Sunday, July 16, 2006

Habanita


Habanita was the first item I won on eBay - an EDT mini bottle, in the shape of the bottle originally designed by Lalique. And of course – I bought it unsniffed, and completely confident that I will love it, which prove to be true.

Dark, bewitching bottle in a suggestively bold and masculine shape, adorned with embossed figures of bathing naked feminine figures…After all, it is a feminine perfume by Molinard. The screw cap did not readily yield to my efforts to open the bottle, but after my boyfriend lent his helping hand, the genie was finally released from its long captivity in the dark flacon. I was quite surprised to discover that the smell was very familiar, very masculine. It immediately reminded me a scent worn by a man long time ago in my life. The only one I could think of is my grandfather, even though for all I know only used Old Spice after shave and no scent at all...

Perhaps this is why it brings to mind lonely adventures, and radiates a definite confidence of a man aware of his weaknesses and knowing well how to hide them. In a far away country in South America, away from his beloved family, and doing everything to make sure they are safe and constantly prove to them that they are loved… He is keeping a secret, too many secrets, and the weight is heavy on his shoulders. Yet he knows and shows true generosity and is kind to all as much as he can when given the opportunity.

If I could assign any character to this perfume, it would be Alec Leamas, the hero in The Spy who Came in From The Cold. If he ever bothered to put on any perfume before spending hours waiting for his agents to pass the walls separating between Eastern and Western Europe, and smoking packs of cigarettes in the long and cold yearsof post World War II – I am sure it would have smelled like Habanita.

Whether if you are a man or a woman, Habanita possesses all the warmth and protection you need, and can make you feel extremely confident in a most dangerous way.
It’s daring combination of notes makes it extremely masculine and appealing to women at the same time. It is bold and softly enveloping, professional and shamelessly sensual, cool and calculated while warm and sizzling with passion all at once.

Though it was designed for women, I find it to be an ideal scent for men (I should revert to my efforts of convincing my boyfriend to wear it next time I do). For both men and women to wear Habanita would mean being seductive in a dangerous way (and by that I mean an interesting combination of passion and aloofness that perhaps most of us find oddly attractive), sensual and adventurous, mysterious and assertive.

Sniffing it from the bottle, the Habanita top notes are fresh and subtle – a rush of masculine woody notes of mastic (a gum from a Mediterranean bush), juniper berry and cedarwood are accompanied by a generous amount of bergamot, which is citrusy but not in the fruity or eau de cologne sense of citrus – a more refined, green and slightly floral note derived from the bergamot bitter non-edible oranges. This is accentuated by a hint of lavender, which is very subtle and soft, and radiates a certain warmth that is typical to Fougere compositions. Here it is just hinting an adventurous attitude…There is also some leathery, almost smoky note that instantly reminds you of pipe smoke…

The heart note is not quite the main theme in Habanita, but rather assists in bridging between the lighter and somewhat sharper top notes and the dark leather-tobacco base.
The heart has mainly jasmine and rose, which do not make the composition floral in any way. Again, they are there only for harmonizing the blend. There is quite a bit of heliotrope, which has a rich and somewhat powdery vanilla-like aroma, and a bit later you may notice some fruitiness that is quite reminiscent of peach.

The base for Habanita in this case is actually the core and the true heart of the perfume.
A rich tobacco accord, very much like fine Cuban cigar – enriched with full bodied layers of tonka bean and vanilla is the absolute essence of Habanita. It is deepened by a lovely amber, and just hints of oakmoss, musk and perhaps a very tiny amount of vetiver.
The drydown, though still quite the sweet cigar and amber scent, has some chypre and woody qualities to it.

The dry down impression of Habanita is that of a subtle, skin-reminiscent scent. The kind of fragrance that if worn properly may be soon identified by your surrounding as your own natural scent… In that sense it works similarly to Shalimar on my skin, only it is a bit more balanced as the ambery-vanilla sweetness is there only to counterpoint the bitterness of the leather and tobacco notes (and is no the main theme that some find is overly done in Shalimar).

Top notes: Mastic, Cedarwood, Lavender, Bergamot, a hint of Juniper berry, Leather notes Heart notes: Jasmine, Rose, Peach, Heliotrope Base notes: Vanilla, Tobacco, Tonka Bean, Amber, Oakmoss, Musk, Opoponax, Vetiver.



P.s. As you could tell, I did not manage to scan the image I wanted to share with you. In fact, I couldn't even find the photo! One can always blame it on the starts - Mercury in retrograde, blah blah blah. I will have to add the photo later, because it absolutely belongs to THIS post!
P.s.s. Updated October 30th to add the scanned image.

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4 Comments:

At July 17, 2006 9:25 PM, Blogger chaya ruchama said...

I wore this one faithfully years ago, and found it very reassuring. The opoponax here makes itself felt very differently from Shalimar- in the latter, I always notice the "look at me, look at me!" quality of interaction, and in Habanita, it feels more integrated, a softer harmony...
Loved the review.

 
At July 18, 2006 8:42 AM, Anonymous Ina said...

I adore Habanita in parfum. It brings back childhood memories of dried fruit compotes they used to serve us in kindergarten.

 
At July 18, 2006 5:20 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Chaya Ruchama,
I can so imagine you wearing Habanita!
I think it draws more attentnion than Shalimar though. Of course this is veyr subjective. I am more comfortable and at ease with Shalimar. Habanita is a bit like wearing a an armour...

 
At July 18, 2006 5:22 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Ina,

I can s(mell)ee the dried fruit compote association. I love dried fruit compote, too! In fact, compotes in general. It's just the kind of thing that I never think of making. I leave it for my grandmother and mother to do... Maybe when I grow up I will make these finally.
By the way, do you find Arabie to be like fruit compote too? I know many associate it with dried fruit and Christmas spices. I don't smell it though... To me it's just bottled souk!

 

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