Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Havana by Aramis

Total Reviews: 114
This smells of tobacco with oakmoss and little else to my nose, and remains like that for the duration of its life (which is incredibly strong). Sillage is moderate but leaning strong. Some people say they get bay rum and spices from this but I only detect the note of tobacco mainly with hints of oakmoss. It's a fragrance that smells better in the air than sniffed directly from the skin. It is definitely unique, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of the tobacco note. Though for some I can understand the nostalgia with it in cuban cigars. Overall it's a unique and masculine fragrance but not something I see myself reaching for often. And it doesn't smell that bad in the air, especially if layered with something with green notes. Aramis as a perfume house has been a miss for me for the most part unfortunately although I wanted to like it in theory because they make affordable masculine old-school colognes.

UPDATE: After letting this age for a month and also smelling a bunch of other tobacco colognes, I now rate this as one of the best tobacco fragrances and something quite enjoyable indeed. Whereas before this was eau de ashtray on me, I now smell a very green tobacco leaf mixed with bay rum, spices, and oakmoss. I love it now, and have increased the rating from 3.5/5 to 4.5/5.

03rd May, 2018 (last edited: 17th May, 2018)
Initially I was a little disappointed with Havana as I was expecting a more dominant tobacco note here..a little more earthy I guess.But I do think this is the one fragrance I truly love by's very mature.Tobacco but seasoned with clove here rendering it spicy and touched with tones of incense.This fragrance has just a little bit of floral and soapy lavender but it doesn't crossover into the tobacco and spice notes itself.There's something oily and slightly resinous to this kind of buttery and leaves an aftertaste of the clove on it.I'd say this was a dash of amber but it's not in the notes.

It's a good fragrance if you know what you're walking into with Havana versus hype or exaggeration.
03rd May, 2018 (last edited: 05th May, 2018)
Aramis Havana isn't how I imagined it would be from reviews on here. I imgained it would smell like Pablo escobar with guts and loud brash unapologetic notes. What I get is a very green spicey concoction, somewhere between an oakmoss scent and a classic bayrum. The strange thing is tho I hardly detect tobacco unless it's the green field type, it's also very light considering the dominant notes. I don't actually feel that this is dated either, it's perfect if you want to wear an old school classic type without smelling too dated (I'm seriously getting older lol). I think this is great for summer evenings enjoying yourself after a good shower routine. Simular to vintage paco rabanne in the far dry down..soapy and herbal, the type of fragrance I wish everyone loved.
21st February, 2018 (last edited: 26th April, 2018)
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Spicy, smokey opening. It's like splashing on bay rum while trying to put out a campfire. The drydown isn't as smokey, leans more into Bay Rum territory.

A mature, old-school smell to be sure, but still has a playful side to it.
15th January, 2018
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
Many fragrances have a long list of supposed ingredients, yet don't smell nearly as complex as the breakdown would suggest. Havana is complex; while I don't smell all of the notes listed, I do detect many and they sit in a virtual 3D relationship to one another. Primarily I get the coriander/pepper/pimento accord in the foreground. The anise and jasmine sit in the mid-range while the tobacco and myrhh hover in the background, but in focus like Alton's depth-of-field camerawork in Citizen Kane.
13th January, 2018
Blue Bongo Drum AND Gentlemen's Collection

First off, these two iterations are similar enough to one another. The price differential in the secondary market suggests otherwise, but my nose stands its ground. Next, Havana is similar enough to Montana parfum d'homme, not as much citrus through the heart but I've got to side-by-side in order to tell. (I'll 'put my money where my mouth is' as the saying goes... just PM).

They all ride a strong, sturdy backbone of bay rum. If you don't like strong spicy clove, then forget it. Citrus and tobacco may just be part of the supporting cast (as well as just about everything under the kitchen sink according to some pyramids) but it's all about a form of spicy bay rum to me.

I keep these bottles next to things like PS Fine Cologne, Shulton Old Spice, and my bay rum.
10th January, 2018
This delightful 90's effort from Aramis is quite literally rum and coke for the soul, plus has a dizzying array of well-blended spices and woods, with a touch of the fresh ozonic nose feel that was contemporary during it's period of release. Havana was a step in an ozonic direction for Aramis, where New West was the "Aquatic Fighter", but like most classic Aramis compositions, never skimps on masculinity regardless of composition style. I've always felt like Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger was the lighter and more mainstream iteration of this, as they seem to take different angles to the same approach, with Havana being the more distinctively "Aramis" ozonic experience while the Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger (and indeed the whole future line) allowed Aramis to pocket some extra coin by playing up to trends and convention. I'm not saying Tommy was a bad scent, but it's a gutted version of this more or less that's far more ubiquitous thanks to perceived brand value, marketing, and over-applying lustful guys in the 90's.
Havana wasn't strictly an ozonic, to be sure, and some of that nose burn was really just the grapefruit in the opening, but was certainly for the mature man in the 90's, and brought the romantic idea of pre-Castro Cuba with it's casinos and beaches to mind, invoking rich tobaccos and chypre-like base notes to tie the old world of masculinity in with the new.

