urn of cabochard

In the entrance of our house there are two stone jars full of the unburied remnants of years of incense sticks. Over time, I have added patchouli oil and clove to the tamped down interior, and once, on a whim, poured in an entire vintage eau de toilette of Grès’ seminal Cabochard – just because I had found the design of the bottle, upon unboxing, so exceptionally ugly; the fancy bow of the original, sly grey velveteen, in this edition an ersatz glass stupid, gainly as a Toby jug.

Sacrilegious. Perhaps. And this was a long time ago. But I noticed, when I came in the other day, that when left to itself, other incense dissipated, windows left open – the cold chill that quickly descends on this old house when the heat is let out – I can still smell this perfume delicately in the air – a beautiful, ghostly, spirit of sepulchral Cabochard infiltratred through brittle fragments of Japanese incense, alongside lingering nuances of patchouli.

On my birthday on Thursday- naughtily taking a longer lunchbreak than allowed, in the hope of picking up a bottle I had seen in a recycle shop of the violet/heliotrope/ iris limited edition Les Metéorites by Guerlain that I hadn’t realized was as rare as it was and should have bought when I first spotted it (naturally, it had gone) ; I did, in its place, glancing constantly at the time, get another scent I was very pleased with and will write about soon, as well as a bonus 15ml vintage parfum (pictured above) of the lovely Cabochard, in its original, lost-in-a-Siberian-birch-forest box.

Once again – realizing that this base heavy, thickened unguent – a parfum extrait that had inevitably lost some of its top notes and was lacking the sharp hyacinth tang I require in a pristine version, I found, against my will, that I just couldn’t stop myself from repeating my past impulsions. Some patchouli essential oil I had received as a present; and half of the parfum. Into the urns. Splashed or dripping down into the dark space inside; the sepulchral, cool camphor of the incense and the space below, welcoming the new refreshment of its scent in quiet whispers.


Filed under Flowers

16 responses to “urn of cabochard

    • Yes, in a way. (And I realize how eccentric this post is!) But sometimes you can enjoy a perfume in different ways : I think that ultimately I will get more out of the Cabochard, which I love but don’t know how convincingly I can carry it off, in this far colder slow burn that will last for many years.

  1. I have a 20 yr old terracotta urn of St. Maria Novella potpourri in my wardrobe that gets topped up in this manner. It’s waning medicinal fragrance was recently emboldened with locally obtained cassia bark, black cardamom oil, and a wad of dry lemongrass from my garden.
    I also can’t bear to toss the empty green cardamom pods from a curry or Xmas baking. I put them in my enormous jar of loose leaf Assamese black tea, makes for extra yummy chai!

  2. gunmetal24

    I used to have an empty extra large jar of Adam’s peanut butter. Whenever I finish a perfume sample I would place the empty open vial inside the jar unsealed. I think after a year, everything cumulative in it started to smell like the greatest hits of perfumery. All sorts of perfumes, from expensive too inexpensive. I wonder how it would smell like if I kept the jar longer.

  3. Robin


    Vintage Cabochard parfum is in my Top Ten of All Time. It’s all about the midrange and base notes. Intact top notes irrelevant in 2021. Neil, my darling, did you really?

    Despite my horror, I bet that smells damn good.

    • YIU KNOW I DID !

      It IS divine.

      But I get more pleasure from it this way : it gives TOTAL cold urn sillage for years and years rather than sour leather jacket and tweed skirt

    • PS : had we been talking fully intact, sharp AF : obviously I would have strongly hesitated

      • OnWingsofSaffron

        … „hesitated“! And after due deliberation, would have dumped the whole flacon into the urn too! This is hilarious and I can understand the impulse. I have a bottle or two of the vintage stuff, bought on an impulse, and I honestly cannot understand the hightened hype. Only now, reading that hyacinth ought to be in there, do I realise that I‘ve been missing something important!

      • I don’t think it is hype, personally : when you get a pristine edition, the way the sharp beginning graduates into this stunning 3D patchouli powder effect, hovering above skin, can be ecstatically understated and you feel as aloof as fuck ; you KNOW you have the most superb taste in such a moment !

      • OnWingsofSaffron

        I‘m wearing my Cabochard extrait and edt with a tiny spritz of Serge Lutens Bas de Soie today. Trying to channel a blue hyacinth into the somewhat grey remnants of former glory!

      • And yet the seminal fluid/ aldehydes musk of the Bas De Soie isn’t quite the thing for what are are seeking, oder?

  4. The urn must smell divine, yet a part of my heart crumbles thinking of this. For me I am all about Cabochard’s dark and resinous basenotes, that is what I live for.

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