Friday, July 17, 2009

Havana Vanille by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Perfume Review & Giveaway

A beautiful room paneled with gorgeous dark wood and a round tiered table in the middle covered with niche, exclusive and rare perfumes. All L’Artisan bottles are created equal and look almost the same, yet this one glowed. Who knows what it was that subconsciously triggered me to home in on it. The undoubtedly plastic memory has translated the excitement I felt upon seeing the bottle as a rude swoop for it. Yes, I made a grab for it, not quite knowing why. I bet my subconscious knew exactly what I was doing. And yet I was still surprised when I had it in my hands; not only was it something I’d never seen before, but it was a brand new vanilla as well. Addicts have rituals which they engage when they indulge in their chosen sins. So do perfume lovers, addicts themselves in a way, slaves to their sense of smell. My own ritual: Uncap the bottle with the minimum amount of (at least obvious) greed as I can afford to… Bring the cap close to the nose and inhale, first gently, to discover the nuances, then deeply to get lost in the scent’s world. Imagine how it will unfold on skin, before I ever spray.

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


108 comments:

Karin said...

Oooooh!!!! So excited to try this. Such a great description - I can smell it, and it smells divine! Thanks, Divina, for such a generous offer.

Ines said...

OMG! I actually got goose bumps reading your review. :) I pretty much love all L'Artisan fragrances so I can reasonably guess I'll love this. Keeping my fingers crosses I get drawn! :)

rebella said...

Hi Divina,

Please enter me in the draw. I usually like vanilla notes in perfume and this one sounds so gorgeus I can´t wait to try it! Your despriction almost make me salivate...!

Zazie said...

Well, this is a perfumista dream: a precious Duchaufour creation to sample waaaay before it hits the market!
Please enter me in the draw!!

Divina said...

Karin, it does smell divine! Oh, and it is totally my pleasure :)

Divina said...

Heheh, this is a totally different beast than the original Vanilia but I have a feeling you will like it Ines - because it's so intriguing!

Divina said...

Rebella, seeing as you like deep notes and hints of powder, I think this will be right up your alley!

Divina said...

Zazie, I adore his creations too! I was re-exploring his Poivre Piquant last night and found myself in awe of his ever so realistic rendition of spicy pepper up top and how lovingly it softens into milk with hints of honey as time progresses..... He is a genius.

Jenavira13 said...

You have got me hyperventilating over here. Could this be the one for me too? Now I am sounding deranged...

Anonymous said...

This sounds incredible! Please enter me in the draw!

Christine

Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawuing, thank you, Alica

judith said...

I would love to sample this. Please enter me in the draw.

I am curious,do you think L'Artisan would do an extreme version of Havana Vanille?

Thank you!

violetnoir said...

Oh my dear, you have me swooning just reading about this intoxicating fragrance! Not to take away from what must be a gorgeous fragrance, may I ask how this compares to Guerlain's Spiriteuse Double Vanille?

Thank you so much for your generosity, Divina. Please enter me in the drawing.

Hugs, and thanks again for your delicious review!

PinstripedZebra said...

Heart palpitations even, you have to be careful while sniffing!

This is the best of the vanilla's we have tried together. great stuff, for girls or guys.

Please don't enter me in the draw, as I have already smelled this.

//Z

Flora said...

Oh my, how generous of you to offer samples of this since it's not even out yet! I would love to try this, it sounds like an HG vanilla for me - your description makes me swoon, and those notes - narcissus absolute, tobacco AND vanilla?! I feel faint with longing... :-)

Cheryl G. said...

Oh my goodness!. I promised myself that I would not buy anymore fragrance without sniffing first. Alas-another broken promis.

Cheryl G said...

Oops-PROMISE.

thescentmuse said...

Vanilla can be a hard one for me to wear. But Bourbon vanilla and Mexican vanilla sounds too lush to dismiss entirely...erotic skin musk, oh my!!!

So very generous of you to do a drawing. Thanks for the opportunity.

Bettina said...

Divina, please enter me into the drawing. Would love to try this beauty. Very nice description too. I enjoyed reading it.
Fragrant hugs
B.

Carly said...

OMG! OMG! PLEASE ENTER ME! I have been dying to try this and your review makes me want to buy it or maybe two. Vanilla, to me is the most un-boring scent in the world. When I open a vanilla pod, it is almost orgasmic for me. The moistness, the dense liquor of it all. It's glorious and so is this review!!

Kayliana

KathyT said...

What a lovely description you've given us of this fragrance! I'd love to be entered into the drawing. I have and enjoy L'Artisan Vanilia and Dzing (which is quite sweet on me), and I can't wait to see how Havana Vanille compares to them.

Thank you!

HollyGolightly said...

Amazing, great description. Sounds utterly divine!

