Grès Cabaret: It’s Rose. It’s Musk. It’s Gorgeous.


I’m a fan of Parfums Grès, I even have the much derided set of Marlene Dietrich fragrances, as well as beautiful Cabotine and Leathery/Spicy Cabochard ( see my earlier review). However, I was so deeply disappointed in a Cabotoine Flanker, Cabotine Rose, that it made me cautious about buying a Grès blind.

On this occasion, I bought a very small (7.5ml) bottle of Grès Cabaret on the grounds that if I didn’t like it, I can still pay the mortgage.

When it first goes on (and I have a bottle with no spray so it’s direct onto my skin) it smells almost medicinal, or more specifically, Dental, like the pink mouthwash they give you to rinse with.

The drydown turns into Turkish Delight or those Rose and Violet Creams you can sometimes still get from a good Chocolatier. There is powerful Rose, but the Violet gives it that Turkish Delight quality.

However, it’s the base notes that I really love about Cabaret. From a high pitched Rose it turns into a Patchouli scent with prominent Sandalwood, still with the Rose, some softening Musk, and a bit of pretty Peony, but now it becomes a woodier, more mysterious scent.  It’s almost as if the fragrance encapsulates morning, afternoon and evening all in one.

Although this only seems to be available in the EDP rather than an EDT, I would say it has a weak link in it’s strength and longevity. I’ve had to use nearly half of my little bottle just to get two thirds’ of a day’s wear out of this. When you compare this to say, Lanvin Arpège  (see my review dated January 2nd) where a mere glance at the bottle is enough to scent you  from Dawn to Midnight, then this is a slight letdown in an otherwise rather lovely and unusual fragrance.

Like the rest of the Parfums Grès range, it’s pleasingly affordable, and hey, even Luca Turin really likes it. He hates stuff I love and I hate stuff he loves, but on this, we can agree. Intriguing, interesting and, like all my favourite fragrances, a scent that keeps you guessing. This is a good complex fragrance that is so much more than a Rose Musk.

Oh and sort your website out Parfums Gres. It’s the 21st Century!

6 thoughts on “Grès Cabaret: It’s Rose. It’s Musk. It’s Gorgeous.”

  1. I think Gres are a very underrated perfume house. I love Cabaret as well – my Mum has snagged my bottle, along with my Tocade and my Shalimar. I have now capitulated and I buy her a bottle of Miller Harris’ Fleur Oriental every Christmas, which she rips through at a rate of knots. As you might have guessed, my Mum is a whole lot of woman when it comes to perfume nowadays, since she gave up wearing her signature No 5 when my Dad died.
    Cabaret is one she wears ‘when she’s got nothing else’ so I guess her beef is with the longevity and ‘volume’ of it. She likes her perfumes BIG and powdery oriental. I had thought she’d enjoy gentle, rosy woody Cabaret, but you know what? I may go and get it back.

    1. Thank you. I love hearing what people in “real life” and the stories behind the memories. I’m very interested in what older women wear too as they know a lot about classics and the trends that have come and gone. Man, they’ve seen it all…

  2. Dear Iscent

    Now, beloved that I am of Cabochard, I have to confess to never having tried Cabaret – something that must surely come to an end with this review.

    Roses, especially when they are slightly medicinal, have always been a favoured note for me, whereas violets have only recently one a place in my heart.

    What really draws me her though, is that this is a real variety show – and I adore a perfume that is able to change pace and even direction.

    Sad to hear the projection and length aren’t what they might be, but at this sort of price one can start to treat it as a splash perfume!!

    Thanks for bringing this one up my agenda.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Dear Mr Dandy,

    Your kind interest and comments are always appreciated. I too like a scent that keeps me guessing and changes throughout wear. I think for that particular quality, nothing beats Cuir de Russie, or Cuir Mauresque. However, sometimes one is in the mood for roses… and Cabaret steps up to the plate when my palate is tired of the rich and powerful.

    Your friend


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