Juniper berries, bay leaf, and booze: that’s bay rhum, and that’s Czech and Speake’s Cuba. Some tobacco, leather, and a touch of smoke round out the structure until a somewhat abrasive woody drydown sets in. I like Cuba’s starting point better than its destination, so when I’m in the mood for booze and tobacco I’ll still turn to the richer, more complex Havana.
The more time I spend with Cuba, the more I like it. The drydown is indeed angular, but warm weather also brings out a stupendous fecal-animalic component (civet and castoreum I think,) that makes it paradoxically frightening and irresistible. Ideal for people who, like me, occasionally enjoy rolling in their own filth!
11th June, 2014 (last edited: 12th June, 2014)
A masculine majesty, austere, warm like a Cuban evening, with humid tobacco leaves, rhum, benzoin, amber, a fresh touch of zesty citrus and a few culinary herbs. A wet, shady floral heart emerges soon, notes of dry flowers left under the rain, bringing a slight camphor note as in classic masculine chypres. On the base, a stout, refined and cozy woody concoction. As minutes pass it emerges a beautiful rose note slightly fruity too, sensual and juicy, almost carnal, really aromatic and perfectly blended with the overall austere, elegant mood given by tobacco and herbal notes. Dry, almost gloomy, distinguished and exotic, powerful but noble, with a gentle side of more delicate and airy notes. Rose-ambery-woody-smoky drydown, silky and discreet, quite long-lasting and slightly balsamic too. A great, versatile gentlemanly scent.
24th January, 2014 (last edited: 27th June, 2014)
Turpentine, a ripe cigar, saddle leather and wild scrub on farout mesa – it’s hard not to reach for clichés of rugged cowpoke virility. (Personally, give me the silk-shirted damask rose variety any day – but that’s just taste.) The impression is confirmed by a musky crotch odour that develops over time, but somehow maddeningly sexy rather than outright rank. Maybe it’s the pristine frankincense that rings clear as a struck chime right through the evolution of this fragrance. One for those daring days...
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I love this scent and wear it often. (I wear Havana more often). Both start off strong (in their own way) and finish with a bay rhum base.
Cuba serves as Havana's country cousin. Whereas Havana is walking into a pipe shop in the city, Cuba hails from the tobacco farm. Anyone who has been on a tobacco farm will recognize Cuba's fecal top note. It doesn't last long, and I feel sorry for those who can't get past it.
Because for me it sets the stage. It takes me to the Cuban (or in my case North Carolina) countryside before basking me in the incredible bay rhum finish.
One of my favorites.
Minty-bay rum. Cuba opens with a blast of aromatic and refreshing notes of mint, lime and bay-rum. The overall acidic and sort of balsamic effect brings to mind of Piper Nigrum and other Tiger Balm-inspired composition such as Esprit Du Tigre but where these two stay pretty linear in reproducing this effect, Cuba is joined in the middle phase by an animalic musky/rose accord that winks at classic perfumery. Simply amazing and original.
The drydown is more conventonally classic with the appearance of a woody-tobacco combo that drives the fragrance towards the barbershop type of stuff.
Nice concept - Well executed.