Havana opens with grapefruit and orange, which is unlike the usual lemon notes of old style masculines, but is bolstered by coriander and anise, which instantly play tug of war with the citrus before the whole thing settles into florals, pepper, and a classic bay rum note in the middle. The scent literally has one foot in the 1950's and one foot in 1994, which is what makes it so exquisite; the dry down really shows off a designer trying to make a fragrance appeal to all potential age groups, and one that ages with the user so that it stays relevant for different reasons as that person would otherwise graduate to more mature and less situation-specific colognes. The base again shows off this marriage of dynamic principles with olibdanum, labdanum, tonka, and tobacco typically found in chypres of old, but with some lighter, more youthful base notes like vanilla, patchouli and myrhh. The culmination of everything here is a sharp, semisweet citric scent with virile cumin spice and florals that dries down to a woodsy and herbal afterglow with the ozonic twang running throughout. Havana comes out of the bottle ready to do battle on the dance floor but after several hours on skin and shirt simmers down to something of a slow dance by the end, really living up that rum and coke aesthetic with the sharp rum pangs keeping in check with the syrupy sweetness of it's mixer, and the dry zest of the lime floating around as the wildcard. It should also be mentioned that you won't ever smell everything going on in this at once, and note separation can be a challenge at times, thanks to the masterful blending. The note tree also gets compared tons to the earlier Montana Pardum d'Homme (1989), which takes a similar direction as this but less sophisticated, and much more brash with a strong mossy leather opening and fatter base riff.

Havana is a timeless exercise in scent craft that is equally at home in romantic engagements as it is at work or in casual use. It's nearly wearable year round but might be a bit too warm for the dead of summer. Fans of both old school masculines and stuff made within the last 30 years will like this, but I have a feeling that guys who came into the game with 2000's gourmands or Ambroxen-driven stuff of the 2010's may find this to be a bit too dated, as these are the kind of fellas that would consider even Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger old-fashioned. For the rest of us less relevance-focused fans, Havana show us that tradition and trendsetting can coexist in the same bottle, as can masculinity and mass appeal (at least for a male fragrance). It's slightly boozy, citric, sweet, herbal, woodsy, all-around-sophisticated charms may not authentically speak of current Cuban political climates, but as a rose-tinted-glasses homage to what once was, it's done rather well. It's the 90's ozonic with a 50's chypre lineage that just screams perfection to fans of both. Fans of the aforementioned Montana Parfum d'Homme would also do well with a bottle of this. Havana also comes as part of a 6-piece "Gentleman's Collection" that Aramis released in 2009, where all the bottles in the series look the same and go well together. If you can't find vintage, then that version will do, and is perhaps preferred if you intend to complete the whole set.
26th December, 2017 (last edited: 04th March, 2018)
If someone asks me to describe Aramis Havana in one word, I'd say "RICH". This is one of the most unique scents I've ever experienced. Not because it smells super exceptional or anything, but because you can experience every bit of it - it's like a journey. Usually I am skeptical towards perfume notes, because you know, most of the stuff out there (even famous niche ones) are not exactly what they promise. Aramis Havana however takes you to the journey between notes, and even a perfume noob can sense the switches along the way.

Top: It opens actually very crisp, nothing like what it will turn into in few minutes. You clearly get a bit cinnamon with orange and grapefrit being most significant. Here it smells like another powerhouse barbershop-like scent.

Mid: Here it transforms drastically, you suddenly start getting the soap. Yes, SOAP. Whatever this rings in your mind, that is it. It is accompanied by powder smell. Here I didn't like it much, but it doesn't last more than 5-10 minutes then it starts settling down.

Base: The transition from mid to base is giving out the best of this scent IMO. It is warm, a little sweet (vanilla, tobacco), mild spicy and woody (cedarwood). Definetely similar to something that I've owned when I was younger, going crazy not remembering what. I can imagine women loving especially this bit, it suits for all occassions.

