L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanille Absolument (was Havana Vanille) ~ perfume review

Havana, Cuba

Update: Havana Vanille has now been renamed Vanille Absolument.

Havana Vanille is the latest fragrance to join the travel series at L'Artisan Parfumeur. It follows Bois Farine, Timbuktu, Dzongkha and Fleur de Liane — not bad company, as these things go. This time, we're off to Cuba:

From its vibrant Salsa rhythms, its famous cigars and Cuban rum, it is certain there is something magical about Havana. It is a place that contrasts all others. This mysterious fragrance is reminiscent of travels around the world, the nostalgia of crossing the seven seas to discover far off treasures and the smell of a wooden boat mingling with the aroma of rum and spice.1

The perfumer is Bertrand Duchaufour, who developed all of the L'Artisan travel series fragrances to date with the exception of Bois Farine, and the notes include rum, clove, dried fruits, narcissus, tonka bean, helichrysum, vanilla, smoked woods, moss and balsamic notes. Sound good so far? It sounded darned good to me, and lo and behold, I was not disappointed.

L'Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille perfume

Havana Vanille starts off with spicy rum and vanilla, and lots of it: it's rich and warm, with slight undertones of something like dried apricots stewed in winter spices. It's gourmand, even chewy, but there's nothing even vaguely cake-like about it despite the heavy emphasis on the vanilla. L'Artisan describes the heart notes as "a subtle alliance of narcissus, everlasting flower and tonka bean...reminiscent of freshly picked tobacco leaves, both honey-sweet and narcotic"2, and that's spot on, but think of the smoothest, softest tobacco leaves ever: this is nothing like the heady punch of sweet pipe tobacco that you get from, say, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, and I don't think anyone who dislikes tobacco in perfume will find it overwhelming in Havana Vanille. The base is earthy-woody-musky, slightly resinous, slightly creamy-powdery, even more slightly smoky, and still very vanillic, although the later stages are not so rich and chewy as the opening. The far dry down is drier, more earthy-resinous and less creamy-powdery, and obsessive fans of Bertrand Duchaufour will recognize his signature after a couple hours have passed.

Havana Vanille reminds me of Guerlain's Spiritueuse Double Vanille in several respects. Despite some notes in common, they're not smell-alikes at all — Havana Vanille, for one thing, is heavier on the vanilla and lighter on the smoke — but they're both essentially vanilla comfort scents for grown-ups, and I had about the same initial reaction to the opening of Havana Vanille that I did to Spiritueuse Double Vanilla, which is that hey, I'd like to drink this stuff.

I love it. It's definitely a fall-winter scent more than a summer one, but I've been wearing it in hot, humid weather quite happily. It does best if you apply somewhat more lavishly than you normally would for an Eau de Parfum — a single spray seemed to disappear from skin in no time, but several sprays lasted a good 4-5 hours.

L'Artisan Havana Vanille launches in October, and will be available in 50 ($115) and 100 ($155) ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for L'Artisan Parfumeur under Perfume Houses.

1. via press release.

2. Ibid.

Note: top image is Havana, Cuba [cropped] by ilkerender at flickr; some rights reserved.

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186 Comments

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  1. Suzanne941 says:

    I am LEMMING for this one!! Must…have…

    • Robin says:

      I think it’s worth lemming…

    • miss kitty v. says:

      I’ve was thinking the same thing. Well, actually what I was thinking was: I really want this…this would fall into the category of that thing people call “lemming”…except I would look stupid saying “I’m really lemming for this” when I’m not even sure what that means or where that term came from and would probably use it wrong…maybe I’ll just not say anything, rather than look like an idiot…

      • memechose says:
        • miss kitty v. says:

          I can’t believe I actually clicked on that thinking it would clue me in! Very funny. I know what a lemming is. I want to know how we got to use it to mean “thing that everyone is talking about that I now want.”

          • Joe says:

            I think it means that we’re all following Robin and others off the edge of a very steep fjord into a delicious, stupendous [fill in the blank -- in this case vanilla/rum/tobacco] oblivion. Does that help? ;)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Thanks. Just didn’t want to assume I knew what something meant and then moronically misuse it in a sentence.

          • Robin says:

            It started, I think, on MakeupAlley…and doesn’t have much to do with lemmings anymore…it’s just become shorthand for something you really want.

          • Manna says:

            Dear Miss Kitty V.
            Here a great dictionary:
            http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lemming
            Pssst, I didn’t know that either ;)

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Thanks, Manna! I feel better now. :)

        • Robin says:

          Thanks, looks like it pre-dated MakeupAlley!

  2. mals86 says:

    Me too… will sample first from TPC or somewhere, and then will be looking for a split to jump in on. This one is callin’ my name out loud!

