Histoires de Parfums 1828 (Jules Verne)

Jules Verne, photo by Nadar circa 1878, via Wikipedia.

Jules Verne, photo by Nadar circa 1878, via Wikipedia.

Jules Verne was one of the fathers of science fiction, and the author of such famous adventure novels as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Verne was a fascinating figure who was born in 1828, and his life is the source of inspiration for an aromatic, citric, woody eau de parfum from Histoires de Parfums which uses that date as its name. With 1828, Gérald Ghislain sought to create a scent for the modern globe-trotter who wants to travel in Jules Verne’s olfactory footsteps.

Histoires de Parfums describes 1828 and the man whom it seeks to encapsulate as follows:

Source: Luckyscent

Source: Luckyscent

He was born in Nantes, at the beginning of that century of discoveries. The close ocean took him far away, inspiring in him extraordinary novels of adventure. Inspired by the father of literary science fiction, this eau de parfum for modern globe-trotters breathes its aromatic Hesperides-like scents, just as a marine breeze over a wild heath. A freshness tinted with sophistication.

Originality: spices, wood, aromatic herbs representing Jules Verne – world traveler. A group of olfactive scents assembled from trips all around the globe.
(Madagascar black pepper, Indonesian nutmeg…)
Moods: energizing, dazzling, bright, timeless.

Top Note: Grapefruit, Citrus, Tangerine, Eucalyptus
Heart Note: Nutmeg, Pepper
Base Note: Cedar, Incense, Vetiver, Pine cone

Nutmeg. Source: Kootation.com

Nutmeg. Source: Kootation.com

1828 Jules Verne opens on my skin with a strong burst of bitter nutmeg, followed by tart grapefruit, sweet tangerine, and zesty citruses. A brief hint of sourness vies with the pungency of the spices, though the sweet and fresh notes try to counter it. Touches of pepper and a fresh, mineralized vetiver ensue, briefly creating a small resemblance to a Terre d’Hermes-like cologne. As a whole, 1828’s opening feels like a very safe, more elevated version of a department store fragrance. I’m thoroughly unimpressed, and starting to reconsider my plan of going through a number of the Histoires de Parfum creations in a row.

Although the dominant bouquet is of nutmeg with hesperidic, citric elements, 1828 starts to change after 5 minutes. The tiniest whisper of eucalyptus, pine and incense slowly start to creep in. At first, they sit quietly on the sidelines, and overlook the flickers of clean musk and vanillic sweetness that stir deep down in the base. However, after 15 minutes, the pine and eucalyptus amble onto center stage, adding a very forest-like aroma to the nutmeg citrus bouquet. At the same time, the vetiver recedes to the background, while both the incense and tangerine fade away completely.

Source: kblog.lunchboxbunch.com -

Source: kblog.lunchboxbunch.com –

For the rest of the hour, 1828 is a blend of dusty, bitter nutmeg, white-yellow grapefruit, pine cones, and eucalyptus. The latter smells like the aromatic oil you get if you crumple the fresh leaves between your fingers. The pine smells similarly deep, but it’s more woody than resinous in nature on my skin. Citrus, woody scents aren’t particularly me, but 1828 underwhelms me for different reasons. It feels rather boring, but, more to the point, the elements seem to be very much out of balance on my skin. Someone on Fragrantica once described 1828 as the scent of curdled nutmeg, and, oddly enough, that description really seems to fit the opening hour.

Thankfully, 1828 Jules Verne improves with time, although the scent also turns more simplistic and minimalistic. At the end of the 1st hour, a wonderful creaminess arrives, shoots through all the notes, and smooths out the rough edges. It’s like a silky cream that is almost vaguely vanillic in nature, which is a little baffling as vanilla is not listed in the notes. The accord turns 1828 into a fragrance that is smoother, more balanced, and less crisp. The pine and eucalyptus notes are now more prominent than the nutmeg on my skin, yet the fragrance feels warmer as a whole.

Source: topwalls.net

Source: topwalls.net

1828’s sillage is very soft, though, and the scent hovers only an inch above the skin. A lot of the notes begin to overlap each other, losing clear shape and distinction. In fact, from afar, 1828 appears like a well-blended blur of creamy, aromatic, foresty woods, that are lightly flecked by an amorphous, zesty citrus, a subtle dash of sweetness, and a touch of spiciness. Up close, 1828 isn’t substantially more complex or nuanced, though you can pull out the individual notes with more ease.

Eucalyptus leaves.

Eucalyptus leaves.

1828 remains that way for hours. It turns into a skin scent just before the end of the 2nd hour, and grows increasingly abstract. At the 3.5 hour mark, it is an aromatic, woody bouquet dominated by pine with only small touches of grapefruit and eucalyptus, all atop a creamy base. There is now a small vein of cedar running through 1828 as well, though it’s very muted on my skin. However, the nutmeg has disappeared, and two hours later, so does that last remaining citrus element.

By the end of the 5th hour, 1828 Jules Verne is a blurry haze of creamy, vaguely aromatic, green woods. The pine note has vanished, and the cedar is just barely discernible if you put your nose right on your skin, inhale forcefully, and focus hard. By the start of the 7th hour, even that goes away. In its final moments, 1828 is a wisp of abstract creamy woodiness. All in all, the fragrance lasted just short of 9 hours on me, with generally low sillage throughout.

After its unbalanced, somewhat bitter start, 1828 turned into a generally pleasant fragrance. I preferred the bouquet in the middle phase with its mix of foresty woods and creamy sweetness, lightly flecked with that pretty grapefruit, but all of it left me feeling underwhelmed. None of it is distinctive or particularly interesting, in my opinion. For the most part, 1828 really feels like a more refined version of a designer scent, minus the latter’s synthetics or cheap ingredients. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve smelled 1828’s drydown somewhere else before, but I can’t remember which department store fragrance it was.

Still, 1828 is pleasant, even if that’s damning it with faint praise. On a more positive note, it’s definitely an easy, safe, approachable fragrance. I just wish I wasn’t so utterly bored. Surely Jules Verne of all people deserved something more interesting? A breath of saltiness, a touch of algae, or a whisper of … something…. that is unique, complex, and enlivening?

Source: Nathan Branch.

Source: Nathan Branch.

On Fragrantica, the most amusing review comes from “Cloyd42” who writes:

If nutmeg could curdle it would smell like this. The grapefruit is downright sugary and the eucalyptus is wildly unbalanced. If 1828 really smelled like this it must have been a dreary year indeed.