Compelling and exotic in a real sense. Dirty, sweaty, animalic, charming, art deco, manifestly boozy. A fragrance full of sultry romance, spiky moustaces and gentlemanly exoticism. Each time I smell this juice I feel as having dinner white clothed (despite the general olfactory darkness) in the Gran Caribe Hotel Habana, the aura I ideally exude is bold, daring and i'm as a globe-trotter brasilian (or spanish) business man full of energy, poetry and optimism. Cuba starts with a citrusy aromatic mentholated blast really important, fresh, dark and medicinal which is in a while followed by a mould of spicy tobacco (tonka) and bay rum able to reproduce a sort of caribbean enjoyable atmosphere full of chaotic dances, beautiful women, cruising ships, orchestras, sultry clubs, seaside resorts and beaches. I detect immediately the infamous fecal note (durable in a powerful way just for a short while before the spicy booziness succeedes) which is probably aroused by the animalic notes (the typical fecal civet mould I suppose. Black Musk, castoreum as well?) interaction with fresh/aromatic elements plus the spices/tobacco accord. The exoticism is created by the blend of the exotic-liquorous tobacco (detectable throughout the trip) and bay rum with the herbal-medicinal greeness enhanced by aromatic mint, bay, cedarwood and vetiver. Some mild floral notes (geranium/roses) in the middle link themselves perfectly with the herbal-medicinal presence, bringing out (by their addition of hints of resinous soapiness) a sort of laundry-barbershop touch. A leathery soothing note is settled in the dry down in order to link in a captivating way the animalic warmth with the previous herbal-smokey/spicy freshness while a cool frankincense soothens furtherly the dry spicy/liquorous kind of general hair-chested virility. I detect the association with a sort of Antaeus (bay, mint, leather, animal notes, woodsy notes, a touch of incense etc) with bad breath (the final animalism from civet-castoreum?). The dry down, after many hours, is really virile, spicy, sharply floral, carnal (but in an elegant and balanced way) and vaguely (far in the wake) boozy/leathery/exotic. Original, persistent and bold. One of my ethernal favorite. I deeply love this concoction and i'm planning to buy a bottle in order to wear the juice for special occasions of feasts, hot summer nights, cruisings, latin excursions and parties on the swimming pool's side.
03rd September, 2011 (last edited: 19th October, 2015)
Of the Cuba type scents available Czech and Speake's (especially the vintage) is by far the best in comparison to the likes of Acqua di Cuba and others. Cuba must be understood as more of a bay rum superimposed on top of a leathery cedar and tobacco base. I will not say that there are no animalic elements to Cuba, but I argue they aren't as profound as many have claimed. The cedar adds a certain type of graphite pencil note (covetous in wine I hear) that combined with civet smells somewhat of bad breath--but what great ones don't--Mouchoir de Monsieur, etc. I find the tobacco note quite profound and reminiscent of an unlit cigar though perhaps La Via del Profumo's Tabac does it better.
Cuba is a daring fragrance, and that's what I like most about it. It's spicy and aromatic, with a prominent fecal smell underneath it all, and this is what separates Cuba from your average spicy scent.
I'd describe Cuba as the smell of earth, dry leaves, cloves and dog shit. Or maybe Antaeus with bad breath. My description might sound unappealing, but trust me, it smells a lot better than it sounds. The poopy smell adds a lot of character to this fragrance, which otherwise would have been sort of ho-hum without it.
My only criticism with Cuba is that I wish it were a bit grittier and more aggressive. A fragrance with such a strong fecal undertone needs heavy hitting smells to back it up, and I wish the tobacco, cedar and clove were a bit more prominent, which would have balanced the scent out better. Patchouli would have been a perfect addition to this fragrance and would have made it even more powerful.
As it is, Cuba is bold and unique, and should be sampled by anyone who likes wearing fragrances to make a statement.
MY RATING: 7.5/10
Cuba opens with a strong citrus / spicy / tobacco accord that makes itself known without equivocation. Quite unusual, it is dense for a citrus accord; it contains a heavy load of passion and romance. Actually, what I really get the first three minutes is a strong fecal note, which then turns into the excellent spice and tobacco accord. After several minutes of the opening, the fragrance takes an astounding turn: It becomes a substantial and compelling green / woody / floral / mild spice accord the like of which I’ve not experienced before: It is totally captivating but I really have a difficult time identifying it; It seems as if it could be patchouli based—such as the patchouli in Borneo 1834, but even Borneo couldn’t match this accord. Since there is no patchouli listed in the pyramid, probably the opoponax / incense combination that is responsible for that extraordinary luxuriousness. I have always been a fan of opoponax, but I have never before experienced it so rich and lusty as this. I can readily accept that the ginger and the geranium are major players in that accord, too, and the combination, with a mint, rose, bay, tobacco, clove (very little), and greens tossed in, is wonderfully fulfilling, satisfying and… compelling. No kidding, this is one of the most accomplished accords I’ve ever encountered—completely addictive. I just have to own this one!
