The first blast is fruity, I get some peach & berry notes but that quickly disappears. The next note smells like spicy cloves to my nose. The "clove" note is joined by warm cushy vanilla, nutmeg & powdery orris. Toward the far drydown the vetiver lends a smoky dry feel to the vanilla powder. It becomes a beautiful smoky, spicy vanilla powder & stays quite close to the skin.
I have the recently discontinued, reformulated habanita EdT spray, black lalique reproduction bottle, 2.6 ounce, 75 ml, purchased on line for about 27 usd. (Not the bottle depicted above which I believe is the latest, highly acclaimed reformulation and is priced substantially more). I recall that there are at least three reformulations of Habanita; I assume I have the most powdery one.
It opens as a massive, throat parchingly dry, sinus sharp vanilla powder bomb for the first hour, then it calms down to a somewhat acceptable level assuming you like a powdery scent (I don't really care for powder). One spray is too much. If you have decant, dabbing a lesser amount will reduce the powdery effect. (I have not been in the mood to use pliers to hack open the bottle and decant it, mainly because 1. Habanita is so strong that it would scent a room and possibly my hands for a week; 2. I really like the bottle and don't want to ruin it). I think Habanita contains heliotrope, orris, and possibly coumarin or tonka, all of which might amplify the powder effect. The only other modern fragrances that give me the same throat parching powder sensation is Lutens Fourreau Noire and Avon Extraordinary (both are very differnt from Habanita in all other respects).
A reviewer below mentioned that Habanita is similar in powderiness to Caron Nuit de Noel. This is not my experience. On my skin, both NdN in vintage extrait and the faux stingray travel flask of NdN EdT are relatively moist and softly rounded with a hint of both fruit and floral in a dry down that is honeyed but not gourmand. I might be a tad more tolerant of what others categorize as powder if I like the scent. I think of vintage NdN or parfum sacre vintage extrait as richly matte and dense like velvet; creamy rather than powdery. IMO, Habanita's massive powder level, even after it drys down a bit, is more reminiscent of the modern version of Guerlain l'heure bleue which I find very powdery compared to vintage LHB eau de cologne.
I may use Habanita to layer with other fragrances, for instance, I might try layering it with a dab of tea rose and a smidge of lutens MKK or Khiel's original musk to see if I get anything approximating lutens fumerie turque. But, it's not a priority since I own fumerie turque.
I do think very highly of molinard as a perfume house and I believe that it is underrated in general. The bottle is stunning.
Note: when I am in the mood for a fragrance that references tobacco without actually containing the specific accord, I usually gravitate towards vintage Caron Tabac Blond extrait, which is glorious, rounded, refined, not powdery or sweet.
This is a review of Habanita EDT purchased 2011. Would love to try vintage, parfum & the new current reformulated EDP released in 2012. For me this is a dark plush powdery oriental that has almost everything in it.lol. I don't pick out any fruit of floral notes but feel that in the powder there may be a note of smokey vetivier and maybe a tar/bitch note.
This is not a light cosmetic powder fragrance nor a sweet confectionary rose/violet. Habanita means business. I find that one may want to experiment with application techniques dabbed versus sprayed or with lotion as sillage can be big on this one. I love the longevity 12+ hours..and find that more subtle notes come out in the dry dowm..it is warm & comforting mayb with some of the vanilla in base.
If you find Habanita too intense check out Caron Nuit de Noel before dismissing powdery fragrances.
other concentrations or vintages may vary
Habanita is one of my favorite scents. Originally created in the early 1920's to perfume cigarettes, it's evolved into one of the great classic fragrances. What makes Habanita so special is that it is simultaneously substantial and harmonious. Although it's a heavy oriental, the formula is very well rounded, with peachy overtones that mingle seemlessly with leather and vanilla creating an overall impression of powdery softness. If perfume were music, Habanita would be a perfectly tuned choir, where no one voice stands out. In a world of celebrity endorsed fragrances that are the equivalent of screeching sopranoes, this is a beautiful thing
Love, love, love. There are far more creative reviewers who have described Habanita on this board, so all I will add is that this is a fragrance that requires a confident spirit....and a light hand. (it is a strong scent) Habanita is both sweet and sultry at the same time. The black bottle is gorgeous, and the price was very reasonable. A blind buy that I have never regretted.
