M.R. Belgiorno "I Profumi di Afrodite" - Gangemi 2007
Odours and smells are integral part of the nature around us, and appeared on earth together with life.
The olfactory transmission is at origin of the vegetable and animal kingdom reproductive system. The first produces terpenes to attract Para nymph insects on flowers and protect themselves against predators; the second improves smell to find way to survive. It seems like both the vegetable and animal kingdoms are using odour and smell as an ancestral language to send and receive messages and improve their knowledge of external world to reproduce and survive.
During the millions of years of use and knowledge of positive and negative in numberless nuances of smells created a sort of genetic memory which let insects, animals and humans to talk with plants and to mark (divide) accordingly their smell, recognising good from bad, live from dead, harmful from friend, edible from poisonous, familiar from stranger.
The division in good and bad smells and the appreciation of the aromatic essences, which we call to day perfumes, belongs to the primary knowledge repertoire, which is responsible of evolution of the human species.
It created a sort of biologic heritage full of precious information to evaluate the environment and choose the right way to survive. The smell had a terrific importance even to the improving of human intelligence. The progressive selection between stinks and smells in a second time created two well distinct spheres of evaluation, which brought people to identify the good smelling with something attractive and the stinking with something repellent…..
The picking up of roots, leaves, flowers and seeds of fragrant plants began probably in very remote ages, followed by the first attempts to save and reproduce perfume using empirical methods.
Our notions on use of perfumes in prehistory are scarce and limited to rare discoveries of pollens, seeds and remains in archaeological contests. Nevertheless, the first written records of perfumes and the most ancient evidence of their production testify a level of knowledge and technology that suggests the existence and possession of traditions more ancient than evidence. . …
In 4° millennium BC, along the valleys of the Indus and the Sarawhasti rivers, a civilisation that knew the potter’s wheel, was able to build monumental complexes and was so evolved that it possesses a proper written language. The first impressive ruins of that civilisation, found at the beginning of 1900 nearby the villages of Mohendjio Daro and Harappa, have to day parallels with tens of settlements of that culture….
The still apparatus composed by four clay elements, found at Mohendjio Daro around the 1930, consists of a fire pot, a still head (alembic), a flask and a deep basin. In 1970 the chemical scholar Paolo Rovesti, expert in distillation, recognised this apparatus at the Taxila Museum as a still for essential oils (Fig. 2). The assemblage of the elements made by the Taxila Museum curator did not leave any doubt on its working. It was easy to compare it with later and modern still apparatus made in glass and metal. The Taxila one certainly worked as distiller, and was not of first generation. But, it was thirty-five centuries in advance the first still-alambic, which appeared in the Mediterranean around the IX and X centuries A.D. ….The volumes of “Chemicals for perfumes and distillation” by Yabuk al-Kindi (803-870), the “Summa Perfectionis” by Geber (Jabir ibn Hayyan) and the “Canone della Medicina” by Avicenna (Ibn-Sina), 980-1037) belong to that period. They describe the steam distillation process in three stages. First the liquid boils (pot on fire support), second the vapour rises in the still head (a sort of teapot with a straight long spout positioned upside down on the first pot), third the vapour condenses into liquid after cooling (a jug or flask joined to the spout of a still head, positioned in a basin full of cold water).
It is possible to extract essential oils and perfumed waters with the same system, as, during boiling, the terpenes tiny particles of fragrant plants, transported by vapour, pass through the alembic head into a collecting jar. At the end of the operation the essential oils float on the water surface and it is easy to separate them from the water.
The procedure appears simple from a modern point of view, but in the 3rd millennium BC, it was different. The distillation methodology should follow serious rules including the system and duration of boiling, and the cooling as the last stage. There were specific shapes and wares for the distillery pots, slipped and fired at high temperature to make them water proof and resistant to boiling temperature. The objects for distillation are a real evidence of the high technological level reached by a culture, and it is impossible to separate their existence from the knowledge of other related advanced technological systems, used to make pottery hard enough and resistant for distillation. In the history of Mediterranean pottery, the appearing of a specific pottery ware, named “metallic ware” for its consistency and appearance, could be in relation with the evolution of technology.
We do not know if the Taxila apparatus has these characteristics and if we could use it to produce perfumes or alcohols. However, we know that the shape and the disposal of pieces are typical of a distiller.…
Evidence of distillation at Pyrgos is based primarily on the find of alembic
heads shaped like an amphora with a rounded conical base and a long straight neck. The vases, reduced in fragments, were found together with two large basins and four big pots. The long tubular neck had a particular decoration consisting of three turns of a spiral in relief that, once inserted in the collection vessel, indicated the way in which the neck was to be sealed with external material, such as a strip of cloth, to block the dispersion of vapour.
