Darkness – Review: Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade

Everybody who reads this blog now and then probably knows by now that I am a bit (okay, a lot) infatuated with Frapin 1697. This perfume features davana, a herb that is not often used in perfumes, but when I find it, I get week at the knees. Davana is my personal Nirvana. (Sorry, that was really lame…)

The lovely Suzanne once mentioned Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade contained davana, so, of course, I had to acquire a sample.

Here we are now, taking a closer look at a perfume named after a year, like the Frapin, but not only that, it is also named after a person. And not just any person…

The Marquis de Sade is known, I assume, by all, for his predilections, documented in mind-numbing detail in his extensive writings. Has anyone ever seen the movie “Quills”? De Sade is portrayed by the wonderful Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix is a priest unsuccessfully trying to reform de Sade and their mutual love interest is played by Kate Winslet. It was the single most impressive movie I have seen in my entire adult life. If you get the chance, watch it! I won’t write more about de Sade, but instead concentrate on the perfume at hand.

1740 was created in 2008 by Gerald Ghislain and includes notes of bergamot, davana sensualis, patchouli, coriander, cardamom, cedar, elemi, leather, labdanum, and coumarin.

1740 opens dark and dusty, treacly sweet and leathery, labdanum, leather and patchouli – and not just a little – being present from the get go.

It is an intriguing and darkly beautiful scent. It is darkest brown leather, dusty with age, cracked only at the edges, smooth from thousands of human touches. It is also something fruity, darkly fruity though, dried and aged, like dried prunes or marmite (or how I imagine marmite, it is so long since I last actually tasted it).

1740 develops slowly, but not a lot. What you get at the start stays mostly with you for at least six to eight hours. The dry-down is less fruity and more dry leather that looses a little of its deep complexity along the way. Nonetheless it is impressive. I would not wear it in the heat of summer, but I cannot wait to spray with abandon in the cold. A good reason to love the change of seasons.

I have to get back to the Marquis de Sade once more though – I am very, very glad this does not smell as much like it could, bearing that name. If Gerald Ghislain would have been really courageous, this would have been the perfume to really go to town with the animalics, the heavy leather, the dirty hair and God knows what else, even an ink note would fit the theme perfectly. It is not that scent though, and for that I am personally grateful, but if you choose to give that name to a perfume, it would have been only fitting to pursue the association to the end.

Image source: movieclub.blog.gogo.mn

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This entry was posted in Amber, Fragrance Reviews, Histoires de Parfums, Leather, Musk and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Darkness – Review: Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade

  1. Tarleisio says:

    Gotta say it, B, I’m a massive fan of ‘Quills’. (It’s one of my favorite movies, in fact!) I’m also a fan of the Marquis, but not so much for what made him famous, but rather for his other writings. On to the perfume…

    HdP is one of those lines I truly, really, would love to try, because I get the impression they have their own unique angles on the inspirations for their perfumes. And 1740 sounds like something right up my decadent, depraved alley…prune, leather, dust, patchouli…it all had me some time around…’Yes, please!’ 😉 I like dark, I like leather, I like all of it…and like you, I’m developing a taste for davana.

    . Of course, that would mean I would have to try 1873 (Colette, in my personal Pantheon of Inspiration), and…

    And 1740 Marquis de Sade, too!

    • Olfactoria says:

      This is certainly THE perfume for you. I wish I had a bigger sample, but I have only dregs left. Should I ever come across a sample,I will send it to you.
      Colette has davana? Didn’t know that, must investigate, thank you!

      • Tarleisio says:

        B, darling, I swear, the things you have me do…;) I investigated on the davana…and indeed it is a note featured in not a few fumes, among them – prominently, in fact! – Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir as well as Osmanthus (two of my favorite OJs), Gucci Accenti, Kors Kors, Balenciaga Talisman, Yves Rocher Ode à L’Amour and Molton Brown’s Intoxicating Davana Blossom. The two Basenotes threads I found recommended locating the essential oil (available at Eden Botanicals and likely other places, too), to really…’experience’ it.

        In India, davana garlands are used to celebrate Shiva, which suits it, I think!

        I plowed my way through several reviews of practically every HdP in existence, and learned that there is in fact no davana in 1873. Which isn’t going to stop me from trying to sample the line, of course…I hear the Marquis calling my name, I swear…;)

        • Olfactoria says:

          Thank you for sharing your research results! I want that essential oil, davana on its own must be awesome.

          I’m sure the Marquis is calling your name… 😉

    • deeHowe says:

      T., the first day that I tested this, I immediately thought of your devil’s sausage casing. I know that Ellen is working on his signature scent, but surely he can have two? This scent smells to me like room 666…


      You’ve got to try it!

      • Tarleisio says:

        I don’t see why he can’t have two! I mean…all told, I have about…errr…fifty staring me in the face? 😉 But seriously…talk about a massive, major lemming…in stereo and Dolby Surround, even! 😉

    • R says:

      I think that HdP has one of the best sample program around. You can order 6samples of 2ml for 10e. Free shipping. You can add up to 3 samples of the same perfume and best of all—> the price of samples is discounted from a big bottle, if you decide to buy!
      Give it a try 🙂

  2. Suzanne says:

    Oh wow, I love that movie Quills too! Love all three of those actors.

