Powerful, powdery iris, at least another pair of fresh, crunchy floral notes I do not get clearly (gardenia, geranium...?), a rose heart, green aromatic notes, ginger and pepper, and patchouli. Lively and sensual with just a hint of decadence: quite a good depiction of a Moulin Rouge dancer, somehow innocent and somehow naughty, young and pale but "experienced". The powerful and bold opening tones down quite early, it gets graceful and pleasant although not that unique – basically a spicy floral with a balsamic breeze and a nice interplay between silky flowers and earthy patchouli, with just a bit of spices and musks. Overall refined and cozy, pleasant and elegant, but not much memorable and also, sadly, a bit short-lasting.
I've tried and worn loads of different perfumes across genres and price ranges, though I recently came to understand that L'Heure Bleue haunts me as a fixed point of reference - my true loves always have a lot in common with some aspect of it. And that's certainly true of 1889 Moulin Rouge. It's not that these two fragrances smell "alike", yet I experience their personalities as being quite similar - contemplative, odd, cool; unsettling and comforting in equal measure. I rarely find a modern perfume like that, and I fell hard for Moulin Rouge.To see the notes listed, I would not have guessed it could possibly work, let alone that it could be so austere, even serene. I do smell the absinthe accord, though mostly it lives on my skin as the scent of pink Capezio leather ballet slippers and ripe plums or pears in a dusty theatre - definitely a theatre smell. It's a very a tenacious fragrance, though the sillage is intimate. I love that about it, actually - I can wear it in close quarters where a vintage oriental would be problematic, yet it's in no way a sparkly, generic, "daytime" scent. In my imagination, it's an olfactory portrait of the Moulin Rouge from the backstage viewpoint of a young dancer. She's classically trained, and she's a little melancholy getting ready to go home alone to her austere flat, because this isn't the artistic life she set out to have.
20th August, 2013 (last edited: 18th April, 2014)
Histories de Parfums consistently turns out beautiful, thoughtful fragrances, and 1889 is no exception. Its central chord of iris and musk is somber and very pretty, and is accentuated by a clever pear ester which evokes a beam of light breaking through a grey sky. Great work.
As most here know, there are numerous perfumes that are “makeupy” in general and “lipsticky” in particular—e.g., Lipstick Rose, Broadway Nite, CB I Hate Perfume’s Lipstick Accord, and so on. Of these and similar offerings, most would likely agree that the archetypal lipsticky perfume is Lipstick Rose, so I will compare and contrast it with 1889. Whereas Lipstick Rose begins as a realistic, succulent, and sweet lipstick aroma that last from several hours to over a day but ultimately finishes as an elegant and natural baby powder scent, 1889 begins as perhaps an even more realistic and drier lipstick aroma that unfortunately lasts a mere three minutes or so and then quickly morphs into what has now become a ubiquitous (albeit synthetically plummy) rose-and-patchouli accord supported by synthetic musk. This finish is not bad, per se, but it is certainly not what the opening promises. Given this overall analysis, I contend that Lipstick Rose is the superior lipsticky perfume, if “lipsticky-ness” is what you seek. This is not just because the lipstick aroma in Lipstick Rose lasts significantly longer than in 1889 but also because Lipstick Rose as a whole smells so much more natural than 1889, which relies heavily on synthetics for its plum and musk notes.
If I could isolate the opening of 1889, combine it with the first few hours of Lipstick Rose, and float them both on a wave of fog from Iris Silver Mist, then we might have "thee" lipsticky perfume. Alas, 1889 alone falls short of the touchstone lipsticky perfume.
Like Joan Crawford about to throw a major wobbly, this is all caked make-up (plenty of lippy, please) and fruity alcohol at the beginning. Its audacity in telling the consumer ‘You will like me’ is total but quite right; it makes me chuckle at the absurdity of wearing something like this, yet had me in its dishevelled embrace from the off.
The overall lowish volume is probably a result of balancing the two main actors, patchouli, which tends to holler, and iris, which prefers to whisper. But they are contained successfully, casting a range of powdery, dusky, earthy, doughy tones at each other. The grounding notes of vanilla and leather in the base are similarly subdued giving a feeling of warmth and sensuality without being overbearing, like lovers touching skin on skin while drowsing together. So far, so disarming.
Great for about four hours, after which this is mainly rubbery and faintly sweet.
(I have seen this compared to Annick Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri par Camille. Important points of difference are: Cheri is much heavier, more formal, stately and dark as a blackout; its patchouli is much denser, earthy and vegetal. I love it, but have to find occasions to wear it; Moulin Rouge on the other hand requires little preparation – just wear it and laugh.)