Originally submitted 24 May 2007, Taiwan
Fantastic tobacco fragrance. One of the only "tobacco" fragrances I can think of with a tobacco note that smells like actual, cured, fermented, aging tobacco...sort of the smell you get when you open a desktop humidor that's been closed for a while: barnyard, almost fecal, pungent, potent. This describes only the tobacco portion of the fragrance, which is apparent from the start. This barnyard quality does fade a bit as it dries down. There is, however, so much more going on here. The top notes smell of rum, citrus, and spice. The heart notes of tobacco and rose. The base to my nose, is defined by the tobacco and incense.
Comparisons to Havana are apt. That said, Havana is busier, noisier, and not as harmonious, in my opinion. Havana is sharper and higher pitched, while Cuba is rounder and mellower (though not "mellow"). Havana is a cacophony of sounds like you might hear on a busy city street, while Cuba is a latin-jazz band playing a hot, sweaty nightclub. Both are great, but I prefer Cuba for its realistic tobacco note and sophisticated blending of booze, citrus, spice, and incense. And, as Mario says, this also reminds of Idole in its booziness and spiciness, but Idole to my nose lacks the depth and earthy-funky quality that the tobacco note brings to Cuba.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in line at a Mexican grocery store behind an incredibly well-groomed, pomaded, elegant Mexican man wearing crisp jeans and a pressed, white linen shirt. He was forty-ish, very robust, supremely dignified... and he smelled so divine! I cannot emphasize enough what a profound impression experiencing the "right" fragrance, on the perfect "subject" made on me!
I did not recognize the specific cologne he wore, only that it was an old-style, rummy, soapy, tobacco-y affair, with loads of warmth and depth, and that it was not the "sort of thing" I had smelled on anyone in a long while. It occurred to me, of course, to ask him what he wore, but alas, I was too shy.
I mused that it might have been a totally south-of-the-"border" offering, something that still used natural oils, from some cottage, tradition-driven 'house', which hadn't succumbed to modern trends, as it somehow smelled so undeniably "Latin", that I doubted many American men would appreciate it.
Well, today I was blessed with the experience of discovering a scent that I had held in my mind without a name or possible source, as I smelled 'Cuba' for the first time. It is categorically the *same* smell, which that stunning man wore, though I doubt he was wearing Czech & Speake. Probably though, C&S modeled this scent after some actual offering, sold exclusively in Latin America.
It's funny, too, some reviews (and my imagination) led me to assume this was a modern 'novelty' scent, made to smell like cigars and 'mojitos', all "limey", woody, sweet and silly. But no! In fact, it's a perfectly credible, "real-life" scent, really suited for a dashing, mature, dark-haired man.
I am thinking of Anthony Quinn, wearing white linen, standing powerfully on a veranda, playing an illustrious, charismatic, possibly-crooked, cigar magnate.
Well worth the wait.
Czech & Speake Cuba
Growing up in S. Florida in the 60's I watched the Cubans who fled Castro turn Little Havana into a thriving neighborhood. I used to ride my bike down there and feel like I had entered a new country. One of my favorite ways to spend time was playing dominos with some of the older men of the community. They taught me the game, helped me sharpen my Spanish speaking skills, and told me stories of the Cuba that was. Because I have such a strong mental picture of what Cuba is like and the smells I associate with Little Havana I was very interested in a scent called Cuba. This 2002 creation by John Stephen for Czech & Speake lives up to its name and does a great job evoking the smells of the islands. The top is the mojito accord that Guerlain Homme promised, but Mr. Stepehn achieves, in Cuba. A mix of lime, rum and mint starts Cuba off and while this does come off as a mojito my long standing bugaboo with mint still stands as it comes off toothpaste like but thankfully not dominant as it is the rum and lime that carry the top. Next is the spicy latin heart of Cuba as clove and bay come in with some heat and bring this to life along with the lightest of rose. No trip to Cuba would be complete without cigars and the base of Cuba is tobacco laden goodness. Along with the tobacco are solid components of vetiver to contrast the sweetness of the tobacco and cedar to draw some clean borders around all of it. According to the note list there is some incense here but I have never gotten that in my experience with this scent. Cuba is a long-lasting scent on me with moderate sillage. Cuba does a great job reminding me of the stories the abuelos told me while playing dominos. It smells what I imagine a night at the Hotel National in Havana smelled like back in the 50's.
Imagine if you like that you are rolling cigars in Cuba and it is a hot day. You a sucking on a strong mint and have been drinking rum with a lot of lime.