    Although we’re maybe not scent twins, Birgit (our tolerance of cumin separating us a bit) I think we must be scent sisters to a degree. I adore the davana note (did I tell you that it’s also featured in Paestum Rose from Eau d’Italie?) and oh how I love 1740! I do believe this one has Miss Tarlesio’s name on it, and all she would have to do is contact Histoires de Parfums and I bet they’d only be too happy to send her a sample, as they’ve been extremely generous with bloggers.

    Your review is spot on. Love that comparison to the dusty brown leather, “cracked only at the edges, smooth from thousands of human touches.” Such delicious poetry! Looking foward to reading Dee’s take on it, as well.

    • Tarleisio says:

      Suzanne..now you really got my motor running! I’d be happy to contact Histoires de Parfums, if only their website isn’t in the process of being refurbished. I shall have no peace until I try it…

      My Greek Chorus made me do it! 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love those actors too, all three of them in one movie is a treat.

      I also have a sample of Paestum Rose for exactly that reason, Duchaufour loves his davana. 🙂

      I am glad you like my review, I loved yours as well (just found it today, what an oversight!)

      • Marla says:

        I think BD is really good with davana- on it’s own, it makes me pucker, it’s quite a difficult and overwhelming note. He really knows how to blend it into a composition and make it sing.

  3. bloody frida says:

    Count me in as another ‘Quills’ fan!!

    I have a handful of samples from this line, and I still haven’t gotten around to truly sampling them. Thanks for this wonderful review!

  4. Marie says:

    Treacly sweet, leathery, coriander and labdanum – I’m in. Dusty and cedar make me a bit apprehensive. But perhaps I’m confusing dusty with musty – in my mind they’re often two sides of the same fragrant challenge. Cedar is – again in my mind – responsible for a certain pencil shavings kind of sweetness that I struggle with. But it’s still 4-2 in favor of de Sade. And in fact it would be 5-2. We must not forget fruity. Fruity is good whether it’s citrus or prunes 🙂

    It sounds like there’s a certain pleasurable decadence to de Sade – beautiful the way Venice is beautiful.

    Thank you for at great review. As always including references that reach beyond the topic itself. Will watch Quill when I get the chance.

    • deeHowe says:

      Marie, there is nothing musty about this scent! 🙂 It’s a stunner, and if you should come across it—spray with abandon, LOL!

      • Marie says:

        Musty scare called off! 😀 You certainly do make it sound terribly tempting, and the evidence is adding up with dee’s review. Another one for the sample list.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your comparison with Venice is interesting. A certain degree of decay intensifying the beauty…

      As Dee says, not musty at all, I don’t like musty either. 🙂

  5. deeHowe says:

    Dearest Birigt, I’m totally astounded that we both were testing and thinking about the same fragrance at the same time, and posted our reviews in sync, without ever having talked about this perfume!

    That said, I’m glad that you love it, because I love it too. When you hinted yesterday that your review was coming, I was nervous— wondering, “What if she totally hates it??”

    Two peas in a pod (a pod that encapsulates the US, the Atlantic, and western Europe)!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is an oversized pod alright, lol! 😀

      I was certain we would both love it! 😉
      But it is astounding, we talk about so many perfumes, but not one word about this…and here we are.

  6. Marla says:

    I saw most of “Quills”, walked out somewhere during it, never came back, went to Borders for coffee, not because I was offended, and I LOVE Geoffrey Rush (“King’s Speech”!!!!) and Kate Winslet, I just thought it was too far away from the actual texts and history. Since I’m trained in psychiatry, de Sade’s writings have always seemed so similar to some of my patients’, I don’t really want to see a film that glamorizes such extreme loneliness and rage. However, the perfume was very nice, the drydown was a little heavy for me, but overall, it’s my fave of the Histoires.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m not sure there was much glamorizing of de Sade’s disorders. I found the movie extremely disturbing and moving at the same time, and I think we share that background in psychiatry. 🙂

      Good to know this is your favorite Histoires scent. Are there any others you would recommend?

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  9. GeM says:

    Definitely I think I’m not in the Dark Side of the Force concerning perfumes….
    I wonder why not… I would like to! 😦 Recently I didn’t succeed with Amouage Lyric, and when I smelled 1740… I felt exactly the same… too much in the masculine side for my taste.
    I think my favorite by now of Histoires des Parfums, is the 1969 one… but this collection deserves a lot of attention and concentration. It was just my first approach to the line, and I was smelling perfumes throgout the day… So let’s see in a close future. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I always find that smelling something only once tells me nothing, the next time I try, my opinion might be entirely different. It may just be me, but I made it a rule not so judge anything before I tried it at least three times. Often perfumes I hate upon first smell turn into beloved favorites…

      • GeM says:

        I agree. I usually do the same. Lyric took me three times and finally I had the veredict, although in my second time I was already convinced due to time and attention I spent in it, and after disappearing off my skin I could still smell it on my clothes for at least 10 days after!!… but even then, I decided to try once more (properly, on skin) a week later.

  10. GeM says:

    PS: 1969 smells terrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiific!

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