Sillage / 3 ft
Duration / eternal?
Fabulosity / day old sushi
Value to price ratio / poor

Speaking of his sillage and duration numbers, I want to make clear that my experience with 1828 as a weak scent doesn’t seem to be the norm. However, I fit squarely with others in terms of the longevity. The votes for both areas are:

  • Sillage: 7 for soft, 11 for moderate, 13 for heavy, and 10 for enormous;
  • Longevity: 13 for long lasting (7-12 hours), and 14 for Very Long Lasting (12+hr). [I’ve skipped over the other categories as those 2 are the majority by a landslide.]
Source: picstopin.com

Source: picstopin.com

Those two issues aside, Fragrantica posters are mixed in their views of 1828. A number of people find it to be an easy-going, refined spring scent, while others shrug and dismiss it as largely forgettable despite its pleasant nature. A small range of opinions:

  • Honestly, the most disappointing scent among HdP masculines. […] this is undoubtably well made, but also a bit boring and forgettable. You can get the same job done by other cheaper fragrances!
  • Simple, easy to like and also easy to forget… [¶] But it is quite good. [¶] I really enjoy how the nutmeg is well blended with the other notes as citrusy accords (on the beginning), the pine notes, eucalyptus and cedarwood. [¶] Nutmeg is the main note for me… Dusty, spicy and intriguing here. [¶] But even though, here we have a simple scent – easy to go everywhere, anywhere…
  • This is a terrrific blend of various scents of woods and citrus, especially the great pine scent that comes from it. [¶] I have never heard more compliments during the day at the office from a fragrance than with this.

Gucci Envy for MenOne commentator, “Alfarom,” found 1828 Jules Verne to be extremely similar to Gucci Envy for Men:

to me, 1828 is not so distant from Gucci Envy for Men.

It opens with citruses and eucalyptus immediately joined by incense. Frankincense perfectly blends with the aromatic grapefruit note adding depth and consistency to the fragrance. This accord is definitely successful and so well executed that I was ready to declare 1828 as one of my favourite compositions from this house. Elegant, masculine, fresh but not dull, with a remarkable presence but not loud…a fantastic everyday’s fragrance…but…

…but disappointment was waiting for me just right behind the corner. The eucalyptus note evaporates in couple of minutes and you can say goodbye to the “balsamic” effect. Same is for the aromatic grapefruit leaving 1828 in a sort of generic territory made of vetiver, spices and woods (mainly cedar) that’s really too similar to Gucci Envy For Men. Overall I can’t say that 1828 is unsuccessful but after the outstanding opening I definitely expected something more.

That said, if you’re not familiar with Gucci Envy For Men and you are ready for a challenging price tag, you could enjoy 1828. Personally I stick with the Gucci.

All I can say is that he experienced a scent that was substantially more complex than I did, and, yet, he still found it comparable to a department store fragrance.

I could comb the web for more comparative reviews to give to you, but, honestly, I lack the motivation. Cloyd42 wrote in his Fragrantica review, “If 1828 really smelled like this it must have been a dreary year indeed.” I would replace the word “dreary” with “uninspiring,” which is the very last thing that a man like Jules Verne deserves.

Cost, Availability, Decant Sets & Samples: 1828 is an Eau de Parfum that comes in two sizes: 2.0 oz/60 ml for $125, €87, or £75; or 4 oz/120 ml for $205 or €145. (Further decant or mini-sized options are below). Both sizes are available on the Histoires de Parfums website, which also has a great sample program (6 samples of your choice) whose $20 price goes towards the purchase of a large 4 oz. bottle. Further details are available here as to how the process works. Shipping is free for all order anywhere in the world for purchases over $130; below that, there is a $10 shipping fee. In the U.S.: 1828 is available from Luckyscent in both sizes, along with samples. BeautyHabit sells both sizes, along with a 14 ml decant for $36. Amazon offers 1828 in the smaller $125 size, and the 3rd party retailer is Parfums1. On the actual Parfum1 website, you can buy both sizes of 1828, as well as a 14 ml decant for $36. MinNewYork has the whole Histoires de Parfums line in the smaller 60 ml size, including 1828, but they are currently out of stock of the latter. The Perfume Shoppe (which has a Canadian division) offers the 60 ml bottle, and also sells 14 ml decants of 1828 for $36. Outside the U.S.: In Canada, Etiket carries the Histoires de Parfums, though only a few are shown on their website. Alas, 1828 is not one of them. In the UK, Roullier White sells 1828, along with a couple of the Histoires de Parfums line for £125 for the smaller 2 oz/60 ml bottle. In Paris, the full Histoires de Parfums line is available at Jovoy for €87 or €145, depending on size. You can also find select fragrances from the line in the small size at the Nose boutique in Paris. In the Netherlands, you can find the full line at ParfuMaria. For the rest of Europe, Premiere Avenue has all the fragrances in the small 2 oz/60 ml size for €87, with a 5 ml decant available for €9. In the large 4 oz bottles, you can find 1828 at First in Fragrance for €145. In Australia, you can find 1828 on sale at City Perfume for AUD$179 for 120 ml, or for the full AUD$190 price at Peony Melbourne. For all other countries, the vast Histoires de Parfums’ Store Locator page lists retailers from South Africa to Korea, Sweden and Kuwait. Samples: You can find samples at a number of the retailers linked to above. Surrender to Chance offers 1828 starting at $4.99 for a 1 ml vial.

Histoires de Parfums 1826 (Eugénie de Montijo)

1826 was a year notable for many things, the least of which was the birth of France’s last Empress, Eugénie de Montijo. 1826 is also the name of a perfume inspired by her life and passions, from a perfume house that seeks to capture history in a bottle. Histoires de Parfums is a French niche perfume house founded in 2000 by Gérald Ghislain, and many of their scents are entitled with just a simple date, the date of birth for a famous historical figure who serves as the perfume’s inspiration.

Empress Eugenie, official portrait via Wikipedia.

Empress Eugenie, official portrait via Wikipedia.

In the case of 1826, it is Eugénie de Montijo. She was born in Granada, and was a Spanish Grandee (or aristocrat) who became France’s last Empress Consort as the wife of Emperor Napoleon III. Empress Eugenie was renowned for her sophisticated style, jewellery, and fashion sense, but what Histoires de Parfums is encapsulating is her love of patchouli. Histoires de Parfums describes the perfume as a “sensual amber,” and writes:

The future and last French empress, Eugénie de Montijo, was born in Granada, the jewel of Andalusia. A sparkling beauty, her seductive nature and temperamental elegance delighted Napoleon the third. This beautiful lady who influenced the mundane life and artistic refinement of her time inspired this luminous fragrance, a sensual amber carried by the power of white flowers and patchouli, of which the empress loved the unforgettable vapor trail.

Originality: mix of anis and amber.
(Eugenie de Montijo was voluptuous, full-bodied and delicate at the same time).

Top Note: Bergamot, Tangerine
Heart Note: White Flowers, Violet, Cinnamon, Ginger
Base Note: Patchouli, Amber, Incense, Blond Woods, White Musk, Vanilla.

