I recently received a lovely little press-packet from Histoires de Parfums, containing a sample pack of their 12 fragrances. I’m usually powerless against temptation and find myself heedlessly sampling as many new fragrances as possible in a single day when presented with such a bounty of novelty, but these scents are so special that I have managed to actually contain myself for once. I am not even halfway through the dozen – the development of each of these beauties is so divinely complex that I would do not only them, but also myself injustice, were I to gobble them up with the gusto of a bulimic. The upcoming reviews here on Fragrance Bouquet will focus on slowly exploring this so far very impressive line of perfumes.
It is quite counterintuitive for me to start with my favorite of all the Histoire de Parfums fragrances I have so far sampled – I’d normally keep the best for last. However, I have fallen so hard for 1826, I simply can’t delay gratification: I need to talk about it! Let me start by saying that I don’t know what has happened to me in this past year: Slowly but surely, I have turned from a patchouli hater to a – gasp! – patchouli lover, so much so in fact, that I have lately caught myself mentally composing my very own top 10 patchouli fragrances list. (Yes, I admit it. My erstwhile fellow patchouli-hating brethren can now feel free to put me against the wall and stone me.) Enter one of the best patchouli fragrances I’ve ever smelled: 1826 belongs to the Main Characters collection of seven “volumes” in the line, which tell the stories of famous people, influential for their generation, and take their names after their respective dates of birth. This one in particular is inspired by Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Napoleon the third and last Empress of France. Empress Eugénie was an elegant, beautiful woman who’s name became homonymous with good taste, leading the masses to follow her every step in fashion, just like future generations would follow the trend-setting steps of other famously stylish First Ladies. Not just a pretty face, the empress was a highly opinionated, very well educated, intelligent woman who kept herself busy with French political affairs, becoming an influential figure who acted as a Regent during Napoleon’s absences. 1826 tells her story sotto vocce, focusing on a theme of patchouli, whose trail she reportedly loved.
This is a perfume that rustles and whispers, never raising its voice more than needed. Its opening is soft and subdued, making the wearer experience sweet, feverish, tantalizing impatience until the warmth of the skin finally awakens this shy fragrance and makes it slowly unfold. Through the mysterious, unidentifiable, pillowy softness of powdery florals, emerges a strange, deep nuance: a peculiar coconut-oil dirtiness that makes the perfume veer definitively into animalic territory. It calls to me like the erotic smell of skin, like the scent emerging from the crown of a lover’s hair as I lean in to plant a kiss on their forehead, eyes closed. And slowly the beautiful scent keeps evolving, languorously blooming with sweet, aromatic accents of aniseed, cinnamon and leafy patchouli. As time goes by, the shy patchouli becomes stronger, its darkening tendrils exploring the skin with quiet lustfulness, until they finally meet their true match in ambery vanilla, with which they form the most beauteous, delicious embrace.
1826 is an absolutely marvelous patchouli perfume – in fact I have wanted a full bottle of it ever since the first time I tried it on my skin. I find myself craving its gentle, sensual luxury every day now. If you’re not scared of temptation and wish to sample these gorgeous eaux de parfum too, the full sample collection can be purchased for just 5 euro from the official Histoires de Parfums website. Please let me know if you have tried any of these beauties and how they work on your skin and I’ll see you all again this Friday, when we’ll leaf through another tome or two.