Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Havane ~ fragrance review

Thierry Mugler A*Men begat A*Men Pure Coffee, A*Men Pure Malt and, now, the new, limited edition A*Men Pure Havane. Though I dislike original A*Men, I’ve enjoyed all A*Men “Pure” offspring (flankers) so far, and I was especially looking forward to Pure Havane’s homage to “prestige cigars.” I walked into my local Nordstrom men’s fragrance department, asked for Pure Havane, and was told by the sales person only eight bottles had been received, and they had sold out within days. (“Good! It must be nice!” I thought.) Then, the sales person said: “You know…it smells a lot like Pure Malt to me…which smelled a lot like Pure Coffee.”

The “Pure” flankers have been successful for Thierry Mugler, but instead of putting these popular scents in the fragrance line-up permanently, the company "freshens" the Pure brand each year by folding a new note into a non-changing base formula. Perhaps fans of the Pure fragrances regard the line as one scent, with a different “flourish” each year. Think of it this way: you love a restaurant’s roasted tomato soup. You order the soup every time you visit the restaurant, even though the soup’s garnish often changes: a sprig of fried basil one day, some minced chive and crème fraîche or curried croutons another day. You get the same soup but with an added, new, flavor. A*Men Pure Coffee (my favorite of the Pure fragrances) accented coffee and chocolate; A*Men Pure Malt highlighted a cereal note; and A*Men Pure Havane provides a sheer, sweet touch of tobacco; but all three fragrances share the same oriental-amber heart and base notes.

Thierry Mugler Pure HavanePure Havane opens with “tobacco lite” (read my review of SoOud Asmar and then imagine that scent in Eau de Cologne formulation, much sheerer). Pure Havane is nicely done, but “standard issue” in many ways (the way it presents tobacco surrounded by honey and amber for one). After Pure Havane’s tobacco burns off, you’re left with the A*Men Pure oriental middle and base notes of vanilla, woods, patchouli, musk and, perhaps, some vetiver.

I like Pure Havane, but I have plenty of sweet tobacco perfumes in my collection (as well as A*Men Pure Coffee). If you don't own an A*Men Pure fragrance and you’ve been looking for a lighter-than-usual (but not unusual) tobacco perfume, give A*Men Pure Havane a try.

Like the other A*Men Pure fragrances, A*Men Pure Havane will not be around long. Thierry Mugler A*Men Pure Havane Eau de Toilette costs $80 for a 100 ml spray; it is currently a Nordstrom exclusive in the U.S.

Note: top image via Wikimedia Commons.

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36 Comments

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  1. Bear says:

    Bought mine off the Thierry Mugler website and have been wearing it, off and on, for the past 3 weeks.
    Part A*Men, part B*Men and a spritz of SSS Tabac Aurea. YMMV
    Sweet and long-lasting on my skin. Nice.
    I’m wearing the discontinued B*Men today and this may be my favourite of the entire Thierry Mugler line.

    • RuthW says:

      I would love to know your impression of B*Men! My DH birthday is coming up next month and I was trying to decide which flanker to get him.
      I personally wear the original A*Men and he likes it on me but finds the tar, chocolate, caramel combo too heavy and sweet for himself.

      • Bear says:

        B*Men is gourmand and woody, it was the most difficult of the TMs
        to like, but once I did I liked it alot.
        There is liquorice, oak, caramel and vetiver, if you find it reasonably priced @ TJMaxx, buy it. If your husband has trouble with sweetness, it may be a no-go, but you will probably like it because you wear A*Men.

        • RuthW says:

          Thanks, very much appreciate your opinion – I will give B*Men a try since it’s cheap online.
          Did you ever try the Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights? Thought you were interested in that one a while back.

          • Bear says:

            Yes, I did – tested @ Boscovs and that was an interesting powdery patchouli. Will buy from one of the online discounters, it didn’t disappoint. Enjoy B*Men!

    • Kevin says:

      B: never had a chance to try the B*Men.

  2. Absolute Scentualist says:

    Thanks for this review, Kevin. Mr. Ab. Scent has been wanting to branch out more in cologne (and I want to co-opt his new colognes) so we’ve been trying to track down the Pure Coffee, which seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. This was his second choice for the ‘must try/acquire’ list.

    I got a promo email from Thierry Mugler on Pure Havane and it looked intriguing, but since he loves coffee I figured we’d start with the A*Men Pure Coffee. If anyone has suggestions on how to track some down, that’d be awesome! I’ve only found one iffy post on Evilbay, but admit I’m not always the best at searching.

    I think this would be really lovely for summer, especially during poker night out on the sun porch with friends. I’m the only non-smoker of the bunch but can smell like I’ve been lingering in tobacco shops, which I think smell absolutely wonderful. And I need a summer substitute for Back to Black and Sweet Oriental Dream so I don’t suffocate my friends in deliciousness. :D

    • Bear says:

      I’m afraid Pure Coffee is a lost cause, I’ve been trying to find a replacement bottle (finished mine last year) and nobody has it.
      Not even ebay where someone will usually list discontinued scents @ outrageous prices.

    • Karin says:

      The Thierry Mugler website re-issued it (or re-released it) for a short period of time – I think it was last year. I remember receiving an email about it. Having never tried it, I didn’t bite. But should have cause now it’s impossible to get!

    • Kevin says:

      AbScent: PureCoffee was hard to find in its year of release…let alone now. Trying to to think of another “coffee” scent….

