Close your eyes and imagine palatial, perfectly manicured, green gardens, perhaps in Verona’s Giusti Gardens or Rome’s Villa d’Este. An endless vista of green is covered by a powerful but translucent web of embroidered lace made from fresh white petals. Magnolia flowers drip a milky juice that smells like figs. Orange blossom buds have just started to unfurl and waft a delicate scent that is as green as the tuberose and jasmine that encircle the garden like tall statues. Ylang-ylang hovers in the shadows, while creamy white trees stand as sentries in the distance, shedding benzoin and a wisp of delicate, warm powder like their equivalent of pollen. The wind blows little puffs of vanilla over the gardens, but this is not a tale of sweetness. It is a rhapsody of spring, celebrating the marriage of the freshest white flowers with greenness, as a choir of soft woods surrounds them to sing their praises. It is the tale of Lace Garden from Téo Cabanel.
I should disclose at the start that I have a huge soft spot for Téo Cabanel Parfums. Their scents are always solid and high quality for a really reasonable price. I admire that they work hard at putting out the best scents they can, one a year, instead of a deluge every few months. They aren’t driven by greed or commercialism, don’t put out flashy campaigns, or don’t try to be provocative for the sake of appearing “edgy.” Instead, they seem to care only about the actual scent and its quality. Plus, they’re so hugely under-appreciated that they seem like an underdog in the perfume world, which always brings out my protective side. All of this is separate from the fact that this small, relatively unknown perfume house makes one of my favorite modern fragrances (Alahine). When you add in the house’s fascinating history — complete with the notorious style icon, the Duchess of Windsor, as its most ardent fan — and the fact that I’m a history fanatic, then Teo Cabanel becomes a brand that I always root for.