Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I will not even try to connect the Marquis de Sade (1740 refers to the year of his birth) to the elegant immortelle-leather composition presented by Histoires de Parfums, a French niche line established by Gérald Ghislain in 2000. Somehow, it speaks not of an 18th century boudoir but is rather an expression of the Folies Bergères of 1920s Paris where Josephine Baker performed her Danse sauvage. While it is dark and sensual, the aura of 1740 is really quite glamorous.

While there are numerous great leather fragrances, from the classics like Chanel Cuir de Russie and Robert Piguet Bandit to the unconventional ideas like L’Artisan Dzing! and Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque, 1740 is interesting for its treatment of the leather accord as caramelized and sweet. Although 1740 reminds me of Lutens’ Ambre Sultan given its rich amber accord, it nevertheless possesses its own unique character. The perfumer Sylvie Jourdet sets the tangy richness of leather against the plush darkness of amber and accents it with oriental touches like vanilla and coumarin. The sandalwood notes, which have the richness of chocolate ganache, take 1740 further into unapologetically seductive territory.

Despite the darkness and heft of the core of the fragrance, 1740 maintains a certain unexpected radiance, and as such is very alluring. The interplay of bright and dark notes starts as soon as one applies 1740 on the skin. The boozy, rum-soaked raisin notes of davana are offset by the peppery shimmer of bergamot. The richness of amber is cut through by the cool spice of cardamom and coriander. Yet the late drydown, which lasts for hours on my skin, is what I find most appealing about 1740. The fragrance settles into a beautiful arrangement of leather, amber and immortelle, which wears like soft cashmere. It is simultaneously seductive and comforting.

It is equally suitable for both men and women, especially for those who love the oriental fantasy genre of fragrances similar to Serge Lutens. Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade includes notes of bergamot, davana, patchouli, coriander, cardamom, cedar, elemi, leather, labdanum, and coumarin. Eau de Parfum costs $185 for 120 ml. Available from Beautycafe and First in Fragrance.

Sample: my own acquisition



  • Fernando: I had and used this one for a while, but ended up trading it away. On my skin, it was just too much caramel, too sweet by half. My wife hated it. (And she’s the one who loves Ambre Sultan…)

    Plus, the association with the Marquis was unpleasant. June 24, 2011 at 10:17am Reply

  • Suzanna: This line intrigued me for a while and then I forgot about it until receiving samples of the tuberose trio. Those made me not want to smell anything else from the line, even as I wanted to revive an earlier interest in 1969, Moulin Rouge, Colette, and George Sand (this one had, as I recall, a very specifically notated “Hawaiian pineapple”).

    Your review has led me to cast aside, however temporarily, such childish fits of pique based on a mere three scents from the line. There might be gems within, as this review proves. June 24, 2011 at 10:40am Reply

  • Samarkand: Precise description and great you chose this forgotten perfume.

    It’s my favorite on this line with another masculine Casanova…

    Sure you’d better forget the name, it ‘s surely too clean for the Marquis but perfect for me. June 24, 2011 at 1:01pm Reply

  • Grusheczka: I have not worn this in a while, but I have a full bottle and you’ve inspired me to revisit the fragrance. I love its richness, and on my skin, the sweet, spicy notes are balanced with something that smells almost loamy, dirty. It’s a fabulous scent, thanks for writing about it! I believe that Miomia in Brooklyn also carries this line. June 24, 2011 at 9:44am Reply

  • Victoria: It does tend toward sweetness, so yes, if one prefers their leather dry, it may not be the best choice. I mostly wear it in the cool weather, but since the past few weeks have been rather chilly in Europe, it has worked well. June 24, 2011 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: I should visit Miomia. Someone else recently mentioned it to me. I admit that Brooklyn is still an area I need to explore better. June 24, 2011 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I cannot say that everything from this house appealed to me. Some fragrances are just not that interesting; others smell dated to me. Yet, the quality is nice, and there are some great ideas in the lineup. June 24, 2011 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Memoryofscent.wordpress.com: Labdanum is one of my favourite notes and 1740 is labdanum at its best. June 24, 2011 at 12:47pm Reply

  • Lavanya: My friend brought back a sample from miomia a year or so ago- and we both loved it..I enjoyed its spicy boozy leather on my skin and there was something vaguely floral in the middle..I didn’t want such enormous quantities of it so didn’t think of buying it. However, recently discovered 14 ml bottles of this at the perfumeshoppe.com..Now it is back on my to-buy list.