    • Robin says:

      I wonder if L’Artisan will sell samples early? They ought to.

      • miss kitty v. says:

        Do they sell samples directly? It’s been a while since I’ve been to their website, but I didn’t remember seeing samples for sale. For some reason I’m a sucker for the carded sample–it beats the plain little vials from luckyscent that are all over my house.

        • boojum says:

          They do…very reasonably!

          • miss kitty v. says:

            Ohhhh-ho-hoooo…! Well, that does it, now I have to go waste some money…see ya!

        • Robin says:

          Yes — I think you have to buy 5 at once or something though?

          • miss kitty v. says:

            It was 5 for $7, which is really quite affordable. It comes out better than buying them at Aedes or luckyscent. It doesn’t look like they have everything available as a sample, so that kind of bums me out.

          • Robin says:

            Thanks Miss Kitty!

    • Kiki72 says:

      Please let me know if anyone does a split on this.
      Would LOVE to get in on it!
      :)

  3. boojum says:

    October! OCTOBER?! Gahhh. I’ve been obsessively trolling their website watching for a hint…can’t believe we have to wait that long. :( For me, this is THE big must-try of the year, and your review only served to reinforce that feeling. I hope we have a heck of an Indian summer this year; at least then I’ll be able to be content w/my summer frags while I wait.

    • Robin says:

      But they do usually go on sale, somewhere, earlier than the official release date. Hope we’ll see it somewhere next month, October does seem a long wait.

  4. Joe says:

    Holy Moly and Yowza… you got hold of some! What a nice, surprising review (I didn’t expect to hear much about this for another month or so).

    I definitely look forward to this. You also reminded me that I haven’t so much as sniffed Liane yet. I recently got a large decant of SDV and enjoy it, but I’d like something I can spritz with more “abandon.” The L’A Vanilia is nice but has a bit of that sour sandalwood thing going on for me — obviously I don’t expect much similarity from this Havana one. Thanks again for the great review. I’m sure you’ve just incubated a good many lemmings.

    And Daisy — if your’e reading — maybe this is the way to go instead of SDV. The savings alone could pay for Attrape-Coeur! LOL

    • mals86 says:

      Attrape-Coeur is just so gosh-darn pretty.

      • Daisy says:

        Oh don’t I know it….I’ll have a bottle of that in my hand if I have to walk all the way to the Guerlain boutique to get it!!
        Oh mals, I have a special appreciation for your new computer tribulations a month or so ago….I have spent ALLLLLLL day breaking down the old Dell and getting this Mac running…..I have exactly 3.2 functioning brain cells left and I’ve created several new cuss words. The worst part: all day I kept thinking: “I’m missing out on NST!!”

        • miss kitty v. says:

          And we’ve missed out on you. :(

          • Daisy says:

            well Kitty, my creative language use throughout the course of the day would have singed the fur off the tops of your ears and curled your tail. I don’t know why I thought this transition was going to be easy. Especially considering my complete lack of aptitude for anything technical!
            Strangely—once I was able to reconnect with NST it all seemed a lot better! (I needed my fix) ;-)

    • Robin says:

      Happily, given the respective prices, I like it much better than SDV, but I know SDV has devoted fans. I think this is sexier, esp. in the dry down.

      • Rappleyea says:

        One of the devoted SDV fans chiming in! I think a big thing in favor of SDV though is lasting power if you say with several sprays you only get 4 – 5 hours. SDV will last through a shower 24 hours later on me!

        The “smoked woods” note worries me as he used that in Dzongkha (it is also in Sycomore) and in both that aroma chemical blows up to a great big dirty ashtray on me.

        I definitely want to try this though as you’ve made it sound irresistable. Great review – thanks!

        • Joe says:

          Rapp, I want the SDV you have. Or I just want you skin. I’m huffing my wrist like a bloodhound looking for SDV two hours after I put it on… but you’re not the only one who’s said that “mere drops” last allllllll dayyyyyy. With my skin, I’ll stick to the cheap. Waaah. :-(

          • Rappleyea says:

            I definitely have good skin for a perfumista – unless you get something on your skin that you can’t wait to scrub! I thought I was going to need a skin graft to get Fleur de Cassie off! There’s something in the Ormande Jayne base that I can detect on my skin even three or four days later! And yes, I shower daily!!

        • Robin says:

          SDV doesn’t last nearly that long on me!

        • Daisy says:

          I adore SDV and a few spritzes is a day-long fragrance commitment.
          That won’t stop me from drooling over Havana Vanille one tiny bit.