Source: Luckyscent

Source: Luckyscent

1826 opens on my skin with sharp, clean musk and citruses that immediately give way to a creamy, milky patchouli. It is infused with vanilla, and the tiniest pinch of cinnamon in a refined mix that glows a soft, warm brown. None of patchouli’s camphorous or minty green sides are present to any noticeable degree, at least not at first. Instead, this is a very milky, almost creamy and beige patchouli whose softness in the opening minutes calls to mind both Etat Libre‘s Nombril Immense and, to a much lesser extent, the drydown of Chanel‘s glorious Coromandel. As the momentary burst of citrus and sharp musk sinks into the base, incense rises up to take their place, adding to the tentative, small similarities to Coromandel.

Photo: puresilks.us

Photo: puresilks.us

The differences are much, much greater than any commonalities, however. The main one is the total absence of any white chocolate notes in 1826, whether powdered or mousse-like. The incense is another substantial point of departure. There is extremely little of it in 1826, whereas Coromandel has almost as much smoky frankincense as it does patchouli. Perhaps even more so. Speaking of patchouli, the note in 1826 starts to slowly reflect a quiet earthiness which the Chanel fragrance completely lacks. In less than 5 minutes, 1826 takes on a subtle undertone of damp, wet, loamy soil. Under the surface, hints of tobacco bubble up, along with the tiniest suggestion of something green and camphorous. Both accords momentarily diffuse the milky aspects of the scent, but they are muted and very short-lived.

"Cosmic Swirls Beige" by Jeannie Atwater Jordan Allen at fineartamerica.com

“Cosmic Swirls Beige” by Jeannie Atwater Jordan Allen at fineartamerica.com

15 minutes into its development, the creamy patchouli in 1826 turns plush and deep, feeling like velvet. The earthiness is extremely smooth and well-balanced. As a whole, the patchouli never smells musty or dusty, but turns lightly chocolate-y in nature. Thanks to the vanilla in the base, the overall effect is more akin like a dusting of milk chocolate powder infused with warm, sweet soil, a lot of milk, and hints of woodiness. Underlying that bouquet are subtle undercurrents of incense, spice, tobacco, and milky Chai tea, but the primary impression is of a vanilla-infused patchouli scent. It’s much sweeter, earthier, and warmer than the drier, incense-heavy, white cocoa Coromandel.

For the longest time, there really isn’t much more to 1826 Eugenie de Montijo on my skin. There are no fruited notes or tangerine, no ginger, no discernible florals, and very little cinnamon. The perfume is initially strong on my skin, but extremely airy, wafting in a sheer cloud that extends about 2-3 inches above my skin with 3 enormous smears. The sillage drops quickly, and it consistently takes between 2.25 hours and 2.5 hours for 1826 to turn into a skin scent.

Source: 123rf.com

Source: 123rf.com

I’ve tried 1826 a few times, and the perfume’s simplicity and linearity remains the same each time. 1826 continues as a milky patchouli scent until the 3.5 hour mark when hints of powder creep in, along with a return of the clean musk and an abstract woodiness. The musk does an odd thing to the woods, turning them cold and clean.

Slowly, the woody musk starts to take over. At first, it is an equal partner to the lightly powdered patchouli, but by the end of the 6th hour, it completely dominates the scent. 1826 is now primarily an abstract woody musk fragrance, with just a vestige of patchouli sweetness. The whole thing feels very nondescript and generic, with the tiniest hint of something soapy lurking deep in the base. In its final moments, 1826 is nothing more than a slightly sweet, woody cleanness. All in all, 1826 lasted just over 7 hours with a small quantity, and 8.25 with a heavy dose.

1826 has received mixed reviews on Fragrantica, though the majority seem to like it. One person experienced a much more complex scent than I did, as evidenced by this review:

it is quite beautiful and I wouldn’t mind owning a bottle. The top notes include orange, which complements the heart notes of cinammon and ginger beautifully. Rounding out the heart are creamy white flowers and a hint of sharp (not candied) violet. About an hour in, the base notes start to make an appearance, including a lovely, slightly sweet incense note. This is not an old medieval church type of incense, but a light, dry, modern incense, and it’s not added with a heavy hand. Instead the base notes of vanilla, patchoulli, and amber share equal footing with the incense, which I like. The combination is just right. Beautifully complex and layered, 1826 is a full blooded and heavy boned oriental in the absolute BEST sense.

Other people, however, experienced a “wisp” of a scent that barely lasted and which was far from full-blooded, though they did enjoy it greatly:

  • in my case […] definitely not a heavy oriental..it’s a beautiful wisp of a scent! The spices are very subdued, it’s a warm floral with a clean skin musk peeking out from under, thoroughly wearable. Not sweet at all nor old fashioned- very well blended as someone else mentioned.
  • 1826 starts quite heavy and spicy, reminds me of Ambre Sultan at this stage. But it only lasts a few minutes. [¶] Then it becomes more and more milky and vanillic, sweet, but stays transparent all the time. I think I smell something similar as in Clinique Simply – a bright accord of anise, which is not listed in any of them. It gives this fragrance a pale, lunar light. [¶] It’s so well blended … Absolutely nothing stands out. One light accord of patchouli, white flowers, amber, vanilla … [¶] Recently I’ve been so bored with spices and flowers shouting at me from almost every composition out there… [¶] And when 1826 touched my skin I felt like in a scented heaven. A Zen-like scent. Modest and modern at the same time.Sounds perfect? Yes, but it has 2 very serious drawbacks.
    One: there’s almost no sillage! A true skin scent. I literally have to put my nose onto my wrist to smell it. You really have to use a lot, and still only YOU will be able to smell it … Pity, considering how beautiful it is and that I’d love to share its beauty with someone around …
    Two: No lasting power! After 2 hours there’s no trail of it.

Well, I rather agree with him or her on 1826’s lack of body, not to mention the incredibly weak sillage, no matter how much you apply.

Source: Saveur.com

Source: Saveur.com

In terms of other assessments, male commentators find 1826 to be very unisex, while one woman (who clearly doesn’t like patchouli in general) found the perfume to be too masculine for her tastes. One poster thought 1826 was too earthy, another compared it to “cotton candy” mixed with a “vanilla milkshake,” while a third found the perfume “too powdery” with a soapy undertone. I can definitely understand a number of those assessments, especially the milkshake, though I think it would be a vanilla-cocoa-patchouli one that is only present for the first half of 1826’s life. As a whole, though, the general consensus on 1826 seems to be that it is not a patchouli bomb but, rather, “a very pleasant patchouli/vanilla/creamy white flowers mix with a hint of cinnamon, spice and powder.” I think that’s quite an accurate nutshell summation, even if the creaminess that I personally encountered wasn’t at all floral in nature.