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful!!
Please enter me in your drawing?
Many Thanks!
CZ

Anonymous said...

This sounds gorgeous--please enter me in the draw!

Thanks!
Suzanne

Anonymous said...

I would love to sample this, sounnds very promising. Thank you for the great review.

rosarita said...

You don't need to enter me in your generous drawing, dear D - somehow stuff doesn't reach me and I don't want these to be wasted! I'm looking forward to trying it, tho. Just love a boozy note in fragrance, esp vanilla. :)

Suzanne said...

Divina, just reading your review, I feel utterly intoxicated!! Your excitement over this scent is palpable in your beautiful writing. I'd love to be included in the draw.

Suzanne K.

p.s., Thanks so much for your kind words about my Miel de Bois post. You made my day!

dleep said...

I am swooning. I have to try this. Please enter me in the draw.
This sounds absolutely fabulous. Thank you for that review.

dp

eelriverrose said...

I haven't waited in anticipation of a fragrance release with such unbridled enthusiasm in a very long time! Thank you so much for your evocative and very detailed review. If I don't win the draw, at least I have your words to keep me busy until then! I really appreciate the combination of poetry with explicit details about the fragrance notes -- perfect combination.

Tara said...

This sounds wonderful. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks..

Jarvis said...

Hello -- what a lovely and alluring review! I'm very intrigued by what you've described, so please enter me in the drawing!

Amanda said...

I am a huge vanilla lover, and cannot wait to try this. Your review is gorgeous!

curtis.w said...

Lovely review! I can't wait to try this (and fight my girlfriend for who gets to wear it)!

shifts said...

I have some how lost my curiosity when it comes to fragances. I hardly ever feel a need to try the new releases either. Until now. L'Artisan has actually made a fragrance I want to try after reading about it.

Julia said...

I've been on a vanilla kick recently and I'd love to participate in this drawing! Thanks for a great review:)

Divina said...

Oh, Jen, this actually made me LOL!

Divina said...

Christine, Alica, you're in the draw of course.

Divina said...

Judith, I can only speculate of course, but if this one becomes as popular as I think it will, then yes, I think there is a good chance we'll see an extreme version.

However, if you have concerns about the tenacity of Havana Vanille, let me say that it lasts quite a long time - on me at least. I wore it yesterday and it lasted about 8-9 hours. It lingered a bit after my shower (a whisper of it) but then disappeared. So longevity on me has been good.

Divina said...

Dear Violetnoir, no worries, this is a great question that I think will be in a lot of people's minds! Spiritueuse Double Vanille is very different (here the boozy note is specific, smells exactly like rum infused with vanilla pods) whereas I find it much more abstract and subtle in SDV. Furthermore the vanilla in SDV is short-lived (on me - Cuir Belluga for example seems to retain its vanilla note throughout the development while SDV doesn't) and Havana Vanille keeps being true to the vanilla to the very end (only to increase in Tonka's warmth as it dries down).

I am sure people will also be curious as to how it compares to Tom Ford's Vanille Tobacco since it contains tobacco notes as well, but here again I have to say that the Tom Ford employs a very masculine tobacco note, while the tobacco note in Havana Vanille is just sensual and neutraly unisex, adding more to the 'exotic' feel of the perfume. Too, both Tobacco Vanille and SDV miss out in presenting the 'seed' aspect of vanilla, the beautiful spicy aroma of freshly scraped vanilla seeds, which Havana Vanille has oodles of. You'll love it. All three are very unique fragrances that don't smell like each other. This one is my favorite!

Divina said...

Z, hihihi yeah well, can you blame me? I'd been looking for this one too long!

Divina said...

Flora, I have to say that the narcissus was not really perceptible to me, this perfume has no floral aspect to my nose. It is there I am sure, especially since they list it as the absolute even, but it is extremely well blended. Undoubtedly, it does something to the composition - it's just not perceptible as a floral note. Regardless, it is LOVE!!!

Divina said...

Cheryl, I'm sure in the present company we all have experience with this type of broken promise! I know I do!

Divina said...

Scentmuse, if your trouble with vanilla stems from the mostly chemical smelling notes in most vanilla fumes out there (see for example the Sephora line of vanillas) then no worries at all: This smells absolutely natural!

Divina said...

Bettina, with pleasure :) My hugs right back to you!!

Divina said...

Oh Carly, that's a beautiful comment, your passion for vanilla so evident! I wish you best of luck in the draw!

Divina said...

Kathy, Dzing! is one of my absolute favorites! I hope this one will be to your liking as well.

Divina said...

HollyGolightly, CZ & Suzanne & Anon, you're in!

Divina said...

Rosarita, I'm sorry you have trouble with the mail :( I had it once when trying to send a packet to someone as well. Sent it twice, both times it got lost in some sort of mailing vortex never to be seen by either of us again. Bleh. Thankfully it has worked all other times.....

