Aimé Guerlain 1894
Family: floral, spicy
Period: The Belle Époque years
Thierry Wasser and his assistant perfumer Frédéric Sacone have re-created an extensive list of historic Guerlain perfumes, using the exact same ingredients as when they saw the light for the first time.
Based on the long, complex list of ingredients in Cyprisine's scent pyramid, we might think that it was a Jacques Guerlain perfume. Guerlain, however, states that the formula was signed by Aimé Guerlain, who otherwise was known for rather shorter and simpler compositions. Created in 1894, it debuted just the year before the first official Jacques Guerlain perfume, Le Jardin de Mon Curé, was presented.
Neither we nor Guerlain are sure what to make of the name Cyprisine. Our best guess is some fanciful French feminization of the word "Cypriote", an inhabitant of Cyprus. It may be interesting to note that in ancient times, Cypris ("Lady of Cyprus") was another name of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, pleasure and fertility. In French, the word "cyprine" has come to denote the liquid secreted from a woman's vagina when she's sexually aroused.
When speaking of Cyprus in a perfume context, we immediately associate it with the chypre olfactive family, derived from Coty's famous 1917 perfume Chypre, which is French for Cyprus. Guerlain itself had a few early perfumes whose names contained the word "Chypre", but none of them met the criteria of what came to be defined as a chypre-type fragrance. The same goes for Cyprisine. Guerlain describes it as a spicy floral, which seems to sum up the scent quite adequately. Aimé Guerlain composed it five years after Jicky, and of all the re-created vintage fragrances, Cyprisine is the one that feels most closely related to Jicky, as they have many notes in common.
Cyprisine gives us some of the best things that old-fashioned perfumery can offer: herbs, flowers, spices and sandalwood. The introduction smells like the Jicky top note spiced up with carnation, a strong, piquant eugenol note mixed with citrusy rose, geranium, and the refreshing scent of Eau de Cologne Impériale. As the perfume develops, the spiciness continues with warm notes of clove and cinnamon. At the same time, we get a beautiful floral bouquet of fresh freesia, tender orange blossom, and creamy ylang-ylang, with the rose still tangible.
Few materials complement spices like sandalwood, itself very warm, sweet and aromatic. Perhaps Cyprisine's most obvious link to Jicky is the pronounced use of sandalwood, sturdy yet natural, pure and milky soft, with the green, woodsy facets of newly chipped sandalwood. The sandalwood intensifies and lingers throughout the scent, and as in Jicky, it is what gives the perfume a unisex profile. The drydown is classical Jicky, or even essentially classical Guerlinade, a mixture of musk, tonka bean, orris and balsamic vanilla.
Bottle. Cyprisine came in the so-called oval bottle. One of Guerlain's early standard bottles, its name derived from the fact that both the bottle and the stopper had an oval shape.
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