I've also noticed while testing Aramis Havana, the key is not to stuck your nose close to your skin. Keep your nose away at least 10-15 cm, it makes a huge difference. Some might dislike the powdery-soapy smell, but it actually adds a mysterious angle to this amazing rich blend.
15th August, 2017
From the old plaza
Rum, cola, dance's wind were
One cigar away.
10th June, 2017
Oh yes!! I'm a MAN!

Probably my favorite masculine scent ever. Maybe even more so than the original Kouros. My favorite Aramis and probably in my top 5 ever.

Extremely powerful and full of life. Starts off with a boozy/smokey blast then settles down to a Kouros type scent mixed with spices. Lasts for ever and hard to remove from your shirt collar. Excellent value for money!!

02nd May, 2017 (last edited: 13th June, 2017)
Zowiee Show all reviews
United States
Powerful masculine scent with an overwhelming cornucopia of spectacular notes that are amazing! Perfect for my Florida weather all year long. This is SOME juice!
06th April, 2017
Bay rum dominates in this scent. Havana is a bold, daring fragrance that shimmers with a whole bunch of notes over the course of the day, yet is civilized and stable overall.
16th December, 2016
This is a very nice heavily blended manly scent that, to my nose, defies analysis based upon the notes given for it. I get some tobacco but the unique blend stands very strongly on its own in front of that. Nice projection and duration, plus its priced well below its comparative value. Highly recommended to try.
14th December, 2016
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Stardate: 20160802

I wish perfume industry could learn something from Aramis.

- They make great fragrances. Aramis,Havana, 900, New West and Tuscany are masterpieces.

-They take pains to confirm to all the IFRA bans and regulations while keeping the fragrance intact.

- They sell for a song.

My advice to anyone starting out is to go and buy Gentleman's Collection (can be had for under $50) and then use it as a reference for style and quality.

About Havana: A great bay-rum (made from west indian bay leaves and rum) fragrance. Perfect for humid and hot summer days. The scent will keep you cool and refreshed.
Don't be fooled by the notes. It is an elegant bay-rum fragrance.

A must for all gentleman and at the current price a crime if you don't have a FB.

PS: Although I always prefer vintage versions of fragrances, every version of Havana is great (and almost indistinguishable)
02nd August, 2016
I won't say anything about notes because enough has been already my hands on two Gents' collection bottles and this juice is wondeful, a true classic.. a must have for all those who lived the 80's Golden Era of scents, just like Tuscany this is a true gem!
27th July, 2016
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
Man meets tobacco, with a brief detour through a citrus grove, a stop by the barber shop for a splash of bay rum, all the while clutching a wooden cigar box. You have smoked the cigars and eaten a spicy meal that comes out slightly in your sweat (beneath an impeccable white linen suit). Given all of this—and a name like Havana--one might expect Conga lines to break out every time you wear it, and Daiquiris to be oozing from your pores but it is surprisingly subtle and wearable. I suspect that my new Gentleman’s Collection bottle is a shadow of its former self, but the result is masculine, sexy and subtly tenacious. Havana works surprisingly well in the heat and while there is nothing fresh and aquatic about it, it does smell like grace under pressure, with a generous heart and a mañana attitude.
26th July, 2016
Aramis Havana gets a thumbs up from me, an agreeable fragrance, curiously familiar, and simple despite the long list of notes. I could wear this routinely.
21st July, 2016
To be fair: This review is for the new version, Don't know if it was reformulated, but it is NOT the same box/bottle as pictured.

I blind bought a bottle based on reviews and recommendations. I LOVE tobacco notes, but I guess I have to stick to the $400/bottle stuff. This falls flat with the natural tobacco note. It is powerful, first spritz bowled me over with 1980's spiciness. Dry-down is a bit better, but I think I'll sell the bottle. Nothing I like here, although it isn't bad, it just isn't for me.
21st May, 2016
What an intoxicating scent. It contains so many notes that one might think it would be a study in confusion, but no…instead, it is an intricately arranged and orchestrated symphony of accords.

I bought this for my husband, who likes bay rum, but most bay rum scents smell heavy-handed and unbalanced to me - Havana incorporates that heady scent, but imbues it with layer upon layer of nuance and surprise. Havana smells to me like raisins steeped in brandy, with sweet tobacco leaves and baskets of herbs drying nearby, accompanied by a floral breeze. It has extraordinary sillage and longevity. While Havana is a very masculine fragrance as commonly understood, I wear it, too, and revel in its unexpected harmonies.
24th September, 2015 (last edited: 28th September, 2015)
Havana begins with a strong green clovey/bay rhum blast that quickly calms down to a pepper and pimento middle ground. My nose does not detect any of the citrus notes or floral notes.

