I was lucky enough to recently win a giveaway organized by the house of Teo Cabanel in which I got to choose a fragrance of my choice as the giveaway prize. Since I wasn’t familiar with their fragrances up to that point, the team was kind enough to send me a sample package before making a decision. The set included seven samples: Tres French, Randez Vous, Et Voila, Oh La La, Ca Boum, Ja Ne Sais Quoi and Cafe Cabanel.
For those of you not familiar with this house, it is a French perfume house now managed by Caroline Ilacqua who working with their in-house perfumer Jean-François Latty developed a new approach to creating fragrances using the original 150 perfume formulas she inherited. Some fragrances were also made in collaboration with perfumers such as Cecile Zarokian, Patrice Revillard and Marie Schnirer.
Now, onto the fragrances, I was able to smell. I have to start by saying that the quality of the ingredients and blending is exceptional and it shines in the delicate nature of different layers as the notes reveal themselves throughout the life of these perfumes.
Tres French – Comes across as fresh, clean, and floral. It is centred around the recognizable note of lily of the valley but there is nothing dated about it. It is done beautifully and in a modern way, still very elegant and French. Peony and juicy pear in the opening are balanced by an almost green nuance. Very spring and summer for me. As it dries down it becomes softer with the base of florals, musk and woods. If you love classic beauty, clean, elegant, feminine leaning fragrances, this is the one for you.
Randez Vous – This is a powdery floral that on the first spray reminded me of something but at the same time smelled very unique. The opening is very uplifting with a powdery, sweet and bright mimosa. I was excited for the almond note but unfortunately couldn’t smell it, or at least not in the traditional sense I am used to smelling it in other fragrances. The mimosa quickly lost the battle to jasmin and orange blossom, and these two notes became the most prominent on my skin. It still remained bright and uplifting, there was nothing indolic or heady about the floral notes, they were done beautifully and lingered on until the dry down which brought a more musky accord. This is the one for mimosa and white floral lovers.
Et Voila – Is the ultilate “clean laundry” scent. This could possibly be the best one I have smelled in this category and is the type of the scent that people will compliment you on not necessarily because they like your fragrance but because you simply smell good. It is essentially a modern aldehydic fragrance with powdery heliotrope and very nicely implemented creamy sandalwood that adds a warm and smooth touch. There is definitely some musk in here as well and comes across as clean and fluffy. This is the one to wear when you want to smell good but don’t want to wear a perfume.
Oh La La – This is another favorite of mine. This one is warm, cozy and woody. Sandalwood is the most prominent note on my skin but there is nothing sharp about it; it is the creamiest and warmest sandalwood accord that I have come across. Dusty hazelnut and iris contribute to that comforting feeling that envelops me every time I spray this on. Despite hazelnut, I don’t find this gourmand but I do find it perfect for a cozy night in. This is the one for lovers of sandalwood and soft, comforting scents. This is also the one to be tested on the skin since my experience has been that I found it just “nice” on the tester strip but once sprayed on the skin I thought it was amazing.
Ca Boum – A powdery, floral vanilla with a salty touch. The salt accord in this one is quite controversial. I personally didn’t get any salt in the way I am used to that note being used in perfumery. On my skin it translated to a feeling of dusty, dry beach sand and that is the best way I have to describe it. It wasn’t a scent for me it was a sensation. What I got in terms of scent was a floral, airy vanilla and white lily combination. It is light and easy to wear but this one is another one to test on the skin because I generally find the salt note to react differently with different body chemistries and can easily make or break the fragrance. This is the one for those of you who love light, airy beachy vanillas.
Je Ne Sais Quoi – This was mind blowing. A gourmand without vanilla. Sweet, smooth and savory. Perfectly balanced. In the opening there is the most realistic note of warm, steamed rice mixing with something nutty that reminded me of roasted almonds. It was very comforting and definitely gourmand but not in a sweet way, simply in a “reminiscent of food” way. Don’t get me wrong, there is sweetness to it, but it feels natural, this is not a sugar bomb, this is a very balanced sweet and savory experience. The savory facets that I mention as well as a slight green, herbal notes must be coming from matcha and mate while the dry down bring more of a soft, smooth l, woody elements to the composition. With everything said, this is still extremely wearable and could easily be an everyday scent. This is a must try for anyone open to trying something new and unique.
Cafe Cabanel – This is my current fall favorite. Opening of fresh, dark roasted coffee beans is sweetened by caramel and milk and some warm spices. Cinnamon is the most prominent to my nose in this phase. Later stages create a more buttery, smooth experience where you can almost feel the texture of the fragrance instead of just smelling it. It has warmth and depth to it and it makes a perfect autumn choice. It envelopes you in a warm, sweet, and smooth aura that still manages to be elegant. This is the one for fall lovers, for all of us who love camel coats and rust red sweaters, and warm, deep, smooth fragrances.
When it comes to a scent profile, personal preferences will always play a big role in choosing the fragrance and I truly hope you find this guide helpful because the quality of ingredients and the mastership of blending the same in a very innovative and unique way makes them worth exploring further.
All of the fragrances mentioned in this article are available in several sizes on the brand’s website as is a full sample set.