I scored this unusual woody chypre purely by accident.
I received the Histoire D'amour pure perfume miniature, created by Aubusson, merely as a free bonus to a mainstream, popular floral-fruity miniature I bought online, both for only $10.
I'd never even heard of Histoire D'amour, and when I removed the very ornate, lalique-style bottle from the pouch, I first thought "hmmm....another old school scent." Which I certainly don't mind. After all, I love Bal a Versailles, L'Heure Bleue, vintage Miss Dior, just to name a few of the old school perfumes in their old-school-elegant-ornate bottles.
But no old school here.
Wow, it is far better than the popular floral-fruity perfume I originally purchased. When I tried it, my immediate thought was the now discontinued Mariella Burani's Mariella Burani, which I had received as a gift.
The smokiness with which Histoire D'amour opens is probably due to the basil mixed with osmanthus and bergamot. All combined with mandarin, which I can't smell. Next, in the middle, I smell galbanum, ylang- ylang, jasmine and rose. Also included in the middle notes is narcissus and orange blossom, which I don't detect. The middle being the best part, it then dries down to patchouli, musk and oakmoss. But it's not an overwhelming, in-your-face patchouli.
My skin absorbs scent like a sponge. So silage and longevity are not great with me.
I couldn't find any Histoire D'amour lotion online or in stores with which to layer as a base. So I mixed five drops of Histoire D'amour with a small amount of unscented lotion before applying the perfume.
This helped staying power considerably.
I bought this specifically because of the previous review. I like "old lady" perfume, think these are elegant and refined. I'm not disappointed with my ebay purchase at all. Thank you Basenotes for giving us something to look at before making a completely blind buy. The dry down is the best part of this lovely perfume. Not too powdery for me. Love the patchouli. And the bottle is beautiful, too.
I have to say that I'm surprised to learn that Aubusson HISTOIRE D'AMOUR was launched in 1984. I'd have guessed closer to 1884. Even the bottle looks as though it might well have been blown in the nineteenth century. One thing is clear: this perfume could be used quite effectively to define the expression "old lady perfume" by ostension. HISTOIRE D'AMOUR is the very essence of all that people hate or love about "old lady perfumes." Ponderous, introspective, dusty, even musty. The drydown of this perfume is a joyous old-school chypre to be cherished. But, to be perfectly frank (quoi d'autre?), spraying this stuff on initially evokes in my mind instantaneous images of grandmothers meandering about Walgreens drugstore.
Yes, as is true of all things, finer distinctions can be made within the broader category of "old lady perfumes"—of which, I should clarify, I own quite a few. There are old lady perfumes, and then there are old lady perfumes. CHANEL NO 5, FIRST, CALECHE, WHITE LINEN, among others, stand on one side of the thin white line, while somewhat less noble old ladies are found on the other. Dare I say "YOUTH DEW", the perversely named Platonic Form of "old lady perfume," to which all others can only aspire?
Drugstore cheap chypre is the bottom line here. This is not the perfume of the Carmen Dell'Orefice featured in the doubly embarrassing "Class is forever" ad. (Is she unaware that the advertisers are implying that she is *infinitely* old? Is she unaware that people who talk about "class" are usually those conspicuously devoid of the same?) No, HISTOIRE D'AMOUR is more the speed of the nonagenarian with wrinkles on top of wrinkles who, when asked to reveal her secret to longevity, smiles, baring dark yellow teeth and crinkling the skin around her eyes even more, as she replies: "I've smoked a pack of Camel straights everyday now for sixty years."
Eventually, after drying down, the wafts of "old lady at the drugstore" from the opening of HISTOIRE D'AMOUR (apparently also ironically named...) dissipate considerably, but they still beat their way back now and then, like the woman who obstinately refuses to renounce her Camel straights or the deadwood professor who will not retire before his cold corpse must be pried from his desk.
Yes, lest anyone misinterpret my colorful examples: I respect HISTOIRE D'AMOUR, and I have every intention of holding on to this bottle until death do us part—in spite of the intermittent wisps of old lady whispers in my ears.
I'd long wondered what kind of scent HdA's distinctive flower-topped bottle contained. And thanks to a mention on this site's "Unsung Treasures' thread, I finally purchased a mini to find out for myself.
Expecting HdA to be a floriental like so many other 80s scents, I was quite suprised to discover that it's a chypre. I absolutely adore HdA's opening blast of sparkling citrus and galbanum (one of my fave perfume notes), and for that alone I will probably buy a bigger bottle when next see a bargain.
I wish I'd been able to blind test this scent, because its romantic name and super-feminine bottle may be fooling my nose into reading it as more floral/powdery than it actually is (and here I defer to the greater experience of the previous two reviewers). The more I sniff and ponder HdA, the more I register its herbal, woody aspects. Still, I would place it to the feminine side of unisex.
A friend said of my wrist where I'd applied HdA: 'it smells like one of those expensive ones'. Take a bow, Aubusson.
I just recently bought Histoire D'Amour by Aubusson but Hillaire nailed the character of this very nicely priced juice as "unisex dry woodiness" in her review. Men, don't let the uber-fancy bottle get in the way of trying it.
I'm glad to have this little addition to my chypre wardrobe.