When The Show Is Finally Over – Review: Histoires de Parfums 1889 Moulin Rouge

I knew of Histoires de Parfums of course, I even liked one of their perfumes very much – 1740 Marquis de Sade – but other than that I did not seek them out. The embarrassing truth, and I know I am not alone in that, is that I just can’t remember the names of the perfumes as they are dates, and my history professor will remember, I am not very good with dates.

But curiosity got the better of me lately and I ordered a sample pack from the website since it is a very good deal. You get six samples for 10€ including shipping AND a voucher for those 10€ to be deduced on a full bottle purchase in the future. That is so inviting, I just had to do it, if only to support such programs.

The first perfume of the six that I tried was Moulin Rouge, for the simple reason that it has not only the date 1889 on the vial but also the name Moulin Rouge, and poor, number-challenged Olfactoria is very thankful for such consideration. ;)

Created in 2009 by Gerard Ghislain for the 120 year anniversary of the Parisian etablissement,  Moulin Rouge includes notes of tangerine, plum, cinnamon, absinthe, rose, iris, patchouli, musk and fur.

“1889 celebrates the MOULIN ROUGE, the legendary Parisian cabaret, a smell of feathers and sequins, sensual and vibrant, a trace, elegant and powdered as a boisterous ode to feminity.”

-from the Histoires de Parfums website

We all know of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, banned masterfully on celluloid by Baz Luhrman. So if this is the atmosphere Moulin Rouge, the perfume wants to capture, we are in for a ride, a loud ride.

Those were my thoughts before I tried it.

“Warm iris, lipstick, face powder, plum, spices, patchouli – soft and almost delicate.” Those are the few words I have written down in my notebook, when I first wore it and they still hold true.

Moulin Rouge is not a loud, screechy fun ride, not a head-turning, intoxicating, disorienting perma-can can, but a truly lovely old-fashioned in the best sense of the phrase, rose and iris fragrance with fruity-spicy accents and a soft and sensual musk-patchouli base.

Moulin Rouge evokes the backstage area of the Moulin Rouge when the show is finally over. There is a quiet, exhausted hush, the scents of lipstick, powder and a hint of sweat and booze hang in the air. The music is silent now, the dance is over, but the smiles linger on the faces still.

Image source: histoiresdeparfums.com, vintageadbrowser.com

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35 Responses to When The Show Is Finally Over – Review: Histoires de Parfums 1889 Moulin Rouge

  1. Beautiful review. I have a hard time with the Histoires de Parfums though. They often seem a little harsh to me, loud as you said, very “in your face” like Montale can be.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have experienced that with a few of them as well but definitely not with Moulin Rouge. My other favorite of the line is the very soft and tender Blanc Violette, I gravitate more towards the tamer perfumes, I guess. :)

  2. Tara says:

    This does sound rather lovely (as long as it’s just a hint of sweat!) and I particularly like what you wrote down inyour notebook.

    I’m grateful to be benefiting from your sample pack purchase because I can’t get a handle on all those numbers either!

  3. Parfumista says:

    Thank’s for reminding me of Moulin Rouge a perfume I have received compliments for but somehow forgot about. I can’t recognize it so well when applied on my skin but obviously other can. Have to take it out again, quite suitable for the late winter/early spring.

  4. I have Moulin Rouge–it is lovely–and find it to be very much as you have described it. For me, the rose stands out, but it is a gentle one, and the other notes shift in and out of focus. I also have the “in your face” 1740 Marquis de Sade–love that one too! :-)

  5. Oh I’m totally with you on the numbers thing. A brain for numbers I hath not.

    This sounds good, I’ve only tried the three (non) Tuberoses from HdP and they were a mixed bag….

  6. deeHowe says:

    Moulin Rouge sounds lovely, although not at all what I would have expected! I guess I just have the Baz Luhrman version set a little too firmly in my brain; but, now that I think about it, it’s the little subtleties amidst the clamor that I love so much about

    I have the hardest time with these too: I really, really love the Marquis de Sade, but every time I want to reference it, I have to look up it’s date!
    So I’ll content myself with it’s cousin, Fougere Bengale :)

    But aren’t those bottles just beautiful? I would love to see them all lined up in my perfume cabinet, for aesthetic reasons, at least.

  7. Vanessa says:

    I like the sound of this one too, and like Tara I enjoyed your notebook notes. I see this was released in 2009, only I don’t believe it was in my sample set which I got a while ago, though I have given some away. There weren’t any tubereuses either. I don’t think I would have given this one away, as I like rose and iris and patchouli as a rule! And there were more than six samples to start with though, but I don’t remember choosing them. Just went on the website and I see that you pick and mix now whereas I am pretty sure I paid the 10 euros and got a lucky dip of 12! I think 6 for 10 euros is still very good value though, plus you get a voucher.

  8. lady jane grey says:

    They are awasome with the sample pack ! Plus, they have two bottle sizes, so I don’t necessarily have to buy a XXXL family pack of parfume…

  9. Philipp says:

    Wonderful review. Thank you Birgit. Is MR a cross then between Bal d’Afrique and Lipstick Rose?

  10. Alexis says:

    Yet another fragrance house that I need to discover….your notes pique my curiousity!

  11. Undina says:

    I sniffed this one in the store and didn’t feel compelled to put it on skin.

    I also thought that their samples program was a good one (and I ordered some samples – just not this one) but those numbers… I can never remember which one I tried :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      You too? I’m shocked! I thought if anyone could get a handle on those numbers it would be you! :)

      Ghislain should really think about putting the names on the boxes as well…

  12. susan says:

    oh god. I may have to try this. I love cosmetics scents. At least they have a good sampling program!

  13. Karin says:

    Love this one!!!

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