The base notes quickly take over, but they are a murky, harsh mixture indeed. No subtlety here and to my nose, no tobacco either. The oud here seems to just take over and let its bitter qualities smother all the rest.

A very poor scent in my opinion, despite the plethora of notes it supposedly contains.

16th July, 2015
Until I had kids, I had a long, on again-off again love affair with tobacco. (Nicotine is the mind altering drug I remember most fondly.) I still can instantly conjure up the smell of a fresh can of matured Virginia pipe tobacco. I was once given a magnificent pre-embargo Vuelta Abajo Cuban cigar, covered with Havana spots, which at that time had been hidden behind modern cigars for more than twenty-five years in the truly mystical humidor of the downtown shop where I bought my cigars. It was absolutely the best cigar I ever smoked, perfumey and vegetal, moldy and bright. An unforgettable masterpiece.

So I've got to say with regret that I don't find any recollection of that cigar in Aramis Havana. Neither do I find any rum. I get tradewinds spices and sun-bleached cedar, and maybe a hint of tropical mold. I do get a leather which is uplifting, fresh and rough textured. This is a relief to me because there are so many smooth, deep "Stentorian" (Thanks Luca T.) leathers and Havana's take on the subject gave me a good wake-up. Havana is a fine perfume with a hint of smoke which makes it modern, but thankfully stops far short of the forest fire niches of today.

Estée herself was still around when Havana was released. I don't know whether she had anything to do with it, but I'd like to guess she must have loved and understood men because she gave us so many top-notch, interesting, unique and reasonably priced perfumes.
27th May, 2015
I do not have any idea hoe the vintage smelled like, but i had a new bottle recently. Actually i think it does what it claims to be, an exact answer to the question, what if Aramis tries to make a sweet-tobacco cologne.

It is a gourmand for +40, try it for yourself, very interesting fragrance.
03rd April, 2015
Weird, nobody has done this before, so: “say hello to my lil’ friend!”

Havana does come with a reputation as The Last of the Powerhouses. It came late in the game, which probably led to its early demise. But it’s back. Of course it is different than you’d imagine after reading the reviews. Havana is one of the more difficult scents to get a handle on. I don’t think it as overwhelming as its reputation suggests. Good sillage, good power, but nothing really out there. Havana for me is a post-powerhouse. It has all the right moves (and ingredients, lots of them) but already you sense a 1990s influence. There is one note, sort of boozy and fresh, which can also be found in Egoiste (Platinum?) that turns Havana into a hybrid.

The overall impression is somehow equatorial, wet and spicy. Cinnamon to me plays a very strong part -echoes of Obsession- perhaps at times too strong. As with many powerhouses (Jules, Van Cleef, Pour Lui) the base is soft and uplifting. Havana probably is a versatile scent, the number of ingredients will make it smell different in different weather/seasons. It does remind me a lot of Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui, a more brash and streetwise sibling without the European noblesse. Although the real bad dude scents remain Yatagan en Trussardi. Great quality and complexity but not as good as the original powerhouses.
20th December, 2014
Recently purchased at a great price. Reminds me slightly of Aura by Jacomo (which I don't like) but that only lasts about 10 minutess... The punch to the nose on the initial spray is very 80's powerhouse of spice, tobacco and woods which lasts for about an hour... then dries down to a very close to the skin scent (at least on myself) slightly spicy and woody. I do like the scent... but dont love it... it is good... so I do give it a thumbs up.
12th December, 2014
I really wanted to love this one...but I simply can't....Bought it blind based on the reviews of some of the 'professors of scent' on this site (hat's off to you gents!!). For some reason, it's a dud for me...I saw it compared to Polo which for me, after 2 sprays in the morning, takes it's scent into the following week! Not the case with this juice..After spraying on both sides of my neck, 2 on my chest, 10 minutes later = nothing! Nothing! Not the powerhouse I thought it would be although it's very nice to steal a 'whiff' off of my forearm during the day and I really have to inhale to get anything....still, it might work for you! Fortunately it didn't break the bank.
27th November, 2014
Amazing and affordable tobacco frag! Here is a brief description of the fragrance:

Opening - Strong, stiff backhand to the jaw BOOM!
Middle - A tango with a beautiful woman YES!
Finale - Relaxing with your bro's, confident NICE!

