Daintiness is not something that perfumers necessarily consider in the making of a perfume. However the perfumer of Teo Cabanel, Jean Francois Latty has created a series of perfumes in wonderful taste.
Now I don’t feel very comfortable writing such a thing, because in the end the perfume that is in perfect taste for you is the one you love and wear, and I know from personal experience that choice often doesn’t fall on the chic import but on the old reliable sometimes found on the shelves of your local pharmacy. My aunt for instance swore by Yardley’s Lavender.
What I mean about the Teo Cabanels is that they are elegant. There is nothing about them that’s loud or ill considered as a group they are like the Parisienne whose most quotable phrase is, ” Je ne voudrais pas que cela fasse trop!” Meaning that she would never want to overdo anything.
Alahine is the best known of these perfumes, though Barkhane is perhaps the house’s
top seller which is understandable as Barkhane is a thick and prosperous amber probably comforting to wear on a gray drizzling night in Paris.
Alahine on the other hand is easily one of the most subtle and interesting floral oriental perfumes I’ve ever smelled.
In order to do the fragrance justice I have to backtrack to last week’s post about L’Origan and Coty’s creation of the whole genre of floral orientals, so bear with me. The idea was that you could add an oriental base, something too sensual for the western woman of 1904, and achieve success by melding that amber note to a floral bouquet, thus creating a kind of stormy love affair. Voila deathless romance and such scents as L’Origan, L’Heure Bleue etc.
I don’t know how old the formula for Alahine is, although I know that the house is a revival and guess that the perfumer updated what was in the company archives for the 21st century.
Alahine smells to me like one of those early variations on Coty’s idea. This actually makes Alahine more not less interesting to wear. The perfume probably dates back to a few years after Cabanel moved to Paris as a concern in 1908, just three years after the release of L’Origan and there would have been plenty of time to do what Jacques Guerlain did, rethink the premise of the floral oriental.
I’d bet that at Cabanel, Alahine was their answer to the L’Origan innovation and a wonderful one it is. Alahine has been beloved of perfume enthusiasts since it was released in 07, but even though IFRA rules and budgetary constraints may have toned down this perfume a bit, the effect of it is still the same, a beautiful combination of the Eastern and Western traditions of perfumery, with wonderfully understated elegance. Alahine is Cabanel’s Apres L’Ondee and easily up to the comparison.
The beginning of most of the Cabanels seems to feature a combination of ylang ylang with something else- usually a citrus, and Alahine too features this introduction which gives it lift and a lovely diffusion on the air, then the heart of Alahine is a classic jasmine
rose accord with the rose dominating and a twist that gives the perfume originality and complexity:pepper. The pepper is such a clever transition here because it ushers in those desert dry notes of the base. This is the real glory of Alahine a beautiful combination of amber, vanilla, iris, sandalwood and a lot of labdanum. Much better arranged than the endings of so many other perfumes on the market. The style is classic French, but the sophistication is all that anyone could want in a scent. As I said, the Cabanels are in flawless taste and Alahine is a perfect alternative to Apres L’Ondee for women who are not simply romantics , but demanding and chic too.