Cabotine (Parfums Grès)

I'll keep this short and sweet, as I'm reserving a fuller review of this sort of scent for that which Cabotine copied - Creed's Fantasia de Fleurs. My belief is that Creed does green florals better than anyone. Still, this once-expensive French designer perfume is a real beauty, and in my opinion is deserving of a comeback.

I gave Country Chic, Alien, and CK Shock for Her second (and third) tries the other day, but Cabotine was the first thing I tried, and remains the only scent that I genuinely liked. Call me a contrarian, but this does not deserve the label "nasty floral." It doesn't deserve accolades either, but almost nothing does. Cabotine's fresh ginger and hyacinth opening is made a bit odd by extra-fatty aldehydes, which seem to illuminate and aerate its denser floral drydown. The initial burst of Chinese-style ginger is particularly bright and clean. Hints of hyacinth keep things fresh as ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, and lily notes emerge and intensify, resulting in a pretty floral that is mercifully light on that dreaded fruity calone molecule.

This perfume is reputedly about the Himalayan ginger lily, a flower so rare and short-lived that for a long time chemists were unable to replicate the aromatic molecule responsible for its scent. Then along came a chemist who captured some molecules from a living flower. He studied them, and was able to recreate the scent molecules for Cabotine. Yeah. Right. But it's a nice story. What do I think? I think there are a few sweet, dirt-cheap aroma chemicals stacked alongside an inexpensive-but-effective ginger aroma chemical, and the rest of the work went into the absurd ginger lily story. I admire companies that come up with these fascinating stories for their fragrances. It shows they care. About what? I have no idea.

There are stages in Cabotine where the scent veers away from fine fragrance and into room-freshener territory, but this is a $16 perfume, after all. What saves it for me is its sheer ginger, jasmine, and rose notes, which seem to presage the aquatic jasmine in Calice Becker's Tommy Girl. Cabotine is quite nice, and I see a bottle in my future. Speaking of which - I really love the bottle. Yeah, it's a touch feminine and has a crazy green plastic cap, but when I pretend the cap is glass it strikes me as being a uniquely modern design. Eh, what can I say? I'm a weirdo.


  1. Oh goody, blogger may actually let us Wordpress folks comment again. For weeks it hasn't been allowing it, so I can only comment on Blogger blogs with the name/url option enabled.

    Anyway, I've still been reading. Recap of the comments I'd like to have left: lovely post on Shalimar, shame about those terrible forums, totally agree about the Gres bottles - I have a bottle of Floralisme almost entirely because I love the bottle so much.

  2. I'm so glad you're back! I did an overview on the comment issue and couldn't really figure out what the problem was. Sorry about that!

    You know, I think some scents would be utterly disposable if it weren't for the bottles. Sometimes the packaging is just so good you have to have it. Gres gets guff in the blogosphere, but it's hard to fault some of their bottle designs. Really enjoying your blog btw, and love the new look on there.


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