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Czech and Speake Cuba

Item Description

I´ve sampled a few of the other C&S offerings, but wasn´t impressed. Not that they weren´t quality products, they just weren´t for me. #88 is especiallly awful to my nose, so if you´re fond of that scent you might not approve of Cuba.

My ratings reflect that my review is based on a (rather large) sample, so I haven´t rated packaging, atomizer etc.

Cuba is a complex blend of scents, you can no doubt find a full listing of notes on the C&S webpage or Basenotes. It starts off with a refreshing mojitoesque mix of mint, citrus and rum, moving into a spicy middle and landing in a woody drydown. To my nose there's a rather strong influence of tobacco in the base. Very pleasant all round, and unlike anything else I´ve experienced.

I haven´t worn this in warmer weather, but it has certainly livened up the bleak Scandinavian winter. Longevity is good as well. My sample is running low and it looks like I´ll soon have to bite the bullet, dig a hole in my wallet, and order the full size. Money well spent IMHO.

Latest reviews

I like #88 & Dark Rose but this smelled like fecal matter on my skin. I thought it would get to a tobacco/leather dry down. Unfortunately it stay smelling like pooh. I won't try this again and of course YMMV .
Price
3.00 star(s)
Scent
1.00 star(s)
Quality
1.00 star(s)
Packaging
1.00 star(s)
Complexity
1.00 star(s)
Staying Power
3.00 star(s)
Quality of Atomizer
1.00 star(s)
Pros: Read the review, it smells fantastic!
Cons: Staying power is poor.
Short review: Cuba smells like a leather jacket that belonged to a favourite uncle, who was a smoker. The long review follows:001_smile

This is my first review on this forum, and this is certainly a worthy product for me to pop my reviewing cherry with...

Price: I got this at a lower price than retail from someone in the UK, but I would have been prepared to pay full retail for it. Although it's in the same price range as the mainstream type stuff that you see advertised in glossy magazines, the quality of this perfume is substantially higher. I guess there will always be guys who complain if something costs more than the proverbial song and a sixpence (and they may have a point), but this is a good product with a reasonable price tag.

Quality: I think this one is a bit subjective in the context of a perfume, but it's plainly evident that both the base materials in this scent, and the expertise in blending it, are of a higher than average standard.

Packaging: The C & S sample pack is very plush indeed, with a huge amount of attention to detail, so I was a tiny bit perplexed at the minimalist packaging which a full bottle arrives in. It does, however, make perfect sense - our English friends are the original masters of understated elegance, and as a designer, I can appreciate what they're doing here. Everything about this product is as elegant as you could wish for, from the plain boldness of the box (communist red, with a checkerboard trim, and some nice embossing on the logo) to the ruby-coloured bottle with its stark label. There are also lovely little flourishes which stand out nicely against this simplistic backdrop - the black and white seal on the box, the neat little "collar" on the neck of the bottle, the matte finish on the cap. Very cool!

Scent & Complexity:This is where it gets interesting; if, like myself, you have something of a resistance to aquatic fragrances, then rest assured that Cuba is as close to a perfect counterblaste against aquatics as anyone could wish for. If you believe that perfumes and their wearers should smell squeaky clean - like a bar of limp-wristed, watermelon-smelling, transparent blue glycerine soap sitting in a fake seashell in some spinster's boudoir (aquatic fragrances, I'm looking at you) then Cuba is probably not for you. There's loads of tobacco here: loose-leaf tobacco in the opening, and rich, acrid, cigar tobacco in the drydown. There are also herbal and spicy elements, and a faint hint of lime which seems to precipitate for brief intervals, and then fade away.
One noteworthy thing that I've experienced about Cuba is that it is more sensitive to climate than any other fragrance I've tried. Wear it on a cold day, and the herbal elements really come to the forefront, and stick around for hours. The tobacco notes only seem to rear their heads a few hours into the drydown, and in a very subtle way. This is also the only time I can detect the fabled rum note in Cuba - I experience it as a light / gold rum scent (very much like Havana Club, surprise surprise). Wear it on a hot day, however, and it's all tobacco and sharp molasses goodness (more details below) - the herbs and lime last for about 30 seconds before disappearing.
About that faecal note: I do believe it's in here. At any rate, there is a sharpness to this scent (and to several others in the C & S lineup) which I think is what makes them so offensive to many folks (fans of aquatics in particular). On my skin, I detect it as a very deep and slightly sharp scent of molasses. I can imagine, though, that it may turn ugly on some people's skin - the answer is to plunk down the £5 for the sample pack, and see how you like it (money very well spent, I think).

Staying power: The one shortcoming of Cuba, IMHO. Staying power is intermediate to poor, and it also wears pretty close to the skin - I don't get more than 4 or 5 hours of decent service from it at the most. That being said, I do have fairly dry skin, so other folks may have more success in this regard.

Quality of atomizer: Excellent. It pumps out a very fine mist, in quite a broad arc. No spilling or wasting.
Price
4.00 star(s)
Scent
4.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Packaging
4.00 star(s)
Complexity
4.00 star(s)
Staying Power
2.00 star(s)
Quality of Atomizer
5.00 star(s)
Cuba isn't really anything to write home about. The fragrance I mean, not the country.

Really, it's just a dirty, rummy, cedar scent on my skin - with extra cedar, as that note really jumps out at me. And unless it is artfully blended, I'm not a huge fan of cedar in cologne. This isn't very well done, and I get a hamster-cage vibe from it.

I've worn it from a sample sent by a fellow B&B member, so I can't comment on packaging, atomizer, etc. I can say that longevity is middling-to-poor, and sillage is so-so. The overall impression here is that Cuba is a dirty leather, meets old rum, meets hamster lining and no, there is nothing fecal in Cuba to my nose, probably because, like most sane people, the folks at Czech & Speake aren't too keen on inserting obvious crap notes into their toiletries. Is there a somewhat indolic element in there? I don't know, maybe. Not nearly as much as in Mimosa by the same house.

For the money, I'd say this is a waste. Even if you like the scent at first, you'll probably tire of it relatively quickly. And no one else will be gushing over how great it smells, either. Life is short, you know? Why settle for something so sub-par?



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Price
1.00 star(s)
Scent
3.00 star(s)
Quality
3.00 star(s)
Packaging
1.00 star(s)
Complexity
3.00 star(s)
Staying Power
2.00 star(s)
Quality of Atomizer
1.00 star(s)

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