The term ‘chypre fragrances’ is one that you’ll often hear. But what are chypre fragrances? In this article, we’ll discuss what chypre fragrances are, as well as the best chypre fragrances for men!
What Are Chypre Fragrances And How Do They Smell
The term chypre comes from the French word for the island of Cyprus. Chypre fragrances have been around a long, long time. In fact, the oldest known perfume factory in the world was discovered by archeologists on the island of Cyprus and it dates back to around 2000 B.C.. People on that small island in the Mediterranean Sea began making a specialized women’s cosmetic face powder called cipria thousands of years ago. This cipria powder was blended with scents that were grown locally on that island.
The people of Cyprus continued to make cipria during the Renaissance period and all the way through the Age of Enlightenment. Eventually, cipria became the most popular cosmetic powder for sophisticated European women. Years later rich noblemen began to wear powdered wigs that contained cipria from Cyprus as well. Thus chypre fragrances were born and continue to be made even today.
Chypre fragrances have a Mediterranean scent that contains citrus top notes with a warm, woody and mossy foundation. Chypres are dry, warm, and normally built around a woody and mossy accord. It is the distinct contrast between the citrus aspects and earthy notes that create a true chypre scent. Although the precise mixture of notes in a chypre fragrance can vary, you can count on a standard combination of 3 notes in particular. These specific notes are bergamot, oakmoss, and either labdanum or amber.
Within the chypre family, there are several sub-categories which are woody chypre, fruity chypre, floral chypre, chypre leather, green chypre, and fresh chypre. Most articles that are written about chypre fragrances are for women since there are many more perfumes based upon that bergamot, labdanum (amber), and oakmoss foundation. However, today I am going to focus on the top 8 chypre fragrances for men.
Scent: Aramis is one of the most well-known chypre fragrances for men. It was created back in the 1960s and is a true classic. It is a very masculine, potent, dry, woody, animalic, sharp, and leathery fragrance. This cologne begins with a grassy aroma that is fresh, earthy, and green along with a light citrus accord. There is also a nice cinnamon note in the opening. Very soon afterward, Aramis becomes much more complex. It starts to get slightly animalic and even a little nutty and smoky. Then for the ending Aramis turns into a very strong leather cologne with a hint of musk.
Notes: The top notes of Aramis are bergamot, Artemisia, cumin, galbanum, aldehydes, clover, gardenia, thyme, myrrh, and cinnamon. The middle notes are vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, clary sage, orris root, cardamom, and geranium. The base notes are leather, castoreum, labdanum, oakmoss, musk, and coconut.
Best for: Aramis is a timeless classic that is a little better suited for a distinguished older gentleman. It should be utilized in the colder weather of fall and winter since it has a somewhat heavy leather scent. Aramis can be used during the daytime or at night. In addition, it can be worn to the office or to more formal endeavors. However, Aramis functions best as a casual cologne that truly excels during the evening, especially in an outdoor setting. The best part of Aramis is that you can purchase this classic chypre at a very affordable price. If you’re interested, you can check out the current price over here on Amazon!
2. Hermes Bel Ami
Scent: Bel Ami is a stunning fragrance made by the luxury leather goods company Hermes of Paris. This elegant cologne focuses on a very interesting leather scent that blends with several other notes to create a true masterpiece. Hermes Bel Ami opens with an earthy, rugged, spicy, and animalic leather aroma. This is a very different style of leather than what most people are used to smelling in colognes, but it is extremely realistic. After just a couple of minutes, an herbal, sweet, balsamic, and aromatic floral accord begins to emerge alongside the leather. This provides a hint of sweetness and a dash of soapiness as well. During the dry down, the leather changes into a more subtle version than it was in the beginning due to the addition of several base notes. The combination of oakmoss, a big dose of sweetness from creamy notes of vanilla and coconut, some smokiness, a rush of warming golden amber, and a touch of vetiver are added to make Bel Ami truly compelling and distinct.
Notes: The top notes of Hermes Bel Ami are mandarin orange, sage, bergamot, lemon, and cardamom. The middle notes are carnation, patchouli, orris root, basil, jasmine, and cedar. The base notes are leather, coconut, vanilla, oakmoss, vetiver, labdanum, and styrax benzoin.
