>Bertrand Duchaufour, one of the most talented noses of the century, has created a fragrance whose purpose is to evoke the spices of the Caribbean, yet on my skin, it tells a different story. Havana Vanille does not take me to Cuba but to Paris; I am transported to a smoky cafe where the legendary the Josephine Baker is performing one of her signature sensual/erotic dances. Thanks to the racism and segregation of her country of birth, the American-born Baker became a citizen of France in 1937, flourishing variously as the "Black Venus", "Black Pearl", and "Creole Goddess."
The L'Artisan fragrance is a dance composition:
Top Note of clove and crystallized dried fruit; its leathery characteristics sashay by in a ball of vanilla and powder. The Heart Note of narcissus, everlasting flower and tonka bean is reminiscent of freshly picked tobacco leaves, both honey-sweet and as hypnotizing as Ms. Baker's famed banana dance. The Base Note blend of balms, smoked woods and musks around a vanilla absolute make the fragrance creamy, not to mention addictive. A luminous and mysterious harmony, Havana Vanille is indeed the fragrance of a magical place. "I improvised, crazed by the music. Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever. Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone," Ms Baker once said.
- Michelyn Camen
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