Thorny reputations pique my curiosity, and a scent named for the Marquis de Sade promises thorns even without its own bad-boy rep. So, I was prepared to be challenged. Alas, the slap across the face with the leather glove never came. Not that there's no leather–indeed, I found the opening to have a nice leather accord, if not an especially daring one. Then the davana arrived, presenting a challenge only to my limited tolerance for fruit syrup. While the whole affair never crossed the line to cloying, it's still too gourmandish for my tastes. I should think this is perfectly wearable in polite company, at least in cooler weather. But while I might be tempted to eat it with a cup of tea, I wouldn't have any trouble resisting the urge to wear it.
When you name a fragrance after the man from which the words "sadism" and "sadist" are derived, you're making a clear statement. 1740 Marquis de Sade (2008) is most certainly a statement, and a very strong, controversial one at that. Compared to some others from the house I've smelled that don't quite paint their historical target appropriately, 1740 Marquis de Sade is a dead-ringer for a perfume modeled after the infamous French figure known for spending more time in prison than out during his life, due to his notorious sexual predilections and how vocal he was about their advocacy. I won't really go down the rabbithole of whether he was a misunderstood revolutionary or psychopath with a noble title that kept him from otherwise being executed, but as a perfume depicting a man in and out of prison his whole life for his carnal urges, this is a fascinating composition. To be clear, this is a not a perfume you can "appropriately" wear anywhere, and for those who want a niche fragrance that lives up to every bit of the definition, look no further. This is "classic niche perfumery" if there ever was such a thing, being challenging, attention-grabbing, for the connoisseurs only, and fully thematic. 1740 Marquis de Sade is what everyone thought niche perfume was before they discovered it's really just designer perfume from the mid/late 20th century re-dressed with modern materials and deluxe packaging, and what indie/artisanal perfume for all intents and purposes became, to fill the role of being truly "niche" by design. However, this is a "be careful what you wish for" scenario in that regard too, as this is so "niche" it hurts.
The opening of 1740 Marquis de Sade is a punch to the face of davana, surfing on a wave of powdery handbag style leather and bergamot, probably with some aldehydes in tow. This attack on the senses is bewildering at first and you might have a knee-jerk reaction to it if not prepared. Davana is an oil that comes from a specific member of the artemisia pallens family, but different from the bitter artemisia, or mugwort/armoise members of the same family in that it has lactonic fruity qualities like osmanthus and musky indolic tones like ylang-ylang that mix with a sort of bitter powderiness from the artemisia, and is overdosed here to that effect. This powdery funky muskiness is met with patchouli and spices of coriander and cardamom halfway into the dry down, pronouncing the leather facets of the rather complex davana further. Birch smoke and pasty labdanum mix with elemi resin and immortelle, which when combined make an animalic aroma, like skin on skin, lightly washed with vanilla and cedar but not sweaty quite so much, meeting with a castoreum leather note that adds a bit of dry warmth to the whole. When 1740 settles on skin, it feels a bit like the "Guerlinade" underpinning Shalimar (1925) from a twisted, dark parallel dimension, where it is devoid of the almost gourmand delectability found in the actual "Guerlinade" in perfumes such as Habit Rouge (1965). Instead, this yumminess is replaced with a sexual raunch that slithers and belches smoke like a dragon through the resinous powdery leather whole. You feel "wrong" wearing 1740, but also are drawn to it in ways you don't want to admit, and that's likely the appeal. Wear time is until you sandblast it off skin, and I won't mention projection, just use with caution wherever and whenever you deem fit. I do like 1740, but holy moly even a small bottle would be a lifetime supply for me with how much I'd dare use it.
Among all of Histoires de Parfums original "historical" creations from the 2000's, 1740 Marquis de Sade gets the most talk because it naturally turns the most heads. 1725 Cassanova (2001) is viewed by some as the polar opposite to this, a romantic exercise that places lavender, vanilla, and powdery notes into a sensual comforting hug with kisses on the back of the neck. Here in 1740 Marquis de Sade, those hugs transform into rancorous grips on your waist, lewd thrusts, and chewing on the earlobe from behind. I smell the same tones found in Michael for Men by Michael Kors (2001) and Keith Urban Phoenix (2011) way late in the wear of Marquis de Sade, but amped up to ten times the strength of what they are in those commercial releases. I can't identify what they are exactly, so if you've smelled those scents, you may know something of what the skin feel is like on 1740. All told, this must be the most divisive and argued-about release in the Histoires de Parfums catalog, their attempt at a modern niche YSL Kouros (1981) but with none of the sweaty soapiness that at least makes Kouros get a hall pass out in public. Even if you're not a hedonist that enjoys massive orgies or bacchanals that last a fortnight, 1740 Marquis de Sade is a perfume that can put you in the headspace of someone who does, and is basically liquid libertine. As I understand it, older batches were even stronger than current bottles are now, but I can't tell you if I've smelled original or reformulated versions since I'm working from a decant. If this is the reformulated juice, I'm almost afraid of what a 2008 bottle smells like, so ether way you're in for a true "niche" experience. Thumbs up.
this is a lovely green dark smoky animalic leather.its really a quality leather scent which is polished by immortelle greennes and layerd by labdanume and patchouli and the birch gives it a smokiness that is required to creat a dark leather vest of the cowboy.
One of the best leather scents having old vibes while it fits a gentleman in a ceremony.
This is a description of Davana oil from Good Scents :
'A fruity note of syrupy liqueur on a woody, animalic base.'
Mention a cool overtone at the top, and a burnt sugar drydown of immortelle, and you've just about nailed it.
1740 is a robust boozy leather, a gentleman's drinking club; nary a dungeon in sight...
It's a good perfume but in practical terms I never wear it.
I thought I'd better chime in here given how liberally people have taken to associating this frag with a name I'm monickered after (hedonist).
I made the mistake of blind buying 1740 based on a general consensus of agreeably positive 'masculine' notes and accords (e.g. leather. tobacco, booze, patchouli, etc). That, and that it had been (erroneously) compared to other truly masculine scents like Varvatos' Dark Rebel.
What most reviewers failed to mention about 1740 is that it mostly projects a nauseating "grandmother" smell of baby powder and attic moth balls. Think expired talc powder, putrid violet, lavender, dehydrated geranium, and jasmine. And this is the dominant profile from start to finish.
So yes, masculinity exists faintly in 1740, but it scarcely matters, as it's drowned in a bath of sickly sweet expired powders. If you want to smell 'masculine' or 'sexy', as these adjectives have been liberally associated with this frag, this is not it by my estimation. If you want to smell like grandma's body being embalmed in preparation for burial, this is the "daring/bold" being spoken of here.
Crumbles of honeyed-florals with a smidge of bitterness. The davana is divine here. Patchouli is accented with creamy, yet powdery spices. Semi-savory, semi-sweet spices. Ten minutes later it's all savory.
An interesting mix of flavors are in the base. It is smoky, slightly balsamic, with hints of freshly, processed leather or new leather. At times I am reminded of burned herbs, like a smudge stick blended with a bitter incense.
More smooth. Notes merge into a smoldering base with little pops of floral. Well done!