I enjoyed parts of 1826 Eugénie de Montijo in its opening phase, but I find it hard to summon up a lot of enthusiasm for the scent as a whole. The clean, white musk simply ruined it for me, as did the problematic sillage and the banal drydown. On the other hand, the perfume is easy to wear, and those who enjoy lightly sweetened, milky, fuzzy, Le Labo type of scents may enjoy 1826’s approachability. It is definitely unisex, in my opinion; as one male Fragrantica poster noted, the perfume is actually more unisex than the 1969 fragrance that Histoires de Parfum categorizes as such. Obviously, you have to like patchouli to enjoy 1826, but you also have to enjoy some powderiness as well, in my opinion. So, if a milky, creamy, vanillic, slightly powdered patchouli scent with great sheerness, softness, and discreetness sounds like your cup of tea, then give 1826 a sniff.

Cost, Availability, Decant Sets & Samples: 1826 is an Eau de Parfum that comes in two sizes: 2.0 oz/60 ml for $125, £75, or €87; or 4 oz/120 ml for $205, £125 or €145. (Further decant or mini-sized options are below). Both full bottle sizes are available on the Histoires de Parfums website, which also has a great sample program (6 samples of your choice) whose $20 price goes towards the purchase of a large 4 oz. bottle. Further details are available here as to how the process works. Shipping is free for all orders anywhere in the world for purchases over $130; below that, there is a $10 shipping fee. In the U.S.: 1826 is available from Luckyscent in both sizes, along with samples. BeautyHabit sells both sizes, along with a 14 ml decant for $36. Amazon offers 1826 in the smaller $125 size, and the 3rd party retailer is Parfum1. On the actual Parfum1 website, you can buy the small 60 ml bottle of 1826 as well as a 14 ml decant for $36. MinNewYork has the whole Histoires de Parfums line in the smaller 60 ml size, including 1826, but they are currently out of stock of the latter. The Perfume Shoppe (which has a Canadian division) sells 14 ml decants of 1826 for $36, but doesn’t list the full bottle. Outside the U.S.: In Canada, Etiket carries the Histoires de Parfums, though only a few are shown on their website. 1826 is one of them. In the UK, Roullier White sells a couple of the Histoires de Parfums line for £75 for the smaller 2 oz/60 ml bottle and £125 for the 120 ml size, but 1826 is not listed or shown. Elsewhere, Harvey Nichols doesn’t carry the full line, but they do have 1826 Eugenie in the large £125 size. In Paris, the full Histoires de Parfums line is available at Jovoy for €87 or €145, depending on size. You can also find select fragrances from the line in the small size at the Nose boutique in Paris. In the Netherlands, you can find the full line at ParfuMaria. For the rest of Europe, Premiere Avenue has all the fragrances in the small 2 oz/60 ml size for €87, with a 5 ml decant available for €9. In the large 4 oz bottles, you can find 1826 at First in Fragrance for €145. In Australia, you can find 1826 on sale at City Perfume for AUD$179 for the large 120 ml bottle, or for the full AUD$190 price at Peony Melbourne. For all other countries, the vast Histoires de Parfums’ Store Locator page lists retailers from South Africa to Korea, Sweden and Kuwait. Samples: You can find samples at a number of the retailers linked to above. Surrender to Chance offers 1826 starting at $4.99 for a 1 ml vial.

Histoires de Parfums 1899 Ernest Hemingway

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

1899 is the year of Ernest Hemingway‘s birth, and also the name of the newest fragrance from Histoires de Parfums, a French niche perfume house founded by Gérald Ghislain. It is a company whose perfumes are often entitled simply with a date in history, the year in which a legendary figure was born. This fall, they tackled Ernest Hemingway. I absolutely loathe the man for his personal life and character, but I was intrigued by how his essence might be encapsulated on an olfactory level. So when I saw a bottle of 1899 while visiting Jovoy Paris, I eagerly tested it on paper. My initial impression was far from favorable, but scented strips rarely tell an accurate tale, so I asked for a sample. I thought things might change upon a proper test. They did not, in large part. While I now see more to 1899 Ernest Hemingway than I did then, I’m still not particularly enthused.

Source: Luckyscent.

Source: Luckyscent.

1899 is the creation of Gérard Ghislain, and is an eau de parfum. Histoires de Parfums’ full description for the scent, along with its notes, is as follows:

The top notes of Italian bergamot, juniper and pepper are intended to be the aperitif that sparks the conversation and awakens the palate in anticipation of the meal. Following “Papa” from Spain to Italy with Mediterranean scents that evaporate to leave place to a darker mood, where the amber and vetiver mixed is reminiscent of the waxed wood of a Cuban bar top. The exotic meets the familiar, the tropical heat is cooled off by a glass of scotch. 

Top Note: Italian bergamot, juniper, black pepper

Heart Note: Orange blossom, Florentine Iris, Cinnamon

Base Note: Vanilla, Vetiver, amber

Juniper tree needles with berries. Source: nhm.ac.uk

Juniper tree needles with berries. Source: nhm.ac.uk

1899 Hemingway opens on my skin with a cocktail of salty sea crispness and hesperidic citrus freshness. First and foremost is juniper, yielding a green, pungent, pine-y, very outdoorsy aroma. It is infused with fruits, perhaps from actual juniper berries themselves, but also with crisp, lemony bergamot. I tested 1899 three times and, on the last occasion, juicy oranges were also quite noticeable, adding a fruited, sweet touch to juniper’s foresty, green, spicy, peppered aroma. Seconds later, black pepper, green vetiver, and a touch of floral iris join the mix.



1899 Hemingway has the initial profile of a very masculine cologne, but with greater heft and less thinness in its body. It is a profile that I struggle with, if I am honest. Juniper is not something that will make me jump up and down in ecstacy, and neither do black peppercorns or iris. Still, it’s a very rugged, outdoorsy, masculine aroma and I can see why they chose it for Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway in Switzerland, 1927. Source: Wikipedia entry for Hemingway's "Fifty Grand."

Ernest Hemingway in Switzerland, 1927. Source: Wikipedia entry for Hemingway’s “Fifty Grand.”

Five minutes in, other elements become noticeable. Hints of orange blossom flit about with a slightly bitter, dark, pungent and piquant undertone that resembles neroli more than any indolic, lush, white floral bomb. In 1899’s depths, the vanilla slowly starts to stir. Up top, the vetiver becomes much more pronounced. It’s not earthy, damp, and rooty at all. Actually, when combined with the sharp, fresh citruses and the piney, almost cedar-like aroma of juniper, the vetiver feels very green. To me, the three notes together create the mineralized accord of the vetiver in Terre d’Hermès, only with a much more Alpine feel. During his first marriage, Hemingway went often to Switzerland, and there is something of that clean, fresh, crisp mountain air in 1899. You can almost see the vast forests of Switzerland before your eyes, only these are not snowy but dotted with orange and lemon trees as well.

