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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Perfume Review: Molinard Habanita

To very much paraphrase the famous saying of Albert Camus, in the midst of summer, I suddenly felt a chill of inevitable winter...and longed for comfort. Or more specifically, for a comfort scent. Not a fluffy one to temporarily cuddle the stressed mind, because temporary measures just would not do...not a serene one, to soothingly whisper that everything passes, because I don't believe in that...not a gloomy one that would agree with me that life is absurd and not worth the effort...I need an I Can Get Through It comfort scent, an empowering comfort scent, an olfactory companion which would assure me that nothing is impossible and that I can do it all.

Enter Habanita. She with the voice made husky by smoking all that tobacco, with a white flower defiantly and alluringly stuck in her pitch-dark hair and a warm, generous, sweet heart. To get through to the true essence of Habanita, her layers must be peeled of, one by one. First the tobacco leaves, with their sweet and smoky, enthralling fragrance. Then the white petals of ylang-ylang and orange blossom, a charming touch of femininity in a composition that otherwise might have been seen as totally masculine. Then the delectable, creamy blend of vanilla, heliotrope and orris, which is like a layer of dark-golden nougat ...You get through the defensive nonchalance of smokiness and the seductive floral femininity, you are made to believe that the gourmand softness of vanilla will be the end. You think you understand Habanita: underneath her sultry interior she is vulnerable, almost child-like. You bite into the golden nougat, and there, hidden in the sweet fluffiness, lies the core of leather. And it is that dark, tough, unbreakable, unyielding core that makes Habanita such a perfect companion for when the going gets tough.

"I am a Daruma doll, a legless toy endlessly poked and pushed, but finally regaining it balance, assured by an inner balancing pin (but what is my balancing pin? The force of Love?). This is what we are told by a folk poem wihch accompanies these Japanese dolls:
Such is life,
Falling over seven times,
And getting up eight."

(Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse)

Habanita can be found in a variety of sizes and concentrations, from $24.99 for EDT at Scentiments to $295 for Perfume at Aedes.

The image is by Jacques Olivar.

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Blogger elle said...

Was just trying to decide what scent to wear tonight for sleep. Habanita! Absolutely perfect and I can't believe I wear it so rarely. Such a truly delicious scent. I'm also impressed that it doesn't seem to have suffered through unfortunate reformulations over the years. I have both the vintage parfum and edt and the current edt and I love them all equally.

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger Dusan said...

Wonderful, delectable review, chere M! I now must seek out Habanita to enjoy me some glorious moments of I Can Get Through It comfort. :)

11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

This is SO me-
Has been for many, many years.

Love it like cheese !

[ Any mail yet ?]

Kisses in this bothersome heat, pussycat.

12:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fabulous piece of writing! Great review. The whiff of Habanita out of the bottle always reminded me of a men's barber shop with that old-fashioned tobacco-wrapped-in- flowers smell. May it help you tough it out.

12:48 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"LOVE!" the description. I am going to have to get a sample of this. Another fabulous photograph, too. Thank you.


6:17 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK, this is one of my HGs. Just wonderful. And a wonderful review!

6:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a bottle of the edt after sampling this a couple months ago, and it's one of the best purchases I've ever made--such an amazing fragrance for such a small price. I adore this scent; it reminds me of my grandmother's accounts of the speakeasies, jazz, and elegant flappers of her day.

8:30 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Habanita - all woman: tough, sexy, flirty, comforting, mysterious, smart, sultry.... Love it!

9:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I haven't had a chance to compare, so I am so glad to hear they are all lovely.

9:11 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Everyone needs Habanita for when the going gets tough :-)

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

its IS SO you, I agree.
No mail yet.

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So, a whiff of masculine, right? I love that masculine side of Habanita.

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, I am so glad you liked!

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can see how and why it is one of your HG. Can I make it one of mine too? :-)

9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

speakeasies, jazz, and elegant flappers...ah! :-)

9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, all woman, but with a bit of a masculine twist :-)

9:15 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, you make this sound so perfect that I had to look back at my notes to be sure but yes, Habanita started beautifully on me & then tricked me by blooming into baby powder. I got my samp from Aedes so I think it was the perfume I tried. Perhaps a different version? I'm sad I don't get what you do from her :(

9:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always great to have such things prepared in case some black clouds come. Now I need to have a sample of Habanita. :-)
And I wish you to not have those chills of inevitable winter very often and if - then fight and fight and fight for better times!
Have a nice day!

10:24 AM EDT  
Blogger indieperfumes said...

One of my favorites, last year I wore it constantly. I love that tobacco...

11:22 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh I am sorry it doesn't work :-(

11:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much! Such encouraging, warm words.

11:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!

11:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Tobacco may be the best part of it for me too.

11:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep a mini of Habanita just in case, but the last time I tried I got powder, powder, and more powder, with only a touch of tobacco and no leather in sight. Tabac Blond smells like what I wanted Habanita to smell like, and I do get that kind of get-it-done comfort from it. (Though I wouldn't dare try it in the Texas summer.)

May you get through to the other side, my dear. I'll be thinking of you.

11:42 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on The Lover's Discourse. Love that book, and it's a pleasure to see it show up here. And Daruma dolls, too! I was in Japan in the middle of that festival and our house is festooned with them...

11:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

What a great thesis topic! I kind of liked mine too. It was on Freedom and Responsibility. With a heavy bias, um, emphasis on Camus and Sartre :-)

PS. Sorry that Habanita turns so powdery one you. I wouldn't have liked it either.

11:51 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Lovely review M!

12:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, R!

12:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried a sample of this quite a while ago..but I got mostly powder from it- so I swapped it away!..Must try it again..great review!

1:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I see powder spoils Habanita for many :-(

2:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Marina - gorgeous, evocative review of one of the greats! I had to grow into this (i.e. become a "mature" woman) before I loved it but now, wow! I hope it helped to comfort you, and I hope whatever it is/was is better now. Hugs!

3:46 PM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

What a wonderful review! You made me smile with your quote. We are overdue for some Rilke, by the way!

This is an odd, hard summer, isn't it?

4:27 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

В тебе несомненно, более чем в ком бы то ни было, есть это нераскусимое ядро. Всё будет в порядке. И по традиции - я в восхищении! )

4:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! I had to grown into it too, I guess. It took a while.

4:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh yes, odd and hard. What you wrote reminded me of that song, "it's a cruel, cruel summer".
I haven't quoted Rilke here yet, I think, and I should!

4:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

И по традиции- вы не спите.

4:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Cat Fish said...

Wow, i loved that review, love the "typical" occasion (and can relate) and of course love Habanita, find it best in EdT, btw.

5:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

marina, great writing....sheer poetry want to buy a habanita NOW!!! and you know the pic is what exactly would personify a habanita. just a littlewary of the floral factor ... but will try it out for sure ...thanks

7:19 AM EDT  

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