I Finally Get It People – Molinard Habanita Eau de Parfum Perfume Review

Sleek and Chic - the new Habanita Eau de Parfum

Sleek and Chic – the new Habanita Eau de Parfum

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” [1] 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.



The Notes

Top: Lentisk, Geranium, Petitgrain and Ylang-Ylang
Heart: Vetiver, Jasmine, Nutmeg, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Rose and Cedar
Base: Vanilla, Tonkin Musk, Patchouli, Amber, Moss and Sandalwood

How Does it Smell?

My experience with Habanita Eau de Toilette is limited, as I say I have never really got on with it, so this review will not serve as a comparison of the two versions, instead it will look at Habanita Eau de Parfum as a stand-alone fragrance, but please do feel free to chime in with your thoughts if you have tried both versions.

Habanita Eau de Parfum opens with aldehydes and sweet florals. It is entirely reminiscent of its time and one could almost mistake it for a Chanel, a house that is well known for their aldehydic florals, however Habanita is nowhere near refined enough to be a Chanel, it is much more of a sensual perfume.

There’s a slight soapy quality to the florals in the opening but before they can become too drugstore or cheap smelling they are tempered by some carnation spice, adding tiny facets of cinnamon and clove to the mix. Note that I say “some carnation spice”, it really isn’t particularly prominent, it just adds that little kick that the top notes need.

Rose and jasmine reign supreme in the heart, both flowers have a slightly fuzzy texture to them thanks to cedar and amber. There is a slight skank to them, but it isn’t overtly animalic, it’s more like sour, hot skin that hasn’t been washed in a while because above all Habanita is an incredibly comforting scent, the warmth it exudes is plush and cushy, one can’t help but fall in love with it.

What I have learned about Habanita is that the magic really lies in the base, a heavenly, nay divine blend of vetiver and vanilla. Both materials appear to have their smoky facets amped up in order to create a warm, earthy, creamy and beautifully smouldering vanilla that will have you hooked. This vetiver/vanilla smoke is slightly reminiscent of Etat Libre d’Orange’s Fat Electrician but the effect is on a smaller, softer and more polished scale.

Habanita strikes me as one of those perfumes that is utterly timeless. Yes it definitely smells like something released in the 1920s but it also smells like something a contemporary niche house could have released last week. It’s still not quite as bad ass as I imagined it to be, I don’t see it as a leather-clad femme fatale, instead it appears to me to be a self assured, confident woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to reach for it.

Don’t you just love it when that olfactory penny finally drops?

Habanita Eau de Parfum

Habanita Eau de Parfum in its fancy new bottle

The Bottle

For the latest incarnation of Habinta, the Eau de Parfum has been dressed in the bold contrasting colours of black and red.

The iconic Lalique frieze of the original has been kept and is more prominent on both box and bottle.

This modernisation of Habanita’s wardrobe is definitely a positive thing in my book, the Eau de Toilette bottle always looked cheap and tacky to me but the new one looks sleek, chick and beautifully modern. I would happily have it on my perfume shelf.


Habanita is available in 30ml and 75ml Eau de Parfum with prices ranging from €45-€91.


Image 1 and 3 fragrantica.com. Image 2 ronmwangaguhunga.blogspot.com. Notes via osmoz.com. [1] nstperfume.com


26 thoughts on “I Finally Get It People – Molinard Habanita Eau de Parfum Perfume Review

  1. I’m actually waiting for mine to arrive – should be making it’s way thru my door any day (hour?) now. However, till then, I’ve been most intrigued to hear your impressions of it. (And then will be even more so to smell it myself & refer/re-compare back to your review.)
    I’m now even more intrigued for from what you’ve described, it sounds/seems like it’s quite a bit different from the vintage juice I know so well. In fact quite a bit more different from what I’ve been expecting. ~ I mean, and not even one little mention of “powder”, at all ??
    Plus the vintage Habanita (to my nose at least) had no hint of “soapiness”. Also the gorgeous smoky vanilla/vetiver combo was miles stronger and “in-your-face” than ‘Fat Electrician’s’. (Like FE squared (hell even cubed) in it’s luscious intensity. So you comparing it to a softer more polished FE, sound almost opposite to what it once was.
    From what I can gather (if I am gathering correctly of course) is it seems like it has been lightened and freshened (modernised ??), and dare I even say ‘watered down’ quite a bit.
    And since this incarnation is supposed to be an EDP, I must say I was kinda expecting the opposite.

