Random vintage perfume bidding on eBay has led me to some great finds. A few weeks ago, I bid on two vintage Coty micro-minis: Paris (1921) and Styx (1911). I paid less than five bucks for both of them — and they are pristine!
Of the two, Styx is by far my favorite. I pulled out Emeraude (1927), L'Aimant (1927), and L'Origan (1905) for comparison, since Styx seems to share their genetic code of creaminess, gentle sweetness and the je ne sais quoi golden Coty touch. It's closest to L'Origan, particularly in its striking violet note, but with an added dark side, befitting a perfume that invokes the river snaking between earth and the underworld Hades.
I couldn't find the notes for Styx, or any information at all, really, but I'm going to take a stab at it and say that it might have the following notes: bergamot, ylang-ylang, a violet note (methyl ionone as L'Origan has?), orris, amber, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, musk.
Emeraude was sparkling and surprisingly civety (I hadn't sniffed it in a while). L'Aimant was softly radiant, and L'Origan was rich and powdery sweet. Styx had an incensey, spicy quality woven into its L'Origan likeness of bright bergamot and ylang-ylang followed by by violet, vanilla, creamy orris and musk. (I would be very surprised if it didn't have patchouli.)
Bois de Jasmin has said that the novelty of L'Origan was its combination of essential oils and new synthetics such as nitromusks, coumarin, vanillin, and methyl ionone, which imparts a woody/violet scent. That heady base is definitely recognizable in Styx, with the violet note quite prominent from the beginning.
Is Styx a Floriental? An Oriental? Is there oakmoss here, which is part of the spiciness, darkness and richness I smell, putting it somewhere between an Oriental and a Chypre? It's hard to say, as I am not an expert nose, but I will say that its moody darkness makes it one of my favorite Cotys, and perhaps, next to Chypre de Coty, one of the most modern of his early 20th century perfumes. On a cold, rainy day like I'm experiencing in New Orleans today, Styx is more like heaven than hell.