Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin: Baroque Grandeur

Blenheim Palace. Photo: (Website link embedded within.)

One small part of Blenheim Palace, England. Photo: (Website link embedded within.)

Somewhere in an alternate universe, there must surely be a European palace that smells of Chypre Palatin. The massive, stony Neo-Classical structure opens onto a vast entrance hall decorated with mossy, emerald velvet and gold in an opulently ornate Baroque and Rococo style. An enormous chandelier hangs from the vaulted ceilings painted in citrus yellow, ambered gold, delicately pastel florals, and more mossy greens. Light sparkles off the prisms, bouncing into ambered air filled with just a trace of incense.

Photo: Andrew Yee for How To Spend It Magazine via

Photo: Andrew Yee for How To Spend It Magazine via

The vast hall gives way to a long, mirrored passage way filled with dancing ghosts called Shalimar, Bal à Versailles, Sacrebleu Intense, Coromandel, Habit Rouge. and Yvresse/Champagne. They blow you scented kisses, and the aroma melts into the citrus and mosses that waft off the velvet covering the walls, mixing with the vanilla that seeps up from the floors. The Bal à Versailles ghost is particularly naughty, flashing you her knickers and a glimpse of her musky, naked breasts. It seems as though you’re in that ornate passageway forever, but after a few hours you enter the heart of the house. The royal bedchambers are decorated with more velvet, this time in shades of resinous black, vanilla custard cream, golden amber, and refined patchouli brown. There, you curl up to sleep, covered in aromas like the finest, sheerest, but richest, silks that glide over you in a whisper of softened, ambered sweetness. That is the palace of Chypre Palatin.

Drottningholm Palace, Sweden. Photo: CubeFarmEscape at

Drottningholm Palace, Sweden. Photo: CubeFarmEscape at

Chypre Palatin is an eau de parfum created by the famous Bertrand Duchaufour for Parfums MDCI. The French niche house was founded in 2003 by Claude Marchal with a specific philosophy: that perfumes “should be an art more than an industry, a source of pleasure, pride and beauty more than a commodity.” Mr. Marchal was inspired by the luxurious opulence of the Renaissance, and the masterpieces that came out of it: the palaces of Catherine de Medici; the lush gardens of the Luxembourg; Greek and Roman antiquities; gold and rock-crystal vases; the vast treasures of Louis XIV, the Sun King, or those found in Florence’s Uffizi museum and Vienna’s Treasure Room.

Parfums MDCI decided to ask the world’s most famous perfumers to make a small number of fragrances with almost total freedom, and a no-holds-barred, unlimited budget. There were only two caveats: use the most expensive, richest ingredients possible; and don’t create scents that copy trends or caters to the crowd. The cost didn’t matter, but excellence did, no matter how long it took. Parfums MDCI is not one of those houses that puts out several fragrances at year, let alone several collections every few months. (Tom Ford, I’m glaring straight at you.) In fact, Parfums MDCI had only 5 fragrances in their line at first, but the number has slowly risen over the years to include 8 more scents. Chypre Palatin was released in 2012 and, as noted earlier, was made by Bertrand Duchaufour.

Chypre Palatin, regular Tassel Bottle. Source: First in Fragrance.

Chypre Palatin, regular Tassel Bottle. Source: First in Fragrance.

First in Fragrance has what looks like the official press release description for Chypre Palatin, as well as the most complete set of notes that I’ve found. I think the description is accurate to large degree, so I’ll quote it in full, even though it is quite long:

The opening is green, a warm, woody and strong green, peppered with a few hyacinths, garnished with the fragrant ripe flesh of clementines, spiced with a sprig of lavender and a hint of thyme. All this creates cozy, warm frissons, intrigues and generates a great appetite for more.

The skilled use of aldehydes lets Chypre Palatin shine, but without getting into too-familiar waters. We can already imagine the soft growl of a wild cat. She lolls pleasurably, full of devotion and delight on the sun-warmed forest floor, crushing the dark velvety roses, iris, gardenia and jasmine. It is so mysterious that our senses are in turmoil. Here and there, dried fruit and peppery Oriental spices join this lascivious game of the lioness as her birth-giving becomes more enticing and the fire blazes.

Here is masculine animality and feminine lust perfectly united and masterfully enacted. It is an indulgence and a stroll in brocade and velvet, courted by the most beautiful leather and the delicate touch of Immortelle. Balsam of Tolu and vanilla show themselves along with the extreme complexity of benzoin and storax that perfectly harmonize with typical chypre oak moss.

Chypre Palatine seems to have fallen directly through time where nostalgic, magnificent ball-nights combine with wild cat-like grace and flirt with the melting of feminine and masculine fragrant notes on the skin.

Top Note: Hyacinth, Clementine, Aldehydes, Labdanum (Rockrose), Galbanum, Thyme, Lavender
Heart Note: Rose, Jasmine, Iris, Prune, Gardenia
Base Note: Benzoin, Storax, Leather, Vanilla, Balsam of Tolu, Castoreum, Costus, Oakmoss, Everlasting Flower [Immortelle].



Chypre Palatin opens on my skin with mossy sharpness infused with bright, sun-sweetened tangerines, zesty lemon, and tons of smoky sweetness from the styrax resin, along with a hint of its leathered underpinnings. In the base, there is a rich plumminess mixed with incense and leather. A quiet floracy weaves through the top notes, though it’s impossible at this point to tease them out. Seconds later, the castoreum and animalic costus root arrive. Costus root is something that gave vintage Kouros is urinous growl, but here, it add a civet-like muskiness that is perfectly balanced. Sharp and definitely a bit skanky, but never urinous. It’s damn sexy. My God, is this a sexy perfume.



Completing the picture are sparkling aldehydes, and the dark, green pungency of galbanum. Now, I normally struggle with both notes, as galbanum can be painfully sharp in its green-blackness, while aldehydes often turn to pure soap on my skin. Not here. Not with Chypre Palatin. They are so perfectly calibrated, I can’t get over it.



The aldehydes combine with the utterly spectacular, velvety, rich oakmoss (how can this perfume be IFRA compliant???!) to conjure up the fizzy, sparkling elegance of YSL’s gorgeous fruity chypre, Champagne or Yvresse. The galbanum somehow manages to evoke the famous Bandit from Robert Piguet, only in approachable, less dangerous or brutal form. There is something of Bandit’s green leathered feel lurking about that normally difficult note, but it’s just the faintest suggestion and somehow serves to amplify the overall depth of the oakmoss. The latter never feels fusty, dusty, or like grey mineralized lichen, but it’s not the bright, fresh, springy moss note generated by patchouli, either. On my skin, it smells like really expensive oakmoss — and a lot of it. I really have no idea how this perfume passed IFRA/EU compliance tests. Whatever combination of elements or tricks Bertrand Duchaufour used to create this vision of endless, forest-green velvet, it really feels genuine.

Bal à Versailles.

Bal à Versailles.

The overall effect of the avalanche of notes that falls over me is not just the impression of incredibly baroque grandeur, but a flashback to the past. Chypre Palatin feels like a greatest hits remix of: Bandit, Shalimar, Habit RougeChampagne/Yvresse, Coromandel, and vintage Bal à Versailles. I’m not complaining. Not one bit. In fact, I gulped at the opening, said “Oh my God,” promptly dabbed on some more, and then felt like one of those possessed figures you see in horror movies whose head spins around and around. Only here, I was joyously possessed by such incredibly opulence, such intense deepness, and sensual headiness in such a seamless, luxurious blend that I didn’t know what to take in first.

The Green Velvet Room at Hardwick Castle, England. Photo: NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie.

The Green Velvet Room at Hardwick Castle, England. Photo: NTPL/Nadia Mackenzie.

Yet, Chypre Palatin is more than various parts of its ghostly, perfume predecessors, and is quite its own thing. Yes, it is retro and classique; the fougère elements, the aldehydes, galbanum, oakmoss, and skanky touches all harken to the past. However, it also feels modern with the definite oriental foundation. This isn’t a Chypre to me, not even at first, but a Chypre-Oriental hybrid done with a lightness that belies the heaviness of its super-rich notes. Perhaps the most modern aspect of Chypre Palatin for me is that careful calibration that I talked about earlier. There is none of the excess of the past, whether it is vintage Bal à Versailles’ hardcore, dirty, skank, Bandit’s brutal bite, or the tidal waves of aldehydes in any number of classics from the 1920s Chanel No. 5 to the 1970s Van Cleef & ArpelsFirst. Everything here is measured, to the point of being super refined, even muffled to an extent. Perhaps that is why I keep envisioning extremely thick, forest green, velvet curtains around a four-poster bed, drowning out the sound.



