This listing is for a 110ml (3 3/4 fl. oz.) vintage bottle of Molinard Habanita EDT. It is a new, old stock bottle with just a bit of evaporation. The bottle and label are in beautiful condition. The box is in rather good condition considering its age.
Molinard was founded in 1849 in Grasse, Provence, France. It still is a family-run business and is the oldest of its kind. They have been in the same perfume factory building since 1900, a building that was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Patty and I had the pleasure of touring Molinard a number of years back and I pretty much think it is a one-of-a-kind place.
Molinard launched Habanita in 1921. I'm sure they had no clue at the time that this fragrance would still be popular nearly 100 years later. It was originally marketed as a product to scent cigarettes and not a perfume. It was available in scented sachets to slide into a pack of cigarettes, or in liquid form: "A glass rod dipped in this fragrance and drawn along a lighted cigarette will perfume the smoke with a delicious, lasting aroma" (quoted in The Book of Perfume, page 76). By 1924 Molinard had launched Habanita as a perfume for women.
There seems to be a number of different listings for the notes in Habanita. I've compiled them into our listing. Habanita is an oriental chypre leather fragrance featuring top notes of orange blossom, raspberry, peach, bergamot and galbanum; middle notes of lilac, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang and rose; and base notes of leather, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood and cedar.
Habanita is probably one of the most reviewed fragrances on the Internet and there seems to be quite a bit of a love/hate thing going on. From "masterpiece" to "vile" and "heavenly" to "offensive", the feelings differ but one thing that can be said is that Habanita is that it does illicit a strong response. It has been described as "unique, kind of freaky little fragrance", "I love it; I hate it", "I don't understand this perfume", "definitely an acquired taste", "interesting, definitely not boring" and "scary".
I think it is best summed up by christianne1 on fragrantica who said: "Habanita isn't a perfume; it is an experience."
Susan Irvine's Perfume Guide describes Habanita as the "corrupt, sweet flesh of a sinner".
Thenonblonde calls it "the love child of Bandit and Shalimar".
Luca Turin gave it four stars in his book Perfumes: The A-Z Guide and named its overall description as "Vetiver Vanilla". His review is as follows: "Molinard, like all the Grasse firms ending in -ard (like Fragonard and Galimard) makes mostly cheap and cherrful stuff for its factory shop, and only one serious fragrance worth mentioning, the colossal Habanita., Allegedly composed by a Grasse pharmacist in 1921 (shades of Francois Coty's early days, when he learned fragrance composition making lotions in a pharmacy), it juxtaposes vetiver and vanilla in such a way that both disappear and are replaced with something that is not the sum, more like a vector product of the two. I once described it as Arthur Miller arm in arm with Marilyn Monroe, but in truth it would be their gorgeous hypothetical child."
It is interesting to note that L'Artisan Seville a l'Aube which was created by Bertrand Duchafour in collaboration with writer Denyse Beaulieu and was inspired by her experiences of a passionate night in Seville during Holy Week many years ago, has a "Habanita" accord in it since that was the fragrance she was wearing at the time.
The vintage EDT is very leathery, dusty, musky, smoky and incensy. It is a big tobacco scent that actually has no tobacco note in it. It's created by the smoky vetiver. I find it starts more as a chypre leather with a cloud of baby powder that fades away quickly and settles into a leathery scent. Fascinating, deep and utterly intoxicating. It is definitely a fragrance that everyone should try especially in a vintage formulation.
Francis Kurkdjian (Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris)