Sunday, February 15, 2009

Elizabeth Arden Cabriole Perfume

Along with Helena Rubenstein and Anne Klien, Elizabeth Arden completed the triumvirate of female pioneers who blazed their way to the top and become gaints in the field of American cosmetic companies in the twentieth century.

Elizabeth Arden was born Florence Nightingale Graham (1878-1966). Her most famous saying, "hold fast to youth and beauty" reflects an attitude widely held even today. Ironically her life story validates that from such vanity comes no good fruit. Her success was based on an intense desire to suceed and gain entrance into New York's high society. Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics thrived while Arden was alive but in the end she could not relinquish control to anyone and after her passing, the company was divided and carved into bits. The name survives today only as part of another large cosmetics conglomerate, FFI.

Thanks in no small part to Elizabeth Arden's efforts, the trend of respectable women using cosmetics caught on in America as it had in Europe. However the practice was limited almost exclusively to the larger cosmopolitan areas and cities. Wearing make-up and in particular changing ones hair color would not gain wide spread acceptance throughout interior and rural USA for decades. So it was not without resistence that she and her competitors fought to create strong, lasting brand names here. Fragrances continue to be an important part of EA brand; today we have Green Tea, 5th Avenue, Red Door and Sunflowers amoung the most profitable of Arden's scents.

Cabriole is a 1977 creation, so it is not part of the grand Elizabeth Arden perfume tradition to which Blue Grass (BG) belongs. BG is the only Arden perfume made prior to 1966 that I'm familar with; On Dit and Arden Rose are two others I'd love to find. The bottle you see in the photo above holds the original Cabriole Perfume; it was not called a perfume colonge as is the latter version which had a shorter white plastic cap top. Note the chrome top was actually taller than the bottle on this presentation (not shown in full).

Cabriole opens with a sharp fruit galbanum combination. Twisted up in the fruit is a strong, short lived acetone note. The first time I experienced this perfume the galbanum-acetone-fruit came across as a strong aspirin scent which segued into a spicy dark rose. Any sweetness has aged out of my sample. From another source I have the top notes listed as green galbanum, anise, apple, peach, and pineapple; the scent was classified as a floral jasmine. Pineapple, rasberry and anise could all be there, still its hard for me to say which fruits I smell. The spicy rose accord I still definitly smell, but the top and middle of the fragrance has thinned and compressed. The sharp green edge remains well into the dry down. Some perfume lovers report cedarwood in the base, but I smell sandalwood + tonka. Me (Frances Denny), Babe (Fabrege) and Candid (Avon) were other 1977 perfume releases.

I look forward to The Powder & the Glory (, a biopic movie slated for release in 2009 detailing the lives and life-long rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein (today: L'Oreal)!


Olivia Wilder said...

Cabriole is my favorite perfume, ever. See my blog I just posted today "Things I Miss." Hate that they don't make it anymore!

June said...

Can anyone tell me about ea de toilette Possession de Corday?

cletsey said...

I was looking for a gorgeous fragrances that fill your world with sensory pleasure even though I am not good for a fragrance descriptions but I wanted to have a perfume collections.

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