Friday, September 17, 2010

Molinard - Habanita

Happiness is a good cigar

"Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe
When tipp'd with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
Thy naked beauties–give me a cigar!"
Lord Byron, "The Island"

Molinard was founded in 1849 in Grasse, France, and boasts of being the oldest, entirely family-run, business in France, right through to the present day.

In 1921 Molinard created Habanita "the perfume for cigarettes." Chic Parisiennes applied the perfume to their cigarettes. Enough women must have been dabbing it on themselves as well, because in 1924 it was re-released as a perfume and became "the world's most long lasting perfume." It still comes in a beautiful art nouveau style bottle, a replica of the original Lalique design.

Habanita is quite strong at first, and has significant sillage, so watch out if you work in environment where you need to be careful about these things. It opens with a sharp, bitter tobacco, an earthy vetiver, and a very powdery vanilla with just a hint of rose. After a few minutes, the tobacco smooths out, gets rounder, and takes on a sweet leather aspect. My my favourite part is later in the dry down, when Habanita becomes the perfect scent of a fine, unlit cigar.

Imagine dusting yourself all over with vanilla-scented baby powder, curling up in a wood-panelled library on an old leather chair, then opening a wooden cigar box with fresh cigars and inhaling. That's Habanita. And it does last forever – it's still a great tobacco scent on my skin far into the evening.

I hope Molinard and Habanita remain the same for many years to come.

House: Molinard
Notes: Top notes are orange blossom, raspberry, peach and bergamot; middle notes are lilac, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are leather, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

Photo: sgirolimetto


  1. I tried Habanita (parfum) in Seattle several years ago and still want to own a bottle. Your post reminded me that it's on my wish list!

  2. I have been curious about Habanita, and somehow it gets bumped down the test list every time I order samples.

    I haven't tested any of the classics. I'm like a crow who keeps getting distracted by shiny new things.

  3. Josephine, where in Seattle did you test Habanita? I want to go out and test it right now!
    I love anything that reminds me of a humidor or a cigar. Your description makes this sound perfect for me.

  4. EauMG - I tested Habanita in a perfume shop located in the Alexis hotel downtown. It bears the name of a person, if I remember right.

    Good luck!

  5. Thank you! I know which one you are speaking of, but I'm blanking on the name. It is a person's name! I pass the place on my walk to work. I'm stopping by this week to sniff.I try to stay out b/c breaks my budget ;)


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