Divina said...

Suzanne K. (hugs!!!)

Divina said...

dleep you're in. Good luck!

Divina said...

eelriverrose thank so, sooo very much for the beautiful compliment! What a way to start my day :) Thank you! Good luck on the draw!

Divina said...

Tara, Jarvis & Amanda, you're in! Thank you for the kind words!!

Divina said...

Curtis.w hahahaha I knoooow, my boyfriend likes it too! But smelling the same has its own kind of sweetness, mm? ;)

Divina said...

Hejsan, Shifts! Wish I could still read swedish so I could read your blog too! It's been years and I've forgotten most of it, save a word that pops up in my mind here and there. Don't worry about perfume passion.... You know, I think when we don't stress it, it may come to find us again later in life :) Or maybe we move on to other exciting passions.

I hope however, that maybe this one excites your senses enough when you smell it, to maybe rekindle the curiosity and love! Thank you for commenting and good luck on the draw!

Divina said...

Julia, same here: complete vanilla -and in extension gourmand kick!

waftbyCarol said...

You are so-ooo torturing all of us !
I am thrilled you found your vanilla !! I didn't even know I was craving a vanilla until you and Patty broke the news of this !!
Patty posted about it on Facebook that day you were introduced to it and I asked her immediately if you had found your vanilla...LOL !!
( she said yes and I let out a WHOOP !)
I wouldn't turn down a sample...

Deanna said...

I'd love to try a sample! Enter me :)

Heather B said...

Oh my a boozy, naughty vanilla sounds wonderful. I loved vanilla scents as a teenager, and kinda grew out of them. But boozy ones beckon to me. I would love to be entered in the draw.

Kelly said...

Sounds absolutely break-taking! L'Artisan has become my end all, be all favorite perfume house.

Nina Z. said...

I just started reading your blog quite recently, and it is so much fun (and well written). I loved the descriptions of your Paris shopping expeditions! And, now, of course, you've made me crave this new vanilla scent--I'd love to try it.

kopah said...

Oh my! A must-try! What an unbearable tease!

Nancy said...

Yummy, yummy and yummy! Please enter me in the draw for this fab scent.
Thanks, N

jon r. said...

I really have high hopes for this one! Im really hoping it smells kinda like one of my all time favs, Tom Fords Tobacco Vanille, what w/ the tobacco leaf and vanilla. Heres hoping for another winner from L'Artisan!

Ducdauge said...

I am soooo curious to try this one: after following your feet-challenging quest through Paris you deserved your vanilla holy Grail!!! And you are just making me longing for that freshly-scratched beans note!!! Please, enter me in the draw...love vanilla...

The Daily Connoisseur said...

This sounds positively delightful! I am really excited to sample this one... Love the brand and love the bottles!

Camilla said...

I just love vanilla so much... I really hope to be lucky enough to win the draw! :)
Thank you!
P.S. Loved your travelogues series...

elve said...

Sounds divine! Enter me in the drawing, please :)

zeezee said...

Can't seem to figure out the login procedure, so I'll remain anonymous. Yes, I'm a digibete.

Your mouthwatering review was *just* what I needed (as if) to push HV from "eagerly anticipated" into "want!" territory.
Would *love* a sample!

- Zeezee

ScentScelf said...

I've read all the comments, so I'm not the first to swoon...but, as level headed as I pride myself in being, I do fear you have caused me to swoon.

AND I see narcissus in the note pyramid illustration. thonk!

So, please count me in the draw. Meanwhile, I am enjoying an ongoing chuckle at the thought of Divina's graceful arm swooping across the table and snatching the divine elixir...all's fair in love...

Anonymous said...

Divina, this sounds right up my fragrant alley!! Cannot wait to try this. PG Coze is another wonderful vanilla (IMHO). Please enter me in the draw.
Thank you!

ggs said...

When will this be available?
Sounds like it will be popular! I've tried dozens of Vanilla high-end fragrances, and the only one I own as a full bottle is PdN Vanilla Tonka. Would love to get excited about a new L'Artisan! Sounds similar to Tihota's spendy vanilla that is very nice, but overpriced...

Anonymous said...

This sounds heavenly! Please enter me in the draw. SMY

Jules said...