The three handles with holes at their apex had a similar function: the holes were used to hang stabilizing weights that maintained the vase in equilibrium over the large pot that contained water with plant essences in ebullition over the hearth fire. The same handles are found on copper head stills used in Cyprus to this day to distil rose water. The collection vessel is a large vase with an opening that adapts perfectly to the lip of the spout. The vessel fits into a large basin that was filled with cold water. Experimental trials have verified the functionality of the apparatus and confirmed that the form and dimensions of the pots were correct not only to function as a condenser but also to serve as a boiler inserted into the head still. In fact, the mouth of the head still fits perfectly on the shoulders of the boiler pot.
(alembic experimental archaeology).
The experiments made to reconstruct the apparatus confirmed that the shape and dimensions of the jugs were correct not only to be used as condensers but also as boilers positioned inside the alembic head, which finds a perfect support on the jug shoulders…. Each of these forms was reproduced by the Antiquitates Centre of Blera in various numbers and sizes…unpurified clay was used to make the different types of vessels, because the aim was to keep as close as possible to the types of clay that the Pyrgos potters had used….we copied the five pottery components of the distilling apparatus….. we chose to produce essence of Oregano, Myrtle and Rose, some of the substances used in the Pyrgos area….then ground the flowers on the grindstone…the ground mush corresponded by volume to exactly half a litre of water. It was then placed in the pot together with a litre of distilled water. We then lit our gas camp stove and assembled the distillation apparatus. The pot was set on the fire ring, which kept it away from the flames. The still-head was placed upside down over the pot; the rim fit snugly over the shoulder of the pot, ensuring that no vapour could escape. The receiver, connected by its own spout to the still-head spout and immersed in the basin of cold water, was ready to collect the condensate. Two systems were tested in this experiment. In the first one, cold wet cloths were laid on the components and cold water ran over the connected spouts. In the second, the cold cloths were eliminated and no cooling process other than the basin was implemented.
By the end of about one hour and a quarter, the water had completely evaporated, leaving the boiled oregano pulp at the bottom of the pot. This experiment immediately showed how practical this way to produce scented water was, for it required no particular attention to temperature.
What is more, our experiments with both systems showed that whichever cooling method was used, the vapour
condensed through the spouts and dripped into the receiver. We noted that even when the receiving container
was disconnected from the still-head spout, droplets of condensation formed at the tip of the spout. A basin of cold water evidently suffices to cool the vapour, though cooling the still-head and the point where the spouts meet, as is done in modern distilleries, is much more effective. The pulp remaining from the distillation was then wrung out in cotton cloths, as described in the ancient sources……
(olive oil perfumes)
The wild olive tree (olea silvestris) is endemic in the Mediterranean environment, and bones of olives have been
found in many Neolithic sites. The most ancient stone presses of the end of Chalcolithic period come from Liban
Jordan and Israel (Samaria, Ras-Shamra, Tell Eilat Ghassul and Tell El-Hesi). But it was the liveability of the olive tree that made possible to distribute the cultivation of the olive tree in regions far from the Mediterranean coasts where the plant was not endemic. Moreover the invention of the different technologies to crash and press the olives is prerogative of Mediterranean people. They belong to the history of agriculture technology as the invention of the large jars to store the olive oil. Today, the main alimentary use of the olive oil has cancelled the memory of the peculiar importance of this product in the past, when the olive oil was used to light the lamps, to prepare medicines and perfumes and to work the textile fibres. The poly domestic and industrial uses of the olive oil pushed probably the Mediterranean people to intensify the cultivation of the plant around the end of Neolithic period and because its autonomous renewable capacity its employ entered in many uses instead of the animal fat and wood. The most ancient prescriptions to make perfumes with olive oil come from Sumer. They have been written on some clay tablets since the IV millennium. A mention of perfume fragrance is present in the holy hymns, in the heroic histories and mythology, as in the Gilgamesh tale. In turn, the Egyptians considered perfumes a necessity of life and death, of personal prestige and religion.
In Egypt sacred and profane found a real common denominator in production and use of perfumes and cosmetics. However, nobody knows when in Egypt the production begun, possibly it was a trade from Sudan, the legendary land of Punkt, home of all the spices.
