Thursday, May 28, 2009

In which I admit to loving Cabotine de Gres

I think about perfume altogether too much. In one of my most recent ruminations, I decided that it’s somewhat uncool to admire certain perfumes created between 1985 and the present unless they’re from infamous houses like Guerlain or Chanel or unless they’re niche.

There are lots of great mainstream fragrances created between 1985 and today that just don’t get much respect. Take for instance, a perfume launched in 1989; this was 20 years ago, its too recent to be considered classic yet far enough in the past to seem dated, and it potentially reminds us of high school or of some other person or time in our lives. There are so many fragrances that I feel slightly ashamed of adoring that were created during this time period. For instance, Amarige (shame), Byblos (shame), Diva (shame), Poison (shame), Rochas Byzance (shame), Cristobal by Balenciaga (shame) Dior Dune (shame)...you get the picture.

Cabotine de Gres, 1990, is one of these shameful perfumes for me. But I’m coming out and admitting that I love Cabotine. Even in the face of LT’s review in The Guide, which gives it 1 star and a 2 word sum-up of “nasty floral.”

Cabotine de Gres actually reminds me of LouLou. No, it doesn’t smell anything like LouLou, but it has that “LouLou style,” a certain unmistakeably potent and dramatic femininity. Cabotine is a bright, green, fresh, gingery floral. I’ve read that Cabotine is and ode to ginger lily, though I have never smelled an actual ginger lily flower and an online search confused me more than anything as to exactly what a ginger lily looks and smells like.

According to basenotes, Cabotine's listed notes are the following:
Top – peach, plum, cassie, tagete, green notes, coriander
Middle – ylang-ylang, rose, tuberose, jasmine, heliotrope, orris, carnation
Base – cedar, vetiver, musk, tonka bean, amber, vanilla, civet

After reading this list of notes, I don’t find Cabotine particularly sweet or fruity, nor do I think it smells like a sum of it’s parts. Cabotine is a synthetic (as opposed to realistic & natural) perfumey aroma – it hits you like a wall of Cabotine. To me, it’s a green floral with a slight ginger and carnation-spice quality. Cabotine is abstract and linear, it starts off exactly the way it ends up, 18 hours later or at the point of your next shower. Cabotine was created by Jean-Claude Delville and as I scan his list of work I think Cabotine is probably his best. Delville also created Clinique’s Happy (surely a best-seller) and Paris Hiltons’ Can Can (sigh). Admittedly, Cabotine does have an element of “fabric softener clean,” but I love it nonetheless. It’s still a unique fragrance even if there’s a hint of fabric softener.

So, there you have it – I love Cabotine. It’s fresh, it’s green, it’s unique, and it’s cheap. I even have 3 tubes of the shower gel, which makes for a zesty shower, and the body lotion.

And the bottle is fantastic, which is, apparently, a green afro-head of flowers.

26 comments:

Dimitri said...

Another Cabotine fan here... a staple of my wife's and a scent I treasure as it brings back many happy thoughts from the mid-late 90's. Great blog.
/Dimitri

chayaruchama said...

Honey-
Save that shame for something really worthwhile.

You needn't be a Carmelite about your tastes, LOL.

No apologies needed !
MWAH.

scenthive said...

I'll out myself with you. I love Cabotine as well. I never wear it, but I do love to smell it on other people.

I still have a bottle, and maybe I should give it a spritz in this warmer weather?

~Trish

Abigail said...

Dimitri,
Me, too. Cabotine reminds me of the summer I graduated from college. I was still blissfully ignorant then.
Chaya,
I can't help the shame! Everyone is always waxing poetic about high end fragrances. But most of the time I find myself perfectly happy with TJMaxx finds :-)
Scenthive,
It's perfect in this warm weather. 2 spritzes will do ya for an entire day, too. And I just love the bottle - it's both dramatically elegant and silly.

Tammy said...

Well, I shall shame myself completely, and admit to never having heard of it, and also that it sounds lovely! And I will see your Cabotine, and raise you one Lauren. Loved it 20 years ago, still love it.

Abigail said...

Oh, Tammy, Lauren is classy - not shameful in the least. I have a bottle and I remember it fondly. Lauren brings back high school memories. The girls wore Lauren and the boys (football players) wore POLO.

pyramus said...

What have you to be ashamed about? You picked some great eighties scents! Byblos, Diva, Byzance, Poison, and Dune were all terrific, and so were Obsession, KL, Boucheron, Fendi, Colors, Knowing, and lots of others. Sure, they were mostly outsized, but that's just the way it was back then.

Joe said...

I'm once again late to this party, but just thought I'd add that I received a sample of Cabotine the other day in a swap (at my request!), tried it yesterday, and I kind of love it! It's not over the top at all, but a very nice floral (LouLou is another story -- I bought a mini extrait a couple months back and ... oh-lalalalala!).

I'm considering a 1oz bottle of Cabotine for $10... and it's not the price that's making me vacillate, don't worry; it's wondering whether I'd ever spray it on more than once. But really, it's lovely stuff, and if I continue thinking that way as I drain my sample, I may just click that "buy" button.

Abigail said...

