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.