Histoires de Parfums “Discover Kit”

So essentially what I intend to use this blog for is to return to fragrances that I have already reviewed via Fragrantica (see my profile here). My initial reviews are always done on skin, either via a towelette sample, carded sample, decadent sample via spray or dab, etc but my second look will be done via paper, to get the fullest understanding of my own experience of fragrance. I’m sure there will be other random ramblings on fragrance and scent throughout as well. Today I am going to revisit the Discovery Set offered at Sephora for Histoires de Parfums essentially from what I loved the most to what I liked the least, so buckle up this is a run down of 10 different scents.

Histoires de Parfums is a perfume house out of France, the face behind the creations being Gérald Ghislain. The collection is, as stated on their site, “An olfactive library that is telling stories about famous characters, raw materials and mythical years.” The perfumes are named after the year their inspiration was born in. 1725 Casanova, 1740 Marquis de Sade, 1804 George Sand, 1826 Eugénie de Montijo, 1828 Jules Verne, 1876 Mata Hari, and 1899 Ernest Hemmingway. 1969, Ambre 114 and Noir Patchouli all are stand alone creations that should be considered separately from the historical figures that are represented from 1725 to 1899. I’m going to start with my favorite, 1899.

1899 : Earnest Hemingway

Earnest Hemingway, the man the myth the legend as they say. He has been my uber hero since time immemorial. Born in Illinois, Hemingway went on in life to conquer

Wikimedia Commons

the globe with his writing. He’s most well known for The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, his writing was centered around war, strife, love and loss. He is largely in part responsible for all modern American writing, as his style greatly shaped the way ideas were conveyed. One of my favorite quotes from the man is, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” That idea has shaped a great deal of my personal philosophy. How does that translate to fragrance?

Histories de Parfums lists 1899 as an oriental woody fragrance for men.

  • Top Note: Italian bergamot, juniper, black pepper
  • Heart Note: Orange blossom, Florentine Iris, Cinnamon
  • Base Note: Vanilla, Vetiver, amber

“A seductive night out in the City of Lights… the theater, dinner, a club or a romantic rendezvous. The heady scent of the hide-and-seek of shadows and light for the nocturnal adventurer.”

My opinion upon revisiting 1899 is mostly unchanged, if anything I now feel more favorable to the scent. My first review, as listed here on Fragrantica is as follows:

A warm scent, reminiscent of an old, antiqued library that you’ve never set foot in. Really really good, but just short of fantastic, a comforting scent appropriate for the fall. Initially it’s slightly orange with sweet vanilla, but melts into a musky, masculine, very aged aroma. 8/10

What stands out to me is the fresh cleanliness of the bergamot, a slight pleasant powder from the iris, and a musky amber quality that links in my head to some wooden notes. It’s fabulous. I still feel the same way, it’s a library for me. Tucked away in a tight alley somewhere magically lost to time. It’s romantic, coy, dark and light at the same time. This is a successful fragrance, you feel like you’re in France with Hemingway discussing politics and drinking heavily. It’s lovely, just spectacular as a scent. If everything in my life smelled this way I would have to give up grief, this fragrance commands imagination, commands ingenuity and creativity. You just feel like a better, smarter, stronger person for it. A+, 8/10 still, maybe pushing towards 8.5 but it doesn’t make a difference to me. This is a perfume I’d happily buy.

1804: George Sand

My second favorite perfume out of the collection was inspired by George Sand. George Sand is the pseudonym for Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, a lady made famous by her writing and her love affairs (most notably with the composer Chopin!)

George Sand by Charles Louis Gratia (c 1835)

It was said about her, Ivan Turgenev, a Russian writer, “What a brave man she was, and what a good woman.” That, I think sets us on the right foot for this fragrance.

Histories de Parfums lists 1804 as a floral amber fragrance for women.

  • Top Note: Tahitian Gardenia, Corsica Peach, Hawaiian Pineapple
  • Heart Note: Clove, Nutmeg, Indian Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Rose of Morocco
  • Base Note: Sandalwood, Patchouli, Benzoin, Vanilla, White Musk

They go on to write about the imagry behind the scent as follows:

On the first of July of that year, at number 15, rue Meslay in the 3rd ardt of Paris, Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin, who was to become the baroness of Dudevant was born. She was to become renowned through her androgynous pen name, George Sand. A writer of genius, great lover and committed, she was the incarnation of the first modern woman. For her contemporary heiresses, a perfume reflecting her generosity and sensuality. An amber flower bouquet, in remembrance of George Sand’s bond uniting her with nature, warmed with heady spices and colored by sweet fruits.

I disagree with this being a “floral amber”. Maybe a fruity floral, or fruity amber as a stretch. The pineapple dominates through and through. In my initial assessment of the scent, I was taken off guard by how much I apparently love the smell of pineapple, as can be read here.

This is the first feminine scent from Histoires I’ve tried, and I think it’s lovely. It reminds me of my mother’s old perfumes. The pineapple is very strong, as well as the peach and vanilla. The next batch of scent to hit you after the initial sweetness is all earthy and musky. The cloves, the jasmine, and rose all mingle together to create a lovely sweet, earthy bouquet. The pineapple lingers perhaps too long and too strongly, but personally the tropical nature works well for me. The more it sits, the more managed it becomes. It has the appearance of cheap perfume at first, fruits and sweets do that since they’re so popular, but it comes forward with some time to show its complexity and nuance. And I think this would be great in combination with perhaps a more masculine scent from Histoires. I’m a real fan. 8/10

This is a real surprise and real winner for me. Pineapple apparently is a sweet spot of healthy happy nostalgia. This is really sweet, really candied and playfully girly. But then it’s also musky and dark and hidden under layers of wood and amber notes. It’s a nice balance of complexity that just really wins out for me. I’m a fan. It smells like a beach, like an Island, like a love affair. Very tropical without losing itself to that conventional fruity one note wonder market that is so popular right now. It’s so well composed! 8/10 still, solid 8/10.

Now, those were the two in the bunch that I “loved” (as per the rating system on Fragrantica). I didn’t dislike any of the scents, at least no one got a rating below 5/10 (5/10 and below is all in the dislike pile for me), so rest will follow from most liked to least liked. In my next update, I will review 3 more from the collection. Thanks for reading, and please if you have any feedback on this post or how you personally felt about the samples I described above, please let me know in the comments I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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