      • Farah says:

        As someone who badly wants to try both SDV and HV but probably doesn’t have much chance of getting her hands on SDV, you’ve just made me extremely happy! HV might not be out until October but at least it will be easy to acquire, given the price and availability, when it is :)

    • Daisy says:

      Oh Good Lord, you know what kicks my lemming glands into overdrive, that’s for sure! I’m so going to have to find a big bottle as soon as it’s available….ok, ok, I’ll try to make myself sample it first ….but, um, anyone who wants to split a bottle should email me….oh, and don’t place any actual money-bets on me being able to resist…you all need to keep those dollars for perfume. ;-)

      • Robin says:

        Don’t buy unsniffed!

        • Joe says:

          R…. who you kiddin’!!!?? But yes, that’s very good advice. :-D

        • Daisy says:

          I know—- buying unsniffed = big $$ regrets! So I’m really going to be strong here. Still, I wouldn’t place any bets on my willpower.
          (Joe’s laughing at me right now I just know it)

      • Kiki72 says:

        I would get in on a split!

  5. Karin says:

    Oooooh!!!! This is one of the few fall fragrance releases that I’m really excited about! Thanks for reviewing this, Robin. Sounds like an immediate unsniffed purchase for me as soon as it comes out. Not $95 like the other 50ml L’Artisans? Ouch. Must be because it’s an EDP instead of their typical EDT? Better start saving my pennies…

    • Robin says:

      I assume the price is due to the EdP too, but have to say it is not exactly an “intense” scent in terms of lasting power. Oh well. Even $155 is much less than what some niche lines are charging these days.

      • miss kitty v. says:

        I was just thinking the other day how there was a time (not that long ago) when $95 would have seemed like a lot of money. Now anything under $225 seems reasonable. I think I’ve lost touch with reality. :(

        • Joe says:

          Welcome to the Cracker Factory, Miss Kitty.

          • boojum says:

            LOL!

        • thenoseknows says:

          Alice… You’ve Gone Through The Looking Glass! Enjoy! LOL! :-D

        • Robin says:

          Yes, yes! Totally agree.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            No going back, is there? Conversely, it does make the things like buying four bottles for around $100 on beauty encounter look like that much more of a deal.

          • boojum says:

            Yes, but then you go and blow $100 on 4 things you don’t really want, just bc it’s “such a great bargain”. :D

          • miss kitty v. says:

            No, I definitely got the four things I really wanted this time. But now the stuff I want is definitely NOT available on a discount site. :(

  6. Jill says:

    I have been practically salivating waiting for this one … it just sounds so delicious (though I’m glad to hear it’s not cake-like — didn’t think it would be, though). Can’t wait! Thanks for the review.

  7. Tama says:

    October, huh? My birthday month! Let’s hope someone with cash asks me what I want – lol.

    • Robin says:

      HA, good luck with that ;-)

  8. memechose says:

    spectacular review. I am in love Havanna Vanille , more than any Duchaufour to date. Yes, it does have some similarities to the Guerlain, but on my skin this is smokier and …. SEXY

    • Robin says:

      It is kind of sexy, esp after it dries down.

  9. huntergpt says:

    Thank you for the review – especially the comparison between SDV and HV.

    • Robin says:

      It’s a shame the Guerlain isn’t cheaper & easier to find, I know lots of people love it.

  10. lovethescents says:

    I was overjoyed to see this review and even happier to read it. I’ve been aching to sample this but, alas, won’t be able to until October. You’ve given us a whiff without the obvious sniff. Thank you.

    • Robin says:

      Hoping it will appear in September, October does seem too far off.

  11. lilydale aka Natalie says:

    Doesn’t seem like it has much to do with the actual smell of Havana, but that’s a good thing! This sounds delightful, but can you detect the clove? I’m a clove-phobe.

    And for some reason I start hearing “Hava Nagila” every time I see “Havana Vanille”…

    • Robin says:

      It smells spicy without reminding me particularly of clove, but wondering if as a clove-phobe, you’ll notice it more than I do? It does seem like notes I hate always “stick out” more.

      • lilydale aka Natalie says:

        So true, and applicable to so many things in life, unfortunately!

  12. Oh hurray! I love it when things with promise don’t disappoint! Thanks for this mouthwatering review, R. It’s 103 outside and you have me longing for vanilla and rum and smoke…. *drools*

    • Robin says:

      And it so rarely happens! (But 103?? Really? That’s outrageous)

      • We’re going on 60 days of triple digit temps this summer, looking to break the record of 69, set in 1925.

        • Daisy says:

          Egad! whereabouts do you live? (so I can avoid that part of the world!)

        • Robin says:

          A, I’m so very sorry! I would not get out of the pool. Daisy, she’s in Texas.

          • Daisy says:

            Hmm, well I like Texas but not those types of temps…I luvs me some a/c. ;-)

  13. March says:

    YUMMY! And considerably more affordable and easier to get than SDV, I think… I’m looking forward to it!