Yet, there are dainty touches that subtly waft around the baroque splendour. Delicate hyacinth adds a floral pastel colour to the opulent decor, while the iris brings in a touch of sweet, powdered suede. Initially, I don’t detect the lavender in any concrete, individual way, but after ten minutes, a definite strain of something herbal creeps in. It’s not the revolting, pungent, almost abrasive dried sort that evokes barber shops or something medicinal. Instead, it’s creamy, slowly turning into lavender-vanilla icecream. Tiny pops of bright colour come from the yellow citruses, while the orange tangerine brings in a dash of sweetness.

Chypre Palatin sometimes feels more like a seamless movement of notes, a piece of richly elaborate music, or a mood than a set of distinct notes. It rolls over you like a plush, seamless mix that is simultaneously mossy, fresh, dark, bright, animalic, fruity, leathered, smoky, resinous, vanillic, skanky, and sparkling. It overwhelms my senses, in the best way possible. Coincidentally, around the time that I sat down to do a full, proper test of Chypre Palatin, I put in a DVD of Carmen, the opera from Bizet. (No, I swear, contrary to what it may seem like these days, I don’t listen only to opera! My favorite groups are actually Rammstein and Depeche Mode, and I also tend to listen to a lot of ’80s music.) In any event, Carmen’s overture is pretty famous, one of those things that many people will recognise once they hear it, and I’ll be damned if the movement of the music didn’t feel exactly like the movement of Chypre Palatin in the first hour.

So, the best way I can convey to you how Chypre Palatin’s opening feels like to me is to share with you this short, 2 minute clip of Carmen’s overture. Take note of the rapidity of the musicians’ movements, their enormous precision, the music’s moments of daintiness, the occasional bursts of something darker from the drums, and how seamlessly everything fits together. They manage to create a mix that has sparkling vibrancy, symphonic complexity and opulent intensity. For me, it’s not only catchy but representative of Chypre Palatin’s initial deluge of notes:


It’s hard to decide what is my favorite part of the scent’s opening phase. At first, my favorite part of Chypre Palatin is the skank naughtiness that lurks in the base. It strongly evokes Bal à Versailles, but MDCI’s version lacks the powderiness and extreme dirtiness of the famous legend. Ten minutes later, like the most fickle person imaginable, I decide the real beauty is not the faintly raunchy take on oakmoss, but the way the fruits are so beautifully nestled into the dark styrax. Out of all the resins, that is the one which is the least sweet, the most smoky and leathered. Then again, the growing flickers of labdanum is gorgeous, as is the subtle patchouli. They show up after 20 minutes, with the labdanum giving a quiet touch of nutty toffee in the base.

Tolu Balsam. Source:

Tolu Balsam. Source:

On the other hand, Tolu Balsam is my second favorite resin (after Peru Balsam), and it adds a rich, opulent, treacly layer to the base. It is faintly spiced with what feels like cinnamon, but it is also infused with a growing sense of vanilla. Something about the overall combination of the citrus-flecked oakmoss on top, with the smoky, leathered, animalic, resinous and vanillic accords at the bottom, keeps bringing vintage Shalimar to mind, as well as Shalimar’s cologne counterpart, Habit Rouge, and Shalimar’s descendant, Parfums de Nicolai‘s Sacrebleu Intense. Shalimar has Peru Balsam (a brother to the Tolu kind in Chypre Palatin), along with citruses, vanilla, civet, rose, jasmine, orris, and leathered, smoky touches. Those notes are either the same as, or one tiny degree apart from, the notes in Chypre Palatin. It’s the same story with Habit Rouge, though I think that has Chypre Palatin’s styrax instead of either Tolu or Peru Balsam. In contrast, Sacrebleu Intense is more overtly floral but also shares fruits, vanilla, cinnamon, smoke, patchouli and the same tolu balsam base. 

There are obvious differences, however, primarily the heady and hefty amounts of greenness in Chypre Palatin. For the first few hours, that is the dominant colour of the scent, mostly from the oakmoss but also from small strains of the galbanum and patchouli. The oakmoss is thoroughly lemony and slightly fruity, though the latter is never strongly sweet. The herbal and lavender accord fades away extremely quickly on my skin, thereby ensuring that Chypre Palatin never ventures into cologne or barbershop territory.

Chandelier reflections


It’s very hard to deconstruct Chypre Palatin because it is a prismatic scent. By that, I mean that the perfume throw off different notes like light hitting crystals on a chandelier, with each wearing revealing different facets at different times. Part of it, again, is how beautifully Bertrand Duchaufour has blended the fragrance, as well as the obviously expensive, high-quality of the ingredients. Chypre Palatin doesn’t change dramatically in its core essence for the next few hours, but different notes feel highlighted at different times. Sometimes, it is the vanilla; at other times, the skank, the leather, citruses or resins take turns. At all times for the first 4 hours, those notes radiate out from the green-velvet oakmoss core. The weakest elements on my skin are the hyacinth, lavender, orange, iris and jasmine. In fact, the overall floral accord is the hardest to tease out into individual notes. The jasmine might be the most noticeable one, but, as a whole, you merely have the sense of a truly lush, velvety, oakmoss-infused “floral bouquet.”

The more obvious change to Chypre Palatin over time is not the development of a particular note, but the perfume’s sillage and weight. At first, it wafted out about 3 inches from the skin. The overall bouquet feels much thicker and heavier than it actually is, since the perfume itself is quite airy in weight. Chypre Palatin is so potent up close, that it feels opaque, concentrated and ornate. That is deceptive and fools you into not realising how the projection is slowly dropping, but it’s hard to miss after 45 minutes. Chypre Palatin turns thinner, lighter, and less rich in weight. It also becomes very soft and discreet in projection, wafting an inch above the skin by the end of the first hour.

90 minutes in, Chypre Palatin is a blur of vanilla, citruses and oakmoss, trailed by incense, dark resins, and a subtle, muted touch of very abstract florals. Unfortunately, you have to sniff hard to detect all the layers and details because, from afar, Chypre Palatin seems primarily like a vanilla-oakmoss scent with some citruses. The vanilla is lovely, though. Smooth, deep, air-whipped, and with only a dash of sweetness. It’s too gauzy to feel like custard, but there is a wonderful eggy richness to it.

Still, everything else seems to have collapsed on each other like a house of cards blowing over. It’s partially the fault of how well-blended and seamless the fragrance is; all the secondary notes have melted into each other. Only the prism’s core — that triptych of oakmoss, vanilla, and vaguely citrusy fruits — really stands out easily. I just wish it hadn’t happened so soon, especially as Chypre Palatin feels as though it’s about to turn into a skin scent any moment now. It doesn’t, but it’s a frustrating feeling that continuously plagues me. In reality, Chypre Palatin tenaciously hovers just above the skin for several more hours, and doesn’t turn into actual skin scent until the 5.5 hour mark. I’m constantly taken aback by how rich it is up close. The weak sillage is very misleading.

The more immediate change is that the scent turns more and more vanillic. By the start of the 3rd hour, when I smell Chypre Palatin from afar, I primarily get a blur of sweet, rich vanilla that sits atop a layer of vaguely spicy, smoky, dark resin. The fruited-oakmoss duo occasionally joins the vanilla, but, more and more, it lurks in the background.



With every passing hour, the resins move closer and closer to the surface. By the start of the 5th hour, Chypre Palatin is halfway transformed into an amber scent dominated by toffee’d, caramel labdanum. There are strong veins of smoke, Tolu balsam, vanilla, and lightly spiced, brown-red, woody patchouli, all blended within the amber’s golden-brown folds. But every time I think the oakmoss-citrus accord has finally vanished, it somehow pops back up. On two occasions, I briefly thought that Chypre Palatin had reverted back to being a vanilla-oakmoss fragrance, only for the amber to push the duo back and take the lead again. The overall effect is a beautiful, concentrated richness that belies Chypre Palatin’s sheerness.

New elements arrive to weave their way through the amber. There is a really subtle, muted hint of booziness that lurks about Chypre Palatin’s edges, no doubt thanks to the patchouli in combination with the labdanum. There is also a lovely cinnamon that is sprinkled over the vanilla. Much of this is due to the Tolu balsam. According to Fragrantica and other sites, Tolu balsam has a deeply velvety richness with a vanilla aroma that is much darker than that of benzoins. To my nose, however, it is always a very spiced, slightly smoky, rather treacly, dark note with a subtle leathered nuance; it doesn’t feel like a truly vanillic element. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are a some of the perfumes listed by Fragrantica as scents that feature Tolu balsam (or its close sibling, Peru balsam, in some cases): Bal à Versailles, Opium Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu, Estee Lauder‘s Youth Dew and Cinnabar, MPG’s Ambre Precieux, Mona di Orio‘s Ambre, Guerlain‘s Chamade, Rance‘s Laeticia, Memo‘s Italian Leather, Reminiscence‘s Patchouli Elixir, and many others.



