Talk about retro. While Molinard launched Chypre d'Orient in 2007 it smells straight out of a collective memory of Perfume with a capital P. It strongly reminds me something from my childhood, but I can't really place it (note to self: send mom a sample. She'll hate it but would probably be able to tell what perfume of yore it resembles). When I say "strongly" I mean it. Chypre d'Orient has a bosom that leads the way, clad in a 1950s-style brassiere and not trying to hide it. It has a presence and an attitude, it's all feminine and not going to hide it, even if the final outcome is a bit too Mrs. Slocombe.
Chypre d'Orient is sweeter than one would expect. The first thing I smell whenever I wear it is a very chocolaty patchouli that masks any attempt of well-bred notes such as galbanum and iris to peek through. The chypre construction is evident from the start, though, as well as the presence of oakmoss. I have no idea what miracle was performed to make this possible, given IFRA and co., but it's there and wants you to know that. The rose note in the middle is very prominent and unfortunately it doesn't smell like a high quality rose. It might be the combination and not the raw material itself, but if there's a reason why at times Chypre d'Orient smells cheap, I think it's the powdery rose note. There's a slight fruitiness that for a little while makes one think of the other fruity chypre, Mitsouko. But Molinard lacks Guerlain's restraint in arranging the notes and allows them to jump at you all at once. That's probably the other problem with this perfume- it's just too much. There's a bit of powderiness in the dry-down, but mostly sweet ambery musk
I enjoy wearing Chypre d'Orient because it's fun and very out there, but I have yet to leave the house clad in it and I doubt it's ever going to happen. It's going to attract attention and not necessarily of the good kind. It's too sweet, too dirty, too ornate and loud to mix in polite company, even if sometimes the temptation is great. Some women would look ravishing in a green eye shadow and a retro orange red lipstick, but it would still look more like a costume than a legitimate outfit. That's how I feel when wearing this Molinard perfume-I know better than to step out in it, no matter how small it makes my waist appear.
Chypre d'Orient by Molinard can be found online for under $25.
Photo of Gina Lollobrigida from stirredstraightup.blogspot.com.