I started writing about Habanita in the 80s. In fact, when I reopened an old diary during the development of Séville à l’aube because I wanted Bertrand to take into account the fact that I was wearing Habanita in the scene that inspired the fragrance, I found that I’d written about it on the very first page.
‘Habanita. Hasn’t my life, since I’ve encountered it, been wholly turned towards this perfume? I feel as though I’d spent my life going towards it, in the opposite movement of those women who distance themselves gradually from the perfume they’ve chosen for themselves, or of those who hang on to theirs because they’re afraid of change.
Habanita. Little by little, I have accomplished this perfume.
I smoke Havana cigars now. I wear carnations in my hair. I wrap myself in dancing silk dresses that cling to my breasts and my hips. Since Andalusia, I want to feel myself thus, heavy, hot and a little damp in a dress that caresses my body.
Habanita: Spain. Seville. The place where I found my perfume. But also incense and orange blossom.’
Molinard’s Saint-Valentine’s day launch party of the new Habanita was a ball: they’d commandeered a lovely little hideaway of a hotel and as we wandered from one room to another, we could get a temporary tattoo, learn a fan dance from a burlesque artist, custom-blend our own version of Habanita (from a choice of pre-mixed bases) or enjoy a good cigar.
Yet when the time came to do a write-up, I found I couldn’t. It’s not that I hate the reformulation: Habanita hasn’t mutated into a fruity floral or a laundry musk, and it still packs the wallop of what was advertised in 1924 as “the most tenacious perfume in the world”. And I did get a piece of information that was never disclosed to my knowledge: the name of the perfumer who composed it, one Mr. Boucanier.
But I can’t bring myself to write about. I was Habanita. Seeing this newer, younger version of her is like looking at a Photoshopped picture of my former self.
So exceptionally, instead of doing a review, I’m giving you the floor.
I’ll draw five samples of the new Habanita, but the condition is that when I post again in a month, the winners will write a comment, even a brief one.
It’s better if you own an older version and are able to compare, but it’s not compulsory. If any one of you feels up to writing a full post, I’m up for that too: just let me know in an email.
Bottom picture: a snapshot of the one-day Habanita Hotel