Writing for What Makes a Man site occasionally leads me to a great experience that enriches my life. Buying this fragrance was and is, one such experience.
I was on the lookout for a new fragrance. I like dense, masculine, long-lasting fragrances that have a real presence. I project an image of style and masculine power, and I wanted a fragrance that was in accord with that image. More than that I wanted a fragrance that had a hard edge to it. Most recently I have been wearing Terre D’Hermes which is a superb fragrance for a man. Terre D’Hermes is a rich, mossy oaky earthy scent with a just a bit of tobacco and spice. It smells rich, welcoming and warm and has a lot of presence but is a little soft.
I realised that what I wanted was something slightly more sexy, more overtly masculine and with a lot of presence. One of the most important factors in developing personal style is knowing what works for you. I was clear about what I wanted.
I wanted a Leather.
Actually I wanted leather, tobacco, tar, all the thing that smelled manly. As long as it was big. In perfume terms, I wanted “radiance”, the ability of the perfume to radiate out into my personal space. I wanted a male fragrance that had a big personality.
So it was time for a little research. These days I go straight to the Bible of Perfumes. This is Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez wonderful book “Perfumes, The A-Z guide”. Luca Turin is one of the greatest living experts on perfume and, along with his wife Tania Sanchez, is one of the most lucid, engaging writers I have ever read. Our review of “Perfumes, the A-Z Guide”, is here.
We also wrote an earlier article on how to choose a man’s fragrance. That article is here
My Choice - Histoiries De Perfums 1740
I read Luca’s reviews of great masculine perfumes and decided upon a perfume. I choose 1740 from Histoires de Parfums, a French niche fragrance house. Luca Turin gave 1740 a rating of 5 out of 5 and described it as one of the best Leathers ever, which was good enough for me. Also, a close reading of “Perfumes” makes it clear that Turin and Sanchez think very highly of Histoires’ perfumes, both the men’s and the women’s ranges. But I also had a look at the Histores de Parfums site, which whetted my interest (more below).
I usually do not buy any fragrance without smelling it. However Histoires de Parfums are a niche fragrance brand, only sold in a few stores, none of which were convenient for me at the time. So I ordered 1740, scent unseen, from the Grooming Clinic website. More on the Grooming Clinic below.
Trying it – Top Notes
I sprayed it on. The top notes are a spectacularly lively bitter Orange, a sharp Balsamic spicyness and some clean Citrus, all bound together with a big kick of scent. This is spraying on exhilaration out of a bottle. It feels bracing, lifts one up immediately. This is the most immediate impact a fragrance has had on me since I discovered Eau Sauvage as a teenager.
1740 has a presence alright. The Citrus/Orange (the Bergamot I guess) and Oakmoss scent is dominant and lasts a long time. I had a mate drop by when I was opening the box and gave it to him to try. He also tried a couple of heavy Orientals (reviews to follow) and his opinion, the 1740 was the dominant fragrance (and the one he preferred).I could smell the top notes for about forty minutes. Then the middle starts to blend in. And I mean blend. There is a symphonic quality about this fragrance, where the top, middle and base accords weave around each other, slowly displacing each other. If you are paying attention, this is fragrance as entertainment.
The big middle
The middle is bold, rich and a lot of presence. There is a smell of spice, coriander, cardamom and something that smells like a spicy plum. At the same time there is a smell of aromatic woods. There is a clean, iron smell of Birch, some fresh Cedar. The woods lift the middle notes and give it a backbone. There is a smell of tobacco from somewhere. This 1740 is really big and rich but not fat, it has structure. And again, orchestrated. These scents combine to form something which is warm, sexy, but has a combative, rugged edge.
I was wearing the 1740, it had gone into the middle notes, when I kissed a female friend. Her eyes almost glazed over and she said “God, what is that!”. I told her and she proceeded to nuzzle my neck long enough to get a good long scent of the 1740. Now that is the right reaction to a man’s fragrance!.
Into the base
The Birch stays, and a big Leather and dry Amber come along to fill out the base accord. Again, this is big, it has mass and enough structure that you could almost reach out and grasp it. So you get a rich whisky leather scent with a hint of Iron (the Birch?). And this is not bare-bones. The middle never completely dies away and the scent has a “body” to it. So there is warmth, mystery, hints of spice and that dry but substantial Amber. At this point the 1740 has gone full orchestral on you and the fully composed perfume is radiating out into your personal space. Magnificent. The perfumier at Histoires ,Gerald Ghislain, who composed this, is a genius.
The effect – sexy as hell.
Hell, do I feel like a sex god when I wear this! I have been wearing 1740 for a week now and have found reasons for wearing it every single day. Once the 1740 gets into its base accord I feel like I have the balls of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer and the sex-appeal of a young Sean Connery. The Leather/Amber accord really appeals to me and smells very manly, yet modern. There are none of the connotations or signature scents of “old” perfumes. This is a very modern composition, lively and fresh to start, strong and authoritative in the dry-down.
I said this was rich but it is also long-lasting. I put this on at 11.00am and the scent is still actively present 12 hours later. This is a powerful, beautifully structured fragrance that works hard.
Works for me
So I am completely and utterly sold on this 1740 and will be trying some of the other Histoires de Parfums men’s fragrances. The sheer pleasure that this fragrance has given me is wonderful. Choosing, buying and wearing this fragrance has been a joyful personal experience and one that has enhanced my personal style. I recommend 1740 whole-heartedly.
Histoires de Parfums
Histoires de Parfums are a niche French perfume house who I had not heard of before I read “Perfumes the A-Z Guide”. The most thing important to write about here is that they are dedicated to men’s fragrances as well as women’s and the have an extensive men’s range, all named after important historic dates. Gerald Ghislain takes the thematic date (often the date of birth of a famous, iconic man) as inspiration and derives a perfume from that. He describes himself as a “hands-on” perfumier. Well, he got his hands dirty here and created a superb men’s fragrance. I promise more on Histoires de Parfums and Monsieur Ghislain in future articles.
The Histoires de Parfums site is really good, you can find it here
The Grooming Clinic
I bought my 1740 from the Grooming Clinic, who are listed as a preferred retailer on the Histoiries de Parfums website. The Grooming Clinic has some really interesting men’s fragrance products, alongside a wide range of men’s grooming products. I spoke to them about the 1740 and they were both knowledgeable and extremely helpful. They steered me to another range of men’s rragrances which I will write about in a future article.
They ship their products by recorded delivery (included in the price) and the 1740 arrived within two days. What particularly impressed me was the care with which they package products for dispatch. Here is a picture of their mail packaging for the 1740.
Based on my experience I would certainly recommend them. The Groom Clinic’s website is here
Your feedback on this review and other Histoiries product are most welcome.
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