Vintage Coty Chypre and My Comfort Zone

We have been a bit about our comfort zones, lately, whether staying in them or breaking out of them, or merely musing about how ours may be a little bit different than others and might be decidedly less comforting to the average bear (to steal from Yogi) Last time Musette wrote about a few of hers so I thought I would chime in with a few of mine, which may not be anything that would be comforting to others, but I find myself reaching for when I need a lift, as well as one that, were it readily available, would be on there.

Annick Goutal Sables. This was one of (if not the) first introduction to Niche Perfumes, back in the day. “What?” You might say, “AG wasn’t niche! It was sold in department stores! Right out there with the Calvan Klone and Britnee Hilton-Lopez’ Quadruple Kandee Taffee Phantasy!” That may have been true by the point where the line was (sadly) exiting the mainstream, but it started out at Bergdorf’s as a cool, new line that was an answer to the department store frags. I loved Eau de Hadrien, but really fell hard for Sables when it came out in 1985. I first tried it in a New York winter and the comforting, almost glottal immortelle was an embrace that was perfect for my then, er, prenatal self walking down Fifth Avenue, the din of NY streets and smell of roasting chestnuts in the air. I don’t reach for it often, but when I really need a lift this is it.

Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Kahn. The first one of Uncle Serge that I jumped through hoops to get a bell jar of, back when Lutens tortured us by having export and exclusive lines. Some people actively recoil from it. They get barnyard, unwashed crazy person, or even sewage (or a combination thereof) but on my DeSkank-o-Tron© skin it becomes a warm hug. From a beast, but a nice one. I still have an almost full bell jar of this and nervously scan the Lutens website to make sure that it’s still available.

Dior Eau Sauvage. I have been wearing this since I was literally a teenager- I would ride my bike over the Coolidge Bridge to the Steiger’s in the “new” mall to spend my allowance on a bottle. I am sure that even that version was a reformulation and that the ones they are selling now may be different than the circa 2000’s bottle I have neatly hidden in a dark corner of my cupboard. There are other, newer scents that cover this territory and that have, I admit, turned my head briefly, but I always return to Eau Sauvage. It’s elegant as a racing yawl in it’s simplicity of citrus, herbs, and flowers and as easy and classic as a blue blazer. Don’t get me started on the new one.

So now onto Coty Chypre.

This is another classic that for some reason I never smelled or did and forgot. I think it might actually be a “reference” chypre: the Apollonian Ideal of what a chypre should be. Created over 100 years ago, it was when Coty was one of, if not the fragrance houses (I actually have some others that I got in the same StC order that I will cover in another post.)

Now, nothing this old is going to be perfectly preserved- I have a feeling that some of the opening citrus notes are missing and that I am going right to the heart with it’s oakmoss, patchouli and musk. Well, not a bad place to be. The first thing I thought is that modern sniffers would drop the “old lady” bomb, but then I thought that most people I know who would invoke that are nigh unto Social Security themselves these days. The Uggs and Thong wearing 20-something who wore Pink Sugar back in 2000 is likely driving a minivan full of kids who roll their eyes at Mom’s Froot Loop scented concoctions. Heck, my godchild, who I gifted Bandit and Fracas in her teens (her Mother only forgave me because she could pilfer) is (gasp) 30. So my perceived Old Lady may be their Holy Grail. Vinyl is so back it may be out again (are 8-tracks or cassettes the new thing?) and there’s a new vogue for Polaroid cameras, so maybe this old lady is ready to rock the world back on it’s heels again. I hope so, because she truly does rock.

What are your comfort zone scents? I could have gone on for a week, but I would love to read about yours. Leave a comment.

MKK, Sables, and Eau Sauvage are available at various e-tailers and their websites. I got my sample of Chypre from Surrender to Chance. Photos are from my iPhone and Pexels 

  • Sylvia says:

    I loved reading everyone’s comments. My comfort scents include Trayee by Neela Vermeire Shangri La by Hiram Green, Santal Nabatea by Mona di Orio.

