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Histoire Charnelle – Formidable! (August 15th, 2011 New Fragrance Listing)

Histoire Charnelle and I had been flirting in Paris for a long time. Sometimes I’d see it  around and try it, usually after a day of sampling scents on my wrists, arms, hands, fingers and thumbs. But it never spoke to me, or maybe it did, but I couldn’t hear it’s call above the scent soup I was wearing. Like most flirtations we danced around, but didn’t go any further. Then one day, I paid attention, I mean I really paid attention, to Histoire Charnelle and then, with the swipe of a credit card, we were living together happily ever after.

Histoire Charnelle is from perfume house Hubert Maes Créations. Wait, haven’t heard of Hubert Maes? It’s not surprising, even in the niche world, he’s pretty niche. The Maes family have been perfumers for three generations and founded the renowned Parfumerie du Soleil d'Or in Lille, in the North of France. Today, Hubert is director of the business and in 2007, he launched his own perfume house. 

Currently, there are four fragrances in the line with each one telling a story about a different kind of woman. Histoire Charnelle, translates as ‘carnal story’. On his web site, Maes says that the inspiration for the scent was the woman of today – ambitious, conscious of her charm and sensuality, she leads the dance and she creates envy everywhere she goes. Hmm, sounds like somebody I’d like to know….

Histoire Charnelle opens with a brisk bergamot/tangerine accord, given a touch of fruity sweetness by pear. Now, this is where it gets interesting – slowly exotic, tropical coconut comes forward, getting lusher with help from warm, spicy as spicy cinnamon and nutmeg as it blooms on the skin. The carnal coconut doesn’t wane, it just stays at the centre of the composition. At the heart, it’s surrounded by aromatic sandalwood, cedar, patchouli. At the drydown, tonka bean adds an ambery dimension while vanilla gives it a soft, sophisticated sweetness. The stages on this are gorgeous. While the coconut prevails, as time passes it cycles through different phases – coconut and earthy patchouli, then later, coconut and cinnamon, then coconut and tonka bean. By turns it is earthy, then spicy, and then exotic, every whiff a surprise - what a ride!
This carnal story is lusty, but it’s not crude. Histoire Charnelle is a very chic, sensuous, voluptuous fragrance that may have been designed for today’s woman, yet has a real vintage feel to it. Wear it and you will create envy wherever you go.

Histoire Charnelle is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.