Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What's in a name? Chypre by Nobile 1942

There are probably 12345 perfumes out there which I could potentially fall in love with, but time, availability, Royal Mail postal restriction nonsense and money are issues that regulate the amount of scents I can possibly try. Never mind review. But it's difficult to resist ordering this set and those samples,  and in the end it's inevitable that I sometimes  lose track of what's hiding in my little Poundshop drawers. My organising system is simple enough though: 

 A  to  Z

Some letters seem to attract far more little vials than others, F and G for example, are not very popular, but exploring the Hows and Whys of that is something that I leave for another post. A to Z is easy but not very helpful if you just want to try something floral/woody or hesperidy/green and have forgotten the main notes for the better half of your sample collection. So it's really handy when a perfume house is helpful and names things in a simple, matter of factly way. Like  C is for Chypre. In the second drawer from the top, labelled B and C with these slightly tacky, red glitter letter stickers from yet another Poundshop. I was in the mood for a chypre and it couldn't have been easier. Chypre by Nobile 1942 it was...

My visual interpretation of Chypre by nobile 1942

As far as I know the Italian perfume house Nobile 1942 isn't in the business of giving deliberately misleading names to their creations in the way that LeLabo do, but is this really a chypre?
Yes, it has a fresh bergamot and mandarin/orange opening, but on my skin there is very early on a pinkish bright bubblegum note that makes me smile and reminds me of the effect that Tuberose No.1 had on me. Just the right amount of that difficult note, not too overpowering, just coming to say Hello a few times during the earlier dry down. Love it! I know my skin has the tendency to wolf down the citrussy notes and whatever sweetness a perfume might possess often becomes weirdly exaggerated, but this perfume is still a bit of a surprise. A very nice one though. It's classy, just a tiny bit old school, but incredibly wearable. After about 2 hours it does get a bit closer to a traditional  chypre with the neat hovering between a fresh green and a bed of flowers, mostly roses with a patchouly hint. I would call this phase floral chypre.  It transcends into a comforting vanilla wood after a long day of wearing and I still got a whiff from time to time when I was laying in bed. Projection is not all that great, considering. M. declared it a skin scent verging on the masculine, but I strongly disagree. Yes, it does stay close to skin, but there is no doubt about it's gender. For me Chypre is a very feminine perfume. It covers the sensual and the imaginary in equal terms, but it always stays on the double x- chromosone side of things. For my visual interpretation I wanted to capture it's radiating warmth and "earthyness", no hard lines but not too ethereal. The right balance of colours  was the easy bit but to find the overall texture of the visual turned out to be really difficult. I struggled all day with it, trying out lots of things and I was close to leave it, at least for a while, when I found a solution that is close enough to my idea of the scent to publish it, but may be I will change it again in future.

And in the end I don't care what the name of this beautiful scent suggests, but I do want to know a bit more about it's story. It's dedicated to iconic Italian actress Anna Magnani. Award winning figure head of Italian Neo-Realism, unusual beauty, strong minded she was a woman of considerable strength and charisma, never mind talent. I can't possibly  know if the perfume would have suited her, but the image I have of her totally suits the perfume. She is a wonderful example of a passionate and confident woman who doesn't give a damn, whose laughter is smokey and a bit dirty and who does what she wants without any false pretence. Inspirations for perfumes don't come much better than that and while I thought for a while that calling it after her would have been a good idea, I'm not so sure anymore now, because after all: What's in a name anyway?

Have a look at this video showing Anna Magnani in Pier Paolo Pasolini's film 
Mamma Roma from 1962. 

How and where to wear it:

Inspired by the video, no doubt, I'd say: Late summer evening with friends and family, lots of wine, lots of laughter, lots of home made hearty food, at ease with yourself and the world


  1. My mild OCD doesn't allow me to split brands.

    This perfume sounds promising but the brand is so ...exclusive that I'm not sure I will ever come across it. But if I do I'll give it a try.

    1. I got that sample from firstinfragrance and I don't think the brand is stocked anywhere in the UK. Jovoy Paris have it and I will go there in 2 weeks, so certainly planning to try some others of the line.