Histoires de Parfums 1876 Mata Hari is a dirty spicy rose. But it's more complex than that. 1876 Mata Hari reveals itself in different ways to the people who wear it. Brian from I Smell Therefore I Am gets a medicinal vibe. Olenska of Parfumieren gets saffron. My own phantom note in this Histoires de Parfums creation is patchouli. These impressions should give you an idea about 1876. It can smell a bit larger than life as it doesn't apologize for going full force and being all femme fatale and seductive.
The opening is rosy and boozy. It sets the mood instantly as a heavy-lidded cleavagy kind of perfume. The lighter fruity accord barely registers on my skin (that's a first). Neither does the cumin. It's all clove and cinnamon with that patchouli-like backdrop that gives the rose its dark and scrumptious character.
1876 is more animalic than its Histoires de Parfums sibling, Noir Patchouli, but in a surprisingly quieter way. I fully agree with Brian that 1876 mellows down too quickly-- it's not a lack of longevity, because I can smell it at skin level 8 hours after spraying; but all those promises for a salacious encounter go down in a sweet fruity musk whisper. Still, there's a lot to enjoy in this fragrance, from the way it holds on to my sweaters to warmth sensuality. 1876 is perfumy and full of character without smelling retro (not that there's anything wrong with that), and has just enough mystery packed in between the spice, fruit and gothic rose.
Notes (via Aedes): bergamot, orange, lychee, rose , iris , violet, cumin, cinnamon, carnation, vetiver, guaiacum, sandalwood, musk, vanilla.
Histoires de Parfums -1876 Mata Hari ($205, 4oz) is available from Henri Bendel and Aedes. Anthropolgie stores also carry the travel spray size, priced very attractively.
Series of enhanced photos of Mata Hari circa 1905 from aslisuroboyo.multiply.com.