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If Voleur de Roses is Michel Almairac’s “oils on canvas” vision of the rose note, then Cabaret by Grès, which he created almost a decade later in 2002, is his “watercolour” vision of rose. (See a list of his other modern classics below**). This newer rose-patchouli vision picks up on the dry airy note that finishes Voleur de Roses, and extends it into another realm, so that it has a translucence, a lightness of being that’s more feminine and elegant.
The rose at the opening is up front with a lemony brightness soon sweetened by lily-of-the-valley and the pale spiciness of peony.
But rather than veer into the lush opulent floral heart that one might expect from a chypre, Cabaret segues into a cool polished brilliance created by an accord of iris, violet and ethereal incense, a brilliance that sparkles with a million fizzy bubbles like a fine champagne. A refined patchouli, stripped of its herbal earthiness to be more aromatic, mixes with powdery sandalwood, amber and musk in the base, so that Cabaret warms into a quietly seductive rose scent slightly smoky from the incense. It ends with the same dry, but now more delicate, twist as its predecessor.
Cabaret is a wearable rose scent. Definitely not mature or girly, nor a watered-down version of a rose, Cabaret is a clean uncomplicated woody rose with a soft sillage, which makes it ideal for just about anyone, men included. It possesses a classic subtlety, never veering into sweetness, never becoming too austere, it’s perfectly balanced to maintain its refined elegance from top to bottom, which to me is always the mark of a well-made fragrance.
Cabaret was launched in 2002 into a market that viewed chypre style fragrances as boring and old-fashioned, and it wasn’t supported by strong marketing, so it was never a success. But It’s still readily available online, and for exceptional bargain prices. It’s one of those off-the-radar fragrances you learn about through word-of-mouth or reading blogs like this one, so if you like florals, or roses, or subtle well-made chypre fragrances, I suggest you give Cabaret a try. You never know where you’ll find your next olfactory gem.
Notes: rose, peony, muguet, pink bay, violet, blue orris, incense, wood, patchouli, Indian sandalwood, amber, musk.
Type: EdP
Parfumeur: Michel Almairac

Price: $5.00