If I’m spending more time talking about all these ambered or dark elements than the florals that technically make up a “chypre” fragrance, it’s simply because Chypre Palatin isn’t really a floral scent on my skin. It was muted and largely abstract at the start, and it soon becomes the last horse in the race. By the start of the 3rd hour, I’m not sure it’s even there any more. It certainly isn’t by the time Chypre Palatin enters into its heart phase which is dominated by the aforementioned tolu balsam, then labdanum, vanilla and refined patchouli.

And what patchouli it is too! Beautifully red-brown, slightly spicy, and wafting tendrils of incense-like smokiness. Like the Tolu balsam, it has a subtle nuance of something leathered, but there is nothing earthy, green, minty or “head-shop”-like about this note. Actually, the overall combination strongly — strongly — conjures up Chanel’s glorious Coromandel for me. It has to be the way the patchouli is simultaneously vanillic and smoky. The only difference here is that Chypre Palatin feels significantly darker. There is white chocolate or visuals of chai lattes. Also, there remains the faintest hint of skankiness that occasionally waves its musky arm at you from the edges.



For hour after beautiful hour, Chypre Palatin radiates a plethora of brown, golden, umbered, and ambered hues. The notes are perfectly balanced between dryness, sweetness, and darkness. Somehow, to my utter confusion, Chypre Palatin almost seems to have increased in projection, or perhaps the resinous balsams are simply so rich that they’re throwing out little tendrils in the air. I could have sworn it had turned into a skin scent but, when the wind blew as I took the Hairy German out for a walk around the 10th hour, I could feel the flickers of Chypre Palatin’s incense-patchouli-balsam notes lightly swirling around me. Chypre Palatin remains that way until its very end when it fades away in a blur of abstract, dry sweetness. All in all, 3 medium-ish dabs gave me 14.75 hours in duration. I’m astonished, especially given my wonky skin. It really is a testament to the richness of the notes in question. No expense spared, indeed!

In case it wasn’t obvious by now, I’m rather in love with Chypre Palatin. If the perfume were the imperial official that the “Palatin” part of its name references, I would ask him to… well, never mind. Just trust me when I say that… No, on second thought, really, never mind. All I’ll say is that I wasn’t alone in having an intensely strong reaction to the fragrance. I made The Perfume Snob #1 try it, primarily because my sophisticated, haughty mother has loved and wore every opulent, over-the-top, oriental, chypre and/or skanky classic ever made, from vintage Bal à Versailles to Joy, Opium, Femme, Jolie Madame, and many others.

However, she’s extremely hard to please with modern scents, unless it’s an Amouage. Otherwise, whenever I’ve approached her lately at the weekend dinners, wafting some new scent that I’ve been testing, she’s given me a definite “don’t even think about it” look. (One scent that I shan’t name resulted in an ultimatum that I leave the house if I didn’t scrub it off immediately.) Many of my favorites from Fille en Aiguilles to Fourreau Noir, De Profundis, and Ambra Aurea trigger a dismissive Gallic shrug, while the glorious Mitzah resulted in a violent shudder. Perfume Snob #1 is often impossible to please, but she took one sniff of Chypre Palatin, clutched her wrist, and went glassy-eyed. She then spent the rest of the time until I left sniffing her wrist compulsively and, by her reserved standards, raving about it. I’m still blinking thinking about the intensity of her reaction.



For The Scented Hound, Chypre Palatin also “struck a nerve upon first sniff[.]” My sample was a gift from him, and he clearly has phenomenal taste. However, his experience was very different from mine, and shows another side to this very prismatic scent. In his review, he writes, in part:

Chypre Palatin’s first offered up a rush of citrus and cedar and then quickly a warm amberish lavender and what seemed to be eucalyptus (but I’m not seeing eucalyptus in the notes?? hmmm).  The fragrance goes on very warm without being heavy and it’s very comforting.  In a little while the scent then moves to an even warmer almost floral setting.  It’s very peaceful and serene.  The kind of scent where you want to close your eyes and breath in its aromatherapeutic qualities.

As Chypre Palatin continues it’s drydown it moves into a very familiar what I would call barbershop phase.  It’s traditional and old world and masculine at this point.  But stop, don’t let me confuse you by thinking this fragrance is old-fashioned and masculine.  It’s not.  The opening and the dry down make it much more universal and modern.  In the end, Chypre Palatin quiets down to a nice oak moss and vanilla scent with just a touch of powder.  However, depending on what you’re doing, those middle warm aromatic notes will still come to surface as the day wears on.

Longevity is average as is the sillage.  Chypre Palatin is a lovely surprise that feels old and new world at the same time and I think would be perfect for men and women alike.

Alexandre III bridge, Paris. Source:

Alexandre III bridge, Paris. Source:

For Suzanne of Eiderdown Press, Chypre Palatin wasn’t masculine but more akin to Amouage’s Jubilation 25 (Women), and a scent that swept her off her feet by bottling the majestic grandeur of Paris. She writes, in part:

This is one of the richest smelling chypres I’ve ever worn; to the degree that I’m not sure I would have identified it either as a chypre or as something created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour if I had smelled it blind without knowing its name or maker. […] Chypre Palatin smells stately, grand and what I think of as classically French in terms of its construction … and maybe because it is a Duchaufour creation, it doesn’t go overboard in this direction. It’s got just enough heft and richness to suggest opulence without crossing over into ostentation.

Before I describe it further, let me say that while it’s marketed as a masculine, I wouldn’t characterize it that way at all (for maybe all of thirty seconds it is masculine-smelling on my skin) and would go so far as to suggest that Chypre Palatin would appeal to women who love scents like Amouage Jubilation 25, which it reminds me of, except that Chypre Palatin is more refined and less challenging, not having the cumin and animalic emphasis that Jubilation 25 possesses, while still smelling every bit as expensive.

The rest of the review is too long for proper etiquette to let me quote it in full, but, for Suzanne, Chypre Palatin basically has a gentle touch of fruitiness in its floral heart, “hypnotic custard-creaminess,” “golden richness, seamless blending” and cashmere-like oakmoss. You can read her review for the full details.

Remember how I described Chypre Palatin as prismatic, throwing off different notes each time you wear it? Well, for Angela at Now Smell This, a full week of Chypre Palatin seemed to reveal several different olfactory profiles. Her review describes each day; how Chypre Palatin seemed like Seville à L’Aube‘s big brother on one occasion, to a fragrance that seemed to reference fougères with its “floral-lavender aspects” on another. Sometimes it conjured up an entirely different impression with its “spicy-mossy amber” and “complex tapestry.” She was fascinated by “how Chypre Palatin could be so intricate, but yet so robust.” As she writes:

The result is a fragrance with the structure and delicacy of an 18th century French table. I’ve been wearing Chypre Palatin all week, and every day the fragrance reveals something new.  […][¶]

Ultimately, Chypre Palatin seduced me with its beauty and craftsmanship, but like a Versailles-era oil painting, it isn’t quite “me.” If my budget didn’t limit me, I’d order a bottle in a second to sniff when I wanted reminding of the skill and imagination of a gifted perfumer. This is the sort of fragrance that rewards the nose you’ve developed through all the years you’ve sniffed through piles of samples. It also rewards a mind open to beauty that melds tradition and modern sensibility.

Blenheim Palace. Source:

Blenheim Palace. Source:

On Fragrantica, reviews are split, primarily because a number of women think the scent is too masculine for them. One person put it best: it’s really going to come down to skin chemistry. I would also add personal tastes and experience with the classics into that equation as well. If you are the sort who finds Shalimar to be too heavy or “old lady-ish,” don’t bother with Chypre Palatin. If you dislike any bits of lavender with citruses in the opening of your fragrance, or your skin amplifies herbal notes, then you may find Chypre Palatin to skew too masculine. If you’re not a fan of even a tiny bit of naughty skank in your scents, or fragrances with a leathered, dark undertone, this won’t be for you, either. But if you love the legendary classics or deeply opulent scents like the modern Amouages, then I think Chypre Palatin is a must sniff for you.