    • Robin says:

      SDV is weird…why don’t they sell the darned stuff? Guerlain has such an odd attitude towards commerce.

  14. Absolute Scentualist says:

    *swoon* DO WANT! At the very least a split would be fantastic. I adore SDV enough that I sprang for a full bottle, and can not wait to sample this. I’m doing the kid on Christmas morning bounce just reading the review… ;)

    And yeah, I remember the days when $100 was “ridiculous” for perfume. I blush to think how I’ve picked up the odd bottle here and there that’s well beyond $100, and know without a doubt I’ll be doing so again and again. Once you cross into the world of L’Artisan, Montale, and the like, it’s hard to go back to the local department fragrance counter and find something that works. At least something within the last couple years.

    I can’t wait for October or when ever samples are available… Which ever comes first. *happy dance*

    • Robin says:

      $100 used to be my upper limit too! Those were the days, LOL…

    • Daisy says:

      I join you in your happy dance!!!! I think I’m actually salivating here!

    • miss kitty v. says:

      This is really true about department store stuff. I recently thought I could go cheap and buy stuff that was “close” to the niche stuff I wanted. Big mistake. Better to save up and buy the big bucks bottles. I recently bought a $7 bottle of Chocolovers thinking it would cure my craving for Montale Chocolate Greedy. You know what? It’s AWFUL! $7 was TOO MUCH! It may seem a little silly to spend so much on a Montale chocolate perfume (especially when I know others would say there are much better scents in the line), but at least I would have gotten something I liked. Lesson learned.

      • Robin says:

        LOL…I like Chocolovers!

        • miss kitty v. says:

          Do you? I got more compliments on it than anything else I’ve ever worn! I think I didn’t like it because it didn’t smell at all like chocolate on me. I was kind of aiming for Cocoa Puffs. :) Chocolovers smelled sort of like Organza on me. Weird. But yeah, I should take back that it’s “awful.” Maybe it would be more accurate to say it just wasn’t what I wanted.

          • Robin says:

            Hey, I didn’t mean that you couldn’t find it awful! If you find it awful, do go right ahead. I didn’t buy it, but I wanted a jar of the cream — it might be fun to layer.

          • miss kitty v. says:

            No, really–”awful” wasn’t fair. It wasn’t what I wanted, and it wasn’t me. It had a huge orange note in it that didn’t work for me. I may give it some time and try it again. If it still doesn’t work, I’ll send it to you! :)

  15. Carlos BFL 319 says:

    I’ve been excited about this one. More so after your review Robin! :-)

    • Robin says:

      Hey, I think you can go sniff it at Bergdorf Goodman.

      • Robin says:

        Oops…probably at Bendels, not BG. Somewhere in NY, I know, because Jessica smelled it there.

        • Jessica says:

          I did get a sneak preview at Henri Bendel in NYC! There were no samples available yet, but one of the Bendel folks kindly allowed me a sniff and a spritz from a tester bottle. Gorgeous stuff.

          • Robin says:

            Thanks J!

  16. Dzingnut says:

    Wonderful review! Robin, would you rate this as more “drinkable” than Dzonghka (I get the same urge whenever I spray it).

    Hava Nagila – LOL! An enticing scent of macaroons and powdery matzoh, with smoky undertones of brisket and a delectable, elegant drydown of gefilte fish. A eloquent, evocative memory of the med school student you didn’t marry, because even though he was going into private practice (Dermatology), he told you your L’Heure Bleu smelled like his bubbe …

    • Joe says:

      HA! I love it. I think you forgot the sparkling top notes of Concord Grape Manischewitz.

      • lilydale aka Natalie says:

        And the base note of overwhelming, mother-induced guilt!

    • Robin says:

      Yes, way more drinkable than Dzongkha, to me!

  17. Jessica says:

    Hooray! I sampled a spritz of Havana Vanille last week, and I’ve been waiting to see what you think. I loved it, too. And I thought I was completely “over” vanilla in general…

    • Robin says:

      I do like a nice warm vanilla every so often in winter. Surprised at how well this one wears in heat though. And glad when we like the same thing since we don’t always!

  18. cazaubon says:

    Thank you so much for this review, I am salivating. Love SDV, and just about everything Duchaufour does, so I’m very excited about this one!

    • Robin says:

      He really is one of my favorite perfumers.

  19. thenoseknows says:

    Ms. Robin… I Think You’re Trying To Seduce Me! Well, Then Call me SUPERSEDUCED! :-) i am ordering a bottle of this Tout De Suite! This sounds, Carnally, Sinfully, Desirably, Unabashedly, ORGAMSICALLY COSMICALLY UNASHAMEDLY Like something made JUST FOR ME! you made my mouth water, my head spin and my pulse race! if this is even 1/1000th as good as you make it sound, i am buying 3-4 bottles so i can simple open one up and pour it over my head and let it OOOZE Down my body in a dreamy kind gauzey love scene-in-a-movie kind of way!

