Thursday, May 30, 2024

1740 And The Question of ‘Genuine’ Fragrances

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The first thing I thought when I smelled 1740 by Histoires de Parfums was: “this is a genuine leather fragrance.” My mind’s eye snapped into focus on familiar objects: grandfathers’ jackets, luxury car interiors, department store sections stocked with gloves and belts. When I showed my friends 1740, I didn’t really have much to say besides, “doesn’t it smell just like leather?” Each answer would almost invariably be an enthusiastic “yes!” paired with raised eyebrows. If you’re not terribly familiar with leather scents and you ordered this one up, I doubt you’d be disappointed with your purchase.

However, the more scents I’ve stumbled upon on my journey, the less I’ve come to rely on the idea that fragrances can really be an accurate portrayal of any material, place, or living being. Off the top of my head, I can remember two other fragrances that struck me as ‘just leather’ when I first smelled them: Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford and Lonestar Memories by Tauer. Place Tuscan Leather, Lonestar Memories, and 1740 next to each other and you’ll find that the scents’ similarities are overshadowed by their differences.

This phenomenon is intensified by our differing personal experiences with specific scents. Perhaps you’re a vegan who associates leather scents with violence, or you had a grandfather whose leather jacket was a sponge for cigar smoke. What we think of as ‘true leather’ is really just a conglomeration of the leather objects we’ve encountered over time. It’s helpful to have universal checkpoints that can triangulate each perfume’s complex scent profile, but there are still major limitations; describe Lonestar Memories as a campfire & coffee-soaked leather and you might imply an ashy-ness that just isn’t there.

So what is 1740, then? The note pyramid provides a few valuable landmarks to look out for.

1740 Notes

Top notes: Bergamot, Davana Sensualis
Heart notes: Patchouli, Coriander, Cardamom
Base notes: Cedar, Birch, Labdanum, Leather, Vanilla, Elemi, Immortelle

Putting aside 1740’s extremely questionable inspiration (who the Histoires website rather pathetically declares “not…evil” despite his horrific and inexcusable sex crimes), this scent is a very polite leather scent that comes down to two main players. Leather is, of course, the most obvious, but Immortelle might actually play the lead role. For the unfamiliar, Immortelle is a simultaneously soft, sweet, and pronounced floral note that has an autumnal dried-herb texture. This elegance makes 1740 far cleaner than the average spicy leather scent without sacrificing richness. I’m sure notes like Davana and Coriander are observable to the sharp nose, but their role in the composition is that of window-dressing for the main event.

1740 is, then, an artful leather fragrance that prettifies its leather core. It’s less akin to old jacket and more akin to brand-new designer purse that might’ve absorbed a stray spritz of floral perfume. Whether it’s more or less realistic than a similar fragrance will simply come down to personal experience. Perhaps it’s most useful to work backwards – to use a ‘familiar’ fragrance as a way to locate nuances of a memory. Oh, right – there WERE flowers in that leather shop! Sometimes all it takes is a perfume to draw a foggy remembered detail back into focus.

You can purchase a bottle or sample of 1740 on the Histoires de Parfums website.

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.

Histoires de Parfums 1740
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LeatherType
Pros
1740 is a convincing, floral riff on a leather perfume that offers great value and a unique take on the genre.
Cons
Whether 1740 scans as 'real leather' might depend on your experiences with the material.
Summary
1740 is an excellent leather fragrance that's a worthwhile 'try' for most noses.
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