Histoires de Parfums, 1889 (2010)

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(image source olardooutono.blogspot.com)

Perfumers Gérald Ghislain & Sylvie Jourdet

Histoires de Parfums’s conceit of historical and literary themes is schtick. But what’s wrong with a bit of schtick? Trying to convey more than ‘lifestyle’ is a pleasant change in perfume PR. The need to mention both the year and the event the to tells you that the themes are not intended to be obvious. I’m instinctively leery of marketing, but HdP do take a stand against the the flanker mentality and I applaud the effort.

1889 refers to the Moulin Rouge and would assumedly be boisterous, huge and lacking in self-restraint. I thought it would be the glam-rocker of the bunch. (That would be 1804.) At the risk of mixing eras, I’d imagined, a sort of ‘what happens in the Moulin Rouge stays in the Moulin Rouge.’ On the contrary, 1889 turns out to be a rather quiet and contemplative perfume.

It starts out smelling like the inside of a purse that has a ripe pear in it. As others have mentioned it is a lipsticky, face-powdery iris fragrance but it also has a sweet, fruity side. I’ve seen prune, plum, tangerine listed as notes, but it smells like pear to me. It simmers down pretty quickly and in the end it’s fairly reserved and stays close to the skin reminding me a bit of the iris-hyacinth accord found in Lutens’s Bas de Soie. Cool, matte, muted. Moulin Rouge? More like a red herring.

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