Les Indémodables‘ Chypre Azural is a radiantly bright, fresh, aromatic orange citrus fragrance that is far from a traditional chypre, in my opinion. Despite its extremely misleading name, it stood out for the high quality of its raw materials which is a specific focal point and signature for Les Indémodables as a whole. I’ll be covering a number of its fragrances in the weeks ahead and, since this is my first time writing about the brand, I wanted to start by telling you a little about it and, specifically, its key selling points and olfactory goals.
THE BRAND, ITS BACKGROUND & ITS FOCUS:
Les Indémodables is an independent niche perfume house founded by Valérie and Remi Pulvérail in 2016. Luckyscent has an excellent synopsis of the brand, its style, and its founders’ background in perfumery:
Launched in 2016, Les Indémodables is headed by wife and husband duo Valérie and Rémi Pulvérail, who have decades of experience in the perfume industry. As a retailer specializing in beauty, Valérie wanted to create rare and beautiful perfumes akin to an olfactive wardrobe for her retail clients that was classic, timeless yet unconventional: Les Indémodables. And Remi, after 20 years as an ingredients sourcer for Givaudan, started his own lab, L’Atelier Français des Matières (The French Workshop of Materials), the site for the production and manufacture of their perfumes and other niche perfumes.
Their model is a throwback to the quality of past perfume production. Rémi globally sources ingredients from producers whose crops are exclusive to them. Les Indemodables uses in-house extraction techniques, creating a unique palette of rare natural extracts. And speaking of transparency and authenticity, not to mention luxury— each bottle lists the percentage of expensive naturals used in each formula. The result? This attention to detail is evident at first sniff: familiar notes—rose, orris, mimosa, ambergris—that smell uncanny, kaleidoscopically rich, and heart-breakingly beautiful. [Emphasis to names added by me.]
There is a Charter of Excellence that sets forth Les Indémodables’ values, including its emphasis on using the best, high-quality raw materials possible. And, believe me, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, because the quality, smoothness, and depth show in all three fragrances that I’ve tested thus far. This is part of the Charter or Manifesto:
A GUARANTEE OF RAW MATERIAL QUALITY
Our guidelines set qualitative formulation constraints on our perfumers, specifically requiring them to use significant quantities of the most valuable natural extracts. This ensures a bright, beautiful and refined perfume rendering on the skin, an undoubtedly more subtle and mysteriously facetted signature.
EXCELLENCE IN MANUFACTURING
Once the fragrance formula has been created, L’atelier français des matières takes charge of the entire manufacturing process of the perfume, finishing with the sealing of the bottle. This makes us unique in the intimate world of Haute Parfumerie.
THE PARFUM MILLÉSIMÉ, OR VINTAGE PERFUME
The olfactive rendering of our perfumes also comes from the lands where the plants are grown and selected. Due to the use of these natural ingredients, the olfactive signature of each formula might differ slightly from one vintage to another. This amounts to a small revolution in the standardized landscape of today’s perfume industry.
The ultimate goal is to create an olfactory wardrobe where the perfumes are made with overdoses of top-grade ingredients and are also freed from trends:
Paying homage to the roots of perfumery without falling into the trap of imitation, she dusted off compositional codes of the great olfactive families, playing with an overdose of ingredients, or with unexpected combinations, while never betraying the foundations of these olfactive compositions. Her answer to this challenge was to create Les Indémodables (The Timeless), a collection that allows her to develop perfumes with real olfactive character, freed from fashions and trends.
Chypre Azural is an eau de parfum that was created by Florence Fouillet Dubois and released in 2016. Les Indémodables describes the fragrance, its notes, and their percentages as follows:
The essential piece in the every-day wardrobe: an extra-fresh trail, citrusy and long-lasting, that will accompany you throughout the day like a second skin
Sicilian Tarocco Orange oil 10%,
Indonesian (Aceh Province) Patchouli oil Grand Cru 5%,
Amber infusion 2%,
Egyptian Centrifolia Rose absolute Grand Cru 1%
Contains Tarragon oil from the Alps
Chypre Azural opens on my skin with an explosion of gorgeous, electrically bright, three-dimensional, intense orange. I love it. There is the scent of sweet juices, the crisp, fragrant, aromatic zest of its grated rind, and even the white pith inside. The green border around the fruit consists of fresh tarragon that smells herbal, briskly refreshing, aromatic, and just a wee bit soapy.
The overall bouquet is intense in aroma, weightless in body, and initially moderate in sillage before expanding. With 3 spritzes from an atomizer equal to about 3 sprays from a bottle, Chypre Azural opens with about 6 inches of scent trail that grows to about 8-9 inches after 10 minutes. However, with 2 spritzes equal to 2 small sprays from a bottle, the sillage was about 4 inches which later expanded to about 6-7. In both cases, there really is no trail behind me but, sitting still, I’m enveloped in a cloud that feels both airily voluminous and rich. It’s due entirely to the carrying power, intensity, and concentrated nature of that gorgeous orange note.