However, the use of scents in olive oil started in the Mediterranean around the middle of the fourth millennium,
when small vases for cosmetics and perfumes appeared among the funerary goods. Around the same date the first types of alabaster vases appeared, probably invented intentionally for the storage and conservation of oil perfumes. Stone is the best material to keep fragrant oil scents in a dark and fresh environment to prevent it from going rancid. Nevertheless, probably it was the torrid climate which suggests the olive oil maceration system. The procedure consisting in preparing an infusion of fragrant plants in rain water and olive oil (at 50 %) in a recipient left at a medium temperature (50-70°), for different times (between 1 to 5 days)). During this period, vegetable fibres soaked completely releasing essential oils in water to join the olive oil on the surface. Water and olive oil maceration has been the most common method in antiquity, used until the late Roman times. Numerous recipes tell precise ways and times to obtain essences and the quantities of fragrant compounds necessary to make a specific perfume. Theophrastus, Plinius the senior and Dioscoride had traded most of these recipes.
The frequency of reference we found regarding the scents used in the Middle East, the Minoan and Aegean palaces as well as in Egyptian records and dedications, in the Bible and in the Homeric poems, leave us to understand how much these substances were common even in very simple houses.
Beside there was a specific scale of values for every scent or modified fragrance.
At Pyrgos the eastern side of the olive pressroom hosted the perfumery. It was arranged in a large sector of floor where 14 pits plastered with calcarenite and talc have been carved.
Each hosted a jug for the maceration (Fig.8), but around the pits, hundreds of flint blades of different shapes and
dimensions have been found mixed with more than 70 clay vases. The finding of two paraphernalia to still fragrance essences, was of special interest. Each of them was composed by four pieces: two jugs (Cat. Fig. 27), one alembic head (Cat. Fig.18) and one basin (Cat. Fig. 25). All pottery was made in metallic ware (Red Polished IV) to support high temperatures.
According to the kind of scents produced and considering the pottery typology found in the perfumery there is
evidence of three methods utilised at Pyrgos to extract aromatic essences: boiling, distillation and maceration in hot water and olive oil. The first procedure, water boiling, was for the extraction of resins and oil compounds from the barks, which, after the boiling, were squeezed in a cloth turned by two sticks. The second, distillation, was mainly used to extract essential oils from flowers; the third, maceration in water and olive oil (or almonds oil), takes scents from roots, musk, leaves and vegetable parts.
Distillation is an advanced system of boiling, during which the steam full of small particles of essential oils is channelled in a cold container where it condenses in a pure liquid scent without any waste remains. Of course, the scent is of a better quality.
Maceration in oil and water was in antiquity the most used method, described in details by Theophrastus, Plinius the senior and Dioscoride.
All the systems are more ancient than the Cypriot factory even if the evidence of Pyrgos is the most ancient found in its original context. Moreover, the fourteen Pyrgos jugs each found in a different pit, on a bed of ashes and carbons, confirm the Plinius description on the maceration. In some cases, the jug was sealed up to the rim with a light stratum of plaster to conserve for the longest time the heat in the pit.
The quality of olive oil is on contrary the question mark of procedure because Plinius prescribes the use of “Onfacium” to obtain scents, but we doubt that in 2000BC Cyprus knew the difference between oil made with green olives and oil made with black olives.
The comparison between the scent names reported by the Mycenaean B Tablettes does not improve our knowledge on the subject. In the Linear B texts, we find only three names of scents found at Pyrgos: Coriander, Therebindus and resin of Coniferous. Eventually the prescription and methodology to make perfumes had no report in the administrative and trade texts and the prescriptions were the heritage of perfumers who masterfully knew how to process and preserve resins, fragrances and essential oils of the rich Mediterranean flora. In addition we have to underline that in the list of scents found at Pyrgos are lacking two of the most famous flower essences of Aphrodite rose and majorana, and many essences reported by the Mycenaean B Tablettes.
(Cypriote perfumes today and an hypothesis on the origin of Aphrodite ideology)
Figurines and female representations are very common in all the prehistoric civilisations. They are the first apotropaic human expression to protect the life identified per excellence in the woman who gives birth. Nevertless, their symbology never evolved in the super ideal of beauty as happened in the Mediterranean lands around Cyprus.
