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Chypre (pronounced  [ʃipʁ] or [ʃipχ] ) is the name of a family (or concept) of perfumes that are characterised by an accord composed of citrus top notes, a middle centered on cistus labdanum, and a mossy-animalic set of basenotes derived from oakmoss. Chypre perfumes fall into numerous classes according to their modifier notes, which include but are not limited to leather, florals, fruits, and amber. [1]



Chypre is French for Cyprus Cyprus by Piri Reis.jpg
Chypre is French for Cyprus

The term chypre is French for the island of Cyprus. Its connection to perfumery originated with the first composition to feature the bergamot-labdanum-oakmoss accord, François Coty's perfume Chypre from 1917 (now preserved at the Osmothèque), whose name was inspired by the fact that its raw materials came predominantly from Mediterranean countries. [2] Although perfumes in a similar style had already been created in the 19th century (such as Eau De Chypre by Guerlain [3] and Shipr cologne, and "chypre powder" had beed known centuries prior to those, feminine Chypre by Coty was so influential that it inspired many descendants, becoming the progenitor of a whole family of related fragrances sharing the same basic accord, which came to be known as "chypres". [4]

Style, concept

The chypre concept is characterised by the contrast between the fresh citrus accord and the woody-oakmoss base; often patchouli is considered an indispensable element as well. [5] The chypre accord is used in both male and female perfumery.

Modern chypre perfumes have various connotations such as floral, fruity, green, woody-aromatic, leathery, and animalic notes, but can easily be recognized by their "warm" and "mossy-woody" base which contrasts the fresh citrus top, and a certain bitterness in the dry-down from the oak moss and patchouli. The accord consists of:

  1. Citrus: singular or blends of Bergamot, Orange, Lemon or Neroli
  2. Oakmoss : mossy and woody
  3. Patchouli : camphoraceous and woody
  4. Musk : sweet, powdery, and animalic. Usually synthetic in modern times.

The composition is usually enhanced with a floral component through rose and jasmine oil.

Animalic notes such as civet can be added to this accord to provide richness, but are less popular in modern perfumery. The most common modifiers to this basic accord include patchouli, bergamot, vetiver, ambergris, sandalwood and labdanum resin. [6]


The chypre fragrances generally fit into the Oriental and Woody family of fragrance wheel classification. They can also be classified into several styles:

Notable examples of chypre-type perfumes

Pre-1917 chypres

Russian-made "Shipr" hygienic cologne Odekolon Shipr.jpg
Russian-made "Shipr" hygienic cologne

Related Research Articles

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François Coty French perfumer, businessman, newspaper publisher, politician and patron of the arts

François Coty was a French perfumer, businessman, newspaper publisher, politician and patron of the arts. During World War I, he became one of the wealthiest men in France. He gained control in 1922 of daily newspaper Le Figaro. To check the growth of French socialism and Communism, he founded two other daily papers in 1928. In later years his wealth was much reduced. The company he founded in 1904 is now Coty, Inc., based in New York City.


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<i>Evernia prunastri</i> Species of lichenised fungus in the family Parmeliaceae

Evernia prunastri, also known as oakmoss, is a species of lichen. It can be found in many mountainous temperate forests throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of France, Portugal, Spain, North America, and much of Central Europe. Oakmoss grows primarily on the trunk and branches of oak trees, but is also commonly found on the bark of other deciduous trees and conifers such as fir and pine. The thalli of oakmoss are short and bushy, and grow together on bark to form large clumps. Oakmoss thallus is flat and strap-like. They are also highly branched, resembling the form of deer antlers. The colour of oakmoss ranges from green to a greenish-white when dry, and dark olive-green to yellow-green when wet. The texture of the thalli is rough when dry and rubbery when wet. It is used extensively in modern perfumery.


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  1. "Chypre" Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, 2006
  2. Turin, Luca, and Tania Sanchez. The Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Classics. London: Profile, 2011. Print.
  3. Chypre Accord type of perfumes
  4. Musées de Grasse Archived 2007-08-10 at the Wayback Machine , the International Perfume Museum
  5. H&R Fragrance Guide/Duftatlas/Atlas Olfactif, Quensen & Oudras Verlag, Lamspringe, 2000, p. 14, ISBN   3-922805-69-8
  6. Definition of the chypre family from Musées de Grasse Archived 2007-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Charvet Cuvee Speciale". basenotes. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  8. link to the book on Google Books, chapter 18.3.3. Chypre Accord