Best for: Bel Ami by Hermes is a classic scent that isn’t outdated at all. It is masculine, extremely complex, masterfully blended, and sophisticated. Hermes Bel Ami can be worn best during fall and winter by a refined gentleman. This designer fragrance also works well for any occasion from casual to formal settings. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
3. Christian Dior Eau Sauvage
Scent: Christian Dior Eau Sauvage is a wonderful citrus chypre that was introduced in 1966 and was lightyears ahead of its time when it was created. Eau Sauvage is an aromatic fragrance that is fresh, clean, citrus laden, earthy, woody, and a little spicy. The opening has a strong scent of lemon, along with several herbs and some fruity notes. During the middle of the wear, you will smell even more fresh herbs and several floral notes including rose. Lastly, Eau Sauvage finishes with a nice green accord from a smooth vetiver note mixed with amber, oakmoss, and a light clean musk.
Notes: The top notes in Christian Dior Eau Sauvage are rosemary, caraway, basil, bergamot, and lemon. The middle notes are coriander, carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, orris root, jasmine, and rose. The base notes are labdanum amber, musk, oakmoss, and vetiver.
Best for: Eau Sauvage is a marvelous citrus fragrance that has a very classy feel to it. It is a light scent that you can wear year-round, but it tends to work better in the spring and summer months. The best part about this cologne is that it works great under any and all circumstances from casual settings to the office, on dates, and during formal situations. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
4. Caron Yatagan
Scent: Caron Yatagan is an oriental chypre fragrance that was launched in 1978 and named after the curved Turkish saber used during the days of the Ottoman Empire. Yatagan is an exotic oriental fragrance that is woody, spicy, aromatic, smoky, herbal, and green. This fragrance opens with a beautiful scent of lavender, mint, pine, several green notes, and some fresh herbs. After the opening, the strong heart notes begin to emerge which provide a woody undertone. When Yatagan dries down, you are hit with a complex aroma of castoreum which invokes an animalic scent and adds to the originality of this amazing cologne. In addition, frankincense, musk, and several wood accords add to the depth of this mysterious fragrance.
Notes: The top notes of Caron Yatagan are lavender, basil, wormwood (which is the exact same thing as absinthe alcohol and is also known as Artemisia), mint, galbanum, pine needles, and watercress. The middle notes are oakmoss, vetiver, oak wood, and patchouli. The base notes are castoreum, leather, olibanum (which is also known as frankincense or incense), styrax benzoin, cedar, white musk, sandalwood, and labdanum amber.
Best for: Caron Yatagan is a fragrance that is made to be worn by a man and will never be a unisex scent. This old school chypre style cologne is dry, bitter, outdoorsy, and somewhat funky from the animal scent provided by castoreum. Basically Yatagan is a polar opposite to what is offered by today’s fragrances. However, it is sexy, rough, extremely masculine and even the animalic side is nice and not overbearing. Yatagan is yet another strong scent that is better suited for cold weather. It can be worn in most settings as long as it is applied appropriately. That means you need to use even less in the office and when attending more formal events due to the strength of Yatagan. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
5. Hermes Terre d’Hermes Parfum
Scent: Hermes Terre d’Hermes Parfum is an amazing woody chypre. For those of you that felt the original eau de toilette version of Terre d’Hermes had an overbearingly strong ‘dirty’ orange note, then this parfum rendition is going to be a much welcome change. Terre d’ Hermes Parfum is cleaner and smoother than the original. The orange accord is much more realistic, fresh, clean, and juicy. Terre d’ Hermes Parfum still contains the mineral effect of flint just like the original, so don’t worry. This fragrance opens with a really fresh scent of orange and grapefruit. Shortly thereafter, you catch a little geranium that adds coolness and enhances the freshness even more. Also, some black pepper comes in to add a little fresh spice. About 30 minutes after the opening, an earthy scent of vetiver appears to give this cologne more complexity. It’s fresh, earthy, balsamic, citrusy and has depth and weight to it. This makes for an overall appealing, sexy, refreshing and enticing scent.
Notes: The top notes of Hermes Terre d’Hermes Parfum are orange and grapefruit. The middle notes are flint, pink peppercorns, geranium and black pepper. The base notes are vetiver, gum benzoin, Atlas cedarwood, and patchouli.
