I was doing the research and fact-checking for this review of Cabotine by Grès and was surprised to realize the perfume, which I thought has been there all through my youth, was actually a 1990 release. I didn't wear it back then, but my sister went through at least one bottle if not more, and the scent is so deeply ingrained in my memory I was certain it was also part of my own high school years and not just hers.
I belong to the Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink generation. Neon colored socks with matching nail polish, Madonna's Boy Toy belt, Converse Chucks worn with black lace tights and so much black eyeliner you could barely tell we had eyes. Cabotine fits perfectly with all of the above. It's loud enough to be noticed among the other 80s artifacts, has a fun vibe and never takes itself too seriously.
The owners of Parfums Grès conceived Cabotine on a low budget, purposely aiming it for the young generation who would never be caught dead wearing the house's true 1950s masterpiece, Cabochard. Just a year before Mugler's Angel took the world by storm (and probably caused the backlash trend of perfumes that smell like nothing), Parfums Grès offered us a different take of youth in perfume: a bold chemical green floral over a sweet ambery base.
The green plastic flowers on the cap look better from a distance, just as Cabotine smells better if you're not fully drenched in it. It smelled quite fabulous on my sister (she was around 15 years old when it was her signature scent), and I sort of like it on myself in the morning after- whatever is left loses the screechy synthetic top and the discontent of too many competing flower notes. The fragrance dries down into an abstract green, marigolds and vanilla- quite nice. The problem is that it's hard to fall asleep when the equivalent of a Janet Jackson/Michael Bolton duet is happening on my skin.
Notes: cassis, peach, plum, green notes, tagetes, coriander, rose, tuberose, ylang-ylang, carnation, jasmine, orris, heliotrope, vetiver, cedar, civet, musk, amber, vanilla, tonka.
Cabotine by Grès is available from every online discounter and mall kiosk for under $30. I can't vouch for the current juice on the market. I smelled it and it's not quite like my vintage bottle, but probably close enough to get an idea.
Cabotine ads from the 1990s: couleurparfum.com and Gres Facebook fan page.