Histoires de Parfums 1740 and 1804

Histoires de Parfums add a little frisson to their “date” perfumes by tying them in with colorful historical figures. You know, the way Fairy Dust is tied in with Paris Hilton, or Harajuku Lovers is linked to Lil' Angel. (Wait...what? You mean Paris Hilton isn't real?)

Anyway, 1740 features Marquis de Sade as the spokesmodel, which perhaps sets up more elaborate expectations than the actual fragrance can fulfill, good as it is. 1740 has a masculine whiskey-and-tobacco swagger. There's a lot of dry leather and a hint of woody maple syrup.

Wearing it, I'm reminded me of the time husb J and I were hiking on San Jacinto Peak. I kept remarking that certain evergreens we passed smelled like pancakes and maple syrup. Trying to figure out how this could be so, I stood with my nose right up against one of the trees.

“Oh, you mean those trees,” J said, as if he knew all about it. “They taste good, too. Go ahead, lick it!”

With an immediate “understanding” that we were in some kind of Willy Wonka forest, I obediently licked the dry bark. (Hmm, maybe this is turning into a Marquis de Sade scenario after all.)

J couldn't believe how hilariously dumb and trusting I was. I maintain to this day that I wasn't being dumb and trusting -- it's just that I never miss a chance to indulge my sweet tooth.

(J also never lets me forget the time we were hiking in Big Sur, and upon spying an adorable cluster of does and fawns at the side of the trail, my comment was, “Are they real?” Okay, maybe that was dumb. But it least it wasn't trusting.)

Where were we? Oh yes, 1740. Dry, leathery, with a distant drop of maple. Better than licking tree bark, to be sure. But at 1740's extreme drydown, the immortelle morphs from maple into a “does this really count as perfume?” waft of curry.

Sometimes, that curry note is great, because it lends a sexy “sweaty guy” vibe to a perfume. But sometimes, it just smells like curry, which only makes me think I spilled something on myself while whipping up aloo gobi for eight. 1740's immortelle tick-tocks between those two not-so-extremes, and so I hover between enjoying it and wanting to clean my stove.

But I might be too fussy with my whining about extreme drydowns. If I were more like Perfume Pen Pal Dan, a fragrance would never live beyond young adulthood on my skin before I was showering and applying something new that had just arrived in the mail.

Speaking of showering and applying something new, it's time for 1804. Uh...pineapple? Not what I expect when the PR bumf mentions “George Sand”. Once I begrudgingly accept that pineapple is what will be guffing off my skin for the foreseeable future, I kind of relax and go along for the ride.

1804 surprises me be by getting less, not more, obnoxious as it goes along, and assumes some of the creamy peach candy lilt of another recent sweetie-fume discovery of mine, Nez à Nez Bouche Baie.

Dan also tried 1804 and found it:

...an aggressively lovely combination of white flowers, amber and patchouli. I smell like a sexy hippie lady vacationing in Hawaii.

Hmm, wasn't George Sand a cross-dresser? Maybe HdP's branding shtick has some validity after all! Dan's the biggest cross-smeller I know.

Fumies, what are your preferred "cross-smelling" choices?

Coming up: still more Histoires de Parfums.
Read Histoires de Parfums Part 1 here.

Image: Marquis de Sade by Kate O'Brien


  1. i think those plants might grow at my uni!
    outside the art building there's a bed with this shrub in it that smells like maple syrup and looks exactly like rosemary, except it's white. i know you said "tree" but some plants grow in either tree or shrub form, like juniper.

    and to be completely honest... i can't remember ever smelling a single men's fragrance i liked. unisex is often nice though! and demeter's mahogany - which is the only one of their line classified as "men's" on fragrantica.com - if as accurate as their other scents, has my heart though i've never smelled it, because i already know i like mahogany IRL.

  2. "1740's immortelle tick-tocks between those two not-so-extremes, and so I hover between enjoying it and wanting to clean my stove."

    That's hilarious -- yet it gets immediately to the core of what it's like to wear a gourmand-influenced frag that isn't the gourmand tune you personally groove to. Kind of like Dan with his chemical-ginger spice rack reaction to 'Like This'.

    Speaking of Dan, I loved your description of his OCD approach to wearing fragrances: "Spray. Spray. Spray. Shower. Spray. Spray. Shower." and so on. It takes real dedication to run that fifty yard dash all day.

  3. I must admit, I love the thought of you obediently licking the tree at your husband's encouragement. I fondly remember encouraging my much younger (read naive and trusting) sister to try a special "soup" of ice cubes and maple syrup when she was a youngster. I was somewhat deflated to learn she liked it.

    That is quite a scary picture of the Marquis. It reminds me of a commercial years ago when someone on a diet is offered a lucsious dessert. First, she has an excited, eager response, then, bravely, nay stoicly, waves it away. In this case, it seems at first glance to be a seductive woman, til you notice the hairy legs and the satin-stretching bulge. Gadzooks!

  4. xaryax - I wish I could remember the name of the tree I licked! Now Smell This actually had a post on it about a year ago. It's a particular kind of North American evergreen that only grows at a certain high altitude.

    With your fondness for mahogany, you might be interested to know that the CEO of Demeter revealed to me that their mahogany scent forms the basis of their Burger King fragrance, "Flame". (There's a review of Flame on this blog.)

  5. Heh-heh, Nathan - "dedication"? Who needs dedication when you're crazy...uh...addicted...uh ...a devoted hobbyist.

    SoS - omg, I think I remember that commercial! And your sister and I are probably cut from the same cloth.

  6. I kinda like 1740, probably because of the leather. Does that qualify really it as a cross-smell? Because it kinda goes all sweet on me too, if I recall. But it never made me want to eat a pancake. Or lick a tree.

  7. Melissa, the tree-licking gene is a regressive one, thankfully for you. Leather and sweaty spices always nudge a perfume to the masculine side for me, but once you add the wearer and their own particular gender-blend anything can happen.

  8. That George Sand/1840 is a reformulation. The previous version was blissfully lacking pineapple. I've given up trying to get the old version out of spite.

  9. Katie, didn't you mention something in your memoir about your older sister doing the same thing to you -- encouraging you to eat a bowl of ice cubes covered in maple syrup? If I recall, you liked it, which disappointed your sister greatly.

  10. When my husband bought a great big bottle of Bandit for me for my bday, the saleswoman loaded the bag up with samples of very masculine fragrances. We couldn't tell if she was trying to entice my man to buy something or she thought the whole "it's for my wife" routine was just a ruse to buy Bandit for himself. Or maybe she thought I must be pretty butch. I find Bandit quite unisex, so don't put me in a box, saleslady!

  11. Nathan, you are breathtakingly eagle-eyed!

    JAntoinette - yeah, nobody puts Baby in a corner, saleslady!