Man, it took long enough for this stuff to show up! I pre-ordered Havana Vanille in August and just received it Monday (12/21). I admit that during this long wait I became thoroughly disenchanted. I’ve been reading very negative posts on MUA & POL and I became less and less interested in it ever gracing me with it’s presence. Many noted it’s lightness, suggested it was fleeting, thought it smelled like something wet and moldy. Now that I have my bottle I gotta ask: what on earth are you smelling out there? Havane Vanille is simply gorgeous.
I’ve been wearing Havane Vanille for two days. One thing is for sure; this is not a fragrance you can judge based on a dab from a 1 ml vial. You need to spray HV – and I mean several big, bold sprays of it. Today I scanned MUA and read a post by DorothyEm where she wrote this in response to someone asking how to make L’Artisan scents last longer:
DorothyEm: “I read a post on another board from a L’Artisan representative and he suggested that you spray enough so it "pools" on the skin. In other words, spray liberally and enough to make your skin WET.”
It now occurs to me that I should do this will all L’Artisan fragrances, not just Havana Vanille. Maybe I should be ‘spraying myself wet’ with Annick Goutal, Chanel and Jo Malone, too. Just a thought. Anyway, back to HV. The fact that I wasn’t particularly interested in Havana Vanille ever showing up combined with the second fact that I don’t get excited by vanilla fragrances in general makes me recommend HV highly. Or perhaps this means HV is a vanilla fragrance for those who don’t care for vanilla scents. Case in point: I love Guerlain Spirituese Double Vanillle but this is perhaps the only vanilla I go crazy for and I wear it about 3-4 times per year, usually when I’m on a diet or when the weather is frigid and I need to olfactory equivalent of a big down comforter. My taste in vanilla scents pretty much runs toward ambery woods and not straight vanillas at all. My favorite ambery woods are Givenchy Organza Indecence (amber, cinnamon, and woods, woods, woods), Theorema (clove, orange, spices, and woods, woods, woods), Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche (gorgeous ambery woods), Serge Lutens Rousse (cinnamon & woods) and Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe (decadence bar none). So, as you can see, vanilla fragrances are pretty much not in my collection (well...I really dig Cristobal by Balenciaga and I think of it as a highly vanillic oriental). But, in general, I prefer ambery woods. So, if you are like me, you might also love Havana Vanille.
Havana Vanille begins like an after dinner drink heavy on the booze, specifically rum, and it's a very dark rum. Think of something along the lines of a Black Russian or Baileys Irish Crème. Something thick, boozy and spiked with milk. I might be hallucinating but I also smell something like almond liqueur – along the lines of Frangelico. Havana Vanille transports me to a dark retro lounge with me draped in the corner leather booth and, yes, on this occasion, I'm smoking a cigarette (maybe even a clove cigarette, it’s been years, give a girl a fantasy indulgence). Havana Vanille simmers down and loses it’s gourmand quality once the rum note dissipates but it never leaves entirely. Once the rum simmers it becomes a veritable spice fest; clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry smoky woods and burnt sugar. I know there is tobacco here but it’s so mild mannered I can’t pick it out. I can’t say I smell anything that resembles straight up vanilla, or vanilla as I know it in perfumery, and this is likely why I enjoy HV so much. To me, it smells like the idea of vanilla, and those I asked to smell me the past two days did not say I smelled like vanilla (fyi: they said I smelled really good, but didn’t know what it was). I don’t find much resemblance at all to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, which is good, because I’m not a fan. I think of Havana Vanille as a love child, a result of the coupling between Guerlain Spirituese Double Vanille and Givenchy Organza Indecence. It’s a blessed child – born from good parents. If you like ambery, spicy woods as I do, you ought to check out HV.
Notes include rum, clove, dried fruits, narcissus, tonka bean, helichrysum, vanilla, smoked woods, moss and balsamic notes