    • Suzanne941 says:

      Wow! I need some of this stuff, pronto!

    • Daisy says:

      um, yeah….what thenose said.

    • Robin says:

      LOL! But now I’m convinced you will hate it and blame me.

      • thenoseknows says:

        would never blame you! :-) Honestly to be truthful and un-comic… i trust your opinion very much so… it is so hard to move you to be excited about a fragrance that i know IT MUST BE GOOD if you are singing it’s praises… so, I know i can only fall deeper in love with this phantom scent once i posses it! ;-)

        • Robin says:

          I don’t know if it is true that it must be good so much as that it must be to my tastes, LOL…I do not even pretend to be vaguely objective.

    • lilydale aka Natalie says:

      Waiter, I’ll have what she’s having…

      • Joe says:

        I’m glad you said it, Natalie, because I was thinking it earlier. Love that line!

    • DoryCubana says:

      I have for a couple of weeks now and It’s everything you’ve imagined it would be… on me it opens with burnt sugar caramel note as dominat, but instaly turns smokey and melow and warm and melts into insides into a mushy tub of Macadamia Nut Brittle ice-cream consistency. You start to swoon and cannot focus on work, you are distracted, yet aroused to every facette of this gorgeus smell. And staying power is excellent. almost 5 hours…
      I guess as the temperatues are going down in my part of the world as well, it will be a wonderful winter scent, vanilla without cookie, x-massy, edible part. It can only get better in the cold weather.
      Definitely worth buying…. everybody, enjoy…

  20. Santemon says:

    C..a..n…’..t t….y…p…e……….. muusssst haaaaavvvvvvvvve…. turning green….

  21. chrissyinoz says:

    NOTHING & NO-ONE will get in my way to obtaining this !!!! Seriously though, tobacco & vanilla are 2 of my most fave notes & i’ve been waiting with barely contained excitement for this one.

    • Robin says:

      We will not try to stop you ;-)

  22. RusticDove says:

    Wow. I drooled a little bit. ;-)

    • Robin says:

      Wipe off that keyboard…

  23. nwatts88 says:

    Oh! Sick! My brother is in NYC in October, I’ll kill him if he doesn’t get me a sample. This sounds awesome.

  24. thenoseknows says:

    Now Look What Robin has Gone and made me do!??! I was going to buy myself Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille for Xmas as my own Private Little Gift! Now Robin Has RUINED That with this Obscenely FABULOUS Review! SHAME ROBIN! LOL! FOR SHAME! Now i have to go and Ignore Mr. Ford’s Charms with not one single whit of remorse and buy myself a CASE of this Ambrosial Sounding Elixir! Tsk Tsk!!!!

    As Well, Oh Perfume Goddess… can you or anyone clue me in to where i might find a bottle of this Ethereal Juice known as Guerlain Spirtiueuse Double Vanille? i have read the review here and heard so many on here praise it with a joyful noise that i must lay hands on a sacrosanct Bottle! :-)

    • Robin says:

      But see, if you love the Tom Ford, you might not love this one: it’s not nearly as heavy on the tobacco, and to my nose it’s maybe not so sweet either. You’d best try before you buy!

      I don’t know who has SDV in stock, but I’d start by calling the Vegas Guerlain (at the Palazzo), and if they don’t have it, the Bergdorf Guerlain in NYC, and if they don’t have it try the Guerlain at Epcot. Or maybe Daisy will chime in, she might know who has it…

      • Joe says:

        Oh, she knows, alright. LOL. Bergdorf’s boutique definitely sells it, though.

      • thenoseknows says:

        Thank You Robin And Joe… and i will try all those! and I do have a ENORMOUS Soft Spot for Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, Managed because i know the lady that is the Rep for it at Neimans in Michigan i got a big sample of it when i couldn’t afford it, so i know i love it (And Champaca Absolute AND The OBSCENELY Delicious Velvet Gardenia) and i know i will love this too… i, in fact, hate fragrances that are too similar, i like the uniqueness of difference!

        • Daisy says:

          Hi Nose, SDV is only at the Guerlain Boutiques…but any store that has a Boutique (as opposed to just a ‘counter’) should have it, and they’ll sell it over the phone and ship it to you. I’d give you the phone number for the one I’ve been in contact with except yesterday I dumped all of my notes etc. into a box to clear my computer desk (for the big-computer-switcheroo) and now I don’t know where anything is.
          :-(

    • SmokeyToes says:

      TheNoseKnows,
      The Neiman Marcus store in SF has a Guerlain boutique, they have it for sure as I’ve tried it. Josie at the counter is very helpful!
      Good luck finding it, it’s fabulous!