Joe,

Isn't Cabotine somethin'?! I love it.

And LouLou...that's in my top 5 of all time.

I just bought LouLou in parfum concentration. Oddly, there's less sillage and it's slightly different. I prefer the edp after all, but I love the little bottle.

Joe said...

I love the little bottle too, and that's really why I bought it...

Really, Cabotine is just great, (and what, one-eighth the price of the latest insipid thing?) so let's continuie to spread the love and convince everyone how good it is!

A.M. said...

Cabotine has been my favorite for so long, I can't remember ever wearing anything else and still haven't found anything I like better, especially at its price....Additionally, I invariably get asked what scent I'm wearing....when you find a good thing, you stick with it and so I have and will!

Anonymous said...

I, too, love Cabotine—although I don't wear it terribly often. I live in the dry, cruel, desert and it smells best on the hottest and driest days. I learned, however, that on a humid or rainy warm day, it gives me a horrible headache, so I check the weather report before I spritz.

Elle said...

Could you please tell me where I can find Cabotine de Gres? It reminds me of my grandmother, and I would love to buy a bottle. I live in NYC - anyone know where I can find it around here?

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Just bought a bottle in our T 'K' Maxx in wet and windy Scotland and found your review - have heard of this scent but never tried it till today - I love it. And I don't feel ashamed of it at all either - Normally I wear vintage Arpege and L'Heure Bleue when I can find it on eBay at an affordable price, but this is lovely and reminds me of a very happy time in my life!

Anonymous said...

I have been wearing Cabotine since 1992 when it was a gift from my husband during our first year of marriage. I have worn it almost exclusively all this time and have begin to feel ashamed myself at its datedness. But I often get wonderful compliments and all my forays into different scents have yet to yield a comparable stable signature piece. Thanks for coming out of the closet and making this Texas girl feel good.

Anonymous said...

It was a spur of the moment purchase at the airport..The fragrance bowled me over..it's fresh, sweet and flowery!!

Stella said...

A beautiful perfume, I am so happy I have discovered it. I shall never be without it now. It is suitable for all occasions and I shall recommend it to my friends .

Anonymous said...

A French boyfriend bought me Cabotine in 1992 and I'm still wearing it now (it lasted longer than the boyfriend, lol).

Anonymous said...

I have nursed my bottle of it since 2009, the last time I was in England. I love it and will replace it.

What's with the perfume shame ? I can think of many other things to be ashamed of, but a choice of scent ? I don't get it !

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine wears Cabotine and gave me a mostly used bottle. I went to purchase a replacement and found multiple cheap knock offs on Amazon and such. I purchased it from a Parfumerie in Seattle..........it reminds me of Beautiful by Estee Lauder. Anyway......I paid $84 for it and probably too much but the store was lovely. Parfumerie Nasreen in Seattle...........she has an amazing selection of hard to find fragrances.

Gin said...

I was given a bottle as a present back in '98 or so. I'm not usually into flowery scents but I love it! I am thrilled to find out that the same person created happy as I like that one also.

Alex said...

I feel the same as many on here who have said that Cabotine is their signature scent for which they have yet to find something comparable. I have been wearing it almost every day since I was in college in 1994 and still get compliments regularly. People always tell me that they think of me when they smell it and it makes me so happy to hear. There is no shame in loving this sweet, fragrant, beautiful, graceful perfume!

Deborah said...

I love the "heavy" lingering scent of Cabotine....I just purchased two new large lovely bottles at Bealls Department Store in Florida at a great price...I love Coco Channel, White Shoulders and sensual florals....tropical gingers are a passion of mine...I instantly felt the presence of lily when I first sprayed and smelt my new to me perfume today..

Deborah Leigh

eviltwit said...

Hi:) I am an American living in NZ and am allergic to most perfumes. I have been using the Body Shot lotions almost exclusively for many, many years. After 20 years, I walked into a perfume shop in Wellington and smell tested about 25 perfumes. Everything smelled so chemically, until I got to the Cabotine (which I realize is synthetic). But, I thought it smelled lovely - and I am usually not a floral person, but at the same time, I am not really a perfume person either. The next day, I went back and tried the Cabotine again, and I couldn't get the scent out of my head. So, I bought the bottle. When I put it on, it ended up smelling on me a little of the ginger floral and a little musky. I can't stop smelling it on the inside of my wrist. I just adore the scent. So, I do not care if I am supposed to be ashamed of it, I absolutely have found my signature scent (at almost 40 years old) that isn't so expensive, I can't use it on a regular basis, if I so wish. Great blog.

Busybee said...

I too am a lover of Cabotine I'm not sure wat draws me too it other than the scent I purchased my first bottle at tj maxx on a perfume rum me and a girlfriend usta do..it's inexpensive smells great and I'm not ashamed of it lol..takes a lot to shame me..also wanted to say if you like Cabotine try zharah from fashion fair its discontinued now but a company called scent matches.com

paige goodings said...

I was working on a till in a store and a gentlemen whispered to me asking g what I was wearing,he said that he thought it was the most beautiful smell and was going straight into town to buy his wife some! I always get a comment evrytime I wear it but never do when I wear the expensive ones!just goes to show!