In the IV millennium Middle East, under the Sumerian supremacy, we can find in the goddess Inanna a predecessor of Aphrodite. Her holy town was probably Uruk, moreover cult places dedicated her were distributed
around all the Sumerian kingdom. Inanna was a goddess far from the concept of fertility. She was a feminine entity conceived as pure beauty and sensuality. She was a cruel warlike goddess thirsts for blood and sex, identified with the planet Venus as daughter or sister of the sun. She was the lady of heaven, the star of evening, splendid for clothes and jewels. Innanna was the fifth essence of the femininity,
whose glamour could bring every man to act as a fool. To Inanna, around the 2300 BC, Enheduanna, daughter of
Sargon I, king of Sumerians, dedicated the first verses recorded in the history of poem, in which there is a precise
portrait of the goddess personality, extraordinary similar to the Aphrodite one.
In the semitic version Inanna was identified with Ishtar, taking eventually a characteristic that makes her more
similar to the Cypriot Aphrodite. That regards the presence of prostitute priestesses in the temples and in the cult
places devoted to the goddess.
But in the East Mediterranean, during the first millennium BC, after the expansion of Mycenaean civilisation, the
figures of Inanna and Ishtar were slowly substitute by Aphrodite, the Cyprian goddess who until today is the
symbol of female beauty, which does not known obstacles to affirm herself. In the battle to identify the native island of Aphrodite, Cyprus has win the competition on Cytera, and one of its city, Paphos had the most famous in antiquity temple of Aphrodite, which was destination of pilgrimages until the late Roman period.
Regarding Paphos a myth traded by Ovidius in his “Metamorphoses” (10: 48, 298—518), tells the story of Myrra, daughter of the king of Cyprus, Kynira, son of Paphos (born by Pigmalione and Aphrodite’s statue, transformed in the nymph Galatea by the goddess). Myrra fell in love with the father in absence of the mother participating to the Thesmophories, feasts dedicated to Demetra, and with the help of the wetnurse rescued to sleep with him for seven days. When the father found the deception decided to kill the girl. But she, pregnant, was able to escape for nine months. At the end when she was near to give birth she asked the help of the gods and they transformed the girl in the tree of myrra. So the sword of Kynira cut only the bark of the tree from which Adonis born. The boy, grown by the nymphs and anointed by the perfumed tears of the mother, became a so handsome man that Aphrodite herself fell in love with him. Then, when Adonis dyes wounded by Ares, looking like a wild boar, from the Aphrodite tears the roses born, becoming red for the blood of the dying lover.
In the same story we find two of the most famous in antiquity perfumes: the perfume of Myrra and the perfume
of roses. In addition the rose perfume obtained by the distillation of the petals bring us back to Innanna and her
famous priestess Enheduanna, as it was the father, Sargon I, who introduced the cultivation of the scenting roses in his gardens.
Today the distillation of rose petals is the main perfume industry in Cyprus and Near East, and the rose perfume is still the ingredient of many cosmetics and sweets, including syrups and liquors.
On contrary the Myrra (a small tree named Commifora Myrra of Bursacee family), does not grow in Cyprus. But it is important to remind that the word Myrra or Smyrna, in Greek language does not relate to the Commiphora Myrra but to every perfumed plant. Its linguistic root was appointed to another botanic species, the Myrth, holy to
Aphrodite and named by the Greeks Myrtos or Myrrine.
In addition, the grammarian Servius in IV century gives a different version of the legend of Myrra substituting the
Commyfora Myrra with the Myrth, endemic plant of Cyprus (Servius Marius Onoratus, Commentarii in Vergilii
Aeneidos libros, 5, 22). In his version there is probably the memory of the trades of perfumes and spices in the East Mediterranean, when the Aegean sea among Cyprus, the Cyclades, the Greece and Anatolian coasts was named “Mirtoo” in honour of Mirtilos, son of Hermes, charioteer of Enomao (father of Ippodamia), killed by Pelopes during the famous chars competition win by the hero who gave his name to the Peloponnesos.
Myrth and roses crowns gird the Aphrodite head after the Parides judgement result, and the famous recipes of
“Angel’s water” and “Rose water” obtained by the myrth and rose flowers, are still used as skin tonic to day. Undoubtedly, Cyprus was in antiquity the land symbol of beauty and love where it was possible to find all the arts for female glamour.… But its fame survived inexplicably during many centuries and its antiquity is to day confirmed by the discoveries of Pyrgos/Mavrorachi.
