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Parfums Gres Cabaret ~ fragrance review


Ah, serendipity! In the perfume world, serendipity means coming across an “unknown,” hard-to-find, or simply badly distributed fragrance — in a care package from another perfume fanatic, on a friend’s dresser, as a free sample in a perfume order. I’d never have sought out Parfums Grès Cabaret on my own — an always-generous Now Smell This friend recently sent me a spray decant of the scent.

Germaine Emilie Krebs was 30 years old before embarking on a career in couture; Madame Krebs became known as “Alix Grès” — Madame Grès (‘Grès’ was an anagram of her husband’s first name: Serge). Grès’ dressmaking skills became legendary, and she’s always been known as a “designer’s designer.” Grès had one great perfume attached to her fashion house; a trip she made to India to research textiles supposedly inspired 1959’s Cabochard by perfumer Bernard Chant. (I’d love to smell vintage Cabochard; perhaps serendipity will provide me a sniff one day….) Madame Grès sold both her lucrative perfume business and her couture house in the early Eighties, and she had no involvement in the many perfumes bearing her name after 1982.

Cabaret (2003) was created by perfumer Michel Almairac and contains notes of rose, lily of the valley, peony, pink bay, violet, blue orris, patchouli, incense, sandalwood, amber and musk. Reading that list made me imagine Cabaret as a womanly, overpowering perfume — an “old”-style French fragrance. Pas du tout! Cabaret is fresh (without being fresh-ozonic) and can easily be worn by a man…

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