    BUT I may be jumping the gun here – So I’ll reserve any further speculating till I actually smell and compare it with my own nose. Take everything that’s been said above “with a massive pinch of salt” till further notice & confirmation.
    The bottle’s updating however, now that’s just superb !! – I’m so glad they didn’t mess with it’s best asset. (i.e/ the stunning Lalique frieze) and only improved upon it. The bottle looks classy, chic, slick, polished and modern – a perfect update & design.
    I don’t yet know who was responsible for the restyling, but he/she/they seriously deserve one massive pat on the back !!

    Stay tuned …. 🙂

    • It definitely sounds like this version is more subdued than the version you are used to. For that reason I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts when you get your bottle.

      I completely agree with the bottle, it’s actually very beautiful and I’m glad they’ve updated it because Lalique frieze aside the EDT bottle always looked kind of cheap…

      • Yes, I think overall our ‘takes’ on H’ were very similar. 🙂 … Actually, this only made me think we must indeed have very similar noses after all, or we seem to “read scent” in a similar way. When reading the other 5 reviews in this article, I was really surprised how VERY different they all were, almost as if they were smelling a completely different ‘fume altogether. (Whereas our two at least sound like we’re talking about the same ‘fume.) 🙂

      • We certainly do, which is very reassuring!

        The others do seem to be a little off the mark don’t they?

        I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of Habanita EDP. It’s right at the top of the wish list!

  2. Oh I love the new bottle, I have a slightly (only slightly) older version and I definitely have new bottle envy.

    This is a favourite of mine, but one I can only wear on the coldest of days. However I do have a small sample of the vintage parfum and it is simply sensational. The vanilla is a million times deeper and warmer, and the contrast with the vetiver then works even better – it’s dangerous stuff…

    Hurrah for finally getting it!

  3. I have had exactly the same history with Habanita as you, so I’m very hopeful about this new edp. I really wanted to fall in love with it but every time I’ve gone back to re-test it over the years I’ve had to conclude that it’s just not for me. Like Jules, I’m surprised and pleased that you didn’t get powder from this version, which I had issues with in the edt.

    Fingers crossed that when I try it I will have one of Oprah’s light bulb moments too 🙂

  4. Habanita EDT is a favorite, a fragrance I will always need to have around. It’s powdery leather on me (and I LOVE me some leather!). And my bottle is recent, I’ve never smelled the vintage. I haven’t tried the EDP yet, but just hope that it retains its leathery qualities.

  5. Oooh, I do like the new bottle!

    Tried Habanita last fall, and I remember it being very distinctive (which is actually high praise, as I’m amazed at how many “just nice” frags I’ve tried that I can’t remember how they smell if it wasn’t for the spreadsheet), though just not me. It’d be interesting to see how I feel about this new version.

    • That’s the problem with a lot of stuff, they’re nice enough but not distinctive enough to remember. Habanita certainly falls into the distinctive camp.

      I’d be intrigued to hear your thoughts on the new EDP.

  6. I like that you will keep trying something and will admit when you have an “ah ha moment” (another Oprah-ism). I’ve got a sample vial of an older version of Habanita that I, too, want to like. A few times a year, I retry it. The sample is so strong that I had to triple bag it! I’ll try it again thanks to you and Denyse. It will be interesting to compare it to this new version.

    • If there is one thing I have learned on my perfume journey it is perseverance. Things can take it little while to click and I do like to revisit something a number of times, over decent period of time before writing it off.

      It’s funny that you had to triple bag your sample because this version doesn’t seem overpowering at all! I’d be intrigued to hear your thoughts on how both versions compare.

  7. I have been very very disappointed with the classic perfume “revamps” that I have tried!
    Namely: Jolie Madame, Diorling and Shalimar have been sad approximations of the original scents. i suppose they do it because some artificial chemical ingredients must be cheaper , and the fact that there is a revamp makes press and helps to increase market share. I want the old fragrances!

  8. Love the perfume. Anybody out there know the name of the young model with the tall boots modeling the new version of Habanita?

  9. I have been desperately looking for the original scent of the Habanita Eau de Toilette. I have purchased 20 bottles and none come close. A friend said her mother still has to the original scent and I want it!!! Any ideas of how to get the original scent back. Have been wearing it for 40 years and it’s the only scent I like. Have tried many others and none come close.

Join the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s