Second Sunday Samples: Teo Cabanel Les Expressions Parfumées

Are you familiar with this house?

If you’ve been at this hobby for longer than 5-7 years, most likely, you’ve heard about at least one of their perfumes: Alahine. It is great. I mean, it was great. I haven’t tried the newest version, but according to the update in Kafka’s glorious review of this perfume, at some point around 2017 it had been poorly reformulated. I also suspect that it has been reformulated again since then, who knows for better or for worse, so probably most of the reviews you can find now online would describe some of the versions that you won’t get today anyway. Which means that you’ll have to try it yourself.

Teo Cabanel brand’s story is interesting. I won’t repeat what you might read on their site, if you are curious, I just wanted to mention that it seems like the brand keeps trying to find its “it” for the last 100+ years of intermittent history.

The chapter of their classical perfumes – Alahine, Early Roses, Julia, Oha, etc. – is over. As I mentioned, I’m not sure how well all of these survived the reformulations, but I’m glad they haven’t just discontinued all of them and started over. Instead, they pivoted.

This summer I saw Teo Cabanel’s campaign for their new perfumes and got curious. These newest perfumes were created not by the same in-house perfumer who authored the brand’s first 10 perfumes (Jean-François Latty). Patrice Revillard is the nose behind Ça Boum, Et Voilà, Je Ne Sais Quoi and Oh Là Là; Rendez Vous and Très French were done by Marie Schnirer. I haven’t tried any other perfumes from these two perfumers, so I had no expectations one way or the other.

Rusty and Teo Cabanel Samples

These perfumes clearly target the younger demography but not in the mainstream sense: none of these is fruity floral; none is too sweet. The bottles are simpler than those for their earlier perfumes, but they look nice and clean, at least on the picture. Prices are lower than for the original line. And the brand makes a point mentioning that they use good raw materials, but that they also use synthetics where it’s appropriate. I think most niche perfumes these days are made either in France on in the country native to the brand, so I’m not sure how much of a distinction it gives to Teo Cabanel that they proudly announce that they produce their perfumes in France. What does impress me is that they claim: “90% of our components are French and the remaining 10% are Italian.”

Ca Boum

Top notes: salty & iodized notes, Sand Lily; middle notes: rose absolute, jasmine absolute; base notes: green vanilla, immortelle

As much as I like lilies (flowers), this note in perfumes never works for me. And prominent jasmine is rarely my thing too. But if you are a fan of these two, Ca Boum might be right up your alley.

Et Voila

Top notes: neroli, aldehydes, clean accord; middle notes: white flowers, heliotrope, rose; base notes: white musk cocktail, sandalwood.

It smells too soapy on my skin, so I won’t consider wearing it. But I’m sure that Et Voila will have its following.

Rusty and Teo Cabanel Samples

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Top notes: puffed rice; middle notes: maté, violet leaf, matcha tea; base notes: guaiac wood, Tolu balm, vetiver Haiti, sandalwood.

I think this perfume is named aptly. It is very unusual. If you can survive the opening (or if it doesn’t bother you to start with), you might find Je Ne Sais Quoi interesting.

Oh Là Là

Top notes: hazelnut, saffron; middle notes: tobacco, iris; base notes: tonka bean, sandalwood, white musks.

I think that the notes sound a lot better than perfume smells. Believe it or not, I’m saying it not as criticism. I want to tame your expectations because I like Oh La La, and I know from experience that with lower expectations there’s a better chance to like what you test. It is not gourmand but has that slight dessert vibe in the opening. The iris is powdery, not earthy. And drydown is lactonic and somewhat creamy. I’m thinking about getting a small bottle of it.

Rusty and Teo Cabanel Samples

Très French

Top notes: crunchy pear, peony; middle notes: lily of the valley, Sambac jasmine, Crystal clear notes; base notes: sandalwood, benzoin, vetiver Haiti, white musks.

