Just when you thought I would never finish reviewing candles, this happens. I contacted FragranceNet.com using their blogger outreach program, and they generously sent me a product of my choice – Thierry Mugler’s A*Men Pure Havane – to review on this blog. In case you don’t know, FragranceNet.com sells authentic brand name products – anything from fine fragrances to makeup and more – for a fraction of the retail price. My family’s ordered with them before and gotten excellent service (not to mention price!), so I was excited to work with them. I originally planned to write about this in late October, but then I found out they were giving me a discount code to share with all of my readers and since it expires in September, it was of uttermost importance for me to write this immediately.
Thierry Mugler is a French design house, famous for perfumery legends such as 1992’s Angel and 1996’s A*Men (and their many variations, as well). 2011’s Pure Havane is a spin-off of A*Men, the classic men’s cologne with a prominent note of coffee and sticky honey with a bit of a fresh mint. On side-by-side comparison they’re both very similar, but I prefer Pure Havane for its beautifully rich tobacco note.
***The following information applies to the 100 mL version***
I was almost as excited to get the box as I was to smell the fragrance – weird, I know. The entire thing is a dark brown rectangle, with lots of gold accents. The front of the box reads A*MEN / PURE HAVANE / Thierry Mugler / EAU DE TOILETTE / EDITION LIMITEE / LIMITED EDITION / e 100 mL / 3.4 Fl. Oz. The side of the box reads:
“When A*Men meets the Havana Cigar Smoker… Discover the tale of a fragrance inspired by the rule of thirds found in the art of savoring the finest Cigars. Just like a Cigar, the first third of the fragrance opens with a gentle aromatic note, without revealing anything of the intensity that is to come. The second third unfurls a note of honey-sweet tobacco that leads subtly to the final third, where the sensual woody power is revived.”
If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will. I like that the back face of the box has an image of the bottle, and that there’s another, smaller cardboard box inside that really resembles the cigar box it’s supposed to represent. The box also comes with a unique code to register for Thierry Mugler’s ‘circle’, which is a reward program of sorts for Thierry Mugler products.
Honest hour: this is certainly one of the more unusual fragrance bottles I own. It’s based on the original A*Men bottle, which was designed by Thierry Mugler. Flask-shaped, brown in color, made of a sleek rubber material that somehow manages to feel expensive. The front features a large glass star, orange in color, to keep in line with the rest of the collection (blue for A*Men, solid gold for Pure Coffee, light blue for Pure Energy, blood orange for Pure Malt, dark blue for Pure Shot, etc.). The spray mechanism is built into the bottle, which makes it a bit tricky to operate but gives a solid blast of fragrance nonetheless. I just love how sophisticated the bottle looks, and because of its thick material I wouldn’t hesitate to travel with it.
Alright, I’ve teased you long enough – by now you’re probably dying to know what this beast of a cologne smells like. Fragrantica lists Pure Havane as an Oriental Vanilla, but I think it fits much better under Oriental Gourmand. It starts off with a tangy honey note, which mixes in with rivers of melted dark chocolate and vanilla. A sharp tobacco note emerges, but not offensively like a cigarette on the street – gently, with pride and elegance. I almost get a caramel scent as well, and over time this beautiful cologne dries down to a deep tobacco and woody combination that is exquisite. It doesn’t feel like this fragrance follows the traditional top-middle-base structure, as the notes coexist in such perfect harmony that you’re just drawn to it. It’s truly lovely, highly unusual, perfect for a night out. The throw is very good, and you can go for many hours without needing to reapply. I almost feel as if this could be a unisex fragrance, simply because there’s not any one thing in here that screams masculine.
Once again, thank you to FragranceNet.com (and Assunta, in particular!) for sending me this fragrance to review, and as a thank you to all the readers who make this possible, here is a code good for any purchase on FragranceNet.com to take 15% off your order (expires September 30th).
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