Product Review: Histoires De Parfums 1889 Moulin Rouge

by Gio

histoires de parfums 1889 moulin rouge

Name: 1889 Moulin Rouge
Brand: Histoires De Parfums
Size: 2fl
Price: $125

What I liked:
– original and complex powdery floral fragrance
– sillage is subtle, making the scent suitable for most occasions
– great staying power
– samples available for purchase

What I didn’t like:
– if you expect something loud, wild and very provocative, this will disappoint you

Founded in 1889, the Moulin Rouge is the most famous nightclub in Paris, if not the whole world. During the Belle Epoque, it was at the heart of the city’s artistic scene. Every night, punters crowded its halls to watch the scantily clad dancers, their skin glistening from the sequins, bejewelled feathers, and sweat, perform the cancan. It was a time for fun and revelry, but the smell inside the nightclub mustn’t have been too pleasant.

All those hot bodies amassed together, in an age where hygienic standards were often low, must have emanated some foul odours, which were covered with the pungent, earthy and animalic aromas of musk and patchouli. The smell of alcohol, especially absinthe, and the cigars smoked by men, filled the air. If you got close to a dancer, you could also catch powdery whiffs of the lipsticks and powders they used to stand out on stage.

And someone thought it was a good idea to capture the smell of Belle Epoque Moulin Rouge and turn it into a perfume?

moulin rouge lautrec

Well, I’m glad they did. 1889 Moulin Rouge doesn’t smell foul. It’s not even that loud or provocative. Rather than the show, Histories De Parfums captured what went on beforehand behind the scenes, as the dancers were getting ready in their dressing rooms and the waiters were cleaning the tables and glasses. In a dull moment, one of them asked for a glass of absinthe, while someone else cracked a joke. The club was still relatively quiet, but the excitement for the upcoming show was slowly, but surely, mounting.

1889 Moulin Rouge opens with a mix of spicy cinnamon and sweet and juicy plums, which evoke the lush, sensual, skin of the performers. If you pay close attention, you can also catch the subtlest whiff of zesty tangerine. It’s an interesting opening, fruity without being too sweet. Within 10 minutes, the powdery aroma of rose and jasmine, drenched in slightly bitter absinthe, takes center stage. It feels like you’re in the dressing room, watching the dancers put the finishing touches to their makeup, while, in a corner, a cheeky water, a glass of absinthe in his hand, is chatting up a young and flirty dancer.

It’s a beautiful accord, which is a good thing because it lasts for ages. Eventually, though, the scent changes again. Now, the sensual blend of earthly patchouli and animalic musk, which must have driven punters crazy when they smelled it on the can-can dancers, fills the air. But if their aromas were really pungent and strong back then, Histoires De Parfums has considerably toned them town to appeal to our modern, subtler tastes.


1889 Moulin Rouge is a very interesting scent. It may not fulfill you’re expectations of what the nightclub smelled like in the Belle Epoque (unless you’re expecting the wild and sexy extravaganza of the Baz Luhrmann’s musical – which is one of my fave movies by the way -, only toned down a notch or two), but in my book that’s a good thing (who wants to spend $125 to stink, after all?). The scent manages to capture the essence of the Moulin Rouge while giving it a modern twist.

The scent is complex, original and creative. It pairs together notes that are rarely found in the same accord. It’s both sweet and bitter, spicy and powdery. And longlasting. Sillage may be only average, which allows you to wear 1889 Moulin Rouge even at work without bothering your collages and customers, but the scent lingers on you for the whole day.

Although not as loud or provocative as its name implies, Histoires De Parfums 1889 Moulin Rouge is a beautiful, complex and original powdery floral concoction that smells both vintage and modern. Sillage is average, but staying power exceptional.

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

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