Lily of the valley, while being “very French,” for me is a deal breaker in this perfume: I really dislike it. And in this case, it’s not a question of lily of the valley being an artificial cheap ingredient (these are not expensive perfumes, and some of LotV’s perfumes are quite nice). I actually do not like the particular representation of lily of the valley in this perfume, and I cannot get past it. But you might.

Rendez Vous

Top notes: mimosa, violet leaf, almond; middle notes: violet, rose, jasmine, orange blossom; base notes: white musks, vanilla, tonka bean.

I thought I’d finish on a high note. I like Rendez Vous very much. I know, I’m not objective: I love mimosa. And I immensely enjoy this perfume in development: it’s very cozy, warm and sunny.

Even though I have many other mimosa perfumes in my collection, I think there is space there for one more. Conveniently, Teo Cabanel makes all perfumes from this line in nice 30 ml bottles.

Rusty and Teo Cabanel Samples

Currently, on the brand’s site you can get the complete set (16 1.5 ml samples) for 25 euro + S&H. And they offer that 25 euro as a voucher for future purchase of any full-size bottle. Shipping to the US isn’t too friendly (15 euro), but even with that ~$45 for 16 manufacturer samples including delivery isn’t that bad.

 

Images: my own

21 thoughts on “Second Sunday Samples: Teo Cabanel Les Expressions Parfumées

  1. I I’m have a bottle of Alahine that I bought in a Facebook group – original clear glass. It’s glorious. I got the sample set of this new line – enjoyed most, but not motivated to buy any. I did grab a travel size of Cafe Cabanel, which was the last release from the primary line.

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  2. Thanks for writing about these new ones. I’ve been curious. Many years ago I had samples of the original line, and a decant of Alahine. I always meant to pick it up but then, as happened about ten years ago, suddenly it was gone. But then it was back, and I didn’t trust it would be the same. I used to chase a vintage bottle, but now I just have so much perfume, I find it easier to let the old ones go and move on!

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  3. Ooh La La and Rendezvous were my favorites from the newer offerings, too. Ca Boum was my least favorite. I did not work on my skin at all. In general I like the house of Teo Cabanel very much. The older perfumes were and still are beautiful and expertly crafted. The newer ones are also good and the price points are excellent.

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  4. What? You mean my little Alahine mini is no longer going to smell like that if I want to re-purchase? :( I hate reformulations.
    Haven’t tried the new ones, and now not sure that I want to. :) Resentment is present. ;)

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  5. I’ve tried all their older inventory with no success–but did end up purchasing their fabulous leopard print scarf! Very likely I will probably mosey over to their website at some point and pick up samples of the new offerings anyway.

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  6. Great that you found one worthy of a FB! I ordered a set from way back, when the perfumes came in the skinny test tubes. Over time, I have them away without trying them. FOr what it’s worth, I had since acquired a decant of Alahine although once again, I have not worn it. I suppose this line leaves me cold without any reason that I can pinpoint and now it seems that reformulation got to it and it seems not worth it to put it on my to try radar. Thanks for taking one for the team!

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  7. I have Alahine vintage, plus Barkhane and Café Cabanel. In the past I had Oha and Julia. The sample scent sounds good but I didn’t want to spend the $$ since I don’t need more perfume and probably wouldn’t fall madly in love with any of them. If they had a US distributor I would be more likely to sample.

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  8. I am one of those who have been long enough in the game to remember Alahine, which used to be a fine amber. I think you gave me a bunch of the others in the line, some of which I may still have. They had gold lettering on the labels, which ran off the vial and out to the side. Of this newest range, I am drawn like you to the mimosa one, but that is probably it. I did smile though at the inclusion of “puffed rice” in one scent and “crunchy pear” in another. However do you convey the crunchy aspect in olfactory terms? ;)

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    • I didn’t look twice: I thought that “crunchy pear” was something like “prickly pear” (which isn’t a pear at all :) ).

      Those golden labels were their first samples. All those perfumes have been re-packaged, I think, 3 times already, so, most likely, they were reformulated as many times as well.

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