Sunday, May 19, 2013

Histoires de Parfums- 1740 Marquis De Sade

"The imagination is the spur of delights... all depends upon it, it is the mainspring of everything; now, is it not by means of the imagination one knows joy? Is it not of the imagination that the sharpest pleasures arise?"               ---Marquis de Sade 

I can't say that I'm particularly crazy about Histoires de Parfums' decision to name this particular perfume after  the 18th century uber-creep, Marquis de Sade. I do get what they were after, sort of. This Histoires des Parfums fragrance is meant to appeal to the dark side in all of us. It's unquestionably sexy, thick and leathery, seductive in its sweetness and very unique. The perfume is intriguing and  at times cerebral. It's also addictive. I've been borrowing the husband's travel spray bottle pretty often, despite its being as non-spring a fragrance as they come.

There's something almost oily in the opening of 1740. In theory there's also bergamot in the top notes, but on me this thing goes right into the core and base with no niceties to break the ice. It always reminds me at first of Annick Goutal's Duel, before Histoires takes the Marquis even darker and sweeter. There's lots of spices, something that smells suspiciously like body heat (no cumin, surprisingly), a syrupy molasses-like note that is both dangerously poisonous and tempting, and leather. Lots and lots of soft black leather.

The gourmand honeyed thread that runs parallel to everything else going on in 1740 is what makes it stand out among other leather perfumes. It's so sweet you want to dive in and lick every last drop, just when the whip is cracked and you smell that this is not your grandma's kitchen with its pie drizzled with maple syrup. It's the other kind of delicious, the one that's less caloric but just as much fun. 1740 is also a shapeshifter. At times it smells quite impolite (the blending of labdanum and leather will do that, creating a carnal musky aroma), and other times the Marquis wears his aristocratic face and intellectual robe. It makes you stop and think about the thing you're smelling. Is it skin? is it the kitchen? or are you in a dungeon? Marquis de Sade, after all, spent long years in various prisons (and an insane asylum), including the Bastille.

I wear 1740 without hesitation. I love leather and adore immortelle, so it sits well with me. I don't think it's particularly masculine, despite being designated for men (and placed on the far right of Luckyscent's gender spectrum). Yes, it does smell fabulous and refined on the husband, so men with no fear of immortelle should go ahead and sample, as should everyone else. After all, I hear the Marquis didn't discriminate either.

Notes: Bergamot, Davana Sensualis (artemisia), Patchouli, Coriander, Cardamom, Cedar, Birch, Labdanum, Leather, Vanilla, Elemi, Immortelle.

Histoires de Parfums- 1740 Marquis De Sade ($125, 60ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent, Henri Bendel, BeautyHabit, MiN NY, and Aedes.


  1. I owned a bottle of this at one point, but found the syrupy molasses part of it unpleasant. That and de Sade... Naming a perfume for that monster annoys me. Two downsides, so in the end I traded it away.

  2. This is a really fun review, Gaia. Your description makes me want to run, not walk, to try this. And thank you for mentioning the luckyscent far right designation, that could have thrown me off the scent had I not read this.

  3. i got the sampler set from this company a couple of years ago, and didn't like anything well enough to buy. they all feel rough and unfinished to me, like a good idea that doesn't get completed - as if the perfumer got distracted and forgot to add the one thing that would bring the perfume together. and the scent 1969 has to be one of the biggest messes i've ever smelled! good lord. it shocks me that they charge as much as they do for this stuff.



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