Best for: Hermes Terre d’Hermes Parfum is an utterly amazing upscale designer fragrance. Terre d’Hermes is a fantastic office/work fragrance for men, but can also be a signature scent for someone looking for a year-round winner. There’s really no going wrong with a versatile and likable fragrance such as this. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
6. Chanel Antaeus
Scent: Chanel Antaeus is an exquisite fragrance that was created in 1981 by Jacques Polge. Some of Chanel’s all-time bestsellers such as Bleu de Chanel, Allure Pour Homme, and Egoiste (just to name a few) were created by Polge so you know that you are getting a true work of art with Antaeus as well. This fragrance begins with a fresh burst of citrus accords and a couple of herbal notes. Not long after this wonderful opening, you get a whiff of rose, a little jasmine, and even more fresh herbs. Then suddenly a rough animalic aroma starts to take over. This castoreum note is strong, musky, aggressive, dark, sweaty, and foreboding. Although it can be too much for some people, this primal animalic scent is precisely what gives Antaeus that extremely masculine, rebellious, mysterious and edgy vibe. When this cologne reaches the dry down phase, you are then left with this woody, balsamic, leathery, spicy, smoky, earthy and animalic scent. As you can tell from the description, Chanel Antaeus is an utterly complex fragrance that takes some time to fully develop, but it is an excellent experience for those that truly love distinct creations.
Notes: The top notes of Chanel Antaeus are lime, clary sage, Amalfi lemon, myrrh, bergamot, and coriander. The middle notes are thyme, basil, rose, and jasmine. The base notes are castoreum, patchouli, French labdanum, and oakmoss.
Best for: Chanel Antaeus is a fantastic cologne for the true fragrance connoisseur. This is a scent for the most confident of men amongst us. Due to the brute strength of Antaeus, it is not to be worn in the spring nor summer because it will choke someone out. This is a cold-weather performer all the way. During the winter, this is the perfect fragrance to wear when you are feeling a little dangerous and want to get noticed by the ladies. If you’re interested in this fragrance, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
7. Davidoff Zino Davidoff
Scent: Zino Davidoff by the Davidoff design house is a truly masculine scent that is extremely unique. What you get from Zino is a well-blended vintage fragrance that smells like a high-quality niche cologne, but is extremely affordable, even downright cheap. It is fresh, woody, boozy, musky, balsamic, floral, rosy, aromatic, warm, and spicy. Zino is a very interesting fragrance that has a dark, sexy, refined, and deeply rich vibe to it. The opening of Zino contains some florals, woods and herbs. Then a wonderful rose note emerges along with a couple of additional florals. There is also a boozy wine element added at this point that is really nice. Later in the wear, a tobacco accord along with a slight whiff of animal musk and a woodsy undercurrent appears. In the dry down a sweet, yet subtle, vanilla note makes itself known and that adds to the overall creative approach of Zino Davidoff.
Notes: The top notes for Zino Davidoff are lavender, bergamot, clary sage, and Brazilian rosewood. The middle notes are jasmine, lily of the valley, rose, and geranium. The base notes are sandalwood, tobacco, tonka bean, labdanum, patchouli, vanilla, and cedar.
Best for: Zino Davidoff is a fantastic woody chypre fragrance to wear during the fall and also all winter long. Zino can definitely be worn during the daytime, but it really shines at night because it has some serious sex appeal. You can wear this fragrance during outdoor parties, in bars and nightclubs or for a romantic evening with your girlfriend. It can also be donned at the office and for formal events such as weddings. The best part is that Zino Davidoff can be purchased at a bargain-basement price. If you’re interested, you can check out the current price over here on Amazon!
8. Antonio Puig Quorum
Scent: Antonio Puig Quorum is what is often referred to in the fragrance community as an 80’s powerhouse. That basically means that it was created during the 1980’s and has a strong aroma with excellent sillage and longevity. Quorum is that, but it is much, much more. Quorum can best be described as woody, earthy, piney, leathery, aromatic, citrusy, and slightly boozy. It is an excellent woody chypre that has a wonderful tobacco accord to it as well. It opens with some fresh citruses, caraway, and that boozy absinthe aroma. This is followed by some florals and woods. As it dries down, this fragrance takes on a really nice tobacco scent along with some rich leather and warming amber. Quorum is along the same line as Polo Green, but many people believe that it is even better!
Notes: The top notes of Antonio Puig Quorum are bergamot, lemon, wormwood (Artemisia aka absinthe), grapefruit, and caraway. The middle notes are pine tree, sandalwood, patchouli, carnation, cyclamen, and jasmine. The base notes are labdanum amber, leather, tobacco, and oakmoss.
Best for: Antonio Puig Quorum is a true classic that will never go out of style. Quorum is a tremendous chypre fragrance and is the perfect cologne to wear during the fall and winter. It can be used for both days and nights. In addition, Quorum is extremely versatile and can be worn in any and all settings from casual to formal events. Besides being an excellent old-school masculine scent, Antonio Puig Quorum also has an incredible price. Quorum is really inexpensive and would make a wonderful addition to your fragrance collection. If you’re interested, you can check it out over here on Amazon!