Chypre Azural changes in very incremental degrees and, when taken as a whole, is both simple and a largely linear composition. After 15 minutes, there is a muted, muffled suggestion of woodiness under the orange; I assume it stems from the patchouli but, oddly, it never reads as actual, conventional or typical “patchouli” on my skin. Furthermore, it’s buried so deeply at this stage within the tarragon-infused orange that I think I’m noticing it only because I read the note list, am sniffing hard, and focusing intently.
Honestly, if “patchouli,” weren’t listed, I’d have guessed that the woody undertone to the bouquet was due to petitgrain, the oil distilled from the orange tree’s leaves and twigs.
In fact, at no time in Chypre Azural’s progression on my skin did the woody aroma ever read as actual patchouli, and I’m a fervent Patch Head so I’d notice. Even later, when the woodiness becomes prominent, it merely evokes and symbolically captures an orange tree from the top down: its fruit (inside and out), its greenery, its twigs, and its woody base. I’m guessing that the in-house extraction method and the strength of the concentrated orange are responsible for the transformation.
As I mentioned above, Chypre Azural is a pretty linear scent and its slow changes are primarily one of degree, not of kind. About 55 minutes in, the bouquet turns soapier, spicier in feel, and woodier. 90 minutes in, the sillage drops; there is no real, noticeable scent trail. 2 hours in, a delicate floralcy appears, subsumed within the soapy, herbal, aromatic, and woody orange, but it reads as neroli rather than rose on my skin and to my nose. In fact, Chypre Azural never unfurled a rose note on me in any of my 3 tests.
Roughly 2.75 hours in or late in the 3rd hour, Chypre Azural is almost entirely a simple bouquet centered on three notes: slightly sharp, increasingly soapy, bright, and juicy orange infused with an increasingly abstract aromatic, herbal greenness and a fruited, petitgrain-like woodiness. The floralcy continues to read as neroli and continues to be a suggestion running under the orange. The only new element in an inchoate suggestion of warm, golden plushness in the base, no doubt from the ambergris. However, the ambergris, like the rose and patchouli, doesn’t read or smell as itself. It’s almost entirely a textural quality, warmth, and indeterminate goldenness.
Chypre Azural enters its long drydown phase at the end of the 5th hour and start of the 6th. It’s simply a soapy, herb-flecked orange infused with a subtle, muted woody undertone. The orange remains sweet but its brightness, radiance, depth, and richness have faded. Soapiness is its primary quality at this point, something which isn’t really my thing so I’m less enthusiastic about the scent than I was at the beginning. Also, Chypre Azural’s simplicity, singular focus, and linearity are starting to tire me out. As I say often, there is absolutely nothing wrong with simplicity or linearity if you love the notes in question. And I do love orange in perfumery. I truly do. But a soapy, herbal, woody orange for hours upon hours on end isn’t my personal thing.
Chypre Azural remains unchanged until its final hours when it finally fades away as a warm, soft, clean, slightly soapy citrus aroma.
Chypre Azural’s sillage and longevity depend on whether I apply 2 sprays or 3. I’ve already talked about the opening in each case. With 2 sprays, Chypre Azural became a skin scent early in the 5th hour, though it was still easy to smell up close without great effort until the 7th hour. In total, it lasted just a hair under 8.5 hours. With 3 sprays, Chypre Azural became a skin scent in the 7th hour, took effort with my nose right on my forearm to detect in the 9th hour, and lasted about 11.75 hours.
While I loved Chypre Azural’s effervescent, radiant opening bouquet and some parts of it thereafter, I personally find the fragrance expensive at $225 or €190 for a small 50 ml bottle of what is predominantly a linear, herbal, aromatic citrus soliflore.
However, this is a purely subjective, individual matter, and you may feel quite differently. There is absolutely no doubt that the raw materials are top-notch. That is a big reason why I spent so much time at the beginning of this article talking about ingredient quality and emphasis, how they are fundamental parts of each composition, and a key selling point made by Les Indemodables. To put it another way, you’re paying for the quality as much as you are for the particular bouquet in question; and assessments of how much that quality is worth to a person is something completely individual in nature.
I can tell you this: If you’re looking for a truly bright, refreshing, nuanced, high-quality citrus scent for summer and if soapiness, tarragon, or $225/€190 for only 50 ml doesn’t bother you, then you simply must try Chypre Azural.
For other opinions on or experiences with Chypre Azural, you can turn to Fragrantica.
Disclosure: My sample was provided courtesy of Luckyscent. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews and my opinions are my own.