Monday, November 9, 2009

You are the moonlit memory I can’t seem to lose…

L’Artisan Havana Vanille

Let talk about overhype.

You’ve all been there. You hear, first from a newspaper reviewer, or maybe a friend, “Hey, I loved this thing. I think you’ll love it, too.” Then one person becomes three, who become a half dozen, and suddenly every newspaper, website, television ad, and Facebook update seems to be telling you that ThingX is fabulous, wonderful, the best whateveritis ever!

You get excited. Try as you might to contain your enthusiasm, you get excited, too. The anticipation builds. And then you finally, finally get to try or see or do whatever the AWESOMEST thing is…

…and it doesn’t blow your mind. Ah, the disappointing let down of the overhype. Whether your mind just wasn’t blown by Garden State or Crash or Slumdog Millionaire, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video or that Miley Cyrus album everyone seems to love, or your first trip to Vegas or Disneyland was kind of a bust, everyone has something that has been hyped to them and then the real experience, while not bad, just wasn’t everything you’d hoped for.

Perfume is not immune to this phenomenon either. And for me, the overhype has really hit home L’Artisan Havana Vanille.

Everyone has a holy grail scents they are looking for, that perfect rose or iris or smoke or incense. Being a big lover of vanilla, I’m constantly on the hunt for those scents closest to vanilla perfection. For me, the best ever has been Guerlain Spirituese Double Vanille, which, because I love it best, it is of course a limited edition long since sold out.

According to L’Artisan, Havana Vanille is
From its vibrant Salsa rhythms, its famous cigars and Cuban rum, it is certain there is something magical about Havana. It is a place that contrasts all others.

This mysterious fragrance is reminiscent of travels around the world, the nostalgia of crossing the seven seas to discover far off treasures and the smell of a wooden boat mingling with the aroma of rum and spice. A sensually elegant fragrance, Havana Vanille expresses itself according to the occasion.

A luminous and mysterious harmony, Havana Vanille is indeed the fragrance of a magical place.

Notes: Mexican vanilla, rum, clove, crystallized dried fruit, narcissus, tonka bean, honey, narcotic, balms, smoked woods and musks.
Many, many reviews have compared Havana Vanille to my beloved Guerlain, so I was very hopeful. I think this is part of why I found Havana Vanille disappointing. On me, Havana Vanille and Spirituese Double Vanille are not alike. While Spirituese Double Vanille has a great incense-y undertone, Havana Vanille has a burning rubber thing going on. Spirituese Double Vanille comes off as rich, while Havana Vanille is, in its wake, hollow. It’s not as coconut-y as Memoire Liquide Creme de Vanille #204, and of all the vanillas I’ve smelled, the sweetness is most like the sweetness in Il Profumo Vanille Bourbon. The rest of it reminds me very much of L’Artisan Vanilia, which is green and plant like and not at all foodie.

Havana Vanille is interesting because it tries to walk the line between being a foodie vanilla and a green plant-like vanilla. What is nice about that is that it makes for a more masculine vanilla than you usually get. It’s not all that sweet, it doesn’t smell like a bakery or something made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Is it possible to create a mean vanilla? Probably not. But this is as close as I’ve experienced to such a thing. If you were to say, “Sweet little vanilla, what is it you are rebelling against?,” this vanilla would try its best to reply, in its surliest tone, “What’dya got?”

So in the world of vanillas, I think there is ample room for Vanille Havana, which can carry itself off as a masculine vanilla and that ain’t an easy get. Evaluated on its own merits, it is a nice, unique scent. If you don’t love the superfoodie, super saccharine vanillas that tend to dominate, you might just love this, though I’d still tell you to try L’Artisan Vanilia first. But I have to disagree with my peers who all felt Vanille Havana had a lot in common with Spirituese Double Vanille because I sit here sampling them next to each other, I think I finally start to see the resemblance two hours in, and I’d still say Vanille Havana is more like Vanille Bourbon at this point than Spirituese Double Vanille. But that’s just one humble, vanilla lover’s opinion. And thus, the search continues...

You can buy L’Artisan Havana Vanille in 50ml for $115 or 100ml for $155 from LuckyScent, BeautyHabit, Aedes de Venustas, and other online retailers. You can also get a sample of Vanille Havana, along with four other L'Artisan scents of your choice, for a mere $7 directly from L'Artisan. So really, you have no excuse to miss this one.

Deep in my veins the sensuous strains
of the soft guitar. Deep in my soul
the thunderous roll of a tropic sea
under the starts that was Havana.
You are the moonlit memory I can’t seem to lose…

- “Sand in My Shoes,” Bobby Short

Want more? Try...
~ a review from Robin at Now Smell This!
~ a review from March at Perfume Posse
~ a review from Perfume Shrine
~ a review from The Non-Blonde
~ a review from Fragraqnce Bouquet
~ a review from Perfume-Smellin' Things

Images courtesy of L’Artisan, IMDB, and Offbeat Travel.

1 comment:

Shaun said...

Hello Diana -

My wife and I just started a new discount online fragrance website (only selling authentic fragrances) and I am having a difficult time with search engine exposure. I'm hoping you would consider adding a link to our site on yours. We would be happy to reciprocate.

Thanks for your consideration,