And it was magic from that first sniff of the cap – the kind of perfume magic that forces you to close your eyes unwittingly, almost swooning with pleasure. Havana Vanille is an ode to the precious vanilla pod: when you smell it, you have no trouble imagining it in all its glory. Its thick, dark as stained ebony, slightly oily skin. The way its soft yet resilient texture succumbs to the knife with ease. The way its seeds smell when scraped out: spicy, fragrant, teasing the nose, exciting the taste buds. Oh yes, it’s all there, recreated in the most beauteous manner. A quick excited whiff coupled with heart palpitations for having found the perfect vanilla might have led me to think this is just like vanilla absolute, but somehow better the first minute or two. But focus… Calm down… There’s more to it than that. So much more.
It opens with the most evocative note of rum, gently, sweetly alcoholic. Ingeniously, it smells like a devious recipe for the most delicious drink: Rum combined with vanilla pods, sealed and put out of direct sunlight, left to infuse for a week before the big party. The result? Erotic. You can almost hear the faint rhythm of the party, feel the heat of the night, and see the slightly dilapidated facade of the colonial residence hosting the do. Drinking the elixir is ill-advised, but it is without a doubt that you’ll wish to do so upon smelling it. Mandarin, the sweetest, most well behaved of citrus notes has been employed here to add sparkle and joyousness to the mix. Just one more thing to get you drunk, under its spell.
L’Artisan wants to take us on a journey unlike all others this time around. A journey where old meets new: Old travel, filled with adventure and luxury, meeting at the crossing point with modern Havana. The imagery employed is a luxurious leather travelling case and the mode of transport a wooden cargo ship of old. The deep, soft woody facet of the perfume represents the wooden hull of the boat, filled as it is with all that’s glorious about Havana Vanille: barrels of rum, vanilla, spices. But there are sweeter accents too; a smidgen of dried apricot, like those in the crates. Their fruity nature intermingles beautifully with the scent of tobacco leaves, bound together in thick fans. Their deep, sensuous nature laces the fruit and vanilla with a sense of exotic mystery which curbs the edible nature of the other ingredients before they ever manage to send this fragrance into the familiar territory of common gourmands. The base is a chalice filled with dark, viscous balsams: Benzoin, Tolu and a good dose of Tonka bean, whose slightly chocolaty overtones compliment the vanilla and tobacco to perfection. The two types of vanilla used in turn, ever present throughout the development further enhance all the other notes with their different characteristics: the woody, spicy aspects of the Mexican vanilla absolute enhance the deep luxurious character of the tobacco leaf and clove, while the Bourbon-Madagascar adds to the composition with its hay-like undertones and lifts up the dried fruit with its own fruitiness. A gorgeous, slightly dirty skin musk embraces it all with incredible warmth and erotic sensuality, while a touch of powder lends elegance to the end result. All I ever wanted my perfect vanilla to be, and more… Incredibly versatile, this is at once delicious and sophisticated, erotic and comforting. Like any good vanilla should be (but as we know most aren’t), this one’s delicious but somehow manages to imbue the wearer with a feeling of worldly luxury and sophistication.
I know you’ve all been waiting for this, so I am giving away two samples of this fabulous scent for you to experience months before its release! Simply commenting will automatically enter you in the draw. Winners to be announced in a week’s time, next Friday. The draw will be open until then.
Official Notes: Top: Rum, Mandarin, Orange, Clove
Heart: Dry Fruits, Narcissus Absolute, Rose, Tobacco Leaf
Base: Vanilla Absolute, Tonka Bean, Benzoin, Tolu, Vetiver, Musky Notes
Pricing for the different sizes: Eau de Parfum 100 ml : 100€ /£78 / $155 - Eau de Parfum 50 ml : 75€ / £60 /$115
Images: Image of vanilla pod and seeds Flicr by Galant