Ok, I don't think that 'oakmossy' is actually a word, but so what. Oakmoss has been in the press and in the perfume blogs quite a bit recently and it is no surprise to any of us that this pedigree perfume ingredient is in danger of disappearing from the majority of, if not all, perfumes, classic or otherwise.
I'm not going to write about that, relevant as it is. On Monday I went up to town at lunch to get a sandwich, as I do most working days. On my way to the shops I got stuck behind an elderly lady who was giving off the most hefty sillage of chypre, laden with seriously old school oakmoss. I could be wrong, but there is a very good chance she was wearing something of a venerable vintage, being the age she was, no ageist prejudice intended. A little while later I walked behind another lady, probably middle-aged, who was also wearing what smelled like a vintage age chypre, again with a lot of oakmoss, but not quite as strong as the first. On my way back from the shops, I passed a lady who was probably in her early forties and this time I detected a more modern style chypre, smelling like it could be a Chanel from the Exclusifs range, but I could be wrong of course.
This story probably comes across a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but the main reason I'm telling it is because I was so surprised to encounter three ladies wearing chypres, let alone a couple that reeked of proper, heavy oakmoss. Its no exaggeration to say that I possibly only smell oakmoss once or twice a year in Tunbridge Wells, let alone three times in one hour!
My story doesn't really have a point, I suppose, but I must say it was a pleasure to smell the sillage of the first lady in particular and pleasing to see that chypres and good old oakmoss aren't dead, at least not yet. I wonder what the elderly lady would do with her bottle of perfume? Do you think she would pass it down to her daughter, granddaughter or niece? Or would it just be thrown on the trash pile when sadly, she may come to pass one day? Who knows. What I do know is that this smell, full of character and brio, could be a thing of the past faster than we can say oakmoss!