      • Robin says:

        Thanks, forgot SF!

      • Tama says:

        Josie is a real dear!

  25. Nile Goddess says:

    Where oh where did you get it?
    Am sure you’ll put a bottle or small decant heck even a sample up for grabs as you do but I won’t be elligible waaaaaaaaaahhhh!

    Anyway just talked to the distributors for Prague and they’re launching here September 10 but may have samples as soon as next week! Yippeee!!!

    Anyone up for a visit to Prague? :-D

    • mals86 says:

      Wish I could… Prague is just a beautiful place; I’d love to go back! Sadly, the cash for Anniversary European Vacation has already been allocated for Tuscany… and that won’t be until 2012 anyway.

      • Daisy says:

        OH! Jealousy in the EXTREME! Tuscany?? I’m developing a plan to stow away in your luggage…..I can hear your CEO already “why is this trunk so gosh darn heavy!?? ” ;-)

    • Robin says:

      L’Artisan sent me a large lab sample. But wish they’d sent me to Prague to pick one up :-)

  26. Nile Goddess says:

    P.S. I liked Tom ford Tobacco Vanille but it reminded me of the most luxurious room fragrance ever.

    On the other hand , I would kill for a bottle of Tuscan Leather.

    Does that mean I’d love or hate Havana Vanille?

    • Robin says:

      I honestly don’t know, but that was my reaction to Tobacco Vanille too.

  27. Blimunda says:

    Ah, Robin – your passionate prose are so, so tempting me to start sampling the L’Artisan line. I’ve been putting it off as I am going through a ‘frugal phase’ right now. However, a trip to Escentual is now on the cards. Atleast that will only cost a train journey of a few pounds! I really need to find a perfume twin in London so we can split bottles together!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, you must try the line! I’ve done well finding 15 ml bottles from the various sets on eBay — you might find a few that way if you’re patient, but of course not all of them come in 15 ml. They used to, and I do so miss those days.

      • Blimunda says:

        YES! Great, thanks Robin. Hope has sprung anew.OK. So. The New Plan: A trip to Les Senteurs (not Escentual, as mistakenly stated earlier!). A dedicated exploration of the L’Artisan line. A shortlist of the preferred scents. A purchasing of samples. A suitable lapse of time. Then a scouring of Ebay to find 15mls of most preferred scents. I have a feeling there will be a few………..I so agree with you, Robin. 15ml bottles are the way forward, damn it. Why aren’t there more of ‘em? Ormonde Jayne is bringing out a new series of travel-sized bottles, thank the lord!

        • Robin says:

          Another way to go about it: all the 15 mls they sell now come in sets. You buy the set, then get rid of the ones you don’t want on Scent Splits.

          • Blimunda says:

            Another great option! There’s always a way around it, isn’t there? That’ll teach me for being so resignedly accepting of my current financial situation.

    • boojum says:

      I could move…. ;) Wish I could at least visit some day, anyway. Love this line, though…interesting, yet so very wearable.

  28. RossM says:

    Ok. I know it shouldn’t matter, wear what you want etc. etc. BUT, could a guy wear this or would it be a little too vanilla-ry, do you think?The thing is, I don’t want to come home smelling like I’ve had relations with another woman. You know the whole lipstick on the collar thing, smelling of women’s perfume stuff.
    Anyway, I’m hoping maybe the rum, spices aspect gives it a more unisex feel?

    • Daisy says:

      I would just guess that with a tobacco note in it , it would be more of a shared fragrance. Besides, as long as you share the bottle with your SO you’ll most likely be safe.

      • RossM says:

        I don’t like sharing! LOL
        Nah just kidding Daisy, that’s a good idea.

        • Daisy says:

          How about this—if she says: “hey, what’s that I smell?” THEN you have to share. ;-)

    • SmokeyToes says:

      Rossm, I think with the tobacco/musk note, along with spices, it would be great on a guy. You never know, the vanilla note may not come forward much on you at all.

      • RossM says:

        You’re right Smokeytoes, nothing to lose giving it a try and who knows, maybe on my skin it could smell like the manliest of manly smells ever produced.
        Ok maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.

    • Robin says:

      I thought it was perfectly unisex, just like the others in the travel series — or are there any in that series that you found too feminine??

      • RossM says:

        Believe it or not, I have yet to sample ANY L’artisan’s. Except next week I’m getting a few samples from my ‘dealer’ on scent splits and one of them is Mechant Loup which I’m not sure is the best way to introduce myself to the line, but it was the only one there that looked interesting so I thought I’d give it a go.
        But I definetely will give this vanilla one a try seeing that you think it smells unisex-y.

        • Robin says:

          I like Mechant Loup too…that one is more obviously masculine. I don’t know that there are a couple of “representative” L’Artisan scents anyway.