You have been sweating a lot which has dried on your body and has mixed in with all of the tobacco that you have been rolling.
This is what I get when I sprayed Cuba when I received my bottle. Like everyone says on first application you get a strong opening of mint and lime. Then you get a dirty note like you have just pulled a geranium plant up from the earth. Then a strong sweet rum animal musky tobacco note takes hold as time goes by.
This is a very interesting scent as its like a riot of notes on your skin constantly shifting and changing. Its like nothing else I have tried before.
I like it because of the tobacco accord and that there is lot going on scent wise. You cannot accuse it of been boring but this one is not for the mainstream masses. More for the connoisseur who can appreciate unique scents.
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Buzzlepuff and Odysseum reviews, if I can combine them, are what I would say. I have worn Cuba twice. Once I had a bottle and today, wearing a sample. First time, I thought it a scrubber. Today, I am rocking it!!! The notes sorta seem discordant, citrus and tobacco, rum and greenleafy. You know how you see a wreck on the highway, up the road, traffic slowing down and you just wanna get on to your destination, but you get closer and you know you are gonna look? Cuba. But, this is a macho scent for sure. I can see why some ladies are drawn to it. Today is a summer day, about 84 now, and this scent is nice, plays nice too. Very well done and this one is gonna have longevity and nice projection.
This one sure is curious. I'm having a hard time giving it a rating. I'll tell you some certainties: it is weird. It is very natural and high quality. The sillage is excellent and the longevity is medium-long. It has all the hallmarks of a quality fragrance. But what is IT? Is it a fragrance, is it a trick, is it a Segway?
"It" is just... odd. At first sniff I though I smelled sage. YSL Pour Homme without the citrus note - which is better than YSL, to be certain. (Read my review of YSL... try though I may to like it, it smells like urinal cakes.) But how could I characterize this other than... pungent? It's an herbal fragrance all the way from top to bottom. I could pick up a minty effervescence in the top note, but not citrus, no lime or bergamot. It's a down & dirty, earthy, herbal, medicinal fragrance. It is in no way "fresh" and the pyramid I read before I bought it certainly misled me to that kind of conclusion. It is a musky, pungent fragrance. My wife HATES it and I almost think I would not wear this one in public because it could be easily mistaken for a light application of perfume over a man who hasn't showered in a few days...
I have worn it a few times more.It's listed as unisex and I'll say, any woman who smells like this I would expect to have one false eye and at least one peg leg, and a story about her life at sea. If she doesn't have these traits, I would wonder why not. But a few morespraysmakes me enjoy this all themore. I would not expose my coworkerst to this but it IS nice, impressive, some combination of bergamot, mint, and a very gamy tobacco. Like before, my wife hates it, and I wouldn't wear this to any party where I respect the attendees, but it is still this interesting and enjoyable private fragrance...
But it also tells a story, and that's what I find interesting about it. It's thematic. I can smell this and think of being in a club in Havana, smoking cigars on a hot night. Ocean air makes everything damp, the cigars, pungent. Men sitting in open shirts drinking rum and enjoying life. That's the weird thing about it. I could not wear this to work, nor even to lunch with my family... but I still think I like it. It's in your face, visceral, and it actually does make you dream a little, think of other places & times.
You have to work to understand & appreciate it, so it's not something you should buy if you're looking for pleasant, agreeable fragrances. My positive is based on the fact that this base note IS captivating - strong, natural, challenging, interesting, and masculine. I wouldn't say you should own it, or try it - I'd say, you should experience it. Take that for what it's worth!
30th May, 2009 (last edited: 09th September, 2009)
Tried this half-heartedly when I went to purchase No. 88. Never been to Cuba, but have been to several places nearby. While I understand how this concoction of very strong essential oils would not/could not be to everyone's liking, I found it invigorating. It truly is meant to be worn shirt unbuttoned in warm and humid conditions which has a synergistic effect that enhances this unmistakably masculine scent. I am not good at describing perfume as one might wine or coffee so I'll leave that particular job to others. What is clear to me is that Cuba is very powerful -- long-lasting on your skin/clothes and leaves an impressive vapor trail! Women seem to like it. No. 88 is certainly more famous. Cuba is an equally impressive scent that has the advantage of being less known.
