Un premier amour… a first love … Cabochard by Parfums Gres

So Dear Friends, Fellow Travellers even, the momentous start to our journey and what better port of call could there be on this St Valentine’s Day than the city of love itself: Paris.

The place where I first lost my heart to women’s perfume.

Our destination? The Atelier of Madame Gres.

It was his first time in France and in love.

And she? She was the perfect Parisienne. For him at least, for that moment at least.

In knee length boots and battered Bader-Meinhoff leather coat, belted tight at the waist in a bow, she was the embodiment of lived in Left Bank chic.

A brunette, she blew the tobacco’ed air of Gitanes Legeres Blondes into his face and ruffled his hair with lacquered fingernails.

She turned cigarette packets between her fingers in a way she joked made the lady dance. She swore she would stiffly sway through a flamenco for him one day. Though they both knew she would not.

And all the time the smell of polish and hairspray and smoke hung around her like an expectant cloud waiting to take her back to heaven. From where he fancied she had come.

She was of vintage stock. A ’68 perhaps with a tang of mossy cold stone cobbles ripped from the rues about her, the taint of blood in her red hair hue. Or perhaps earlier still, from a time of existential post war cafe culture chatter.

Either way she was undoubtedly chateau Boulevard St Germain.

Where others saw signs of age and worn away good looks he perceived only beauty braced across amazing bone structure and he happily played attendant to her vast intelligence.

That summer he took the metro each day to the Bois to gather her wild geraniums from its faux fields. Occasionally he would risk a rose robbed from the Jardins du Luxembourg.

But he knew his blooms could not buy her fidelity, he knew he could not keep her.

Faithful only to herself and her own sense of self possession, she disappeared in furious flurry of smoke just as she had arrived, leaving only the amber glow of the outline of where she had once stood.

Today he sees the City of Lights through older, wearier eyes.

Yes there are headstrong young women everywhere he looks, yet none have the selfish generosity of his lady of the leather, lacquer and undanced flamenco.

How he misses her.


Cabochard by Gres is not what she was. Of that there can be no denying.

Today though still beautiful she has the bleak, too bony and hollow-eyed look and feel of a fashion model on the brink of despair.

But catch examples of her in her heyday and a different woman awaits you.

The ultimate in leather clad confidence, she is the chemical queen always on the lookout for a male sidekick. But for all this flint and bone oakmoss structure, the old girl could put on the curvaceous when she needed to: summoning up concupiscent curls of rose, orris root and sage seemingly on demand.

These have largely been withered away to today’s etiolated example that can call only on watered down jasmine and synthetic, if satisfying, amber for strength.

Do not dismiss the latest headstrong girl because she’s still tougher than most men in the room. It’s just unfortunate she’s not the force of nature her foremother was.

But we will always have the memories.

We will always have Paris…. and Paris belongs to all of us, men and women alike.


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20 responses to “Un premier amour… a first love … Cabochard by Parfums Gres

  1. funnyboy

    I completely agree re Cabochard.Bought a bottle for myself and ithe edp is strong without the refined notes of yesteryear.Love to get my hands on some vintage esp pure perfume.Completely unisex in my mind!

    • Why Hello Funnyboy!!
      So nice of you to make your way across to The Dandy’s manor.
      I got my parfum – just 6ml mind you – from the smallest pharmacist, it was his last bottle – though he kept a huge stock of the modern stuff.
      It is, I must say, divine.
      I don’t agree with those that say that the modern incarnation is ravaged away to cigarette but – it still has character, but likes the charisma and fleshed out joie de vivre of the old star.
      Thanks again for popping over!
      Your ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. A perfect first review that captures the essence of Cabochard and the charm, wit and talent of the fabulous Mr. P. Dandy. Bravo!

  3. Lilybelle

    I’ve never been a lover of Cabochard but your story is so enchanting that I may have another try some time. I love your Valentine’s Day opening, and I look forward to reading more. Congratulations and bravo!

    • Warmest Thanks to you Lilybelle and an even warmer than warmest welcome!
      I very much appreciate that new Cabochard is not to everyone’s liking. But the older variety – which can still be come by here and there – is a much richer,, fleshier and altogether more generous affair. If you ever get the chance to have a conversation with her.
      Plenty more to come – and don;t forget of there are any favourites that you’d like to nominate the for me to wear, the menus on your right give you the options of suggesting a scent or voting for one from the hit parade to hit the Dandy’s skin.
      Yours ever in grateful appreciation
      The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Ah, yes, the insouciant Mlle Cabochard – so uniquely her own! Of all my many perfumed loves, her once-storied glories hold a special place in my heart, for I, too, could not live without that leathery èlan and mossy, bossy attitude. Thank you for reminding me!

    • Elan, ma chere Tarlesio, that is indeed the word.
      This is a woman with vim a real live spark.
      I’m sure she would have had a Vespa once, so pleased to have strirred memories and assisted affections.
      A pleasure as always to to see you here, I look forward to your calling round again.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy.

  5. How can I pay attention to what things smell like when you tell such evocative stories! But, I think I’ve got it… leather and rose… fit for a chemical queen.
    C’est chic!

  6. Miss Misty

    I have never smelled vintage Cabochard. But your review is so vivid, I can clearly picture her.
    Wonderful first review – Bravo!

    • Why thank you so much Dear Miss Misty
      I am so pleased to be able to welcome you over to Dandy Mansions – I do hope you like the place and will make yourself quite at home here dear friend.
      If you ever get the chance, the original Mdme Cabochard is well worth making the acquaintance of, really I would go out of one’s way if you like her, shall we say, personality type.
      I look forward to seeing you again soon.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE the review and thank you so much for that beautiful music! I would click a flute of Dom Perignon with you if I could! Cheers!

    • Ah Dear Milena, welcome over to my humble abode. I do hope you like the new place.
      Isn’t the music just wonderful? And that young lady was an Olympic gymnast to boot.
      And they say the young of today can multi-task – I’d like to see Miss Minaj on the parallel bars,then again… I’d rather not see Miss Minaj. Period
      Thank you for your extra specially kind comment and I raise my metaphorical glass to you across the Atlantic.
      Your ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  8. imsookool

    It’s amazing the picture a well envisaged story can paint. I truly appreciate the manner in which you painted it.
    The vintage version of this fragrance sounds so intriguing. I have always been a great admirer of ANY fragrance pairing a recognizable and/or suggestive rose with oakmoss. The addition of smoke and leather only add to her mystery. I will surely get a sample and reread. Thank you for the introduction Monsieur Dandy – I look forward to getting to know her!
    What a wonderful start to your year long voyage!
    May the perfumed winds be always at your nose!

    • Monsier Imsookool
      I am ever in your debt for such kind words and hope too that the perfumed winds shall be with me as I venture onwards this very day. For I shall be travelling not only without the walls of the City of Lights, but back in time too, to an age of darkness and impending terror.
      I’m sure that you are man enough to join me! Are you with me!?!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. poodle

    Great review. I’ve never smelled Cabochard. I thought I had but your experience was very different from mine, then I realized I was confusing this one with Cabotine. Silly me.

    • Quelle horreur!!
      Mademoiselle Cabotine is a different girl altogether.
      She is, how shall we say, an acquired taste!! Once I got to know her I could be in her company but never love her as I love Cabochard.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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