Friday, September 10, 2010

Parfums Grès - Cabochard

A once beautiful woman

Cabochard, the first perfume from the fashion house of Grès, was released in 1959 and had it's 50th anniversary in 2009. I've never smelled the original juice, just the modern bottle I bought this year in a discount store. It's too bad. Luca Turin, in Perfumes, The Guide, says "Cabochard was once the greatest leather chypre of all."

One of the things I find most interesting in the history of Cabochard is that Madame Grès originally wanted to release a lighter, floral perfume, but was convinced to go with the leathery, green-chypre because the more popular perfumes then on the market were stronger, like Bandit. What a change from the way things are today! How I wish that things were now as they were then and more perfumes like Cabochard were being released.

Cabochard uses the same chemical, isobutyl quinoline, to create its leather note that Bandit and Cuir de Russie both use.  In Cabochard, the leather is much softer and  it has less (almost no discernable) oakmoss. I like the soft tobacco and leather notes that I catch in my sillage, but these two notes seem to hover over a green base that, when I sniff closely, is thin and a little synthetic smelling.

My husband says he smells dandelions, which I think means he is smelling the tobacco and green notes, combined to make him think of sweet green weeds.

I don't think it's bad. I'd rather wear it than any of the water lily, peony, melon perfumes on the market, and most of the patchroses as well. But Cabochard is not as wickedly beautiful as it must once have been.

House: Parfums Grès
Nose: Bernard Chant
Notes: Galbanum, ylang ylang, rose, jasmine, oak moss, vetiver, musk, patchouli.

Photo: Madame Alix Grès, for Harper's Bazaar, February 1964


  1. In the unlikely event that someone took a gun to my head and said to choose ten perfumes I'd be stuck with the rest of my life,vintage Cabochard would make the list. I wore this a ton in the Eighties (presumably before it was neutered by reformulation). It was so unique and so sexy!

    I haven't had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with it since it was, well, neutered/reformulated. But I can say - the vintage stuff was - stunning.

    Why, oh why do they have to kill or destroy all those glorious perfumes we've loved?

  2. tarleisio: I feel your pain! And I will now be on the lookout for vintage Cabochard. I guess vintage is all we have anymore.

  3. Wearing the reformulated Cabochard, one can almost imagine what the original was like. Still, I agree with you - it's more interesting that much of what is on the market now.

  4. This is one of the main perfumes released in the year I was born, and someone kindly gave me a bottle on the occasion of my 50th birthday, knowing it wasn't my thing at all, but thinking I should own it anyway!

    Generous decants available on application....

    "A Once Beautiful Woman"? LOL!

  5. Flittersniffer: Oh dear, and STILL beautiful, I'll bet. But you give me a great idea for a column, how about perfumes for birthdays? I am going to have to order a sample of CB I Hate Perfume's Greenbriar 1968.


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