On Basenotes, there are several discussion threads raving about the scent, but the official entry page only has 6 reviews, 5 of which are positive. The lone negative rating seems to be from a woman who finds Chypre Palatin to be too expensive, too masculine, and a bit old-fashioned, though classically elegant. For almost everyone else, Chypre Palatin is a “luxurious chypre,” or “Proudly classicist and grand in scale” like Habit Rouge or the Amouage Jubilation.

One repeated theme in the discussion pertains to Chypre Palatin being “old-fashioned” in feel. Most posters approve of that fact, but one positive review actually disagrees on the retro issue, finding that the perfume isn’t vintage enough in feel. “DrSeid” experienced a rather powdery scent for the majority of Chypre Palatin’s lifetime, not the super-rich oakmoss fest that I had, which probably explains part of his review:

Chypre Palatin is billed as a “throwback” vintage chypre, but I have to respectfully disagree. I find it quite modern, and that is my biggest problem with it. The powdery nature of the scent just does not remind me of the best chypres of old, instead Duchaufour plows new ground in having Chypre Palatin remain classy and elegant in its mild powdery nature throughout but it just does not mesh with my tastes. I personally like my chypres heavier on the oakmoss and lower on the powder showing a bit less polish and a bit more “spunk.” While I won’t be buying a bottle, I can see why many folks who have tried this have really fallen in love with it as it is top quality. If you like powdery modern scents Chypre Palatin is absolutely worth a sniff and maybe even a purchase if you can afford its relatively lofty price tag. I give Chypre Palatin a solid “good” rating and 3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The two different 60 ml bottles of Chypre Palatin. Source: Luckyscent.

The two different 60 ml bottles of Chypre Palatin. Source: Luckyscent.

As you may have noticed, the issue of price comes up a lot. Chypre Palatin does indeed have a “lofty price tag.” A 60 ml bottle called the “tasselled version” costs $250. And that’s the “cheap” version! Apparently, Parfums MDCI really takes its whole philosophy about art very, very seriously. Their regular bottles are famous for having a Roman or Renaissance-like bust statue on the top. The price: $375 for 60 ml. (There is the additional option to have your statue in exclusive Limoges china if you should so wish for the princely sum of €1200!) 

Frankly, the “discount” version sends me rather into a tizzy as it is, given the measly 60 ml/ 2 oz size and, more importantly, Chypre Palatin’s weak sillage on my wonky skin. Others had way more luck in that last regard, but I’m still frustrated by the situation. Nonetheless, if I had endless spare cash lying around, I would have ordered not only a bottle of the scent already, but a back-up as well. Low sillage, be damned! Instead, it’s going straight to the top of my Wish List.  [UPDATE: one of my readers, The Smelly Vagabond, informed me in the comments that the bottle is actually closer to 75 ml but MDCI’s owner decided to list it as 60 ml due to bottle variations. They’re all hand-blown, so he wanted to err on the side of caution. Also, there is a special deal exclusive to the MDCI website where the cost of a sample set will be credited to the cost of buying a full bottle. In short, things are looking much better than I had thought, in terms of price-per-ounce value, decants, and accessability. See the DETAILS section at the end for more.]

The Marble House, Vanderbilt "cottage," Newport. Photo: Gavin Ashworth. Source:

The Marble House, a Vanderbilt “cottage,” Newport, RI. Photo: Gavin Ashworth. Source:

Bottom line, I think Chypre Palatin is grandeur and sensuality on a scale that would have made Leonardo, half the Medicis, and all the bloody Borgias wet their pantalones. It’s been a months and months since I had such an immediate, intense reaction to a scent, such awed amazement, and a lemming turned into Moby Dick. (The last time was for Hard Leather, lest you’re curious.) I’m all in a tizzy, discombobulated, and hot under the collar. In fact, I better end this now before I spend a few thousand more words raving about Chypre Palatin and its baroque glory.

Cost & Availability: Chypre Palatin is an eau de parfum that comes in two different sorts of a bottles. There is a regular 60 ml bottle called a “tasselled” bottle which costs $250 or €215, and a fancier bottle with a bust statue on it in the same 60 ml size for $375. {UPDATE: One reader let me know that the bottles are much bigger than 60 ml and closer to 75 ml, or 2.5 oz. Various readers as a whole have also kindly shared that Parfums MDCI has a deal exclusive to their website involving their discovery sets. Apparently, if you order either of 2 discovery set (set of 5 or set of 8), that amount is credited towards the purchase of a full bottle. The sets are, respectively, €90 or €140 with shipping. At today’s rate of exchange, that comes to roughly $123 for the small set, or $191 for the larger one. One reader informed me that you can get all of the bottles in the same fragrance, i.e., all Chypre Palatin. To buy the sets or a bottle, you apparently send the company an email with the catalog # of the item you wish to purchase. The catalog numbers are listed on the page in the link. Afterwards, you pay MDCI directly via Paypal.} In the U.S.: Luckyscent has both bottles of Chypre Palatin, along with a Discovery Set of 8 different Parfums MDCI fragrances in a 12 ml size for $210. Regular sized samples are also available for purchase. Osswald also has both versions, but sells the basic bottle for $263, not $250. Outside the U.S.: Parfums MCDI has a website which shows pricing on its bottles, but no e-store for direct purchase. (You have to follow the procedures outlined above.) In Canada, the Perfume Shoppe carries the full line and sells the regular Chypre Palatin for $230, as well as a travel size of your choice of Parfums MDCI fragrance for $50. I’m not sure those are Canadian prices, even if that seems to be a Canadian link, but then I find the company quite confusing. It is US-based, so Canadian readers may want to email them to be sure. In the UK, Parfums MDCI is available at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie at Harrod’s. In Paris, Chypre Palatin is available from Jovoy for €215 in the regular bottle. The perfume is also carried at Sens Unique, but they don’t have an e-store. In Italy, Sacro Cuore Parfumi sells the bust version for €325, but doesn’t have the cheaper bottle. Germany’s First in Fragrance sells the regular bottle for €215. The Netherland’s Lianne Tio sells Chypre Palatin for €229. You can also find the perfume at Hungary’s Neroli Parfum and Russia’s Lenoma. For all other European countries, you can use the MDCI’s Retailers List to find a vendor near you. However, there are no sellers listed in Australia, Asia, or the Middle East. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Chypre Palatin starting at $5.99 for a 1/2 ml vial.

78 thoughts on “Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin: Baroque Grandeur

  1. I came away from my trial of Chypre Palatin with a couple of questions:
    1) what makes this a chypre? What does it have in common with other scents I understand to be “chypres” (a concept I admit I don’t yet have a fix on)? It seems to have little in common with another recent fragrance that also claims to be a “chypre,” Oriza’s Chypre Mousse. Did anyone get bergamot and oak moss from CP? I sure didn’t.
    2) did they really have to make it so dang sweet? Shalimar and Habit Rouge, two Not-Chypres to which CP does seem to aspire, didn’t have to go full Toothache to convey richness.

    Not for me, in any event. Another great review by our host, however!

    • Well, some good questions there, James. 🙂 Technically, a chypre starts with a citrus note (which does not have to be bergamot, but can be lemon), then moves to a floral in the heart, and has an oakmoss base throughout, though some include patchouli as well. At least, that’s how I see it. Oranges and other fruits seem to turn the classification more precise, into a “fruity chypre” but that’s just a subclassification, in my opinion. Oriza’s Chypre Mousse is a chypre mainly by virtue of being a moss scent from start to finish, with an ostensible nod to the “floral” aspect via the minor hint of violets, I guess. It doesn’t really fit the bill according to technical rules because it has no citrus opening and the floral is really non-existent. But with the full-on green focus, then “Chypre.”

      In terms of your other question, well, I clearly got citrus and oakmoss from start almost past the midway point. But others have referenced oakmoss or mossiness as well, including two of the reviews I cited. They also got different forms of citruses to go with it. BTW, the term “barber shop” as a perfum descriptor often references scents that start with citruses and lavender. The Habit Rouge that a Basenoter referenced also starts with strong citruses, so people may not necessarily have gotten bergamot, but they got what was needed for a chypre-resemblance.

      It sounds like your skin really amplified the sweetness. In fact, I think your skin may amplify sweetness even more than mine, if one goes by the examples of SL’s Un Bois Vanillé and this. Clearly, skin chemistry is going to make a difference. But I’m truly sorry you didn’t experience the plush oakmoss. That is SUCH a shame, especially given how that mossy greenness is one of the things I loved best amount the scent.

