Whenever I try out a blind buy for the first time, I always hope that I’ll love it, because when it comes to perfumes, I’m a slut with my affections, just like Stockard Channing in Grease. But I particularly hoped that I’d love Molinard’s Habanita, because even if it turned out I’d bought a 1oz stinkbomb, I knew I was still going to have to double down on that blind buyer’s remorse and pony up for a bigger bottle because oh my goodness just look at this thing:
This bottle has a bas relief of Grecian women on it! I usually need a healthy pop of color (and by pop, I mean neon and pastel explosion) to get fired up for my flacons, but even my Rainbow-Too-Bright sensibilities are no match for this elegant beauty in classic black. I simply must have it.
It doesn’t hurt, thankfully, that Habanita is absolutely delicious.
When I first tried it on this morning (a cheat of a spritz on my forearm before I showered because I had already held back all weekend and couldn’t wait any longer), I was struck as much by it’s luscious, powdery opening as I was by how instantly familiar it felt. I darted to my room to fetch another perfume, gave my other hand a spritz, and my suspicions were confirmed: Habanita is cardigans-and-poodle-skirts Olivia Newton John in the beginning of Grease, and Shalimar is that cigarette-smoking tramp Sandy at the end:
Much like Shalimar, Habanita is classic Oriental spice and smoke intermingling with a seductive, scrumptious vanilla base.The difference is entirely in ease of wear. Shalimar’s base of tonka/vanilla base is one-of-a-kind and worth the wait, but it’s hiding behind thick plumes of spicy smoke, sharp citrus, and a slinky slow dry down. It’s…aggressive.
On the other (perfumed) hand, Habanita’s vanilla base isn’t quite so singular, but it’s surrounded by sandalwood and white florals so powdery they could set your makeup, and trailed by peppery nutmeg. It’s decadent yet somehow tastefully shy of excessive. The sillage is safe for work, and Habanita casually evolves throughout the day, sharp like a traditional men’s cologne one moment, delicate and sumptuous the next. My only qualm with Habinata is that it’s so delightful that I want to wear it again and again and again, and for someone with literally bags full of perfume samples they’re desperate to work through, that’s a problem.
So, after a first day of wear, I’m inclined to say that Habanita is Olivia Newton John in Grease: she’s a delightful beauty hiding a bit of bad girl, a bit of a shapeshifter, and she looks stunning in black.