Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Czech & Speake's Cuba is the Smell of Heat, Sex, Mojitos, Mambo, and Cigars

I feel like taking a break from the Hermes for a bit, and I did give a quick teaser of Czech & Speake’s Cuba yesterday, so I should probably end the suspense and commence with a full review.

Before I even tried Cuba, BitterGrace described it to me as “quite a mélange – sweet, spicy, green, animalic, etc. Kinda smells like a Havana nightclub, circa 1950.” I include her words here because, really, I couldn’t have said it better, myself. Cuba has all of the olfactory elements I associate with a hot night in tropics. The notes of tobacco, lime, rum, and mint come together in a way that evokes mojitos and Cuban cigars. The vetiver and other vegetative and woody components bring to mind palm trees emitting their fragrance on a warm tropical breeze, while the animalic thread is suggestive of sweat and aggressive sexuality. And something in there smells like green bananas to me, though I’m not sure that was intentional.

As I said yesterday, Cuba is an intensely interesting cologne. Nothing about it is even remotely dull. Czech & Speake markets it as a unisex fragrance, but it smells like pure testosterone to me. I suspect it takes a big personality to wear Cuba well, and I don’t think I could pull it off in a thousand years. It’s definitely a work of art, though, for painting such a perfect picture of a very specific time and place.

Image note: I wanted to use something sexy here – a vintage photo of people dancing a mambo or something – but nothing really fit the bill, so this is just a cool iconic photo that seemed to capture the appropriate era. Many thanks to Belgian photographer Ulrik De Wachter, who kindly shared this photo over at Stock Exchange.


Julie H. Rose said...

That car is incredibly phallic.

Why do think you couldn't "pull off" wearing Cuba?

I think I'd wear it, and I speak in a low voice that nobody can hear.

Anyway, it is a fascinating scent. The mint is a surprise to me, for I'd normally be completely turned off my any olfactory mint (outside of toothpaste and linament).

I hope I get the same lovely package that you got! I never tire of sniffing new scents.

jmcleod76 said...

Tough to say, Julie, but maybe that's just my cop-out way of saying I recognize that it's good, but don't like smelling like it. Sort of like saying I enjoy looking at Guernica, but wouldn't hang it over the sofa.

That car is pretty phallic, now that you mention it. Maybe that's why I chose it ... I wanted to express virility.

BitterGrace said...

I think Cuba is extremely virile, too--and yet, when I'm in just the right mood, I can wear it. Dave will wear it almost as rarely. Which means our bottle will last for decades. If you guys know anybody who'd like a decant, send them my way.