An historical eccentricity bring us back to 1917, when François Coty created the famous perfume Chypre and
dividing all the perfumes in ten families decided to call one Chypre, the only one named by a geographic name. Why did Coty take this decision? In addition, from which reasons practical or historical did he link a precise base nuance of fragrances to Cyprus, in a moment when the Cypriot economy was not founded on perfumes exportation?
Looking at the Chypre family fragrances, we had to suppose that these scents were known by all as Cypriots and that their smell was immediately recognisable as the one coming from the island of Aphrodite. The publicity of perfumes in the first half of XX° century presented Cyprus as the country of female charm. To day “Chypre” has a precise meaning only for experts of the perfume sector, and it corresponds to specific classified perfume nuances. We all remember the perfumed light pink cosmetic powder used by our mothers (and grandmothers) to give whiteness to the skin, named “Cipria”. Every respectable woman had in her handbag a compact box with mirror and powder puff.
The silver compact box was until the ’70 the traditional 18th birthday gift for girls, sometimes having their initials
engraved. Nevertheless, why was that cosmetic powder named “Cipria”? It was for antonomasia between a nice
beauty preparation and the island of Aphrodite, or for historical records linking the island with production of perfumes and cosmetics. If we analyse the composition of the “cipria” we find that it is composed by 75% of talc, a manganese silicate very common in Cyprus. The Talc is a very soft mineral, easy to reduce in powder, but its employ as cosmetic is linked to its property to give the skin a pearly shining.
Moreover its absorbent power gives the possibility to perfume the substance mixing the powder with leaves or
flowers of aromatic plants. And it is not a surprise that Talc was used for cosmetic purposes since the most ancient times and that Cyprus, probably for the quality of its silicate became the country which gave its name to this powder. Unfortunately the historic documentations on the ancient trade of Talc and Cipria from Cyprus are very scarce, but the experts of the important Perfumes Museums of Barcelona and Grasse believe that the history of Cypriot perfumes was written directly by the fame and quality of the wonderful scents that the Mediterranean merchants had never ceased to import from Cyprus. Cypriot perfume was a sound investment. It had a large market because it was a low-price luxury. It was sufficient to buy a Cypriot perfume to feel rich, as that scent evoked mythical splendours and wealth lost through the centuries. Nevertheless, thanks to the uninterrupted tradition, born probably together with Aphrodite and her myth of absolute beauty, the fame survived. It is curious that inhabitants of Cyprus do not know anything about that, like their ancestors, who ignored the fame of scents produced and exported by Cyprus all over the Mediterranean and Europe. Any way something of the old fame is still alive.
However, when did Cyprus start to produce and trade in luxurious goods and become an industrial pole, where
merchants arrived to buy and sell prestigious goods and perfumes. If it is true that scents remind nature environments as sea, forest, country and colours as wisteria, jasmine, rose and violet, we have to believe that Cypriot Bergamot and Therebindus blend with henna flowers, Oak musk, Coriander and Cyprinus had a well precise position in people olfactory knowledge of the last century.
Unfortunately, we do not have many records and information about prehistoric perfumes, to find reasons for the Cyprus fame. We can presume that technical prescriptions on how to make and blend scents were secrets, handed down from father to son or brotherhoods property (as Egyptian priests). Therefore, it is difficult to state when specific associations of scents started to be named after Cyprus, or how a specific scent gave its name to the island, which produces it.
The fragrances, resins and essential oils palette of 1st century BC has precise references in the prescriptions
recorded by Plinius the senior. A number of them (Plinius notes) have been copied directly by the Historia Plantarum of Teophrastus of Eresus (372-287 BC), which had been until 1500 the bible of all the medicaments and pharmacy texts. It is certain that even if the perfume recipes of Plinius were 4 centuries old they were not
changed, remaining the same even in the next century when Dioscoride (Pedanius) recorded them again with
some small differences in his volume the “Materia Medica”.
Taking into consideration the recipes of the Roman period where Cyprus is explicitly named, the perfumes’ palette appears very complex.
The modern “perfume houses” diversify their production according to specific groups, considering the explicit use of every fragrance. Perfumes are divided into precise sectors: per political and religious beliefs, moods, seasons, day hours and environment. Papers, soaps, detergents, insecticides, disinfectants and common deodorants have fragrance compounds. In addition, it is very rare to find apharmaceutical or cosmetic product without aromatic or scent composite. In the basic composition of “Chypre” perfumes, there are the essences selected by Coty to create the standard of “Chypre” family: laudanum, oak musk, rootstocks of iris, roots of cyperus and aspalatus.