Ooh thanx for this most wonderful review. This vanilla sounds just like it could be exactly what I've always longed for, from a vanilla scent. ... Although I was obviously expecting the addition of the tobacco leaves (with "Havana" and all ;o) ...) But to be honest, it would have been pretty good too for a boozy vanilla minus the tobacco note, just for a change. (For we have been kinda having loads of those recently). ... Well, at least I hope that it will be the finest rendition of a boozy tobacco vanille scent, so far. ... I am absolutely itching for it, so as to finally quench my vanillaholic obsessions ! (LOL)
Will you HV be the one ??? ... I hold much hope for it now, after reading your fab evocative review. You made it sound just totally mouth-watering, and just "my thing" ! ! ... Thank you ! ...
Bring it on L'Artisan !!!
(And thank you too for the wonderful sample giveaway ~ I will be all fingers crossed till then :o) ! )

wristsniffer said...

I was searching for reviews of this scent written by bloggers lucky enough to have sampled it and was pleasantly surprised to find such a thorough and detailed review! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us! I'm new here (and a fellow aries) and you've made a loyal reader out of me.

One of my favorite scents and most coveted is Guerlain's Gourmand Coquin. Have you tried it and if so, how does HV compare?

~April

Suzanne said...

Divina,
What wonderful writing! You have a true gift and I so enjoy reading your blog (especially having been with the Sniffa group in London!)
What fun we had!
Hugs,
Suzanne

Mals86 said...

Oh, please, please enter me in the draw. Every single thing I've read about this scent sounds like it's perfectly to my taste.

Thanks for the beautifully written review!

Anonymous said...

Divina! First, thank you for sending me your blog-site. Second, you writing is divine(!), like you! And Third, I am reliving the trip through your ... nose (!) and words. Perfect! Thank you, thank you. You have a true gift.Warmest, Sarah

ps- have a lovely photo of us from Betty... will send it on.. oh, yes, sign me up for 'havana'!

double.bound said...

Hi Divina--

Great piece. I'd like to get in on the sample drawing, being a huge vanilla lover myself.

Did you ever get the samples I sent? Hoping customs didn't nab them...

amy said...

oh please, please let me get this sample so I can show my Habanita what will happen if she becomes involved with my boozy, dried fruity Frapin and then has a dalliance with my Fragonard Vanille! I really hope this smells a bit like that and I am dying to find out...

Anonymous said...

would love to try it - sounds positively toothsome...
- hvs

kim p said...

Thank you for the lovely review. I, too, am seeking for a vanilla scent. I would be very happy if I may try this wonderful fragrance.

Divina said...

Hahaha Carol, I think everyone noticed I found THE vanilla, I was umm.. pretty excited ;)

Divina said...

Deanna, you're in :)

Divina said...

Heather B I promise this is different than any other vanilla out there :) Just might be the one to remind you all the goodness that's in vanilla scents :)

Divina said...

Kelly, I LOVE the line as well. I think my next FB should be Mure et Musk extreme or maybe Tea for Two...

Divina said...

Nina, thank you so much! I am glad you found Fragrance Bouquet, and I look forward to seeing you here!

Divina said...

Kopah I knooooooow! I am sorry to tease you all, but this is most definitely worth the buzz!

Divina said...

Nancy, you're in :)

Divina said...

jon r this is not as masculine as the Tom Ford, it is truly genderless. In my opinion, superior, although I enjoy the Ford as well :)

Divina said...

Ducdauge I never knew this quest would end so magnificently! Thank you for following and good luck on the draw!

Divina said...

Daily, me too! The old ones were nice too, but I definitely love these ones.

Divina said...

Camilla, here's to hoping funds will allow for more series like that :)

Divina said...

Hey Elve! You're in :)

Divina said...

zeezee seems you worked it out fine :)

Divina said...

*giggles* Scentscelf, seriously, I saw it, it glimmered, I GRABBED it! I was like: YES, DISCOVERY!

Divina said...

Anon, glad to see anoher PG fan. Coze is beautiful! And for some more gourmand goodness (chocolate) try Musks Maori!

Divina said...

ggs, I tried Tihota and this is much, much, much better. It will be available in October.

Divina said...

SMY you're in

Divina said...

Jules, believe me when I say that it is unlike any other vanilla-tobacco combo. The tobacco here is very sensual, well behaved and discreet :)

Divina said...

Hiii wristsniffer and welcome to FB! :) So glad you found it and like it! Gourmand Coquin is more strawberry-chocolate to my nose if that makes sense. From Guerlain vanillas my favorite is Cuir Belluga, which I adore. *sigh* need a bottle of that one too.

Divina said...

Suzanne! So great to see you here! I am missing you all! *mwah!*

Divina said...

Mals86, you're in of course :) Good luck

Divina said...

My beautiful Sarah! How are you darling? Betty sent me the photo too! Miss yoU!

Divina said...

double.bound got your samples, no worries at all! Thank you so much! Good luck on the draw!

Divina said...

Amy, that was funny! You're in!

Divina said...

HVS, you're in :)

Divina said...

Kim good luck on the draw. I hope this is the vanilla for you too!

Anonymous said...

I wait and watch. impatiently, of course!