1899 is a very well-blended fragrance that doesn’t always develop in the exact same manner. In my three tests, some of the notes varied in strength or in the order of their appearance. Take, for example, the iris. During my first test, it was barely a factor for most of 1899’s lifespan, popping up only occasionally at the perfume’s edges but without any substantial heft whatsoever. In my second test, it was quite pronounced in the end, adding a powdery touch to the perfume’s sweet final stage. In my third one, however, the iris suddenly appeared noticeably right from the start, adding its floral coolness to the Alpine meadows. Another note that seemed to vary in its character was the orange blossom which consistently seemed more fruited than floral, except the first time around when it manifested itself in both ways.

Abstract Green Fantasy by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. Source: imagesinactions.photoshelter.com

Abstract Green Fantasy by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. Source: imagesinactions.photoshelter.com

Nonetheless, 1899 does have some uniform aspects to its development. About 10 minutes in, the fragrance turns warmer and starts to lose its cologne-like sharpness. A touch of cinnamon appears, the amber awakens from its slumber, and the vanilla starts its slow rise to the surface. Warmth and sweetness slowly start to creep over 1899, like a wave inching up a sandy beach. The amber, vanilla and cinnamon may not be noticeable in any profound, individual way, but they have an indirect effect on the other notes. They make the orange blossom lose some of its piquant, bitter, neroli-like undertone, and soften the sharpness of the juniper, while adding a touch of spice. At times, the overall effect is almost like Viktor & Rolf‘s Spicebomb, but not quite.    

Suddenly, 25 minutes in, the warm notes flood the surface and 1899 changes into a much different fragrance. Gone is the purely cologne-like scent with its crisp, citrus, woody, masculine profile. Now, there are oriental and floral touches. First up is the orange blossom which stops feeling purely like a ripe, juicy, sweet fruit, and more like the actual white flower. It adds a sensuous touch to Hemingway’s face, like a warm, seductive caress across his unshaved whiskers redolent of his woody, piney, vetiver, lemon aftershave. While the main note remains the peppery, spicy juniper, it’s now been infused with cinnamon and amber as well.

Ernest Hemingway with a bull in Spain in 1927. Source: middletontimes.com

Ernest Hemingway with a bull in Spain in 1927. Source: middletontimes.com

1899 Hemingway’s shift is complete at the 40-minute mark when the vanilla bursts onto the scene like a white bull running into a Pamplona arena. From Switzerland, we’ve suddenly landed in Spain where Hemingway spent so much time in the 1930s. The land of Seville oranges, orange blossoms, groves of green, dry warmth, and languid sensuality — it’s all here, under the top layer of rugged, outdoorsy juniper-lemon cologne. I know Histoires de Parfums gives the perfume’s geographic trajectory as Spain to Italy to Cuba, but I’m sticking with Switzerland to Spain, with crisp Alpine forests taking on a more Mediterranean sensual warmth. I have to say, I find the olfactory symbolism quite impressive on an intellectual level.

Source: wallsave.com

Source: wallsave.com

I just wish I liked the actual smell. For me, the opening was too much like cologne, but uninteresting cologne. The juniper was too sharp and turpentine-like at times, and didn’t even have the appeal of a gin-and-tonic. I liked even less 1899’s new combination of vanilla with crushed juniper needles, trailed closely by cinnamon, then by orange blossoms, oranges, lemons and amber. Honestly, it made me feel queasy, each and every time. Something about the combination felt cloying in its sweetness, somewhat odd in its polar opposite parts, and simply not appealing at the end of the day. Perhaps I’m simply not a fan of juniper mixed with vanilla, gooey oranges, unctuous orange blossoms, and cinnamon. It is the main profile of 1899 Hemingway for hours and hours, and I really wanted it to stop.

Vanilla powder and essence. Source: food.ninemsn.com.au

Vanilla powder and essence. Source: food.ninemsn.com.au

1899 Hemingway brought to mind two other Histoires de Parfums’ scents, but for very different reasons. Like many from the line, the fragrance is not revolutionary or edgy, but has a gracefulness about it — regardless of whether you like the notes or not. Like its siblings, 1899 is potent at the start, while also being incredibly airy in weight and very well blended. In that way, it resembles Ambre 114. Yet, at its core, 1899 is thematically quite close to 1725 Casanova in its transition from masculine to soft, unisex, and almost gourmand in nature. It’s that powerful vanillic base that both fragrances share, after a very crisp start. However, 1899 is significantly more masculine in my opinion, even at its end, thanks to the woody juniper. 1725 Casanova is smoother, more truly unisex with its lavender, more gourmand at its base, and much better balanced in my opinion. It never felt cloying, or a war of extreme, opposite notes.

That brings me to what may be my fundamental issue with 1899 Hemingway: it doesn’t know who it wants to be. It took me a while (and three tests) to suddenly realise that the perfume is trying to be all things to all people. It straddles so many different genres: masculine cologne, oriental, woody outdoorsy, gourmand, and many hybrid versions thereof. But it can’t seem to make up its mind. I don’t have a problem with the fact that Histoires de Parfums has made a fragrance with a commercial, mainstream character — some people on Fragrantica think that 1899 is like Spicebomb — but I struggle with the perfume’s fragmented, confused identity. Perhaps that makes it very Hemingway after all; the writer was known to be a complex set of contradictions with a highly insecure, sometimes utterly neurotic side. (I am trying so, so hard to be polite about the man!)

Getting back to the perfume’s development, there really isn’t a lot more to say. Until its end, 1899 remains a scent that is primarily vanilla, juniper and some form of orange (or orange blossom) infused with a hint of cinnamon, all atop an amber base. At the 1.5 hour mark, its sillage drops, the perfume feels thinner, its edges blur, and the notes are not easily separable in a distinct, individual way. Three hours in, 1899 hovers just barely atop the skin. The sillage isn’t impressive as a whole with 1899 unless you apply a lot. Eventually, 1899 Hemingway fades away in some sort of sweetness and with an average lifespan of about 7.5 hours.

"Shades of Leaves," abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. Source: http://imagesinactions.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/abstract-impressionist-photography/G0000LzIQxYEISEo/I0000rdtpLoFmVPU

“Shades of Leaves,” abstract photography by Bruno Paolo Benedetti. Source: http://imagesinactions.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/abstract-impressionist-photography/G0000LzIQxYEISEo/I0000rdtpLoFmVPU

The very end, however, seems to differ in terms of its olfactory specifics from wearing to wearing, perhaps as a result of the quantity applied. In one test, using 3 average sprays from the small atomizer, 1899 ended just after 7 hours in a blur of woody, juniper and vanilla. In another test, using 2 tiny sprays, it took a mere 6 hours for 1899 to die, ending in a powdery, floral, iris-y vanilla blur. In my last test, using 4 big sprays, 1899 lasted longer, just under 9 hours, before fading away with orange-y sweetness and nothing else. The atomizer’s hole is very small, so the quantity applied is probably much smaller than from an actual bottle. It would probably range between 1.5 big smears from a dab vial to about 4 very small, narrow ones.

