The opening is velvety and rich in rhum and tobacco, with a powerful note of cloves and a musky, animalic chypre base with mossy-herbal notes. Strongly boozy and spicy but also a bit gourmand thanks to cocoa beans and a slightly roasted-caramelised note which resembles to a dark and sticky ambery-resinous note (opoponax?) and perhaps dark tar/birch woods. As minutes pass the cloves note emerges even more boldly with its medicinal-pungent personality, always on an aromatic and velvety base rich in colours and nuances in the typical style of Dubrana – which is a master in "freezing" the kaleidoscopic power of natural components, letting them free to express their soul. An austere, elegant, nostalgic, dusty, slightly ghastly and elusive, with a medicinal vein and a lot of woody-resinous-spicy mysticism. I thought of Rume by Slumberhouse, which belongs to a totally different imagination, but still there is a similarity between some notes, notably the explosion of cloves on a boozy, warm, slightly gourmand and incredibly aromatic base – from coffee, to cocoa, to a balsamic aniseed breeze all around. As most of Dubrana's works I had the pleasure to discover, it's a perfectly-crafted scent, cozy, charming, to listen to. For Dubrana, letting the materials "speak" comes before letting his creativity speak – never met such a respectful, almost mystical attitude towards ingredients. Sadly the longevity is fairly short, although that is never my first concern.
Another Dubrana's visceral aroma after Don Corleone and Milano Caffè, a carnal mixture of bay rum and tobacco supported by dark coffee, herbs, spices and bitter chocolate. The latter is a throughout sort of ghostly lingering presence. There is an undeniable aromatic and spicy greenness by soon detectable, a sort of myrtle/laurel/cloves/orange peels smokey presence conjuring me more than vaguely the O'driu' Laurhum's tobacco/laurel/bay rum/balsams accord in a plain (but less rounded) way. The perfume keeps anyway leaning more over the spicy/boozy/green side than the honeyed one. Unfortunately the aroma is almost evanescent on my skin despite is impossible to deny the hyper-natural consistency of the raw materials. The evolution is not laborious since over a first aromatic/spicy somewhat boozy (bay rum) approach you can gradually detect warm pipe tobacco, hints of cocoa, caribbean spices and dark balanced vanilla with an exotic twist so erotic but not refined in a really fair level. The "long tail" dry down is more restrained and virile in a spicy/herbal way, the rum/spices/tobacco dry accord provides masculinity and exotic sultriness. A sultry "scenario" jumps on mind, an hot Havana's club with live music, tobacco, sex and streams of rum. A pity for the short duration on my skin.
10th May, 2014 (last edited: 25th September, 2015)
This is the only perfume by La Via del Profumo where I don't hesitate to give it a thumbs down-rating. This stuff is hardcore, it's just too overpowering and even brutal! Well, maybe Fidel would like it!
As much as I had high expectations for this one, it is just too much pulling in too many directions - and very little of the blend says CUBA to me (and I have been there). This is not to say that the blending is wrong. It is actually quite creative and does try to inject the atmosphere with the frenetic patchwork of Havana's sensual overload.
I just find it distracting to have so many moods (fresh / bright / sweet / boozy / syrupy / green / herbal / resinous) all packed into one fragrance. It is as if we have a layering job where polar opposites were chosen for effect. I will try again, but for now I feel like storing my "tabac," my beloved "seawood," and my "gringo" in separate bottles.
I cannot detect any rum, any chocolate, any coffee. This fragrance really disappointed me, since on my skin it only has a nasty curry smell. I felt like a big indian meal.
I balanced my childhood diet of wild cherry cough drops and play-doh with delights planted by Daddy, just for me, in the den. Am I the only one who happily gorged on matchheads with a light dusting of cigar ash? The Internet suggests this is a disease with its own name: Pica, but the medical experts are confused, and don’t know what good is. Bacon has nothing on a burnt match.
Cuba Express combines the non smoker’s comfort I find in tobacco with the toasty char I craved as a child. Though I know it contains not rum, coffee and chocolate as well as tobacco, I experience cedar. An olfactory hallucination or something a chemist might explain? It sucks the moisture out of my brain, and paints my throat and brain with the pleasure of pipes, Connecticut shade-grown cigar wrappers and ashtrays.