        • What a shame! It sounds rather ghastly on you, all sweetness with no dry counterbalance to stop it from going too far. No wonder you didn’t like it. On the positive side, though, think of how much money you saved! 😀

        • P.S. …
          ‘Chypre Palatin’ – therefore easily has the requisite : clementine + labdanum + oakmoss. … Yet, I agree, it’s also somewhat ‘orientalised’ with all the added vanilla. But the spine is most definitely chypré.)
          ‘Chypre Mousse’ – has at very least the required labdanum + oakmoss – (plus, tho’ no citric notes are actually listed, or even apparent to the nose, I’d bet they’re nevertheless still probably lurking somewhere in the composition as part of the top-notes accord. I imagine just probably mostly masked out by the other ‘green’ notes & overpowering upfront mossiness.)

      • Kaf ‘- if u don’t mind my butting in 🙂 (& @James) – methinkz u forgot to mention one very important main element, which is the third part of the essential Chypre triad of notes, (that oh so typical ‘Isle of Cyprus’ ingredient) 😉 -> i.e. LABDANUM.
        The 3 main essentials of a typical chypre accord are : Bergamot + Labdanum + Oakmoss.

        Yes there are now many variations (too many if u ask me!), and indeed any cheaper ‘citrus’ is often substituted, BUT traditionally it was typically Bergamot rather/usually. … And that often ‘fourth’ element of Patchouli, tho’ whilst certainly ubiquitous is not actually an ‘essential’ element of the accord as such, as many believe. … Other than the usual ‘fleshing-out’ elements of a ‘floral heart’, as you also already mentioned, I’d say a decidedly animalic/musky nuance to the oakmoss base is also a rather usual addition, which helps add to what’s typical sniffed as ‘chypre-ness’. …
        I’d say these are the main elements that define a typical ‘chypre’ – HOWEVER nowadays it seems pretty much ‘anything goes’ as they too often play fast & loose with the term, slapping it on stuff they have no real right to quite frankly.

        Apparently the root can even be traced right back to the Roman Empire. Via certain archeological finds, Romans once produced a perfume in Cyprus that contained storax, calamus & labdanum on an oakmossy (of course) base. – Très intéressant, no !? 🙂

        • Yes, of course, you’re absolutely right regarding labdanum being in the old traditional model. How very interesting about the root of the world being traceable back to Roman times. Fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing.

          • My pleasure ! 🙂 – Yeah, I read it in some old ‘fume making book & found it thoroughly intriguing. Even tried to blend an approximation of that old formula to sniff what it might smell like – was indeed most fascinating. 🙂

  2. Epic review!
    Chypre Palatin is my next full bottle purchase. It’s indeed grandeur in a bottle, but not only in terms of palaces, it works perfectly well in any grand environment, whether it’s man made or the great outdoors. Price is an issue, but they do have a rather splendid testing set. You can chose 5 scents in 12 ml versions (non spray) for around 100 Euros from their website. If you buy directly from them, and not from lucky or firstinfragrance that amount counts towards a full bottle purchase. In my case, that will happen in a few weeks, I hope.

    • YES, we finally have one in common! 😀 I’ve thought of the MDCI Discovery Set which, over here, includes 8 scents. But they are 12 ml, and I’m difficult enough to quite possibly only like one of them, be unswayed by several more, and dislike the rest. Same story even with 5. Plus, I’d much rather get one big bottle of Chypre Palatin, but 60 ml is so measly for the price! Also, I’m still a little peeved about the sillage on my skin.

      Do you know if you like more than Chypre Palatin from the MDCI line? Or are you sallying forth in the grand spirit of adventure and curiosity? 🙂 Another question, how on earth do you buy from their website? I saw no shopping cart, no “add” button, nothing. Just a catalog list of prices, without any individual page for each perfume. In any event, I’m excited for your upcoming MDCI splurge, and I can’t wait to read more about it!

      • I’m sure we have a few more in common, my dear…
        I tested the line at Jovoy when I was in Paris and apart from the Peach Cardinal I liked them all. The website is a bit pants, I agree. You basically have to make a selection, write them an email with the code of the product and pay via paypal. But they are super friendly and speak good English. But I have no idea if they actually ship to the US.

        • I think I have a sample of the Peche one. I think. (In my mind, I keep calling it Peche Melba. lol.) Anyway, I definitely have one of Ambre Topkapi, but I haven’t tried either of them. I’ve heard mixed things about the Amber one, and rather unenthused stuff about the Peche Melba. Good to know that at least that’s the exception to the rule.

          So, regarding the website, the sample deal and more, based on what you said, what others have also added, and the fact that the bottles actually seem to be 75 ml (!!) not 60 ml, I’m pretty sure I’ll get the sample set. The 5 one, not the 8, and I’m going to ask that they ALL be Chypre Palatin. (Well, unless another one strikes my fancy almost as much.) So, now I have to work through the rest of the line and see what’s what. But I’m so excited and I hope that, in a few months, I’ll be joining you in luxuriating in Chypre Palatin. Thank you for the extra nudge, but also for being the very first to share the website details. I appreciate it so much!

          • Kafka,not too worry,they do ship to US!It’s not that complicated to order,I just PayPaled the money and wrote the details of my order in the Comment box.Easy peasy!

  3. Dear Kafka,

    I must apologise for not having the time these days to leave comments on your fine blog! So it is with the utmost sincerity that I say that as I was browsing through my email and came across your review of Chypre Palatin, I was riveted, because I share so much of your adoration for it, and because your writing has done the fragrance justice. By the way, just to perhaps push you further towards the edge of the lemming cliff, Parfums MDCI’s bottles are now 75ml – in fact, they always were, but the founder (can’t remember his name) decided to list them as 60ml to play on the safe side because they were handblown and there were variations in the volumes they could actually contain. If you order directly from their website, I propose getting the small bottles first (you can actually choose all of them to be Chypre Palatin), because you can then redeem what you’ve paid for them against the cost of a full bottle of Chypre Palatin. Or if that’s too much Chypre Palatin for you, I wouldn’t ever mind getting some from you 😉 Shameless, I know, but it’s Chypre Palatin, and I don’t have any shame when it comes to Chypre Palatin!

    • So, so useful and helpful, my dear Vagabond. I cannot thank you enough for this information, and I’ve updated my “Details” section to reflect everything you’ve said. It makes a big difference that you can order ALL the bottles in the sample set of the same, ONE fragrance, but it makes an even BIGGER difference that the full-sized bottles are actually 75 ml! Seriously, in my mind, those extra 15 ml really are significant, even if they give or take a little depending on bottle variations.


      On second thought, I think my wallet should be cursing you…. *grin* 😉 Especially given recent attacks on it from 2 big bottles of scent, and a lot of sample orders. But soon, soon… Chypre Palatin will be mine in some form or another!

      As for your kind words on my review, it means a lot to me. Especially that you thought I did a fragrance you love so much proper justice. This review actually took almost twice as much work as comparable reviews of the same length. It seemed so hard to convey the true extent of the notes, their movement, how it made me feel, and the visuals involved. (There also seemed to be no bloody end in sight to writing it. LOL!) Frankly, at one point in the middle of the night, then again, this morning, only thing keeping me going was the glorious patchouli-incense-vanilla base. For some reason, this perfume works like a drug on me. And I don’t have this sort of extreme reaction often. In fact, since I started the blog, the only scent that felt so utterly epic to me was Hard Leather, but that’s really a difficult scent that isn’t for everyone.

      Anyway, I’m rambling. Forgive me. I haven’t slept in 2 days, and it’s finally starting to show. Bottom line, thank you for both your wonderful purchasing/bottle information, and the compliments on the review.

  4. Well this is an instant must try. I can’t wait. I am a complete sucker for chypres and any comparison to Jubilation 25 just makes it more irresistible.

    • I think that Chypre Palatin for you, with your tastes, and our massive overlap, I think this would blow your socks off. I really do. So let me know what you think. BTW, if you order a sample, love it and then want a bottle of some sort, I just updated the DETAILS section with more information on MDCI’s Sample Set Refund Program that is exclusive to them. Various readers added some really relevant details on bottle sizes, the sets, and how to order from MDCI directly. Bottom line, buying Chypre Palatin may be more affordable than I had initially thought.

      • Oh my. This one is intoxicating. Very beautiful, reminiscent of Jubilation 25, fruity, yet not in an overly fruity way. Superbly balanced. I love it!

        • Hurrah, I’m so glad that you loved it, Cohibadad. Frankly, given your tastes, I would have been utterly astounded if you hadn’t. It seems SOO much up your alley. Then again, who knows about skin chemistry and what it may do, so I’m just relieved it all worked out in the end. Especially regarding the fruitiness being very minor! Are you tempted to buy a bottle?