    Oh- and by the way- I tried EdLO Rien on your recommendation and love it. It is so evocative. It does remind me of the insides of sari shops as you mention. But it reminds me even more strongly of the insides of certain shops in Bangalore that sell wooden handicrafts-the smell of the incense and the sandalwood and the old leather sofa all beautifully mixed up in this perfume. June 24, 2011 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Interesting choice for a Summer review, Victoria. I always associate heavy scents with the autumn and winter months! But, this does arouse my curiosity; I am always in search of the supremely “dark” perfume, the one that truly expresses my tenebrous (you can tell I was an English major!), Gothic side. Unfortunately, most scents that identify themselves as “Gothic” seem to be aimed at misunderstood teenagers with high SAT scores: sweet, fruity, with a touch of literary pretension (witness all of the BPAL scents). Leather and amber sounds like it could come close, with a little touch of de Sade on the side! I will give it a sniff. June 24, 2011 at 7:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: I know that smell too! And you are right, it does remind me of it–an Indian silk or wood stores, where the wares have a patina of age (and a layer of dust, perhaps!) June 24, 2011 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: V, Casanova is another favorite. I expected to like Noir Patchouli, but it wore like an olfactory equivalent of an Edwardian gown–interesting, but perhaps too retro for my tastes. June 24, 2011 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mine too, I love its chocolate fudge richness. June 24, 2011 at 5:00pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Yes- the dust is important!..:) Oh and I smell a bit of the holy ash powder (vibhudii) too..Do you know what that holy ash/vibhudi is made of- or what it is called in English?..Caron Narcisse Blanc (and maybe Narcisse Noir to a lesser extent) smells a lot like this ash, but I have never figured out what note they share – is it just the sandalwood/incense? Thanks! June 24, 2011 at 7:51pm Reply

  • dee: I love this fragrance! 😉 June 25, 2011 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: And some iodine perhaps! Thank you for pointing out the similarity. No wonder, my Indian friends find Caron fragrances very evocative.
    From what I know, the composition of holy ash is quite complex, it includes milk, ghee, sandalwood and some other things. The smell is marvelous, whatever it is! June 26, 2011 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: I suspected it. 🙂 June 26, 2011 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Lynn, so far my summer has been freezing, to be honest. I only just got a taste of what a truly hot summer is like… Maybe, that is why I cannot give up these dark and brooding blends. June 26, 2011 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Queen Cupcake: I was the swapper who got Fernando’s bottle of MdS1740! And let me tell you, I LOVE it, even though there are not many times I can easily wear it. 😀 Thanks, Fernando! June 27, 2011 at 10:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Sounds like it was a win/win for all! 🙂 June 27, 2011 at 9:09pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I got a bottle of this through an ebay auction. I have had the excellent sample set of Histoires de Parfums for over a year and 1740 is my favourite. I just love it. The dry down is so comforting and gorgeous. I do wish they would do smaller bottles though, 120 mls. is a lot of perfume. The two others that stood out for me were 1725 ( Casanova I think) and the Noir Patchouly. But there isn’t a single one amongst them that I dislike.
    I have never tried the Trilogie des Tubéreuses, nor the Moulin Rouge. June 28, 2011 at 5:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: 1725 is another favorite of mine. I also enjoyed the rose-peach composition (now, I cannot recall its name, and I don’t have my notes on hand.) It was like a softer, more coquettish version of Tresor. June 28, 2011 at 8:24pm Reply

  • Austenfan: It’s the 1969, Tania Sanchez loves it. I can’t remember it but will try it again, I love Trésor. June 29, 2011 at 6:30am Reply

  • Lavanya: I have a little bit of 1740 on my skin right now- and it smells slightly different from what I remember (but that’s probably just me)..It still smells lovely though..but there is one note (I call it a salty note in my head) that is common between this, Bond no. 9 SIlver Factory and Amouage Jubiliation XXV for me – is that the Davana?- I find it very addictive..The drydown if these three smell pretty similar. July 5, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Lavanya: I mean ‘of these three’ July 5, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, yes, you are right! That’s the one I meant. July 5, 2011 at 4:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it can be a combination of amber and tobacco notes. Davana smells like rum soaked raisins+hay. July 5, 2011 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: My god, how did I miss this???? I must try this scent immediately! It sounds so me! August 11, 2014 at 6:16pm Reply

  • Julia Kernaghan: I had discovered this perfume line in Mill Valley, California, though they did not carry this particular scent. I have wanted to try it for some time, and just had delivered a 15 ml travel size. I was not quite sure I liked it at first, as on my skin, the main aroma was as of fresh tinned tobacco. I sprayed again half an hour later, and now, 3 hours later, I absolutely agree that it has dried down to a gorgeous, warm, burnt sugar/slightly bourbon, smoked leather/amber accord. I find it VERY pleasing, and yes, it feels like a warm cashmere wrap… Glad I bought it! It sits easily on my skin now. August 9, 2019 at 12:12pm Reply

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