The opening is strong, startling and uncompromising - rather like waking up inside a cigar box that doubles as a medicine cabinet. But what is so appealing about Czech & Speake's Cuba is the way that this opening olfactory jolt soon transmutes into a softer, far more complex adventure, unique in its way, of the kind which frequently has you sniffing your wrist and declaring "Hmm, that's rather fine." This well-crafted scent, as it develops, somehow manages to combine the pungent with the delicate, warmth with reserve, the earth with the flower, gaiety with gravity, and completes the equation with an authentic air of mystery and distinction.
Wow, the discordant and gutsy top notes can certainly knock a horse down. It's really repugnant. But things got better, much better, as it mellows down to a very classy dark tobacco and gorgeous drydown. A truly complex scent and also very memorable. Certainly bottle worthy.
Fragrance is about contrast, and Cuba has contrasts in spades. Bright, peppermint opening, but then there is this fecal (sh¤t) note (tobacco + clove?) hanging out in the background. This fecal note instantly brought to mind Polo Green's fecal note. Then the genius of C&S shows up...the fragrance all of a sudden starts to dance in unison, the result is an irresistable, attractive yet diabolic blend of good and evil. I call it 'holy gangster'. Sort of a righteous killer kinda thing. I have never been to Cuba, so I can't tell you if this is related to Cuba in anyway shape or form.
It smells like the raw version of Issey Miyake's L'Eau d'Issey Intense.
It also smells like money. A gangster's or pornstar's money.
It dries down to Andy Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain
This is a beautiful male scent. Don't be put off by the unisex label, this is not sweet, or fresh, or powdery. This, to me, is close to the definition of a male scent. The middle notes are addicting, spicy tobacco wonderfulness. It went to mostly bottom notes within about three hours, leaving a wonderful incense/vetiver accord that is not as imposing or durable as their No. 88, but still enjoyable for the wearer. This is great for the office, as I get to enjoy the best this has to offer at home and on the drive to work, and by the time I have to be in contact with others, it has mellowed into something not nearly as aggressive, but with enough of the aggression left to not blend in. Cuba may not be recognizable, but it won't be mistaken for anything else, either. A touch more sillage, a couple hours more of the middle notes, and this is perfection. This one has immediately moved into my top 10.
Cuba is a wonderful, rather complex spicy creation. Clove and herbaceously medicinal bay oil with a dash of mint is very strong and overwhelming in the start. It looks like it will be a gigantic powerhouse fragrance, but it really isn’t.
I find the drydown to be very gentle and classy (yet not boring) rich mixture with very masculine presence. Also, there is something slightly animalic (or perhaps primitive is a better term) in this smell. I don’t even presume it has some animal ingredients, but it really does have a refined primitive appeal to it. When you “dive” deep into this scent you can also probably see that fur of a wild animal-like accord (Or skin of a savage-like….choose yourself)
Cuba is a terrific skin scent: warm, sensual, long-lasting plus it reacts very nicely to changes in skin temperatures.
Haven’t tried it yet, but I bet my life that I would love to wear this during the summertime.
Not especially butch or macho by any means, but in my opinion much more suitable for men despite the unisex clarification…
Very good-looking bottle too, btw.
An atmosphere is created by C&S Cuba that is bold and a bit harsh, possibly dangerous, but definitely is very masculine. These fragrance note combinations aren't pleasant and they don't interact all that smoothely either - all angles and odd shapes - but they are definitely bold and strong characters. C&S Cuba is a jumbled mix of very different elements that transports you to Old Havanna and into the back of a cigar rolling room, bottle of rum at hand with a twist of lime and mint. The smells of Cuba are lime, mint, rum, incense, raw tobacco, some woods . . . more rum. The notes bounce around off each other blending with natural human body odors like old friends at night out on the town. This is machismo in a bottle. An acquired taste for sure. I think it's fantastic!
