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The only reason I tried Havana by Aramis is because so many people on Basenotes' forums compared it Montana Parfum d'Homme (red box, not blue box). And they are right. They are very similar.
I haven't ever smelled "tobacco" note on its own, so I don't know if that's what they both have in common. I can only really name their differences.
Opening: Montana has a very distinct lemony opening (is that called hesperidic?). Havana definitely lacks that strong lemony opening. In fact it's Havana's opening notes that bother me -- heavy oily. Both have massive projection. Honestly, nearly nuclear!
About 4 hours later: They dry down very similarly. After the lemony top notes disappear, Montana virtually smells identical to Havana. But, see, I love to sniff my arm, and the steam I exhale reactivates the pine-y lemon-y smell of Montana, but it doesn't do that with Havana. Havana remains solid, oily, dark and whatever that is. Maybe it's the tobacco. Both have major sillage, but I would say Havana projects just a tad bit more. When I wear them both on separate arms, Havana shoves Montana out of the way!
12 hours later: Havana is still there. Montana is faint compared to him. This is where my love for both of them switches over. Havana becomes creamy in the evening. Creamy sandalwood and that other dark smell (tobacco??). It's just creamy cinnamon love. Montana remains a pine-y smell, but you know how sometimes strong pine resin has an almost urinous smell? When they're side by side, that's how it compares out. I do love this creamy drydown of Havana -- how can I say no to cinnamon? 'Just it takes so darn long to get there!
Longevity: Havana seems to outlive Montana. I have a suspicion that the nasty oily scent that it has in the beginning is the basenote that helps it last so long, and helps it to maintain that creaminess for over 14 hours and counting.
I really must put a comment here about Havana's bottle. I both hate it and love it. A beautiful matte blue glass! The top is matte black. It's just beautiful. And the matte glass feels almost like cool skin in your hand. But, it's shaped like a *bleep* *bleep* exclamation mark, meaning it's incredibly top heavy and unstable -- sorta like Omnia bottles by Bulgari. Pretty to look at, but not practical on your dresser!
04 February, 2011