    • DoryCubana says:

      RossM, if smokey, sort of sweet scent smell good on you anyhow, then go ahead, try this one on you without any fears. It can be shared, I am sure. My husband is already trying to steal some drops….

      • DoryCubana says:

        It’s nota sweet vanilla, but sort of attci or cellar full of ancient treasures kind of vanilla. Like Havana, decrepit and run down but beautiful and elegant as ever. with a whif of spicy rhum and tobacco. In CUba cigars are not meant for men only. Women enjoy them too. there is no female or male exclusively cigar brands. so this scent, as a blend, is also rather elusive and could actually turn to be rather manly on a macho Altinmo or very sexy and hot on a passionate blonde (like myself, LOL)

  29. SmokeyToes says:

    Morning Robin and everyone,
    A honey-sweet and narcotic gourmand? Ohhhh, this sounds very (very) nice! Have to give my Barney’s SA a visit……
    And to think I was doing so well this quarter….. NOT!

    • boojum says:

      It’s ok, ST…it won’t be available until NEXT quarter. ;)

      • Robin says:

        Since some stores already have testers, I’m really thinking it will appear in September. Could be wrong though.

  30. helenviolette says:

    Robin! I am tremulous with excitement! (and hopefully in October- the scorching Texas heat will have subsided ;-)

    • Robin says:

      I am glad I am not in Texas…hope it gets cooler soon!

  31. Somerville Metro Man says:

    The combination of the note list and the nose along with Robin’s review have me looking forward to this even more than I already was.
    I wear both SDV and TV and this sounds right in my wheelhouse.

    • Robin says:

      Hope it turns out to be!

  32. Lavandula says:

    Having my gorgeous Cuban bf, this will be a must, a MUST in my perfume collection!!! I am sooooo excited about this launch!

  33. LaMaroc says:

    Everytime I try to say Havana Vanille I end up saying “Hava Nagila” – and then I get the song in my head and can’t get it out! lol

  34. Pia says:

    I was reading your beguiling review and thinking to myself, gosh, I really must have at least one vanilla perfume and why don’t I and when can I get this and how lovely it will be…and then I scrolled down and saw your comparison to SDV and remembered my little stash considered so special that I hid it away and forgot I owned it. Ack. There’s nothing for it but to have TWO vanilla perfumes, yes yes, that must be it, because I do love the SDV–it’s just marvelous–but I can only wear it very selectively. Is this a bit more of a daily wear?

    BTW, are any of the tobacco/narcissus notes similar to L’AP’s narcissus perfume?

    • Robin says:

      Hmmm…good question about “daily wear”, and might depend on what you mean by that. It isn’t what I’d call an office perfume, but nor is it a “dress up” perfume.

      and also good question about FdN. I didn’t like FdN, but will try to remember to dig out my sample tomorrow & see if they’ve anything in common.

  35. contrabassa says:

    I keep on trying other vanilla scents, hoping that I’ll find something pleasant and much cheaper, but to no avail. All I want is Havana Vanille.

    I’m happy L’Artisan is using Duchaufour- his fragrances sit so very nicely on my skin… *sighs* Unfortunately, the local niche perfume shop has closed, so I can no longer try a spritz of a different expensive perfume each day. It looks like it will be an expensive year for samples. I suppose there are worse things in life. :)

    • Robin says:

      I’m glad they’re using Duchaufour too — a perfect fit with the brand.

  36. Zazie says:

    I don’t really appreciate vanilla playing the leading role: after the last of a series of dreadful experiences (tobacco vanille) I promised I would never try a vanilla titled fragrance again.
    But I love boozy notes, honeyed tobacco, and woods. Add to it that I admire BD so much == I had to give HV a try.
    So: I don’t get the rum and honeyed tobacco, but on my skin HV opens with plastic almonds and a faint ripe cherry note. However these unwelcome notes float over an interesting vanilla base. I get a pinch of brown sugar, spices, and woods that add depth and interest to an otherwise literal translation of the black grainy vanilla.
    I like it. With reserve, because really, smelling like a vanilla pod has never been my ambition. And I am still disappointed by the lack of booziness, but there are days, like today, when I crave for a hug, a beige cashmere sweater and a familiar, comforting scent. Then, it really works :)!

    • Robin says:

      Hmmm…doesn’t sound like you need a bottle though!

    • DoryCubana says:

      Dear Zazie,
      them you need a bottle of EL PC Amber Ylang Ylang. A year ago in the review of it (to which Robin kindly directed me to) this exact comparison was made, the perfume is like a luxurious cashmere sweater wrapping your body in warmth and your soul in a pool of happy calmness

    • Okay -almond and cherry, then I can wait till a sample comes my way. Don’t like vanilla, don’t like tobacco (to wear as perfume) and I cannot stand almond and cherries.
      Thank you ;-)

      There is a big difference between “smells good” and the fact that one would smell like this!

