It’s hard to review the classics and I’ve always shied away from doing so on this blog. What can I add to the discourse that’s not been said already? It’s definitely tricky, so up until now I haven’t really reviewed any classic fragrance, but I feel compelled to review Habanita simply because my relationship with it has always been a bit difficult and up until recently it was not a classic that I felt I could wax lyrical about.
I’ve always wanted to like Habanita, I love the story behind it, the fact that it was used to scent cigarettes and people loved it so much it was made into a perfume, I feel like it has a chequered and interesting past. Denyse Beaulieu of Grain de Musc spoke highly of it in her book ‘The Perfume Lover‘ and I wanted to love it as much she did (well maybe not quite so much) but it always seemed to disappoint me, it was too soapy, too light and not really bad-ass enough on my skin. Well people, I have had the chance to try the new Eau de Parfum version of Habanita and let me tell you I feel like shouting, Oprah Winfrey style “I GET IT PEOPLE, I GET IT!”
Habanita was originally released by Molinard in 1921, since then it has been through a number of revamps, the latest being the 2012 Eau de Parfum version. The Eau de Parfum version intends to keep the spirit of the original and “offers a new fresh side, whilst maintaining what is essential: strength, depth, poetry, a touch of originality, unlike any other”  The bottle, like the scent, has been redressed in red and black but still keeps the original Lalique frieze, maintaining the theme of reinvention but keeping the spirit of Habanita alive and intact.
I have to admit that I’m not the hugest fan of leather in fragrance, mainly because I really haven’t a great deal of exposure to the note, which is why I was particularly interested in attending last week’s ‘Evening of Leather’ organised by Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London/Olfactory Events. I wanted to explore leather, deconstruct and understand it, but most of all I wanted to find a leather that I loved.
Perfume Lovers London is a Meetup Group run by Olfactory Events in conjunction with Basenotes. They have so far held two events, with many more exciting meet ups in the pipeline. An Evening of Leather was hosted by Lila Das Gupta who has a penchant for leather fragrances, was the perfect captain for our voyage of discovery of a note that is steeped in history and comes in many guises.
An Evening of Leather promised to “map out the geography of leather fragrances from the meaty to the haughty” and I’m please to say that it was an event that delivered on all counts. I may have walked into the event being clueless about, and not really loving leather but I left with a new found appreciation for the genre and a head full of leather fragrances that demanded to be explored further.