1899 Ernest Hemingway is too new for there to be comparative reviews that I can show you. The fragrance’s Basenotes entry (on the old Huddler Archive) doesn’t have any comments from those who have tried it. Fragrantica‘s early discussion thus far seems to focus on the extent to which it is like Spicebomb. Some think it’s a much better version. One person (“deadidol“) thinks 1899 Hemingway is well-done, but largely a bore. I agree with parts of his assessment:

More often than not, this brand misses the mark for me, and Hemingway’s a bit of a snooze. When HdP step outside they box, they truly innovate, but too many of their scents strike me as pleasant, run-of-the-mill affairs that are solid value for money, but aren’t contributing anything new. This is a mildly boozy oriental with a powdery iris note and a hefty amount of spices. There are some floral undertones that are met with a dry fruit note to spin the scent as opulent, but it’s linear and doesn’t really do anything to distinguish itself from the more powdery offerings of Dior, ByKilian etc. Also, the connection to Hemingway is a total mystery as there’s nothing rugged, troublesome or even narratalogical at work here, and it’s certainly not very masculine or virile. With that said, it’s a practical addition to the line as it’s big and amiable, bearing notable similarities to Bois d’Argent, but it’s not going to have much appeal for those who are hoping for another Petroleum, Marquis de Sade, Ambrarem, or Ambre 114. Durable and great value (another one of HdP’s strong points), but ultimately too pleasant, too powdery, and too prosaic.

I think 1899 Hemingway is much more rugged and outdoorsy than he does, but I do agree that the fragrance is merely a pleasant, “run-of-the-mill” scent with some “amiable” features. Just how amiable will depend on what you think of the central juniper note, and its interaction with the vanilla and spices. It’s not my cup of tea.

Nonetheless, I have to agree with another Fragrantica commentator in giving kudos to Histoires de Parfum for avoiding the usual, traditional clichés about Hemingway. It would have been all too easy to make a fragrance centered on cigars and rum. And, in my opinion, the company has actually succeeded in encapsulating parts of Hemingway’s life and contradictory character. They’ve created a perfectly pleasant fragrance that will probably be very sexy on some men’s skin. Unfortunately, I find it hard to sum up enthusiasm for more than that.

Cost & Availability: 1899 Hemingway is an Eau de Parfum that comes in two sizes: 2.0 oz/60 ml for $125 or €87; or 4 oz/120 ml for $205 or €145. (Further decant or mini-sized options are below). Both full bottle sizes are available on the Histoires de Parfums website, which also has a fantastic sample program (6 samples of your choice) whose $20 price goes towards the purchase of a large 4 oz. bottle. Further details are available here as to how the process works. Shipping is free for all orders anywhere in the world for purchases over $130; below that, there is a $10 shipping fee. In the U.S.: 1899 Hemingway is available from Luckyscent in both sizes, along with samples. BeautyHabit also offers both sizes of 1899. The Perfume Shoppe (which has a Canadian division) sells 14 ml decants of 1725 for $36. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, you can find 1899 Hemingway at the Grooming Clinic for GBP £124 for 120 ml. Roullier-White in London carries some of the HdP line, but I didn’t see Hemingway on their website. For the rest of Europe, you can find it at Jovoy Paris for €87 or €145, depending on size, or at First in Fragrance which only has the larger 100 ml bottle of Hemingway at €145. For all other countries, Histoires de Parfums vast Store Locator lists retailers from South Africa to the Netherlands, Sweden and Kuwait. Samples: You can find samples at a number of the retailers linked to above. Surrender to Chance doesn’t yet carry the fragrance as it is too new, but you can order from Luckyscent in the meantime.

Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114: The Golden Touch

"Goldfinger" movie still. Source: businessinsider.com

The woman in gold from “Goldfinger.” Source: businessinsider.com

Imagine diving into a pool. You fall head long into rich, heady, salty, sweet, slightly smoky, dense but smooth, creamy, caramel waters. Fifteen minutes later, when you get out, your skin is coated with an almost translucent, airy haze of gold. That shimmering touch made me think of James Bond’s villain, Goldfinger, who would undoubtedly approve of the golden Ambre 114, a fragrance from the extremely talented (and sadly under-appreciated) French niche perfume house, Histoires de Parfums.

Ambre 114 in the large 4 oz size.

Ambre 114 in the large 4 oz size.

In fact, if Goldfinger had been an actual person, he would have been the perfect inspiration for a perfume house that seeks to capture the essence of famous characters and mythical years in a bottle. Histoires de Parfums was founded in 2000 by Gérald Ghislain who seems to be on a mission to create lyrical perfumed tributes to history. As the Histoires de Parfums website explains, each of the early fragrances was entitled just with a date in history, the year in which a legendary figure was born, with attention being paid to everyone from the Marquis de Sade and Casanova, to Mata Hari and Ernest Hemingway. One of the few exceptions to the rule, however, is Histoires de Parfums’ Cult Books Collection which is intended to be a timeless interpretation of the issue of sensuality from the East to the West. In the case of Ambre 114, it is the East who is speaking, giving “an oriental vision of voluptuousness” that is centered around sweetened amber done in the airiest of manners.

The "half" bottle of Ambre 114 in the 2 oz/60 ml size.

The “half” bottle of Ambre 114 in the 2 oz/60 ml size.

The company’s description for Ambre 114, along with its notes, is as follows:

This mythical raw material improves a 114-element composition. A caravanserai of scents for this hot oriental intensifying the natural sensuality of grey amber, sweet perfume and tinted with exoticism.

In the Orient, women used to burn incenses, myrrh and amber. It is an oriental vision of voluptuousness.

Top Note: Thyme, Nutmeg
Heart Note: Rose, Geranium, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedar, Vetiver
Base Note: Amber, Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Benzoin, Musk.

