Wednesday, June 18, 2008

1826 by Histoires de Parfums : Introduction and Perfume Review

Histoires de Parfums, an artisanal, family owned, niche maison de parfum, was created by the devilishly handsome Gérald Ghislain, entrepreneur, art lover, chef, restaurateur and ISIPCA trained nose. I have been discussing this line of fragrances for about a week now with my closest friends and the comment I most often hear first is that the name of this house is the most beautiful they’ve ever heard. Not only is the name indeed beautiful, it is also original and clever: a play on words, Histoires de Parfums means both “History of Perfumes” but also “Stories of Perfumes”.

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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Divina, I didn't know about these perfumes, but they sound fascinating. Thanks for providing a link for buying samples too, I mean, 5€? :o)


Flora said...

Oh no. Here I go, a lemming off a cliff! Divina, what a deliciously evocative review! I like patchouli much better now than I used to, but I still have not found the "ultimate" patchouli scent for me - this could be it! Swooning now... :-)

Divina said...

Christine - I know! It is a great deal isn't it? I love ordering samples and finding them in the mail, it really makes my day. And really, there aren't very many places where you can get this much pleasure for this price! I wish more lines would have enough faith in the quality and allure of their products to offer sample-packs at such low prices.

Divina said...

Hi Flora! Finding the perfect Patchouli is *really* difficult. Sometimes cheaper options are a huge surprise. My best friend uses a cheap one she got from England - I think it's called Hammam- and it is absolutely stunning on her. Neonatura Cocoon is another great cheapie. This one by Histoires de Parfums is absolutely magical, I love it! The best thing about it is its slow development: It is one of those perfumes you get to "live with" for the whole day when you are wearing them, watching how they develop as there is always something different happening. If you try this, wait for a couple of hours until the patchouli *really* intensifies. Soooo beautiful.


Unknown said...

Neonatura Cocoon is one of the few patchouli's I like. This one sounds lovely. I wonder how much the shipping is to the US for the sample packet is. Because even in euros the sample packet is pretty cheap.

Divina said...

Hi Jen, dearest! Shipping to the US is 15 euro, so total cost would be 20 euro for the whole thing. Not bad at all! I am actually quite impressed.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to share this comment: I was in search of a fragrance for myself, and the salesperson of a well-known store showed me 1826.
I am a guy with a very discriminating taste, and immediately fell in love with the fragrance.
I bought one and since then I only get complimments from guys and from women, always asking for the name of it.
If you all like unique and misterious scents, go for it. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to all, and to you Divina. Please keep writing nice things.


Divina said...

What a lovely comment you left me, Mex! Thank you! I am so glad you find 1826 as exquisite as I do. It is truly one of the best patchouli fragrances I have ever had the pleasure of smelling! You indeed have great taste ;)

le petit-grain said...

I didn't know Histoires de Parfums and discovered the brand on Perfume the Guide Newsletter by Lucas Turin...It makes me very curious....Do you know their new perfumes???and where I could smell them???

Divina said...

Hello Petit-Grain! I love the Histoires de Parfums line, you should definitely sniff them if you get the chance. There is something in the line for every taste and it is worth exploring and re-exploring! There is a link at the end of this post (highlighted in red) which you can click to be directed immediately to their sampling program. The price is excellent (5 euro for 12 samples + 5 euro for shipping). I have not yet sniffed the newest but I am expecting samples sometime soon and will be reviewing them when I get them, so keep checking back. I am excited about them!!