I'm finishing up my amble through the Histoires de Parfums series with two of my favorites from the line, 1826 and 1725.
1826, the “French empress” one, is a woody floral musk with a bit of anise. It's simultaneously crisp and warm, leaning a bit towards Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, but drier, trimmed of Lovely's “musk fat”. The listed notes attest to the presence of strong characters like violet, ginger, patchouli and incense, but from where my nose is standing, they've reigned in their usual showboating in favor of subtle ensemble work. 1826 is soft, soft, soft -- and very pretty indeed.
1725, the “Casanova” one, is clear, aromatic, slightly sweet -- fresh but full. The stats say “amber fern”. Thing is, I'm just not sure what fern actually smells like. In Donna Hathaway's fern post on Perfume Smellin' Things, she describes it as a gentle green note, ranging from “fresh and cooling” to an autumnal “hay-like sweetness”.
Based on that description, I'd say 1725 works the full fern range. It starts out light and lilting with the help of lemony citrus, and gets drier and more powdery as it moseys along. I can't pick out the listed lavender and licorice, which suits me right down to the tip of my curly-fern tail. Lavender and licorice are shrug-inducing smells for me, fume-wise. (This position 100% guaranteed only until my mind is blown by some as-yet-undiscovered lavender and licorice elixir.)
But what does resonate is almond, which lingers and lingers until all the other ingredients have yawned and drifted away from the party. 1725 ends up soft and powdery, a refined version of Prada Amber Pour Homme.
The poop sheet stamps 1725 a “fougère”, once again hammering home the realization that I would fail a pop quiz on the definition of fougère. Yeah, yeah, I get that “fougère” is literally French for “fern” -- what's the problem here, Puckrik?
But I'm hornswoggled when Luca Turin calls YSL Kouros, with its baboon-butt incense, a “fougère”. And when Davidoff Cool Water, with its synthetic aqueous melon, is also classified as a Frenchified fern. Dammit, people! All of these things are not like the others. Can I please get my fougère served with a side of rhyme and/or reason?
Momentary clarity is found over at Smellyblog, where Ayala Moriel's article: “Fougère, Coumarin and the Bittersweetness of Green”, states that fougère “is simply a name for a complex blend of an aromatic, herbal nature.”
All right, then. Hornswoggling halted until further notice.
This just in: Perfume Pen Pal Dan Rolleri emailed me with his take on 1725. The subject line reads: “1725 Report (useless)”.
I'm wearing 1725 again, and I'm surprised you like it. I don't remember you having any kind words for anise/licorice fragrances. Though I take that back because you like Lolita Lempicka, right? This is richer and more complex than that and I like it a lot. But then I like every anise scent I try.
They're like black v-neck sweaters: I have more than I can ever wear and yet I wear them all the time. Which means I have a lot. And if I bought 1725, which I might, I wouldn't stick it near Eno, I'd carefully place it among my five or six other anise perfumes that all smell sort of the same. And I'd love it because there's nothing like a good woody anise. Except another good woody anise. I've gone so vertical on anise, I can almost see China. Where it looks like it might rain. Maybe I'll wear my v-neck sweater.
Overall, I find the Histoires de Parfums collection satisfyingly ambitious, even when their scents don't hit the mark for me. And the ones I love, I REALLY love: 1725, 1826, Tubéreuse 1, and especially, Ambre 114.
Catch up on the Histoires de Parfums line here, here, here and here.
Image by Ksenia Plotnikova