Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster
Gotta say this genre thing just spins me around.
Chypre doesn't have to be light or heavy or anything else. It just has to be based on bergamot and oakmoss.
When you smell bergamot and oakmoss together, you get a whole that's greater than the sum of its parts. You get a third "ghost note" on top of them. Like a musical chord - you hear more than is actually there. Whereas when you smell (say) bergamot and vanilla, you just smell bergamot and vanilla.
You can build all kinds of fragrances around this fundamental bergamot + oakmoss
accord. You can get a heavy, musky manly powerhouse like Aramis or Yatagan, or a green fresh scent like the ones in this thread.
There aren’t that many other fundamental accords like this, compelling enough to build an entire fragrance on this. In men’s perfumery, basically only chypre plus 3 more.
There’s fougere (lavender + coumarin)
– anything from innocent-boyish Canoe to formal-tuxedo Caron PuH to hairy-chested Francesco Smalto to sex-stinky Jicky and Kouros.
And of course oriental (vanilla + spice)
– on which you can make anything from mysterious-sweet Opium PH to dry, smoky Idole to pencil-shavings Gucci pour Homme.
And last but not least, hesperidic (citrus + herbs)
. This stretches all the way from the original Eau de Cologne by Giovanni Maria Farina all the way up to Acqua di Gio, the same old formula pumped full of synthetic aquatics. Also includes some frags you'd never even think to count as citrus, like Helmut Lang’s Cuiron pour Homme.
So…say you like light fresh green scents. A family label like chypre, by itself, won’t tell you right off the bat if you're likely to enjoy a scent or not.
(That’s what the modern, marketing-type terms like green, woody, leather are for).
So what’re the old family classifications good for?
What they will tell you is this: let’s say you’ve got a 12-frag wardrobe and want to expand it. You will get the most diversification for your dollar if you buy a new scent from a family that’s under-represented in your collection.
If you like heavy, spicy scents like I do, you might find that 80% of your wardrobe is in chypres and orientals. So for my Christmas buy, I’ll add the most depth by buying a fougere or hesperidic.
I can find heavy spicy scents in those families. You could also find fresh, green or woody, leathery or aquatic scents in each one of the families too.
Does that make sense?