digging (into) vintage: Prescriptives Calyx, 1986

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calyx 2

(image source horsejocks.blogspot)

Perfumer Sophia Grojsman.

Calyx presaged the fruity floral era, and if considered as a fruity floral is among the most beautiful of the genre. But to my mind Calyx occupies a specific place in the evolution of the fruity-floral chypre. If Dior Diorella is a certain distance further down the road from its predecessor Eau Sauvage then Calyx is further still on the same trajectory. It shares the gorgeous dissonance that makes both Diorella and Cristalle so beguiling. It gets there differently, though. Cristalle and especially Diorella find a fruit that’s just a bit too ripe. Fruit that’s at the point of jumping from sweet in taste to boozily aromatic in scent. Just a half step from turned.

Diorella smells of both lemon and melon. Calyx, true to its Big ’80s origin creates a frankenfruit of guava-mango-passion fruit. It doesn’t need to be over-ripe. It is simply effusive in the way ripe tropical fruit often is. Take the metafruit and add just the right rose, powdery but not too sweet. Then ground it in a bittersweet moss-labdanum chypre base and you have one of the most expansive fruity chypres you’ll ever smell.

The fruit remains present at drydown and is dominant in both the top and heart notes. In this respect, Calyx is the fruitiest chypre you’re likely to meet. Others have referred to the fruit note as synthetic. I’m sure it is, but no more or less so than Diorella’s melon or Rochas Femme’s plum. Calyx’s drydown is similar to Diorella’s in that it is classically mossy and austere with the phantom-lushnesss of the fruit remaining. A little smart decadence to get you through the day.


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