Source: e-boolean.org

Source: e-boolean.org

Ambre 114 opens on my skin with a powerful burst of ambergris. For those who haven’t experienced it, ambergris is a very different kettle of fish from the usual “amber” found in most fragrances. Extremely rare and unbelievably expensive, genuine ambergris has a salty, sweet, musky quality that is almost (just barely) sweaty and marshy in feel. It’s hard to explain, but the aroma is intensely rich, smooth, buttery and deep. On my skin, it almost invariably smells of salted caramel, and Ambre 114 is no exception. The fragrance shows off all of ambergris’ beautiful features in a bouquet that is strongly infused with patchouli. The latter is dark, dense, almost dirty, with a chewiness like the thickest brownie. The patchouli is just lightly smoky and spicy, creating a visual swirl of black with red and gold. When mixed with the ambergris, the result is Ambre 114’s primary bouquet on my skin: salty-sweet, musky, caramelized amber with chewy, smoky, spicy, black patchouli.

Ambre 114’s main duo is lightly sprinkled with green notes in the opening 20 minutes. There is a definite herbal component to the scent, though it never smells of thyme to me. Instead, it feels more generalized, abstract, and indistinct in nature. For a brief moment, though, there was something almost minty lurking about the golden ambered bouquet. Whatever the herbs may be, they occasionally have a slightly medicinal undertone, though it’s extremely light and muted. It’s almost like you’ve entered an old Chinese holistic shop filled with dried herbs, instead of a medical one, if that makes any sense.

Source: footage.shutterstock.com

Source: footage.shutterstock.com

The herbs aren’t the only green elements in Ambre 114. There is vetiver as well, though there is something odd about it in the opening moments. I can only describe the aroma as an earthy “meatiness.” I think the earthy, rooty vetiver must have combined with the salty, slightly mushy, musky aspects of the ambergris to create an aroma that is almost truffle-like in its undertones. Whatever its source, the aroma is just a brief flicker that dies away after about five minutes. A much stronger note is the geranium, though it’s not the flower so much as the fuzzy green leaves. They add a wonderfully peppered, slightly spicy piquancy to the scent, ensuring that the scent’s sweetness never turns cloying or excessive.

In the background, there are flickers of other things, too. There is nutmeg, adding a slightly bitter edge that, again, helps counter the sweetness from the ambergris. Faint touches of vanilla lurk in the base, while far, far below is the merest suggestion of a floral note. It’s peppered, but it’s not geranium, and it definitely doesn’t smell like a rose, either.

Source: wallsave.com

Source: wallsave.com

All these elements are really just supporting players on a stage dominated by the waltzing ambergris and patchouli. Ambre 114’s primary and dominant bouquet on my skin is salty-caramel sweetness mixed with smoky patchouli. It’s rich, plush, warm and sweet, but never truly gourmand or dessert-like in nature. Ambre 114’s core essence remains largely unchanged on my skin, though the degree and strength of some of its notes — especially the secondary notes — vary in significance. After about 20 minutes, the vanillic resin (benzoin) slowly starts to rise to the surface. It dilutes some of the ambergris’ musky, salty qualities, and adds further sweetness. There is a touch of light powder underlying it, too, but it’s never like makeup powder and certainly not very heavy.

In fact, nothing about the scent is heavy at all. Though the fragrance is very potent for the first forty minutes, it’s astonishingly light in feel. Ambre 114 is effortlessly refined, smooth, creamy, heady, cozy, comforting and sexy — all in a billowing, soft cloud that coats your skin like a gold sheath. It’s not an easy trick to take such heavy ingredients and turn them into air, while still keeping the scent very strong. I’ll be honest, it’s actually too airy for my personal tastes; yet, there is also something quite appealing about how effortlessly Ambre 114 surrounds you like the thinnest but softest cashmere sweater. You can only admire the talented touch who created it.

Source: de.123rf.com

Source: de.123rf.com

Ambre 114 slowly changes. Forty minutes in, many of the notes have melted into the amber. The geranium, herbs, nutmeg, and earthy, green vetiver have vanished. The ghostly impression of something floral faded away long ago. Even the patchouli seems to have taken a back seat to the ambergris. Much more noticeable, however, is the vanilla resin, along with its light touch of sweetened powder. The whole thing becomes a beautifully blended swirl of notes, dominated by the ambergris. By the middle of the third hour, however, Ambre 114 has lost its caramel aroma, and is now primarily a sweet, slightly musky amber with vanilla. There are bursts of patchouli that pop up every now and then, if you sniff really hard, along with a sprinkling of sandalwood. The fragrance remains that way for a number of hours until the end of the fifth hour when it turns into an abstract, vague, generalized blur of sweet amber with some vanilla powder and perhaps the faintest suggestion of sandalwood.

All in all, Ambre 114 lasted 7.5 hours on my perfume-consuming skin. The sillage was never enormous to begin with, but it drops even further after 90-minutes. At the end of the third hour, Ambre 114 hovers right above the skin, though you can easily smell its golden notes if you bring your nose to your arm. By the start of the fifth hour, Ambre 114 intimately coats the skin like the sheerest, thinnest gauze, and is increasingly hard to detect. This is not a powerful projection monster, by any means.

Ambre 114 shares a few similarities to some other amber fragrances. Parts of the opening evoked Serge Lutens‘ pioneering Ambre Sultan, but Ambre 114 is a faint, ghostly whisper of that fragrance’s famously potent, intense herbal blast. Plus, Ambre Sultan is really an ode to labdanum, not ambergris, and there is a substantial difference in the two resins’ amber smell. Ambre 114 also reminded me of my favorite amber of them all: Profumum Roma‘s Ambra Aurea. The primary reason is that salty-sweet, marshy, musky, caramel aroma from the ambergris which dominates both scents. That’s where the similarities end, however, as Ambra Aurea lacks Ambre 114’s vanilla and powdery elements, and also has a significantly different weight. Ambra Aurea is like the richest, heaviest fur coat you can buy, while Ambre 114 is the softest, thin cashmere sweater.

Another perfume repeatedly comes up as a point of comparison: Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s Ambre Precieux. It’s an extremely well-known, much beloved amber that reportedly has a strong vanilla (and vanilla powder) component. I haven’t tried it, but thankfully, a friend has. The Scented Hound‘s review for Histoires de Parfums’ Ambre 114 amusingly states: “If Serge Luten’s Ambre Sultan and Maître Parfumeur et Gantier’s Ambre Precieux had a baby, this is what it would smell like.” He had a different experience with Ambre 114 than I did, so his description may be useful:

WHAT I SMELL:  Almost icy/hot to the touch, Ambre 114 goes on medicinal; the thyme is very evident.  Then as quickly as that leaves you, out comes the geranium note.  I can tell that there’s a bit of amber in there, but I am getting more vetiver at the beginning than amber.  Slowly, the spiciness then wafts up through the other notes.  It starts to warm and then begins to open to that lovely rounded amber that any amber lover craves.  What you are left with is a lovely vanilla’d creamed amber that wraps you in a wonderfully warmed blanket perfect for the long winter nights.