The rootstock of iris are reported in Mycenaean B Tablettes and in many recipes by Teophrastus, Plinius and Dioscoride. While regarding the production of perfumed powder (the “Cipria”) used in ancient Egypt to give the skin the soft luminosity of alabaster (the dark skin being of poor people), we have prescriptions which suggest
to use as basic fragrance “the musk of Cyprus island”, named by Plinius as the best.
The fragrance comes from the white musk of oaks (Evenia Prunastri), the only aromatic plant not belonging to the superior species, which absorbs the scent of age-old wood and the life force of oak, the tree that for Romans was the symbol of strength “robur” = oak = strength = physic and moral courage. Thanks to its primitive charm, the essence extract from this musk is the male fragrance for excellence.
Secret being in the molecules of its scent similar to animal pheromones (volatile structured hormones), whose aphrodisiac power consists in the possibility of stimulating the endocrine and reproductive system after inhalation
The strong sensual fragrance of musk, very much in fashion during the Roman Empire, had in antiquity an ancestral value symbolizing power. After centuries we find the same essence named by Alessio Piemontese (De secreti del Reverendo Donne Alessio Piemontese, Comanda TrinoVeneta) in 1557 (“erbetta che si trova sui tronchi delle querce”) as a basic compound for the fashion fragrant powder of Cyprus. The same was reported by
Giovanventura Rosetti (Notandissimi secreti de l’arte profumatoria, Venezia 1555, Di F.Brunello e F. Facchetti,
Vicenza 1973) as “barba di bosco”. P. Pomet in XVIIth century (Histoire générale des drogues, Paris 1694) again
mentions this product to describe the powder “Cipria” produced in Montpellier, one of the best cosmetic centres of time. The rootstocks of Cyperus longus and Cyperus rotundus, a grass of Piperacee family (as Papirus), on the other hand, is well known for its fragrance too. The rootstocks gathered in marshes have a bitter taste and a strong smell of violet.
The perfume was famous in ancient times and during the Mycenaean period as the oil of cyperus was used together with the scent of Pylos rose. In Ptolemaic period, we find Cyperus recorded among the prescription of Edfou temple in Egypt (Sherif 1986). Moreover, after 2000 years we find Cyperus the main compound of the famous perfume “Chypre de Limassol” created by Bichara in 1913.
In Europe, we have much documentation about the use of Cyperus in recipes of Cipria powder. “Farina di Cipri, di Cipri Alessandrini e di Cipero odoroso” is recorded by Rossetti and M.Dejan (Traité des odeurs, Paris 1756).
In XVII century aspalatus and Aquilaria agolocha L. (“black wood of Cyprus”) were among the scents imported from Cyprus…..The first nuance named “Chypre”, on the other hand, appears only in 1850. Guerlain, followed after few years by “Chypre” of Eugene Rimmel (1880) made for Catherine of Russia (Fig. 14), created it. In 1893 Roger et Gallet “Chypre de tentation” preceded Cyprisine of Guerlain (1894), followed by Chypre Lubin (1898). In 1900 Chypre Violet e Chypre de Marcy appeared and in 1909 Chypre de Paris, again by Guerlain. After 1910 a new series of Chypre perfumes sold in precious bottles begun. One of most beautiful was “Chypre de Limassol” of Bichara (1913) with the cork shaped as a serious pharaoh head (Fig. 15). The escalation in 1917 had a fantastic halt, when the genius Francois Coty introduced to world the most famous nuanceof the last century “Chypre Coty de Coty” (Fig. 16). It was a fresh fragrance magisterially created blending fragrance of bergamot, lemon, neroli and orange, with a heart of rose and jasmine on a basis of oak musk, patchouli, laudanum, storace (Styra officinalis) and zibetto, the first extraordinary example of the family “Chypre, which today comprises in hundreds of perfumes of Dior, Versace, Givenchy, Valentino, Ralph Loren, Bulgari, Balenciaga, Grès, Missoni, etc.(Fig.13). All of them are in the history of perfume and the original bottles are jealously conserved in private and public collections (i.e. Perfume Museum Barcelona, Spain; Int. Museum of Perfume, Grasse, France).
The Perfume Encyclopaedia records a number of different versions of “Chypre Coty” until 1970, when perfumes of the Chypre family began to be presented with fancy names to follow the rules of fashion that runs under novelties, while the basic composition even if reinterpreted every time, remained faithful to the “Chypre” nuance invented by Francois Coty.