Blog post by Gwen

Habanita EDP - sophisticated and confident and legendary

Photo: perfumeniche

I’ve been a devotee of Habanita, the legendary icon of French perfumery from Molinard, for decades. I love the smell of it. But I also respect it. Habanita was the first oriental fragrance created for women, and its long history is impressive.

Habanita, which means ‘little Havana’, started out as a personal fragrance for scenting cigarettes in 1921. Ahh, the Roaring ‘20s! The time of prosperity, The Jazz Age, Art Deco and flappers. Paris set the fashion trends for women – corsets were out, loose, knee-length dresses were in. Hair was bobbed, arms were exposed, and knees were rouged. Cosmetics, once associated with prostitution, were all the rage. The 1920s woman was boyish, even androgynous, and audacious. This is the spirit of Habanita.

And that personal fragrance for scenting cigarettes? It caught on big time and was launched as an EDT in 1924. Over the years, Habanita has been presented as a parfum and EDT and EDP. The EDT was my gateway to Habanita, but lately, I’ve been favouring the EDP which was launched in 2013. Current versions have the same formula; it’s just the concentration of the essence that makes them different.

What I love about Habanita is the experience of it. The notes are so well blended it’s nearly impossible to pick them out. Besides, breaking the fragrance down strips away the magic and does the fragrance a disservice. So, here’s my experience.

Habanita EDP opens with a note of sweet, floral geranium that reads as elegant. Soon, lentisque fresh, green and balsamic and petitgrain complex, deep and green with facets of citrus zest appear. Ylang-ylang joins the mix. Lush, exotic, and intense, it smells like jasmine and gives a creamy, feminine sensuality to the opening. The way these notes are combined creates a sense of excitement that leads to the heart where I smell licorice. It's from vanilla-faceted and anise-tinged heliotrope. Jasmine picks up where the ylang-ylang left off – it’s green and animalic. Where there’s jasmine, there’s usually a rose, and here it’s paired with rose centifolia that’s green and spicy with fruity aspects. Mimosa adds powdery notes to the floral bouquet, a nod to the new cosmetics craze. Virginia cedar is smoky, and it links to vetiver, patchouli and vanilla to create an accord of honeyed, blond tobacco. Then, the smell of leather. It’s from Oakmoss, I suspect. It smells the way an old, worn leather jacket would smell after a night out dancing and smoking. The base is warm from amber and sandalwood and smooth from white musk.

Habanita dries down to a deep, rich and sophisticated scent.

Habanita is not a shy girl, she’s a confident woman, and that’s what makes this perfume that’s over 100 years old and doesn't smell ‘vintage’ or dated. That’s because Habanita is not a shy girl but a confident woman, and confidence always ages well.

Check out Habanita EDP in our Shop.