The Truly Great Relationships – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanille Absolument (Havana Vanille)

Ah, the house of L’Artisan…

So many fragrances I love come from L’Artisan Parfumeur, a french perfume house that was founded by Jean Laporte in 1976, who later left the company to found Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. It is now backed by a US firm. In 2008 Bertrand Duchaufour was hired, who has since created many wonderful scents for L’Artisan. The house has a devoted following among perfumistas.

vanille absolument

A perfect scent for the colder seasons is the recently renamed Vanille Absolument, the perfume formerly known as Havana Vanille. I had a moment of real panic when I couldn’t find Havana Vanille anymore in the line-up, but thankfully the fragrance is the same, only the name has changed (for copyright reasons as far as I could discern).

Developed in 2009 by Bertrand Duchaufour, it is a part of the Travel Series (others in this series are Dzongkha, Fleur de Liane, Bois Farine and Timbuktu, as well as the recently released Traversee du Bosphore). Official notes are: rum, clove, dried fruits, narcissus, tonka bean, helichrysum, vanilla, smoked woods, moss and balsamic notes.

Vanille Absolument is a scrumptious, delicious, gourmand-y festival for the nose and the soul. Rum-heavy, sweet and indulgent from the start it proceeds to develop into a perfect vanilla scent with smoky hints of tobacco leaves on a bed of balsamic and woody-mossy notes. It is an Eau de Parfum, of which I wish there were more in the L’Artisan line up, so it is fairly long lasting and wonderfully soft and cozy. When I wear it, I always get compliments, it is a true feel good scent.

For me, in the beginning it smells like a big bowl of rum-laced, still warm custard, but strangely enough it is not overwhelmingly sweet or too heavy (like other vanilla scents I know, cough-Comptoir Sud Pacifique-cough).

Later it calms down and gets rid of the foody associations to provide a mellow tobacco-vanilla cloud to just lose oneself in, the longer it wears the drier it gets, but that is fine. I love it especially when I encounter it unexpectedly on a scarf or a sweater, it holds a perfect balance between being comforting and still remaining interesting.

That is the stuff truly great relationships are made of…

Picture sources:,,, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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14 Responses to The Truly Great Relationships – Review: L’Artisan Parfumeur Vanille Absolument (Havana Vanille)

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  5. Polly says:

    Hello, I have recently found (and fallen in love with) your blog. I am on a relatively new road to discovering perfume and this post has raised a question: I already own Vanille Absolument but am also tempted very much by Safran troublant – is it worth having both?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Polly, I’m glad you discovered my blog and are enjoying it.
      Those two L’Artisan perfums are among my favorites from the line. They are very different though. Aside from the fact that buying unsniffed is never a good idea, I’d say the two are different enough to warrant owning both. Safran Troublant is a gorgeous and unique scent that is wonderful year-round, but especially cosy in the fall and winter time.

  6. Polly says:

    Thank you very much! I first fell in love with SF when buying Timbuktu. I have not committed to a full bottle purchase but I think this has swayed me. Thanks again!

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  8. ninakane1 says:

    I absolutely love it (as my comments on Neil’s Vanilla posts will testify!), and thanks for this great review here. It’s a perfume that clearly divides opinion, and has some odd notes here and there perhaps, but I like it all the more for that. Feel very motivated and energised when I wear this, and it evokes stories from a particular time when my boy (now 17!) was a toddler! I was lucky enough to find a bottle of it in TK Max for £5.99, and am trying to make it last.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wow, what a bargain find!
      I’m glad you enjoyed this review, opinions are personal, perfume reviews are subjective after all. That is why I love being able to present a few different angles on my blog through guest posters like Neil.

      • ninakane1 says:

        It’s lovely that you do that, and makes your blog wonderful to read. It’s great to have different opinions, as perfume is so personal and subjective like you say, but something of the perfume’s character seems to emerge through these writings which makes it so interesting.

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