Viva Aramis...
07th September, 2014
Genre: Fougère

Havana has one of the most cacophonous openings of any scent I’ve worn. Spray it on and you’re greeted by a raucous blast of alcohol, citrus, tobacco, leather, camphoraceous notes, lavender, and lord knows what else. For sheer volume and shock value, these top notes are hard to beat, and if Havana’s early withdrawal was tied to poor sales, it could well be because few customers managed to wait out its clumsy first five minutes. It’s a terrible pity, since for those intrepid enough to stick with it, Havana offers a real treat.

Make no mistake – Havana remains a busy, complex composition, but once it comes into focus the heart of tobacco, spiced rum, smoke, leather, patchouli, and lavender is as stimulating as it is rich, and perfectly balanced, to boot. The intricate olfactory structure at Havana’s center vibrates over a classic fougère base of coumarin and bergamot with oak moss (real – god bless Aramis’s parent firm Estée Lauder), that provides a cooling counterpoint to all the intense warmth. The juxtaposition of smoky, spicy heat and cool, forest-y fougère accord may be why Havana, for all its depth, never feels ponderous. On the contrary, Havana is surprisingly light-footed and nimble for its bulk. Wearing it is a bit like discovering that your gruff, hairy, 250 pound uncle Lou dances an exquisite waltz.

In overall demeanor, Havana is what I’ve come to think of as a BFFF (Big, Fat, F#!@king Fougère), to which class also belong Jules, Kouros, and Pascal Morabito’s gargantuan but elusive Or Black. Havana has a more staid and stolid older brother, too, in Estée Lauder’s own Lauder for Men, which shares Havana’s tobacco, aromatics, and bold fougère base, though not its booze or its jazzy anisic bounce. I think Havana is the most buoyant of this lot, inasmuch as “buoyant” can apply to a fragrance of such density. Despite the challenge posed by its top notes, Havana is also one of the most often complemented scents I wear.

As you might expect from my description so far, Havana is a potent, long-lasting fragrance that projects well off the skin and leaves behind plenty of sillage. It’s surely one of those scents that will elicit disapproval if over-applied. Used wisely, I believe Havana deserves its reputation as one of the great scents of its decade.

15th June, 2014
A "dark blue cone of frosted glass"??? No, mis amigos --- the bottle is a conga drum like the ones used by Desi Arnaz in the 50's, which gives it both a vintage vibe and an association with Afro-Cuban music, which evolved into what we now know as Salsa.

Havana conjures up tropical heat and foliage, sultry nights, the warm Caribbean sea, rum drinks, and the sophisticated polyrhythms of congas, bongos and timbales. The citrus and spice notes harmonize beautifully with the tobacco, woods and patchouli (and a fragrance named Havana HAS to have tobacco in it, no?).

Put on some Irakere, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza or Celia Cruz (or even the Buena Vista Social Club), a dash of Havana and your dancing shoes and you'll be ready to heat up the night. Sabor!
26th May, 2014
Havana is so complex and layered that it's almost impossible to give a detailed description of what it smells like. Suffice it to say that it's a masculine woody chypre, so it's got that 80's powerhouse vibe, and that it starts off with all sorts of sweet pie spices and ends up more woody with time. There's tobacco in there, but realistically, I think most people smell the very forward mace note and think that smells sort of like pipe tobacco or coffee and that's where the tobacco descriptives are actually coming from.

One of the more clever things it does (although it ends up being the reason I like Havana less than others of the same ilk) is to smother everything in a sort of waxy oily smell that keeps the individual notes from really standing out. Instead, there's a sort of musky hot candle smell that forces everything else to form more of a cohesive whole. I don't really like the waxy oily smell, honestly, and think Havana would be better if the notes were given more room to breathe, but it's still a pretty amazing scent, just not one that I enjoy that much.
02nd February, 2014
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Cuba in a bottle

The new version:

A grapefruit and orange citrus opening is paired with tarry and storing peppery notes and sweetened a touch with anise - a fruity pepperiness pervades this great opening. The drydown parades a superb bay rum aroma, a good rum with still more pepper and spice. The base is where eventually the cigar tobacco note develops, not the best of all tobaccos mores but a very nich one and never into your face. Myrrh and tonka guarante that a spice components remain very present right until the end. A very complex, well balanced and blended fragrance with great silage and projection and five hours of longevity. One of Aramis's best and a great classic.

30th August, 2013