Mainstream Monday: Sniffing a Popular Perfume
Grès was a French haute couture fashion house by Germaine Émilie Krebs, later known as Madame Grès. This fashion house is the epitome of decades of Old Hollywood drama – drapery, hoods, capes, dramatic sleeves… Cabochard, the house’s first perfume, was inspired by trips to India – sandalwood and salt air. It may be inspired by India but it’s evocative of French perfumery and fashion of the time. It’s more like a casino in Monaco.
Cabochard is a musty green scent with galbanum, salty vetiver and oak moss. It’s a green leather chypre from the beginning. Citrus aldehydes are in the opening but they fizzle within a few minutes before Cabochard embraces its signature darkness. The heart includes thorny roses and somber florals being consumed by dirt and moss. Animalic leather and smoldering tobacco are in the background, reminding me of a vintage poker room. The dry-down is a mossy, dirty, animalic leather-patchouli with a sharp sandalwood.
I imagine the classic “femme fatale” wearing Cabochard, walking through an elegant casino in a dramatic evening gown. The air is filled with cigar smoke and French perfume. Cabochard could fit into so many film noirs or even “film gris”. It’s dark and bitter, so iconic.
I’ve reviewed the modern formula. I expected for it to be horrible, as many from this era that are still available have been reworked into unwearable messes (see my Worth Paris post). Well, I was surprised. Cabochard is excellent. It’s a leather chypre that reminds me of “greener” Clinique Aromatics Elixir and a “softer/smoother” Piguet Bandit. I’m sure the vintage is much better but considering that you can find a bottle of the modern version for about $20, I’m not complaining. This is one gorgeous perfume, especially for the price.
Notes listed include galbanum, ylang ylang, rose, jasmine, oak moss, vetiver, musk and patchouli. Launched 1959. PERFUMER – Bernard Chant
Give it a try if you like leather chypres. Or if you like perfumes like Estee Lauder Azuree, Natori EDP, Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Balmain Jolie Madame, Piguet Bandit and/or Paco Rabanne La Nuit. Being a leather chypre, it’s unisex. It’s a must-try if you are attracted to vintage fragrances.
Projection and longevity are above average.
The 3.3 oz EDP retails for about $20 at Fragrancenet. I also see it chain drugstores.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – A dark and bitter green leather chypre. I love it. And if you are attracted to vintage fragrances, you’ve got to try it.
Want more reviews? Try…
Yesterday’s Perfume – Review of the vintage
The Scented Hound – Review of the vintage
*Perfume purchased by me. Product pic from Basenotes. Sunny Harnett wearing Grès from Harper’s Bazaar 1954 (from Styleite). Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!