L'Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille: Perfume Review
If I were to come up with a two-word description for Havana Vanille à la Perfumes: The Guide, I would have opted for strange vanilla or raw vanilla or bearded vanilla or thinking person's vanilla (OK, that's three words). Which is to say that I think that Havana Vanille is odd, it smells raw/rooty/earthy, is not girly by any stretch of imagination and, like most Duchaufour's creations, is cerebral.
I am not sure to which combination of ingredients to attribute the remarkably raw quality of the composition. My guess is that it is immortelle and narcissus which lend Havana Vanille the haunting aroma of something freshly dug out of clean, moist soil...of something "dirty" in a vegetable-mineral, not animalic sense. This raw component is more predominant, on my skin, then the title note of vanilla. The latter is, of course, present at all times, but isn't quite like its usual self. It's not sweet and it's not even abstractly gourmand. The very slightly tarry leather, the smoky woods, the boozy rum note lead to a sort of androgen excess in the vanilla accord. I would not label the scent as "masculine", but neither is it in any way "feminine". Let's call it androgynous.
This might easily be one of the most interesting recent releases and certainly the most unusual vanilla fragrance that I have ever encountered. If I had to compare it to another perfume, I'd say that it vaguely reminds me of Duchaufour's raw masterpiece from last year, Baume du Doge...with a lot of smoky, dirty and drunken vanilla added to the mix.
Havana Vanille is available wherever L'Artisan is sold, $115.00-$155.00; the fragrance has been renamed and is now called Vanille Absolument.
Image credit, Ellen Von Unwerth