  5. Exciting review. So many feelings ….
    I was just at Luckyscent on Sunday and I could only try Cuir Garamante from MDCI: wonderful. It is a good option to purchase the set of 12 samples.

    • The Luckyscent set is actually a set of 8 (not 12), but the MDCI website offers a 5-piece one too. The size of the bottles is 12 ml each. If you’re interested, Walter, I have updated the review and the Details section as well to reflect what many readers have told me: the bottle is 75 ml, and you actually CAN order directly from MDCI, which also offers an exclusive deal re. the sample sets. Whichever one you buy, the cost will be credited to you if you buy a full bottle of something later. In other words, a sort of refund deal. But it’s exclusive to their website which seems to ship all over.

      I’m so glad you found one MDCI scent that you loved on your trip to Luckyscent. How wonderful that must have been for you. What else did you fall in love with?

      • There were so many scents..It is an incredible experience. I visited Luckyscent with my children so I díd not have much time to try all scents I wanted. I took to Lima the following samples:
        Nasomatto Duro
        Aoud M. Micallef
        For my nose, I prefer Nasomatto Duro.

  6. Well. I am smitten by your review. When you gush, I know that you have your hands (nose) on something extraordinary. I must try this!!! Simply gorgeous review, descriptions and imagery that is captivating. I bought MDCI’s Invasion Barbare for my husband years ago. It is long gone. Maybe he will like this, too!!!

    • I just updated the review to include information on a GREAT Sample Set program, as well as how the cost can go later on towards the price of a full bottle, so if you’re tempted to order any samples, do it from MDCI!!

      And I’m so glad you loved the review. It sometimes felt like I’d never get through it all. LOL. BTW, I was thinking of you when I tested this, and I think you’d LOVE the oriental heart. Simply love it.

  7. Oh Kafka I can’t even convey how happy I am that you have reviewed this fragrance and most of all that you adore it. I have decided a couple of months ago,when I first tested it,that this will be my next FB purchase.And sure enough this beauty has been welcomed into my humble flat, last week but what a palace it becomes when I spray this on!I fell in love on the spot,and its incredible craftsmanship never ceases to amaze me.It is so intricate,so well blended,feels so luxurious.I need to amend some of the info you have,which is not accurate.The simple presentation bottle(tasseled) is 75 ml,not 60 ml.At least that is what my bottle has ( and which was purchased directly from MDCI) and what the MDCI website states.I have ordered first the 8 PCs discovery set (each piece is a 12 ml decant) for 140 euro and then the FB of CP for a balance of 75 euro.So,ultimately I don’t think that it is that expensive.My only problem with the brand is that their bottles can leak.In fact this is what has happened to mine,and I have lost about 7 ml of juice.And I haven’t been compensated for that yet.Also another very pleasant surprise is that you’re a Depeche Mode fan!I am too,a very big DM fan!Actually,when I went to Paris last June it was to see them in concert on Stade de France:-)

    • Thank you, my dear, for the extra details. I have already updated the review to reflect the bottle sizing, after another reader told me about it, as well as the special MDCI refund deal for the sets. The thing is, all the sites other than MDCI’s page say 60 ml, and MDCI’s website is a hot mess, in my opinion. According to the Smelly Vagabond, Mr. Marchal deliberately had 60 mls put in the listings (elsewhere, presumably) because the hand-blown glass bottles may have substantial variations in quantity. Ergo, he erred on the lower figure.

      The leakage issue, however…… Damn. DAMN. I had hoped they fixed that, because I saw it stated on a Basenotes thread. However, that was back in 2012 and seemed to be limited to one US retailer, so I had thought it was a fluke. Did your bottle really leak out 7 ml??!? GAH!!! 🙁 If you don’t get a partial refund from the company, I will be very angry on your behalf. Do let me know what happens with that, okay?

      Depeche Mode, as well? Really? FAB! I was listening to Strangelove and Shake the Disease the other day for about 5 hours on repeat. LOL But almost everything they do is fantastic. I bet that concert was amazing! I saw them once live, and it was pretty electric, though I wish they’d played more of their classics. Have you ever listened to the groups, Enigma or “Cause & Effect” by any chance? The latter, in particular, had their first 2 albums sound like a DM clone, in the best way possible. LUUURVE Cause & Effect! Look up their first 2 albums on YouTube. 🙂

      • In fairness,I haven’t asked Claude for a partial refund,because I kind of thought,that being the gentleman that he seemed to be he will offer himself.But nothing happened so far and I don’t know how to react to this.Of course he has replied to my email in the most courteous manner,and he said that what I told him made him feel depressed ,because he has spent a lot of money to rectify the issue,and he was sure he’s not going to have the same problem again.His email was rather long ,if you want I can forward it yo you so you can tell me what you think,but he hasn’t offered to reimburse me.So I feel a bit disappointed.
        The concert on Stade was fantastic!My boyfriend and I had one the best times ever!We danced non stop,and the track that sounded incredibly hypnotic and sensual was Should be Higher from the last album the Delta Machine.They played a lot of the new material and less of the older one,but the whole thing was incredible, such a good atmosphere and the two of us were in top form that night.
        I will most certainly look up Cause and Effect!Thank you,Kafka:-)

        • Hmmmm….. not good. He *SHOULD* have offered the refund himself. I can understand why the news of the leakage problem returning would depress him, but, frankly, his personal sadness is besides the point for the customer and in terms of business professionalism. I suggest you write back and say how much you understand his position, along with how frustrating it must be. Then, gently and diplomatically state that the loss of perfume through no fault of your own and through a structural defect would make a small refund would appropriate. You really need to, my dear. 7 ml is 7 ml, but there is also the issue of the bottle being unstable for future use. How do you know it won’t happen again if you don’t position it upright? Or, even worse, even if you DO?

          Either way, the bottom line is that this is a systemic manufacturing problem, and not *your* issue, let alone your fault, as a customer. It’s basic business practice to resolve such a matter. Hell, to take the INITIATIVE and offer to resolve it. The failure to independently volunteer that is rather distressing.

          In other but happier news, I’m going to see if I can find the DM Stade concert on YouTube. It sounds wonderful, especially Should be Higher. So, we will be in synchronicity music-wise, as well as scent-wise today. 🙂

  8. This goes to the top of my list for the next STC order. You are the little devil sitting on my left shoulder who whispers seductively into my ear , “buy it, it smells pretty!”
    I’m still waiting on my STC order containing scents you recommended, so expect a report in the near future.
    Until then, i will resist the temptation to blind-buy Chypre Palatin (but you made that oakmoss sound so tempting, darn you!).

    • ROFL!!! I’ll take the devil comment with a grin and joy. Thank you. Being an enabler is actually my favorite part of this entire blogging process. Well, being an enabler who is successful with the recommendations and who creates new loves. Fingers crossed that that happens to you with some of the upcoming samples, Ed.

      PS — My STC order from last Friday *JUST* arrived today. About 10 minutes ago, in fact. So, hopefully, yours should come today, too! And yes, I will expect a full report with endless details and descriptions. 😀

  9. Dearest Kafka
    Please may we go live at the Palace Chypre Palatin.
    I am imagining Blenheim on the outside but something far more diverse within, yes a hall of mirrors as at Versailles. of course an Austrian high Teutonic Baroque chapel, a Teatro in the Italian manner, but also Oriental rooms, something akin to the Royal Pavillion at Brighton or the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, and maybe a deep emerald Rococo saloon borrowed from Hertford House (home of the Wallace Collection), oh, an if there’s room, something by Robert Adam to remind us that there’s structure here too,
    What fun it would be!
    In all seriousness, this reads like a list of scented favourites… Bandit, Bal a Vers.., First, Shalimar and so on. Then to be told it is more than the some of the parts, has character of its own and allusion to the form of a chypre too.
    The price tag obviously is an obstacle, but more worrying is the lack of the longevity.
    Not for the ‘value for money’ element, but as you say, these great scents are operatic, and Opera is generally a form that takes time to develop, unwind, expand.
    So I’m conflicted, especially as the only operas that defy this rule are those from the Baroque period.. could Chypre Palatin be the olfactory equivalent of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas?
    Brief, intense, utterly brilliant.
    Must try, though that whole sculpture headed stopper is a little Donatella Versace for The Dandy’s liking.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Longevity is GREAT, darling. It’s the sillage that my skin struggled with. However, one of my readers put it perfectly on the blog’s FB page: Bertrand Duchaufour is the master of “hefty weightlessness.” And I think that sums up a good deal of it, in a nutshell. It *is* weightless, but hefty, and with soft sillage. But longevity…. my dear, I got almost 15 hours. With my neurotic, wonky, perfume-consuming skin. Longevity is outstanding!!