03rd March, 2009 (last edited: 03rd November, 2009)
Cuba is intriguing and complex. Each time I try it, I get different aspects. It uses elements I normally don’t like (tobacco, tonka) and yet wins me over! There is an aromatic, lime-green and bergamot opening blast. The citrus freshness is very quickly followed by an appealing, slightly ‘dirty’ chord of clove spice and tobacco leaf. This chord is freshened by mint and herbal bay. This scent is powerful but not heavy or sweet. There’s lovely frankincense in the dry down, giving a heady, soapy-medicinal air. The mint persists for a long time, joined by a sweet hay note from the tonka. The interplay of elements is fascinating. This is definitely worth checking out, it surprised me by how good it is. (revised)
22nd February, 2009 (last edited: 30th December, 2010)
Top: Lime, peppermint, rum
Middle: Bay leaf, Clove, Rose, Tonka
Base: Tobacco leaf, Cedar, Vetiver, Incense
Czech & Speake's Cuba was based on company owner Frank Sawkins trip to Cuba, and a bottle of rum from Annabels nightclub in London. Cuba is a slick classical woods fragrance which successfully recreates various facets of the laid-back and joyous atmosphere of Havana through a restrained colonial British filter.
Opening with a "mojito mix" of zesty lime, uplifting peppermint and rum, Cuba makes a statement. The rum note is probably the best that I have smelled; it has a clean light-molasses aroma characteristic of spanish-style rum. Cuba's "mojita" opening leaves most other inferior renditions in other fragrances both shaken and stirred. It then changes gears and displays another perfect blending act of two notes: bay leaf and clove. The bay leaf with its clove-like spicy herbal aroma is infused with clove and rose to create a bright spicy-herbal spark which prevents the mojito mix from delving into the DUI zone. A couple of hours later, the tobacco leaf-dominated base closes out the show. The tobacco leaf note is of excellent quality; its moist, sweet and earthy/indolic and displays the leathery, caramelized tobacco tones expected of fine quality absolute.
From its mojito mix opening, a fragrant spicy/clove-y herbal heart notes and a moist rich tobacco leaf drydown, Cuba showcases skillful blending and good quality of ingredients. While its no lightweight interms of sillage, Cuba never plunges into "airline middle seat suffocation" sillage hell. Cuba is a sophisticated businessman in a fedora suit chilling out in a Cigar lounge, looking through the window at the Conga drum stage..
**Comparisons to the supposed classic Aramis Havava: Cubas blending is far superior, with none of the clashing discordant notes that so negatively make Havana smell like a Castro regime. It also lacks the loud "Aramis" house note: that brash, synthetic, 80s porn-star moustache note. Cuba completes the demolition by making better quality ingredients fly off the skin.
wonderful scent - grows on you
07th December, 2008 (last edited: 21st December, 2008)
A green tobbacco fragrance. Top notes are a blast of mint and citrus with a medicinal after-taste...reminiscent of Halls candy. When the top notes fade into the background, a rich moist unsmoked cigar note comes into play and stays, and stays, and stays...
A very calming, mellow, warm fragrance. Love it!
SirSlarty described this well; I don't need to add anything to his description of the scent. I can just say "Wow". This is a gem. Why aren't there more reviews of this wonderful fragrance (price perhaps?).
26th October, 2008 (last edited: 01st November, 2008)
Oh my -- this is lovely. Tobacco soon takes over the top notes, which then mixes gloriously with rose and herbs (this part has to be experienced) until it all melds into a spicy/woody drydown with the tobacco still hanging on in there. This is a 'cologne' but lasts for ages. Exceptional.
Minty citrus and tobacco opening and a floral and tobacco middle. There's a medicinal quality to the overall structure. It almost smells like the minty pine of bay rhum. Good robust fragrance.
A fine, controlled, unusual tobacco fragrance. This opens with a medicinal blast of mint dressed with some citrus, incense and florals. This is the only fragrance other than Creed's Selection Verte where I have experienced the menthol cooling my skin.
As the medicinal beginning fades spices and rose give a traditional barber shop or cologne feel to the heart which fades into the amazingly long lived base of sweet tobacco and green woods.
The frankincense straddles the whole composition as a good accord from this resin should.
In cuban music the bass anticipates the beat. This is disorientating to those unused to it who expect the bass to to state the beat while other registers push and pull and feels like a "stumble". Similarly, this perfume suggests it may teeter over the edge into sour, into harsh, into abrasive, into chaos with some strident accords but always stays inside and pulls back when it really matters.