My initial reaction when I first tested Habanita, I took a whiff and it opened my eyes with surprise. This is an exciting perfume, to say the least. It stands alone amongst many that have been marketed. It is a unique fragrance that cannot be duplicated or counterfeited in any way.
It's sensual, it's dark, it's smoky, it's leather, it's powder, it's rubber, it's a sharp assault in your face that drys down to an unusual scent that's very difficult to describe but absolutely one of a kind. On me, there are no flowery notes. It drys down to a powder that wraps itself around leather, tobacco, musk, oakmoss and benzoin. It's warm and smoldering. Not a warm that you wrap yourself in a blanket with warm. Habanita exudes a sexual warmth. It's musky in its own way, not a typical musk that one expects that is so common on the market today.
Each time I wear it, I pick up different nuances of this quaint perfume and I am looking forward to wearing it in the different seasons. This was a blind buy for me and I am delighted with it. It's a red lipstick, dark eyeliner and boots kind of perfume. Others won't recognize it, which is a good thing. You'll stand alone and be remembered. It's a wonderful addition to my perfumes.I don't reach for Habanita very regularly. I can't even say I wear it that often. But when the mood strikes me, it's a frag that is so unique, it I know my entire demeanor is different. This perfume is meant for a person with a zest and passion for what they are about to do because it is a strong fragrance for a woman that can pull it off. Definitely not for the weak, not for a wallflower, and not for the shy. If you want to be remembered, and not necessarily in a good girl way, then this perfume is one to try. After all, how many perfumes do you know that smell of leather, smoke and benzoin, tempered with woods and moss notes? What an incredulous combination. This is a power-house scent, but not for power in the boardroom. It's for power elsewhere.
Whenever I wear it, men seem to be hypnotized and comment on it. Strangers even. This is the one fragrance I'll wear that strange men will ask me about, comment on or want to get closer. Habanita lays low but is the strongest, most compelling perfume I own.
Top Notes: Orange Blossom, Raspberry, Peach, Bergamot.
Middle Notes: Lilac, Orris Root, Jasmine, Heliotrope, Ylang-Ylang, Rose.
Base Notes: Leather, Amber, Musk, Benzoin, Vanilla, Oakmoss, Cedar.
At one time in my life, I was convinced that Balmain's Jolie Madame was the greatest sounding fragrance, ever. At less than 30 dollars online, I sprung for a bottle and eagerly awaited my scented soulmate.
Alas - too green, too thin, too bitter. I wanted powder and leather, I smelled only fresh cut grass.
Because I learn lessons very poorly, if at all; I recently followed the same trajectory with Habanita.
Happily, this story ends better - Habanita is what I imagined JM would've been. There is a lot going on here, and all of it is awesome - powder, leather, fruit, ambery cola, an almost jergens lotion type thing (almonds, cherry - which incidentally reminds me of L'Heure Bleue), some greenery in the far background (vetiver, I imagine). It is at once resolutely old-fashioned but also bizarre. In fact, it is one of very few older fragrances that I 'got' right off the bat.
I highly recommend at least sampling this - it's fascinating. Comforting but weird.
I love heavy and and dark fragrances but this just didn't do it for me. To me it had a cherry smell to it. I can see why others would like it and I would probably recommend other perfume lovers to try it if they want to stand out from the crowd.
Hello, masterpiece! This is one of my top picks. It's strong, lasts forever and a day, and is FIERCE :) Sexy in a dark, powerful way (none of the pink frilly stuff here).
I had been anticipating a smokey, smouldering leather-vanilla based on descriptions that Habanita started its life as a scent for cigarettes. The verdict? - Not quite.
For me, the opening skips the fruits listed in the notes and is mostly green floral/woody. It is rather harsh up close at this point. Within a half an hour, the chorus dies down to a vetiver laced with vanilla (not the other way round) that stays very close to skin. The vetiver gives the overall smokey quality while the vanilla adds the slightest hint of sweetness to soften the edges. The drydown is also a touch powdery. I am not sure whether I enjoy the first half hour of the fragrance but the drydown is worth waiting for. Projection is minimal once it reaches this stage, but the staying power is very good.
One drawback of this interesting fragrance is that the juice seems to be rather an intense shade of yellow - I am afraid to spray on light coloured clothes lest it should leave a stain.
EDIT: Sometimes I get more vanilla than vetiver from the drydown, although the smokiness is still there. The scent grows on me with each wear.