    • nozknoz says:

      You might try Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe, Ab Scent. Not overly complex, but pleasant.

  3. Well dangit, Kevin. Now I want roasted tomato soup and we’re still three months from tomato season. ;-)

    • Erin says:

      Agreed! I have a decant of Pure Coffee coming (still… 4 weeks after ordering, darn you Canada Post), was intrigued but not in love with Pure Malt, and have been looking for this one — but what I really want now is garnished tomato soup. These comments have also reminded me to pick up a bottle of B*Men. It’s kind of odd to try to hold B*Men and tomato soup in my head at one time.

    • Kevin says:

      sweetlife: the wait will make it all the more delicious…!

  4. mayk says:

    photo made my day.

    • Kevin says:

      Mayk: a good one, huh?

  5. APassionateJourney says:

    There was a poster that’s a Thierry Mugler rep that posts here and she said you can find Pure Coffee but she never came back to say where! I think she’s in the Angel Review or the Womanity Review. I would like to try Pure Coffee soooooooo bad!

    I liked Pure Havane, it just reminded me too much of Angel in the top notes and the bottom notes were fantastic but it smelled kinda like Jo Malaone’s sweet Milk so I just went ahead and bought that one since I won’t have to wait forever for the good dry-down to come with that fragrance.

    • Kevin says:

      APJ: If it was mentioned in the Angel review that was awhile back…not even super sleuths can find Pure Coffee now.

  6. I’ve been looking forward to this. I own Malt and Coffee, I gather from your review I won’t be needing this one huh?

    • Kevin says:

      C: I don’t believe so.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the great review Kevin, I’m not an A*Men fan so I’m not going to go out of my way to track this one down.

    • Kevin says:

      Jeremy: you’re welcome

  8. dee says:

    I really, really like this one, and not having tried either the original or the earlier riffs, can’t comment on that aspect.

    Very easy to wear, and impossible to over-apply, I was a tad disappointed with the lasting power—Bear mentions that it lasts on his skin, but on me, I think I applied it four times when I wore it on Saturday! And not just because I wanted to re-live the top notes ;)

    • Kevin says:

      Dee: the tobacco notes are fleeting for sure, but this lasts on me all day.

  9. krokodilgena says:

    I was thinking about buying this.
    But then the post about Bvlgari being bought made me paranoid and now I need to buy Black.

    I think I’m being persuaded by the limited-ness anyway, I probably would be fine with the original A*Men and I don’t have to run to buy that right this instant etc.

    • RuthW says:

      Just bought a bottle of Black yesterday for that same reason – good price on 2.5 oz tester bottle at Beautyencounter.com (under $25) if you are looking and don’t mind buying online.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Yeah, I guess I’m a lemming. . .I just ordered my back-up bottle. They must’ve just increased the price at Beauty Encounter, but I still got a good deal on a tester bottle elsewhere. I gotta say I’m not much of a hoarder, so I’m having quite the internal battle about this. I don’t like owning stuff I don’t need, but I also get such joy from fragrances that I love! It really is a shame that you can’t count on them to stick around and stay the same.

        BTW, there were two minis of A*Men Coffee on eBay last week, but they were in the UK. I haven’t actually sniffed any of these, but of them, coffee sounds the most interesting to me. Who knows, maybe some day they’ll do a little set of minis? (Too optimistic?)

        • krokodilgena says:

          I have a sample vial of A*Men Pure Coffee….I like A*Men better 2bh.
          I haven’t smelled Pure Malt since..2009? I regretted not buying it but 2bh I think I was probably ~*brainwashed*~.
          To me the coffee in A*Men is already really pronounced…?

  10. BigslyFragrance says:

    I have yet to sample PH, but as the hype built up for it (on BN) I happened to acquire a fragrance called Tobaco Latino (Nature’s Elements), which is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s like a toned-down B*Men with spice notes removed, and then a dry, leafy tobacco note was added (somewhat like an unsmoked cigarette). I’ve seen it sell for very good price (under $20 for 100 ml) so that’s one to check out too !

  11. nozknoz says:

    A new Old Spice ad, March reviewing A SCENT STRIP (!!!) on Perfume Posse, and now this amazing photo – this has been a GREAT week – and it’s only Wednesday! :-)

    • ggperfume says:

      Agree!

    • Kevin says:

      Noz: glad you appreciate the photo!

  12. platinum14 says:

    When to try it yesterday after reading your article.
    … nice but it’s not for me. I was hoping for more tobacco.
    Also, for so reason, I find that in person the bottle looks incredibly cheap. The plastic-doll-flesh-colour bottle is not doing it for me.
    Maybe I’m just getting too darn picky.

    • Kevin says:

      Plat: nope, I hate the bottles too.

  13. ocarina says:

    You know, Thierry Mugler has really painted himself into a corner with the names of his men’s scents.

    First there was A*MEN.
    Next, there was B*MEN.

    What’s the obvious next one? (AACK)

    No wonder they keep releasing flankers.

  14. Merlin says:

    Hi Kevin, I have just seen this here in South Africa: the first A*men flanker I’v seen/smelled. It smells to me like a proper tobacco shop for a while and now like a good masculine oriental. Its also the first tobacco scent which does actually smell like luxury unlit cigars on my skin. Very Nice. Still, I’m a little overstocked on orientals so I may give this one a skip…

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