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Perfumer Aurélien Guichard
Chinatown is a floral, fruity chypre of the new school. It could easily fall into other categories (gourmand, fruity-floral, floriental) but this all-things-to-all-noses bit is a tribute to the creative wealth of the chypre genre. The opening of Chinatown gives it all to you. Flower (indoles from orange blossom,) fruit (peachy plum) bitterness (oakmoss) resin (incense.) In the heartnotes, the florals peel away as the dried fruit becomes dominant. The fruit holds on even as the incense becomes the key drydown note. A very simple, tidy progression.
Chinatown compares well with the biggies in the dark fruity chypres genre (Guerlain Mitsouko, Dior Diorella, YSL Y) but stays cool and detached where the others melt into the skin. The quality of the smokiness, not leathery, not bitter, tell me that incense is used to replace the IFRA-verbotten oakmoss. Does this mean that Chinatown isn’t a True Chypre? Categorically, I suppose not, but it sits alongside Rochas Femme and Amouage Jubilation 25 and I can think of worse perfume turf. Chinatown might be seen as an exercise in the reinvention of the chypre, but it is also a perfectly pitched woody floral. It doesn’t smell like an attempt at anything. It smells like a successful invention.