Mitsouko is preserved in its original 1919 formulation in the archives of the Osmothèque, donated to the collection by Jean-Paul Guerlain. It has been re-formulated several times in the modern era.
There is no definitive information on the origin of the name. One account of the origin of the name is that it was inspired by the name of the heroine of Claude Farrère's novel La bataille (The Battle). The novel is set in Japan during the Russo-Japanese War, and chronicles a fictional amour fou between a British Navy Officer and one "Mitsouko", the wife of Fleet Admiral Baron Tōgō Heihachirō. Both Togo and the British officer sail to war, and Mitsouko awaits with reserve to see which of the two will return alive to her. The other possibility is that it was inspired by the story of Mitsuko Aoyama, the mother of Richard Nikolaus Graf Coudenhove-Kalergi.