guerlain scents that came later. Personally, when I run out of my small amount of original Coty Chypre, I won’t won’t go crazy trying to hunt down more.

    Coty Chypre/ Guerlain Djedi
    Coty Styx/ Guerlain Vol de Nuit
    Coty Emeraude/ Guerlain Shalimar

    • See, but despite your warnings, by the end of what you write here I start to become fascinated by what it might smell like, even though Miss Dior and Mitsouko, perfumes I highly admire, revere almost, don’t suit me personally.

      I DO love Djedi though, so you have implanted lust in me with that idea!

  7. I never have smelled Coty Chypre. I would love to.

    Bloody ‘ell. That’s £536 for 40 ml.

    Parfum, I would strongly suspect.
    Hmm. To buy unsniffed? That’s a pretty high-stakes crapshoot. BUT if you can comfortably afford it, and having it turn out to be a disappointment wouldn’t actually be a brutal heartbreak/guilt-provoking-forever catastrophe given the price, I would nab it. (That wouldn’t be my experience, though. It would kill me to pay that kind of money if it wound up being something of a dud. Which is a possibility.)

    Another thing. Is it sealed, N.? If not, you would have no way of knowing if it was the real thing. You might even be pretty sure, but if you’ve never smelled it you could never be certain. People do unscrupulous things quite cleverly and knowledgeably; sadly, it’s happened to me with an ounce of very vintage Bois des Iles extrait; If I hadn’t already had a bottle of the genuine article to compare it to, I might never have known.

    Of course, if it’s sealed, no worries.

    Dud or no dud, It’s not going to smell as it did when it was created; it’s not going to be a true reference bottle: not really, at least in my view. I am old enough to remember the exact scent of perfumes bought new in the early sixties, and I’ve never smelled a single vintage bottle over 50 years old that has not suffered the ravages of time to some extent.

    Still. If somehow I could sniff this Coty and were blown away by its beauty, just prima facie, mindful that it wasn’t entirely what it used to smell like (I think orientals, as opposed to chypres, have the advantage there since the top notes aren’t generally as prone to degradation), that could — oh, my god, Neil it WOULD — tip the scales. And I wouldn’t regret a single yen. And 1.41 ounces would be a nice good whack of gorgeousness that would last many wearings. Unfortunately, it sounds like you’re not able to give it a whirl.

    Naturally, I have no advice whatsoever to give you. But you only asked if any of us had smelled it, so I’ve gone overboard already. 😉

    • You can go on for far longer as far as I am concerned! I love discussions about something so specific and rare.

      Actually, I have a feeling that when I first saw this in the shop (three or four years ago, I had to actually ask for it this time and they brought it out from the back of the shop, leading me to think that if could be mine one day if I suddenly find myself in the right mood, or am drunk and have just been paid), I think it might actually have been completely sealed and unopenable. I know there are ways to unstopper fucked bottles on the internet, so probably I could prise it open eventually but I am SUCH a clumsy creature god knows what would happen.

      Yesterday in fact, I was in Tokyo, and because I am about to run out of No 19 parfum (horror!! genuinely scary) I was on the look for that, and did actually find some. About 25ml worth in total, two different bottles – one aged and very leather/vetiver, the other a brand new vintage bottle which I opened and is still a bit too uncoalesced. I spent the equivalent of 130 dollars, and this morning blended them with a greener parfum I had to get a much more balanced 7ml little treasure I know I am going to love. As you know, that is the perfume I love the most, and right now I want to WEAR the perfumes, not just look at them.

  8. Renée Stout

    The bottle is amazing. I wonder if it’s actually on of the very first ones. Do you think it could be?

    • STOP IT!!!!!

      I KNOW!

      It actually is REALLY REALLY REALLY beautiful. I almost don’t care what it smells like in truth. I just want to POSSESS IT. The shape of it, the curves, the label… is utterly exquisite.

  9. David

    What a beautiful bottle! I know you didn’t ask if you should buy it or not. But I just couldn’t. That’s an airline ticket to somewhere.

    • It is!

      You know, though, when I first saw it, whenever it was, three years ago or so, it never left my consciousness. I have that strange feeling that it is somehow my destiny to own it. It is just so beautiful.

      • Renée Stout

        I completely understand. It can drive you almost crazy when you discover something this exquisite and emotionally, you’re driven to want to possess it, but the rational part of yourself says that it’s just a “thing” and there’s no need for you to spend that kind of money. The love of perfume has made me do some irrational things and I have always justified it by telling myself that I’ll only live once (lol).

      • I’ve done the same thing on many occasions, Renée. I’ve never spent the equivalent of 78,000 yen . . . YET. I think I’d be tempted by this Coty Chypre that’s on Neil’s radar.

        Funny thing. I don’t know if it’s human nature or just me. Sometimes I will covet something and obsess about it, and when I finally get it that intense NEED for it just *POOF* evaporates and it joins all the other bottles I have in the rank and file. A bit embarrassing to admit . . .

  10. David

    It’s been in the shop for three years? Maybe ask for a discount. I know that’s not normally done in Japan, but it’s an antique shop.

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