Monday, December 21, 2009

Millot Crêpe de Chine

F. Millot Crêpe de Chine was born in 1925, in the same year as Guerlain Shalimar. Had I never smelled Zibeline Secret de Venus (1928), I wouldn't be able to place Crêpe de Chine in this flapper era, but yes, because I know now that this era exemplified leather blends and the elusive parfum fourrure, Crêpe de Chine epitomizes the time period by being among the best of its kind. At first, I thought it resembled Revlon Norell in its muted (not too sweet) yet low-pitched and woody Aldehydic Chypre characteristic. Upon further testing, I can see it also resembles Givenchy III and Chanel Cristalle because of the generous amounts of jasmine and oakmoss combined with citrus oils. I love how the combination of notes create a cool and scintillating Green, herbaceous, foresty Chypre Floral, while all the time being a sophisticated Aldehydic Floral, deep and serious but emotive, animated, almost, though not quite, as radiant as Jean Patou Joy. The overall character reminds me of some later perfumes, too, such as Alexandra de Markoff Enigma (1972) and the iconic 1947 leather (animalic) Chypre Floral, Miss Dior.

Based on the distinctively mossy dry down, it seems Crêpe de Chine was in some way inspired by Guerlain Mitsouko (1919), which in turn was inspired by Coty Chypre (1917). They all smell like that dark green, mossy and autumnal, nutty or spice cake-like, traditional Chypre scent from the early 20th century, but to me, Crêpe de Chine is the most floral and sweet, even boozy sweet, so honeyed and intoxicating the heart of raw nectar. Among the foresty Chypres, if Aromatics Elixir is the cool and detached, earthy patchouli-laden one, Crêpe de Chine is the perfumey (very opulent, like Caron Parfum Sacre) bombshell with a dramatic flair, competing with Shalimar and Replique, even with Batsheba herself for the attentions of King David.

Coty Chypre ad: note the similarity of the sunbeams streaming down in tiers from the sky.