  • Kathleen says:

    So many beautiful comfort scents mentioned here. Some of mine include Chanel No 5, Chanel Coromandel, Chanel Bois des Iles, Dior Hypnotic Poison, Fath de Fath, Pacifica French Lilac, Papilon Bengal Rouge, Dame Duality, and EL Youth Dew.

  • MzCrz says:

    Mine is Original by Comme des Garcons. The selling copy for this one was, “Works like a medicine, behaves like a drug.” That huge labdanum blast of a top note always soothes me and sets me right.

  • Musette says:

    back in the day WAFT by Carol, knowing my love of Coty, sent me a little scrab of a version of Chypre that every time I opened it I went ‘oh!’ , like a little mini-O. Glorious!

    Not ‘comfort’, per se. But soooo glorious.


  • Maggiecat says:

    One of my comfort scents poses a unique problem that occurs when someone asks me what I’m wearing. A bit of background: I’m retired now, but taught at several colleges throughout my career. At my most recent school, I was passed over for a deserved promotion, much to my chagrin and the anger of many of my colleagues (long story, not relevant here). I wore my comfort scent a lot, and was often asked about it. The problem? It’s Lady Vengeance by Juliette Has A Gun (my fondness has everything to do with the rose, musk, and patchouli goodness and nothing to do with the title). Schools are just a wee bit sensitive about references to weaponry, and given the circumstances… ?
    Still a great scent though. I may wear it to get through yet another cold, rainy day tomorrow. ?

    • Tom says:

      Oh I would just tell them. It’s a company and they named it. Tom Ford has some outré names too, and he’s Tom Ford.

      It’s not like you were wearing Opus Oils’ Star Fuc*er (redacted by me in case wormpress gets testy)

      Which BTW is divine.

  • March says:

    So much fun reading people’s comments! L’Artisan Mure et Musc. Non-outrageous incense fragrances. Hypnotic Poison in winter. DK Chaos (which sounds odd as a comfort zone but what can you do lol.) My still-going tiny bottle of majmua attar from Tigerflag a million years ago.

    • Tom says:

      It is fun, but dang I am spending the gross national product of Finland in my head on new stuff. Not to mention needing a cupboard the size of Finland to hold it..

    • Musette says:

      Chaos makes perfect sense – it’s warm and rich and gorgeous – very comforting.

  • SpringPansy says:

    Ha – I laughed so hard at Calvan Klone and Britnee Hilton-Lopez. Interesting that we’ve brought up comfort zone, I’ve been thinking about that a lot this winter regarding lots of things in life. As far as my fragrances for comfort, I’d say YSL Cinema, Fendi Theorema, L’Artisan Dzing!, Carthusia Mediterraneo, Ormonde Woman, and my old friend Je Reviens. One of them will always hit the spot to make the world a bit better.

    • carole says:

      Hello! We share some of the same comfort scents-Je Reviens, my moms signature scent, Arpege, which she chose for me when I was ten, and Dzing. Tom, I love it when you write about Annick Goutal-so many of them are my comfort scents-pretty much my comfort line lol, especially Eau d’Hadrien, Nuits d’Hadrien, Bois d’Hadrien, and all the rest. Thank you for this post-you’ve brought me comfort, and I appreciate it. Happy International Women’s Day to all who celebrate it 🙂

      • Tom says:

        Arpege is wonderful! Annick Goutal is so close to my heart- they have done so much exquisite work. Even the 200’s releases like Ninfeo Mio, Les Orientalistes and the musk one were knock-it-out-of-the-park.

    • Tom says:

      I have Theorama (in a beensy bottle I got in a discounter downtown) and Dzing! that I got in NYC back in the day. Je Reviens I have tried from StC and it’s glorious. The rest? To do list!

  • Tara+Mc says:

    Lol, I believe I also have DeSkank-o-Tron© skin, for one of my fave cuddlies on this dreary day is Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, an infamous barnyard bomb for most people. Just warm and slightly unwashed on me. Less controversial but equally comforting is Eau Des Merveilles, which is always easy to wear.