He really enjoyed Ambre 114, concluding that it was “lovely and if I didn’t own so many ambers at present, I probably would be buying a bottle. This is easily a comfort scent.” The Scented Hound is not alone in his opinion; almost every other blogger who has covered Ambre 114 either likes it or raves about it.

Even really picky perfume critics give it a thumbs up. Ambre 114 gets a Four Star mention in the famous perfume bible, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. The latter had a third type of experience with Ambre 114, one in which the rose note was quite prominent, judging by the perfume’s description as “benzoin rose.” The very brief review states:

A beautiful, durable amber accord built of benzoin, patchouli, vetiver and rose. Its transparent smoky sweetness feels weightless, as if hollowed out in the middle to make it float.

On Basenotes, Ambre 114 has a 100% positive rating. Out of 18 reviews, 78% give it Five Stars, 11% give it Four, and 11% give it Three. The main issues leading to some hesitation were that the fragrance was “too simple,” and “weak on longevity.” One positive review, from “alfarom,” reads:

Amber is a dangerous territory where sweetness can easily become overwhelming turning a fragrance into an unbrearable heaviness. The big point of strength of Amber 114 is its extremely balanced blend of spices/herbs and resionus notes (mainly benzoin) joined by woods and rose that make of this composition quite an easy wear in which sweetness is carefully tamed and dosed to become a side aspect. Overall I’d say that while Ambre 114 can be considered as one of the most complex and deep ambers around, at the same time it is outstanding for its incredible wearability and “lightness”. These things don’t happen by accident. Amazing Stuff!

I think he’s right about the lightness, but I experienced a much simpler, more linear scent that he did. It certainly wasn’t “complex” by any means.

What’s interesting to me about reading other people’s accounts of the scent is how extreme the different experiences or perspectives can be. Some think Ambre 114 is a deliciously gourmand, sweet scent. Others — including one chap who explicitly states that he “abhor[s] super-sweet amber scents” — don’t think the fragrance is sweet at all. Some commentators detect the rose, while others join the Scented Hound and me in not smelling any, or in experiencing a lot of nutmeg instead. Half the commentators, including those who give the fragrance five stars, think Ambre 114 has below average projection and so-so longevity, while others have the opposite opinion. One commentator says “You can get a clear 15+ hours out of this” — which really makes me wonder just how much he sprayed!

On one of the many, many Basenotes threads discussing Ambre 114, I came across something else I found interesting. People who don’t generally like amber fragrances like Ambre 114. I’m guessing the cozy vanilla is partially responsible, because Ambre 114 isn’t really a hardcore, spicy oriental fragrance in my opinion. It’s definitely more of a comfort scent that straddles the line between Oriental and Gourmand. The other factors in swaying amber-haters may be just how light, airy, and discreet the scent is. People who don’t like amber fragrances generally seem to struggle with the weight, or find the note to be too much. It’s either too sweet, too spicy, too rich, or some combination of the above. Ambre 114 avoids all that, as it is a very uncomplicated, safe, gauzy, approachable scent. Plus, its extremely soft sillage makes it a scent that a number of people have said they feel comfortable wearing to the office.

Another positive is that Ambre 114 is quite affordable for such a high-quality scent, at least relative to most niche fragrances. The smallest size is 2 oz/60 ml and retails for $125, whereas most niche perfumes start with 1.7 oz /50 ml and often cost quite a bit more. Plus, it’s not hard to find retailers who carry a practical, travel-size 14 ml decant of the perfume that you can buy for $36. (See below in the Details section.) The decant is an affordable way to enjoy the perfume a good number of times while you decide if it’s worth buying a full bottle.

All in all, I like Ambre 114 quite a bit, though it will never be my favorite amber. For me, personally, it’s too translucent and light, the sillage is too low, the longevity on my wonky skin isn’t great, and I don’t think it is distinctive enough. The extremely long-lasting Ambra Aurea suits my style and tastes much more, especially as it’s centered almost completely around salty-sweet, musky caramel and the ambergris isn’t diluted by vanilla. However, I think if I’d experienced some of the rose or woods that people talk about, my views on Ambre 411 might well be different. It might have the edge that would make it stand out and feel a little more interesting. Regardless, I think Ambre 114 is a beautifully blended, well-balanced, extremely cozy fragrance that feels very effortless and is very easy to wear. As ambers go, it’s a refined, elegant take on the note, and I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it.

In short, I definitely recommend Ambre 114 for those of you who are looking for a light amber fragrance that doesn’t overwhelm you, is soft spoken, appropriate for the office, and very cozy in nature. Its warm sweetness and feathery softness feel very much like that favorite sweater that you wear when you want to curl up, relax, and be absolutely comfortable.

On that note, I will leave you with the song that has been in my head since the start of this review: Dame Shirley Bassey singing “Goldfinger.” It’s not the best audio version, but you’ll see the famous woman in gold, along with a young Sean Connery as 007. Ambre 114 has the golden touch, as well.

Cost, Availability, Decant Sets & Samples: Ambre 114 is an Eau de Parfum that comes in two sizes: 2.0 oz/60 ml for $125 or €145; or 4 oz/120 ml for $205. (Further decant or mini-sized options are below). Both full bottle sizes are available on the Histoires de Parfums website, which also has a fantastic sample program (6 samples of your choice) whose $20 price goes towards the purchase of a large 4 oz. bottle. Further details are available here as to how the process works. Shipping is free for all orders anywhere in the world for purchases over $130; below that, there is a $10 shipping fee. In the U.S.: Ambre 114 is available from Luckyscent in both sizes, along with samples. BeautyHabit has not only the 2 bottles, but also a 14 ml decant for $36. Parfum1 sells the 2 oz size bottle, along with samples and the 14 ml decant. They ship world-wide. Ambre 114 is also found at MinNewYork in the smaller $125 size. The Perfume Shoppe (which has a Canadian division) sells 14 ml decants of Ambre 114 for $36. Outside the U.S.: In the UK, you can find Ambre 114 at the Grooming Clinic for £74 for the smaller 2 oz/60 ml bottle. Roullier White carries some Histoires de Parfums fragrances, but Ambre 114 is not listed on their website. In Paris, the boutique, Nose, carries Ambre 114, as does Jovoy. For the rest of Europe, you can find it at Italy’s Alla Violetta or Germany’s First in Fragrance for €145 for the 2 oz bottle. In Russia, Ambre 114 is sold at Orental. In Australia, you can find it on sale at City Perfume for AUD$180 for 2.0/60 ml oz or at the full AUD$190 price at Peony Melbourne. For all other countries, Histoires de Parfums vast Store Locator lists retailers from South Africa to the Netherlands, Sweden and Kuwait. Samples: You can find samples at a number of the retailers linked to above. I got my test vial from Surrender to Chance has a variety of different options and sizes for Ambre 114, from samples to decants. Samples begin at $4.99 for a 1 ml vial.