Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Teo Cabanel Early Roses: fragrance review

"One day, its Royal Majesty, our Self, should get out of the throne room and with its Court, the mind and the heart, sit down and decide about its life".
~Tasos Athanasiadis, The Throne Room
There are fragrances which are complex like symphonies and then there are fragrances which take on a gorgeous essence as a point of departure into exploring subtle nuances. Early Roses by Teo Cabanel belongs in the second category, imparting a morning-dew fresh rosiness with woody-musky undertones, as delicate and tender as that first kiss on the lips on a warm May's day when happiness is so overwheling that it's ripe with the burden of a budding melancholy already.

Jean François Latty (the perfumer of YSL's classics, Jazz and YSL Pour Homme) signed the latest and fifth opus of Teo Cabanel, a small exclusive perfumery originally established in Algiers in 1893 and reborn by a young heiress, Caroline Ilacqua in 2005.

Early Roses is a floral rose étude, subtle and pastoral like walking in a garden covered by dew, with fragrant notes of roses, red berries, jasmin, bulgarian rose, sustained by amber, musk and woody notes. Although Cabanel features another rose perfume in their portfolio, Oha, the comparison couldn't be more pronounced: While Early Roses is a budding young woman eagerly anticipating the miracle of life unfolding before her, Oha is a mature chypre floral when some heartache has left its indelible mark. The prettiness without vulgarity of Early Roses comes as confimation that Teo Cabanel, producer of the amazing warm floriental of amber & ylang ylang Alahine as well as another floral named Julia, is a niche brand to watch out for.

Early Roses pretty much begins as it ends, structured in an almost linear style. The first hit is unmistakeable fresh rose, cut with a little fruity tanginess, no powder or real sweetness, very fresh like in some Rosine fragrances. A complimentary rosy note of pink pepper is there as well, making the scent feel contemporary and keeping it from any sourness probably aided by some hedione (fresh green jasmine note). The warmer underscore of woodiness (comparable to that in Stella but a little bit creamier) comes almost immediately, blossoming into lusher rosiness. The floral core is flanked by clean musky notes, producing a skin-like effect throughout which lasts well although always in the lower, subtle register. If you are searching for the embullient roses of Paris by Yves Saint Laurent, or want your Eaux de Parfum to have ooomph, you might find it too sotto voce for your tastes.
Decidely girly, I think most men who are adventurous in their fragrance choices would find some challenge in borrowing it, but the experiment wouldn't be without merit.

Available as Eau de Parfum in 50ml/1.7oz and 100ml/3.4oz.

Music by Greek composer Evanthia Reboutsika from the album The Star & A Prayer.
Painting Roses by William Whitaker.


  1. Anonymous17:14

    Sampled Early Roses recently and thought it just beautiful! I tend to like this sort of thing anyway, but ER is such an unselfconsciously lovely version of "fresh garden rose" that I think I must own some soon.

    The only Teo Cabanel I did not care much for was Meloe, but it was well-done, I thought, and it is wonderful on my teenage daughter.

  2. Muse,

    glad we agree :-)
    It feels like quality and a soft-spoken rose that doesn't sour on skin, nor does it pronounce at that screechy ambrox tone that some others do.
    If you buy a bottle in the end, enjoy in the best of health!!

    Funny, I haven't tried Meloe at all I believe. Is it because it reminds me of melons, which have been demonised through their association with Calone? Who knows...It's all good, if your daughter likes it and wears it well!

  3. sharyl18:28

    Elena, Your essays & reviews are always so poetic, inspiring and informative. The music from The Star and A Prayer is beautiful. I am going to search for it. Also, being fairly new to the lovely perfume world, I have not yet tried any of the Teo Cabonel scents, but I do love nicely done rose scents and will definitely seek out a sample of Early Roses. Thank you for the lovliness that you offer to your blog readers. Warm Wishes, Sharyl

  4. Elena, does ER have much longevity or sillage? I love Alahine, wasn't wowed by Oha or Julia and like you didn't go near Meloe due to melon association.

  5. Sharyl,

    thank you for such a sweet compliment...Very heart-warming, I assure you!
    Glad you enjoyed the music. The composer has presence on Amazon and Youtube, so you shouldn't have too much trouble sampling.
    The Cabanel scents are quality all the way and I rec you try the others as well. Good luck!

  6. Kathy,

    compared to Alahine (which is pretty potent and decisive, probably why we love it so?), it's much subtler. I think it's medium sillage, medium longevity. Quite pretty.
    HOpe that helps a bit!


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