      And there seems to be a way around the price tag with a refund program offered by the company on its website if you buy one of the sample sets. I’ve updated the review and Details section to include that.

      In short, not Dido & Aeneas! It is totally Bizet’s Carmen in sound, with The Ring’s longevity, but performed at a slight… er…. well, Marilyn Monroe breathiness. Still, Marilyn had curves and body, so ignore her rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” And GET THEE TO HARRODS to try Chypre Palatin at Roja Dove’s Parfumerie. Get thee there immediately! 😀

      And then, you and I can escape into Palace Chypre Palatin, only your version of it. My word, definitely your version of it. I love the thought of adding in Hertford’s Rococo salon, but we must toss in some of Mad King Ludwig’s things too! (BTW, Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors is exactly what I was thinking of for my hallway, too. We’re on the precise, same wavelength!) And the ceilings from the Danish royals’ big pile outside Copenhagen. (What ceilings!)

      • Dearest Kafka
        Aaaah. Sillage.
        Hmmm. I often spray garments in an effort to make quieter pieces more expansive, a sort of sartorial amplification. It works if one has quite gesticular habits, as I do.
        Yes, I feel the call of Harrods again….
        Oh, and those ceilings, is it Fredensborg that we need to thieve them from?
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  10. Ah, dear Kafka, another sumptuous review. I have been remiss in commenting for about a week, and I apologize as I do read every post. I was heading into the lurking tunnel, or perhaps we can call it a grotto. That sounds better, doesn’t it?

    Chypre Palatin sounds exquisite. While I’m not sure if it would be my cup of tea, it’s on my wish list now. Reading this review (and all of yours) is so exciting. You evoke another world, swirling with images, fantasies, hopes and memories. As an adolescent, I was exposed to many of the treasures of Europe, and I kicked my heels in the back seat of the car and sulked throughout many museums and palaces. I just couldn’t envision people there at all, and what I did see of them was fusty old portraits. Now that I am older, I can incorporate life into history, and I am grateful to you for enhancing my understanding.

    While my taste is perhaps quite different from yours, I revel in what I have learned from you and truly appreciate all the time you have taken to share your gift.

    On a practical note, I thank you and your readers for clarifying where/how to purchase samples. That has truly been invaluable to me.

    • I’m so grateful that you can benefit to the pieces, because I do know it can be hard to bother with a blogger whose tastes are very different from one’s own. I mean all of that sincerely, not snottily or passive-aggressively, because I know everyone has different perfume styles, tastes, and notes that they love/hate. I also realise that my particular tastes aren’t often in line with popular loves (ie, Malle, Imaginary Authors, Atelier Colognes, and the like). So, I mean it quite sincerely when I say “Thank you for sticking with me” and for seeing a positive side, whether in terms of learning about perfume notes, history, or something else.

      I do hope you won’t retreat into lurkerdom, dear Holly. I always thoroughly enjoy your perspective on things and your memories. Especially in this case, as your story about the sulking adolescent made me smile quite a bit. I think history is a pain for most people, especially the young, but we all have different things that we were passionate about as youngsters, whether it is music, ballet, art or something else. Mine happened to be history instead. lol

      In any event, thank you for your kind words on my writing. It means a lot to me. 🙂 Now, stay out of that grotto!! lol

      • It’s always a pleasure to read your reviews and perfume-related articles. I actually prefer that we have different tastes as that gives me the opportunity to learn something. Otherwise I could just go hang out at Sephora, but I suspect I would kick and sulk my way through that experience. As I am quite far from adolescence and its inherent charms, my only excuse would be that I’m old enough to exhibit crankiness in public. Since that’s a phase in life that can’t be outgrown, I’m fighting it tooth and nail. 🙂

  11. Even though the prices for their perfumes tend to look high, like Vagabond said, they have quite good deals – and when you consider how many great perfumes they have in that line, the sample set (which is actually more than just samples) is a great introduction to be redeemed in case you buy a bottle.
    I’ve been sorely tempted by it but as I was lucky to receive some decants from the lovely perfumistas around me, there was no need to buy any yet.
    I love the name of Chypre Palatin – it’s actually so appropriate for this perfume in my mind.

  12. Beautifully written review! I need to try this again – I liked it, but wasn’t blown away by it. With that said, I’ve worn it only once and that’s hardly sufficient for me to really make a determination. I’ve tried a few MDCI’s, though, and haven’t really found one for me. They are quite pricey, but as you write their sample program makes it far more palatable – and that’s an option I wouldn’t mind exploring. I also dislike their bottles, especially the ones with the bust which look extremely cheap and tacky to me. Their sample bottles look the same as well. I realize that’s wholly subjective, but it sort of turns me off (as superficial as that is), especially in conjunction with the fact that apparently a number of their bottles have leakage problems.

    On an unrelated note, hearing the overture to Carmen again really makes me want to see it performed one day!

    • I love Carmen. It’s perhaps my favorite opera of them all, to the huge disdain of my father. (You know his loves, so it’s not surprising that Bizet would meet with a curled lip. lo) As for Chypre Palatin, I do hope you try it again. Perhaps apply more than a mere dab, and see what happens. With regard to their bottles, they leave me shrugging myself. Hand-blown glass…. eh. *shrug* But the leakage problem, gah!

      • Now that my decants are organized, it was very easy to dig out my sample! 🙂 I like it much more than I remembered. Much, much more. Totally up my alley. I take it back, but now I recall it’s Invasion Barbare that I don’t “get,” and I may have mixed the two in my mind.

  13. I just want to say that your reviews are extraordinary, and I am enjoying catching up on your entire blog. In some instances, your reviews rather blow the scents out of the water. What an analytic mind and nose you have! Bravo!!!

    • Aww, thank you so much. I really appreciate your enormously kind, generous praise, JulesinRose, and it’s rather made my night. No, I mean that quite truly. I’ve been in the filthiest mood all day over the new EU news regarding perfume restrictions, but I shall try to focus on your wonderful words instead. Thank you for the big boost in morale!

  14. Oh, baby baaaybeee)!!! You wrote the most mind-blowingly gorgeous and apropos review of Chypre Palatin I’ve ever read, Kafkaesque. This perfume is such a favorite of mine, and so very deserving of the elaborate attention you devoted to it. Thank you for loving it up! (And thank you for honoring me with a quote and link love). oxxo

    (And you’re reminded me: I’m almost out so will definitely be ordering a new bottle. I have the tassel bottle and it’s 75 ml, one of the most elegant bottles in my collection, and I had no problem with leakage, thankfully — even on its airplane ride back from Paris. I hope I have similar luck with my next bottle.)

    • I’m so sorry for missing this comment, Suzanne, and for not replying to it before now. I’m so glad you enjoyed the review and, more importantly, that you thought I did one of your favorites justice. I bet you smell amazing with it on. And it seems quite you, in fact. 🙂

      • No worries, Kafkaesque. I’m just glad you saw my comment so that you know how very much I enjoyed your review. And I forgot to mention this, but the parallel that you saw between Chypre Palatin and Habit Rouge had me nodding my head in agreement (and Habit Rouge edp is another love …. not that I own it, but another perfume blogging friend gave me a decant). Great observation on your part.

  15. dearest kafka
    i just happened to be give this one a first proper wearing the day you wrote this, which continues our strange & interesting intersections (oka ‘coincidence’). i too really love this ever-so-modern take on the chypre genre by duchaufour, who i now must recognize as my favourite of all olfactory alchemists. why him & not kerleo, roudnitska, sheldrake, roucel (who are all masters to be sure)? it hit me a while back when i first wore the best (for me) vanilla ever: havana vanilla, now known as vanille absoluement. his trick is what i like to think of as “hefty weightlessness”. you allude to this paradox above:
    “This isn’t a Chypre to me, not even at first, but a Chypre-Oriental hybrid done with a lightness that belies the heaviness of its super-rich notes.”
    so, you arrived at precisely the same conclusion, and i think so have many others. you see this ‘trick’ again & again, especially in frags like jubilation xxv, timbuktu, patchouli patch (an overlooked meditative gem – patchouli that floats!) and his newish fusion sacré obscur.
    although CP is essentially an ‘oriental chypre’ i find it shares a remarkable structure with my beloved derby (which is to me what vintage opium is to you, as you know). the newer formulation derby in particular balances the heaviness of moss, leather & smoke in a sheer, deceptively ‘weightless’ way that deceives in the way it projects. CP replaces the leather with vanilla and the smoke with that amazing floral/powder/musk accord which on its own wouldn’t be my thing at all. your exbullient and thorough review on this modern masterpiece really does it justice, and i can see it has really resonated with your growing legion of in-the-know perfume junkies. i’m happy to contribute to the ongoing effort to describe olfactory experiences. keep on truckin’ 😉

    • I love your description of “hefty weightlessness” and think it is a fantastically succinct, nutshell summation. As I told you on FB, I plan on thoroughly stealing that term of yours 😀 (with full credit to you).

