Saturday, June 11, 2011

Havana Affair

by J.S. Holland

I didn't go into Macy's intending to walk out with an $80 bottle of cologne, but sometimes fate arranges these things. I was on a quest for a Stetson hat that came up fruitless, actually. But on my meandering way wandering out I stopped at the cologne counter to see if they had any Fahrenheit 32 (Henri Bendel aside, my scent of choice). I got hornswoggled into trying a buncha new stuff by a smooth-talkin' gal who was actually not in the employ of Macy's but travels from venue to venue setting up as a guest vendor, hyping various specialty lines of product.

I was actually getting sucked in to her sales pitch (no one can sell men's products to a man better than a woman) on a couple of different products like Burberry and Thierry Mugler A*Men, when she just happened to mention that she was also workin' a new ultra-limited edition A*Men line that smelled like cigars. Yes, cigars.

I was sold on it before she even sprayed the tester-bottle onto the paper card.

A*Men Havane, it's called, and it's part of this once-a-year series of small-batch smellums they put out for men (coffee and malt have been past themes). I can see why they do 'em in limited fancy runs - most people either avoid the smell of tobacco, or they smell like tobacco already. But this cologne has a musky vanilla undercurrent that the rich tobacco-leaf scent lays stretched out on, like a nubile Goth girl sprawled across a gravestone in some hipster photographer's portfolio. That is to say, I like it.

I confess I initially doubted the saleslady's forthrightness about the exclusity of the stuff, and ran down to Sephora real quick to see if they offered it cheaper and in a smaller bottle. Asked two different people there and neither had even heard of the stuff. So I immediately shlepped back to Macy's and plunked down the card. Sold American. Er, Cuban.

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