  37. parfumliefhebber says:

    This one is on my “mus try” list.

    • Robin says:

      It’s worth a shot!

      • parfumliefhebber says:

        Ha, I finally got a sample. It is a comfort scent for me, something for casual wear. It is warm and spica on my skin, finally a vanilla scent that is not too foody. I like it very much, dear Santa.
        I also got a sample of Ananas Fizz, sorry to say, but it smells like toilet cleaner to me …

        • Robin says:

          LOL…I love Ananas Fizz!

  38. stephham says:

    I finally got my sample, it sounded so nice but it was just so sweet and sickly a vanilla on me no smoke at all, I was hoping my skin would like it but no vanilla galante is the only vanilla I can stand and i think that is because its more lily with a hint of vanilla on me.

    • Robin says:

      I love VG too, but yeah, don’t think of it as a vanilla scent.

  39. Blimunda says:

    Wow, I tried this the other day when I was browsing through the L’Artisan store on Marylebone High Street. I was hankering after a good old spray of Bois Farine or Timbuktu, maybe even a spritz of Dzing! But they had all sold out after the Christmas rush. So I was left to mull over what I would sample……..and I went for Havana Vanille. I wish I’d sprayed it more lavishly, as Robin suggests in her review, as within an hour it had died down to a sweet milky residue. Which wasn’t too exciting. But the stages preceding the milky pudding were simply wonderful, and perfect for the freezing cold, sunny day in London. I love this scent!

  40. Robin says:

    I love it too. And impressed they sold out of all of those!!

  41. lilredccc says:

    FINALLY got my hands on a decant of this, and am loving it. The drydown is one of the most luscious I’ve ever experienced…a warm, slightly smoky vanilla, but not foody by any means, and exactly what I need to carry me through the last of this horrible, snowy winter! The opening notes are a little too boozy (I smell like the bottom of a rum cask for about ten minutes), but it doesn’t take too long to mellow out. And I’m so glad it’s an EdP! This is the only L’Artisan that lasts longer than two hours on me. I see a FB purchase in my near future!

    • Robin says:

      I like that bottom of a rum cask part, LOL…but yes, great scent for winter. And yes, HORRIBLE winter — quite ready for it to be over now.

  42. Laurel says:

    Finally got my itty bitty bottle from TPC. I love it, but my skin eats it. I put it on rather heavily at 6:30 this am, and now, at 8:30, it’s nearly gone. Meh. Sis says it smells powdery, old ladyish. I think it smells every bit as good as Shalimar, maybe a little more wellbehaved. Lots of tobacco, lots of vanilla. Lasting power for the $$$ though…I’m not sure.

    • Robin says:

      It is true it is not a powerhouse! But it does do better sprayed liberally. I got almost nothing dabbing it on.

  43. dee says:

    Since I was wearing this today (and really, really enjoying it) I wanted to revisit your review… and I see that it’s been re-named? What?
    That shouldn’t annoy me, probably, but it does.
    I like HV soooo much, so perfect just the way it is, name and everything!
    Indignation ;)

    • Robin says:

      I am guessing they had some reason — a trademark problem or something? But I don’t know. I liked the old name better too.

      • dee says:

        :)

        • parfumliefhebber says:

          Also like HV (the scent AND the name) very much. I hope they haven’t reformulated.

          • Robin says:

            Seems awful soon for that — bet it’s just a name change.

  44. sniffmeallover says:

    Robin, do you love SL Un Bois Vanille as much as you love Havana Vanille?

    • Robin says:

      I am so sorry I missed your question, and now you’re probably not checking, but no, I don’t much care for that particular SL.

  45. platinum14 says:

    Wow!
    I just got a brand new 100ml bottle at my local Discount store for $39! It is with the original name. I didn’t really need it at $165, but at $39 I can’t live without it!!

    • Robin says:

      Score! What store was it, do tell!

      • platinum14 says:

        Winners, Toronto, Bloor st
        They also have a few bottles of Fleur de Liane too (not your favorite, I know)

  46. bookgirl says:

    I need a bottle of this in my life. Very rarely do I come across a perfume and nearly instantly decide that a bottle is necessary, but this is exactly what happened with Vanille Absolument (I still think “Havana Vanille” at first). I think it may just be my favorite vanilla…..of the ones I’ve tried thus far, anyway. :-)

    • bookgirl says:

      P.S. Just discovered that VA is currently on sale at L’Artisan. This is divine intervention, no? And of course, I purchased a bottle! :-)

      • Robin says:

        Ha…yes, that’s certainly divine intervention … you had no choice but to buy! And congrats on your new bottle :-)

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