      Thank you for sharing the similarities you see to Derby’s structure. (Also interesting, you get a lot powder from Chypre Palatin? Huh, I’m glad I didn’t. LOL.) Most of all, thank you for sharing your experience with Chypre Palatin for other readers. I’m sure that will help anyone trying to decide whether or not to try the fragrance. 🙂

  16. Loved this review!! Funny thing is, early this morning, I’d tapped into my much-treasured sample of Chypre Mousse, and, while I was smelling my arms and floating away mentally, I found your review of Chypre Palatin… DAMN it!!! I must, must, MUST get my hands (rather,
    my NOSE) on a sample of this!!! Sounds as though it could possibly be THE one- although I’m still awaiting my first sniff of Coromandel. As well as Alahine, Trayee, Mitzah, Mohur, etc. So MANY to smell, so little funds at this time… I think I’ve developed a new one for the DSM-5 (manual which lists psychiatric disorders/symptoms): *Scent Suppression due to Financial Incompatibility*. Worse yet, it is acute and chronic! 🙂 Don’t see any cure in the near future, either! *grin*

    • Hahahaha, there definitely should be a few DSM-5 subcategories pertaining to perfume behavior. From hoarding, to surreptitous buys, secret mailings, enablings, lemmings, obsessions and more. And let’s not even begin with what it does to one financially. 😀 I do hope you get to try a few of the others sometime soon. I can’t remember if you ordered anything in the recent Surrender to Chance sale, but if not, then there is always something to look forward to for the future. I would really join one of the Facebook groups, if you’re on Facebook, because people are really generous in sharing samples or having RAOKs (Random Acts of Kindness). If you’re on Facebook, look up Facebook Fragrance Friends. They also have a lot of splits going on, enabling you to try different perfumes in a more affordable fashion. 🙂

      • I will absolutely look at the Facebook Fragrance Friends!! Thanks so much, I’d not even thought to look there for groups…(methinks perhaps there may be yet ANOTHER issue at work that could be listed in the DSM-5,,, *grin*). Great information, Kafka, thank you!!!

        • Oh, and I loved your listing of the DSM sub-categories, ROFL!! God, I think I’d be guilty of each and every one of them! And worse yet, I feel NO sense of shame!!! :). Just too much fun!!
          Also, I hadn’t been aware of STC’s sale- is it a yearly event? If so when does it occur? Is it over?

  17. Pingback: Chypre Palatin by Parfums MDCI : Scentsate Perfume ReviewsScentsate

  18. Dear lord, Kafka, I’m sampling this tonight (finally, after months of wanting to) and…. I’m stricken, I must have it! I’m afraid it’s rendered me a bit speechless. Having read your review half a dozen times or so, I certainly knew it would be amazing, but I don’t think I was prepared for the sheer emotional impact. I don’t think I’ve gotten teary eyed over the opening of a perfume for quite some time, perhaps not since first trying Alahine.

    I should probably get a decant to tide me over until I win the lottery or something…. but I just want to bathe in it. I’d passed over Chypre Palatin many times when looking at Lucky Scent and Fragrantica, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t have ever ordered a sample without your compelling review, so I have you to thank, once again, for feeding my scented addiction 😉

    • I had to come back to amend this, as I remember that I broke down crying over Chypre Mousse, and still get emotional wearing it. 🙂

    • I’m so thrilled to hear you love it so, Cacomixtle. I knew it would be up your alley! The oakmoss is so amazing, plush, intense, and real smelling in this one. It’s so like pre-IFRA fragrances, it’s hard to believe that it actually passes their tests. Another poster, “C,” explained how the oakmoss was manipulated to remove the offending molecule, while still leaving the essence of the smell, but it all seems rather magical or fantastical to me. Whatever the exact process, if this is the result, I don’t know why more perfume houses don’t use it.

      Re. the full bottle, have you considered perhaps seeing if MDCI will sell the 6 Decant Set with *just* Chypre Palatin? It’s about €90 (or roughly $120) for 6 x 10 ml, I think, so it works out to a very affordable proposition if MDCI will sell all 6 of the same fragrance. Another reader said that they do, in fact, do that, but it sounds a bit too good to be true. You may want to check.

      • Oh, it sounds like the same moss process Thierry Wasser is using in the new (and I hear much improved) version of Mitsouko. Whatever it is, it’s miraculous and for however long it lasts I’m going to be enjoying the scent of real oakmoss! Synthetic oakmoss is usually just nasty smelling to me.

        Oh, I never even thought of asking for the sample set of all Chypre Palatin, that’s brilliant!

        • Or perhaps it’s Edouard Fléchier who worked on Mitsouko, I’ve read both, and haven’t taken the time to look into it. In any case, I worship at the oakmoss altar!

  19. Enjoyed this review. I especially enjoyed the comment ( tom ford im starring straight at you).. I never new how nice this line was. I will have to get the samples set. Thank you for a nice smile after a very long day.

    • There are quite a few in this line which are considered very highly but Chypre Palatin seems to be the star in a number of people’s estimation. I hope you’ll look into them, as there are some florals you may enjoy.

      And I’m glad I could give you a smile after a long day, my dear. I hope tomorrow is much better.

  20. Pingback: Bogue Profumo Maai: Valkyrie Chypres & Vintage Animalism - Kafkaesque

  21. Pingback: Best New Releases of 2014 - Kafkaesque

  22. Can this be my vanilla? As an excuse to buy yet another Chypre? The vanilla rises on me within the hour. And a dab from the sample vial lasts (hold your breath) 14 hours!!!! And might still be going if I hadn’t had a shower after a crazy long work day. It is gorgeous. And longevity and potency might make the price tag ok. Still going through vanillas. I e just started. But oh. Chypre Palatin. Gorgeous.

  23. Pingback: AbdesSalaam Perfume Course - Part III: "Learning How to Smell" - Kafkaesque

  24. Pingback: Roja Dove Roja Haute Luxe: Magnificent & Superb - Kafkaesque

  25. Pingback: Parfums MDCI Les Indes Galantes - Kafkaesque

  26. Pingback: The Average, The Banal, The Bad & The Ugly: Vol. 2 - Kafkaesque

  27. Wow, what a review! By now, you know how much I love reading your blog, you’ve convinced (or perhaps ‘inspired’ is a better word) me to make a few blind buys (Kalemat being the favorite, and the one that led me down the rabbit hole of Middle Eastern perfumes), and this review is no exception. Surprisingly, I’d only heard of Chypre Palatin for the very first time today from another site, but upon doing some follow-up research, I happened upon your site, which happens none to often (actually, I wish it happened more). At any rate, even though I already had a 5 ml sample in my cart before reading your review, I am *almost* tempted to just go ahead and buy a full bottle, for surely that’s going to be the end result anyway. But I’m trying very hard to restrain myself (though not very hard, if you took a look at my most recent credit card statement), so the sample will have to do for now.

    I just have to comment on your comment about the opera. Since attending my first one about 5 years ago, I’ve been a season ticket holder ever since, and in fact I have even been in two of them (I would have been in another one a week from now, but somehow there was a broken link of communication, so I guess I’ll be using my season ticket to just sit back and watch this one). Of course, I didn’t have any singing or speaking role (as the audience cheers), but I did get to be on stage with one of the most famous opera stars of the day, Mr. Samuel Ramey. Lest all this talk of the opera give you a different impression of me than you may have previously had, you should also know that I love 80’s music, as my middle and high school years were in that totally gnarly decade. But I digress.

    Thank you for your superb taste in fragrances, and/or perhaps more importantly, your unique ability to write about them and inspire others to dream about the fantastical journeys to exotic lands that they may be transported to if they, too, take but one (or a thousand) whiff of this magic elixir. Even if I never experience a quarter of the perfumes that you write about (my wallet surely couldn’t bear it), I can still enjoy them almost as much as you do because you allow us, your readers, to go on these journeys with you, thanks to your exquisite use of prose.

    Thank you.

  28. Pingback: Areej Le Doré Siberian Musk: Vintage Grandeur & Sex Appeal - Kafkaesque

  29. Pingback: Reformulation Woes: MDCI's Chypre Palatin - Kafkaesque

Comments are closed.