Perfume Directory

Habanita (1921)
by Molinard


Habanita information

Year of Launch1921
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 396 votes)

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About Habanita

Habanita is a feminine perfume by Molinard. The scent was launched in 1921

Reviews of Habanita

I have always enjoyed fragrances with a leather note (Cabochard and original Fendi).

I so looked forward to receiving Habanita. Still have not adjusted to this fragrance and I like strong rather garish perfumes but this one is extremely strong even for my taste. I haven't given up though. Still wear it now and then.
18th July, 2017
The hot skin kaleidoscope.
Shame walk with Paris.
16th June, 2017
I love Habanita and wear it often. In fact, I probably wear it more than anything else in my collection. I like the fact that I can wear it in any season for any occasion. It makes a very good masculine scent although I have no problem with gender bending and wear many scents that are marketed to females....
I love how Habanita dries down on me into a sweet, powdery, incense-like scent. Very close to the skin but always present. I get many compliments on it when I wear it and I use the EDP, the current one available. It is a wonderful scent for me and I would not be without it. I love how vetiver and vanilla are combined and the two ingredients together make something entirely new.....
It reminds me of the smell on the collar of an old suede chesterfield coat that I have had forever....thumbs way up for me!
24th June, 2016
Why on earth don't I wear this more often? On me, more leather and spice than powder and vanilla. Shalimar but more so. EdT lasts more than 12 hours, and the dry-down is delicious. Outwardly I may be a nondescript middle-aged woman in 2015, but in my inner perfume-influenced fantasy life I'm a vampy speakeasy femme fatale with furs and a long cigarette holder.
29th October, 2015
Habanita is a giant in a field of gnats.

But man, it took me ages to understand it, let alone enjoy it. At first, I was repulsed. It smelled harsh to me. Indistinct and muddy – like a fistful of wet, mulched leaves. There was a sticky grey -brown cast to it that lent it a slightly glum feel. Who the hell wants to smell like this, I thought to myself.

But something kept making me want to wear it, and now, with time, I’ve come to love it. And I don’t mean love it from a distance. No, I actually wear Habanita once a week. Coming from a gal with as many perfumes as I have, that should tell you something.

I think I’ve got a handle on what makes Habanita tick now.

At the heart of Habanita lies a soft, worn leather note that recalls the smell of the inside lapel of a well-loved leather jacket. It is an intimate smell, a beat-up leather mixed with twenty years of human skin rubbing up against it. It’s not a leather with aspirations to luxury, like Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, or leaning towards unbearably animalic, like Montale’s Aoud Cuir d’Arabie. It’s just a low-down, rough-copy leather, a smell with history, and aware of its humble beginnings as a liquid used to perfume cigarettes.

The leather note at the center reminds me somewhat of Onda by Vero Profumo. They don’t smell alike, really, when taken as a whole. But the more I wear Habanita, the more I understand that Onda is the core of Habanita extracted, shaken clean of the powder, tonka, and the flowers, and reshaped as a gaspingly harsh leather chypre. The core accord in both is a grainy, grimy leather with a slightly unclean, carnal feel – a half-urinous, half-honeyed tobacco-like smell. There is also a whiff of floor disinfectant. Whereas this is what had repulsed me to begin with, I now find this very sexy. It’s a lived-in, intimate kind of smell. This combination of honey and tobacco or vetiver that works for me in a few of my other favorite fragrances as well, such as Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque and Jardins D’Ecrivains’ George.

There’s a lot more going on in Habanita than in Onda, though. Whereas Onda is all about that fierce, dry honey-vetiver-leather, Habanita wraps it all up in a thick blanket of baby-powder florals (rose, heliotrope, and jasmine) and submerges it in a base of sandalwood and vanilla. I also get a buttery almond-like smell akin to the cherry tobacco smell of an unlit pipe, so perhaps there is tonka in there too (I’m convinced there is).

But despite the complex list of notes, I have to say that Habanita maintains its rather singular identity all the way through. It never smells overtly floral (although there are tons of flowers) or incense-y (although it has resins). Even the vanilla and the vetiver don’t smell like vanilla and vetiver – they meld so completely with the honey, flowers, woods, and resins that their separate identities are consumed. What they give birth to is a new form – that nutty, dry leather core of Habanita.

I own three versions of it – the modern Eau de Parfum (inexpensive), the vintage Eau de Toilette (costs a fortune and is increasingly difficult to find), and the vintage-ish pure parfum (discontinued, I believe). They are all three essentially the same when it comes to the core accord that makes Habanita "Habanita", although there are some slight differences.

The modern EDP is plush, deep, and more intensely powdered than the vintage EDT, and has a gummy, lemon-green mastic note at the start that is missing from the other versions. The vintage EDT has a sharp petigrain note at the start and more of a spicy, clove-y character, but it dries down to the basic scent profile as is found in the EDP.

The pure parfum goes straight to the leather-tobacco core of Habanita without any of the harsh, wild green opening notes of the other two versions – it is altogether quieter and more buttery. It is also the version with the most smoke, which I enjoy very much. All three versions last on my skin for an eternity. But I wouldn’t necessarily feel that you have to hunt down the pure parfum or the vintage EDT unless you were really a hardcore Habanita whore like me. The modern EDP is a rare instance where a beloved classic was not only preserved but also maybe a little improved. Plus – and when do you ever get to say this about a favorite perfume – it is democratically priced.
18th September, 2015
Ratfink Show all reviews
United Kingdom
I really wanted to like this, but after several attempts to get on with it I'm giving up and giving away my sample. On me this smells like furniture polish, with a very slight hint of a tobacco if I sniff my arm really intently. Meh.
17th September, 2015

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