    • Tom says:

      O I adore L’Air de Rien and just scored another bottle. It is a crime that Miller Harris went out of the US and no longer makes the ones they did for Saks, Fleurs de Sel.

      • alityke says:

        Fleur de Sel got sold off at TKMaxx here. Bought it for DH as he went through a sample in quick time. Then he never even opened it! Said the box looked girly or some such guff.
        I didn’t love it so sold it on

      • Tara+Mc says:

        Someone on reddit mentioned that L’Air de Rien might have been reformulated to be less rank, sure hope that’s not true.

  • Dina C. says:

    Love talking Comfort Zone scents, Tom! I dont think I’ve sniffed any of yours in spite of hearing about them for ages. (The danger of lingering in one’s CZ!) My comfort zone green meadow inhabitants include No 19 in any formulation, Gucci Envy, 28 La Pausa, 31 Rue Cambon, Bois des Iles, VC&A Bois d’Iris, Prada Infusion d’Iris, Iris Nobile edp, Arpege, SL Bas de Soie, YSL Paris Jardins Romantiques, AG Heure Exquise, Gucci No 3, and Ferre parfum. (It’s a big meadow!!)

  • Briony says:

    My comfort scents are Tea for Two (Artisan Parfumeur), Bois des Iles and Serge Lutens’ Chergui if I’m at home on my own. If I’m going out and need a bit of reassurance, I turn to Shalimar, Chanel 22 or Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu.

  • cinnamon says:

    I so want to smell Chypre. One day.

    Comfort zone scents… I don’t think I have these. What I do do is if life is too stressful no scent at all. I do things like get a chai latte and smell the cinnamon and ginger in that. Or smell coffee beans. Or if it’s summer whatever is growing and stinking up the garden or the village.

    When I need oomph it’s Mitsouko, and now the Shalimar perfume. When I need to ‘feel’ the beach in the middle of winter it’s Diptyque Philosykos. When it’s stupid raining, like right now and for the next week, it’s Arabie or something off some vague sample for distraction or the Hiram Green honey thing — name escapes me at moment. Things that distract from how awful the weather can be round here from Nov thru March.

    • Tom says:

      I think a common thread amongst all of us sniffy people is that we just generally love and are more aware of scent. Fresh ground coffee beans, new mown grass, an incoming snowstorm, a fat little puppy’s belly: we revel in it all. We can even appreciate the bad ones. I went to see the corpse flower when it was in bloom at the Huntington and all I thought was “dial that down to about 8 and I’d wear it as perfume..”

  • alityke says:

    I’m liking MKK as a CZ scent very much & ask regularly ask myself why the actual flip I sold my rare as hens teeth export bottle! Then I remember eldest son needed lots of cash quick smart. I love him more than perfume after all.
    My own CZ’s are worn when all I want is pleasure. As I replied to Musette, when I’m stressed I don’t want to link my CZs to bad feelings.
    So my pure personal pleasures?
    Vintage Opium, easy on the spray. Absofreakinglutely gorgeous. The best cuddle in a bottle & if rebottled would pass for niche all day long.
    SL Ambre Sultan. Again a rich & complex hot water bottle & cashmere blanket scent. More medicinal than Opium.
    Shalimar Millisime Tonka. A new entry in the warm cuddle category.
    Vintage Diorella. When I need comfort in a back bracer that makes me stand taller & gives me confidence.
    TF Plum Japonais. Another confidence booster but more affable than Diorella.
    Mitsouko. When I need to find comfort in being boss lady.
    I don’t wear any but the Shalimar flanker regularly.

    • Tom says:

      Love these- I have a bottle of Ambre Sultan but almost never wear it and I am not sure why. It’s gorgeous, but it just isn’t quite me..

      The problem with asking about people’s fave scents is that you either get ones that you have and loe or you get about ten thousand that you want to go out an try RIGHT NOW!!!

    • Musette says:

      oooh! love Diorella. xoxoxo