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

Body Heat: Perfumes under Extreme Temperatures

There are people who love running, playing tennis or swimming. I heard they can experience a withdrawal if they have to skip several training sessions. It’s not my story. I hate exercising as long as I can remember myself. I do engage in different activities but do it out of the necessity only: if I could get Kathleen Turner’s body and don’t worry about my health without exercising I wouldn’t (I wonder which perfume bottle she’s holding in that scene).

Kathleen Turner in Body HeatWell, since a lean gene wasn’t one of those passed to me from my parents I do my part in at least keeping myself healthy.

At least as much as physical activity, if not more, I dislike heat. I don’t like cold either.  My comfortable zone is somewhere around 24°C (75°F).

All that makes it hard to explain why out of all available types of physical activities I chose Bikram yoga – a system of yoga practiced in a room heated to 40°C (105°F). I’ve been practicing Bikram yoga (with some breaks) for 18 months. I still hate every minute of a 90 minutes class. But I plan to keep doing it.

For me yoga is just an exercise. I do not subscribe to the philosophy. If I follow the breathing instructions I do it only if it helps to maintain the posture. I do not try to clear my mind and concentrate on what I’m doing. I’m not pushing myself too hard. I’m just trying to survive. One of the things that help me through the class is thinking about perfumes – about which I read or plan to write or which I want to try.

For a long time I tried not to wear any perfumes to my classes thinking they wouldn’t perform well in high heat or would bother me or my neighbors. And then one day I didn’t think about the class I had scheduled in the evening. I wore a perfume to the office and even re-applied it mid-day. By the time I started the first breathing exercise I forgot about it. And when my body heated up enough suddenly the perfume started blooming on my skin. It was magical. It was much more interesting than what I experienced earlier that day with the same perfume. It was Serge LutensBoxeuses.

Since then I started experimenting with different perfumes. I apply just a little bit of a perfume in the décolleté area and on my wrists an hour before I go to the class and then during JanuShirasana or Pavanamuktasana I inhale wafts of the hot air mixed with moisture and perfume particles. It makes my classes go by faster and gives them some additional purpose.

Perfumes that performed the best under such strange conditions: another Serge Lutens’ creation – Ambre Sultan, Ubar by Amouage and Alahine by Teo Cabanel.

Tom Ford’s Arabian Wood, Chergui by Serge Lutens and Mitzah by Dior were very nice but didn’t survive Garudasana (approx. 15 minutes into the class). All three were applied from a dab vial so maybe a more generous spray application would produce a better effect – I’ll re-try them when I get those into my collection.

No 19 Poudre by Chanel didn’t work at all. Not possessing a remarkable staying power as is, it disappeared from my skin by the time I unfolded my yoga mat. It was a strange experiment but I thought that maybe it had some hidden powers. It didn’t.

I remember reading on one of the blogs that I always read a topic about a “treadmill scents” (or something to that effect) but now I can’t find that post. If an owner recognizes it from the description or if you covered this topic in your blog, please post a link.

What is your torture of choice and what perfumes (if any) make it more enjoyable?

Image: Kathleen Turner in Body Heat by allposters.com

.