Skip to main content

Chypre Palatin - A chypre by definition, a heart-stealer by design - November 19, 2012 New Fragrance Listing

It sometimes surprises people to learn that while Kay, Esther and I are friends, we often don’t consult with each other about what we write about. Sure, we get together, share decants, opinions and wine, but for the most part, what someone writes about is often a surprise to the other two. We find it works better this way.
So I sat straight up when Esther wrote about Chypre Palatin and said: You know that Bertrand Duchaufour has a few fans around here, so it’s no surprise that we all scrambled to sample his newest offering Chypre Palatin, created for niche house MDCI. I snapped up a decant from Luckyscent—and boy, is it delish! According to, the notes are “green clementine, hyacinth, lavender, rose, jasmine, iris, benzoin, styrax, vanilla, castoreum, costus and leather accord.” The scent is classified as a green oriental chypre, which to my nose means that the greenness of the classic chypre scent is sweetened and softened a bit with the vanilla and floral notes. It is definitely FBW—and I’m pretty sure there will be a bottle or two finding its way into the hands of some gals around here!
Well, I’ve got my bottle of Chypre Palatin in my hand right now and it is, indeed, ‘delish’!
MDCI is one of my favourite niche perfume houses. It’s a strong line with an emphasis on quality. And I like their philosophy as stated on their web site: Behind the MDCI name is a small team with a passion for perfumes and a certain idea of what fine fragrances should be an art more than an industry, a source of pleasure, pride and beauty more than a commodity. I couldn’t agree more. I like and wear all of their fragrances, especially Chypre Palatin, my latest coup de foudre.
It opens with a sparkly green burst from aldehydes and green clementine that gives way to a dark, resinous note before it gets soapy. Aromatic thyme tempers the soapiness with an herbal note while fragrant lavender softly stamps it ‘masculine’. The opening has a real vintage feel to it, an homage almost, before it moves to a floral heart. Hyacinth, one of my favourite floral notes, has a rosy facet that leads the way to rich rose, exotic jasmine, iris concrete – which smells like violets and has a fruity aspect to it – prune and gardenia. This floral bouquet is stunning - slightly sweet, floral, fruity, warm and tenacious.
As wonderful as this is, and believe me, the heart of this perfume alone is FBW, it’s the base notes that get me every time. The notes are listed on the MDCI website as benjamin, styrax, leather, vanilla, tolu, castoreum, costus, oakmoss, everlasting absolute but it smells of wood, spice, smoke, leather, herbs and oakmoss – all of it perfectly rounded out with a note of vanilla.
But here’s the thing: not one of these notes dominates, not one outshines the other so that the drydown is elegant, refined and surprisingly light and subtle given the heft of some of the ingredients used, making it completely unisex.
The MDCI is line is inspired by pivotal times in western civilization - ancient Greece, Rome and the Renaissance - hence the bisque busts that top their bottles. I suppose a case can be made for Chypre Palatin smelling of Roman sandals and leather, etc., so in that sense CP is staying true to the brand, but for me this is a modern frag that has a vintage feel up front but ends up squarely in the present.
A chypre by definition, a heart-stealer by design, Chypre Palatin smells like you want to wear it. All. The. Time.
Today we’re adding Chypre Palatin to our decant offering. Decants are $5.00.