Comparison: Montana Parfum d'Homme vs Aramis Havana | Basenotes

Comparison: Montana Parfum d'Homme vs Aramis Havana

Which do you prefer?

  • Montana Parfum d'Homme

    Votes: 8 47.1%
  • Aramis Havana

    Votes: 9 52.9%

  • Total voters
    17

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
First thing's first. Montana Parfum d'Homme was launched in 1989 by Claude Montana, perfumed by Edouard Flecher. It seems a little-known brand in the US. Conversely, Lauder-helmed Aramis is very known in the states.

Aramis Havana on the other hand, was launched in 1994 and perfumed by two people working for Givaudan: Nathalie Feisthaur and Xavier Renard. Both center mainly around a floral Cohiba-like tobacco note and get compared a lot, but I feel their similarities end at the subject matter.

So which one do you prefer? Why?

Montana Parfum d'Homme


or

Aramis Havana


For me personally, the differences are that Montana is clearly richer, mossier, and more floral in the heart. The tonka/tobacco note is smoother and more blended, and the perfume feels rounder. Spice does not play as big a role here, but it's there.

Aramis Havana has a bigger spice element, more smoke, and has a bay rum facet that is more noticeable. Havana feels cruder, more boisterous, rowdy even.

Both are ultimately very sophisticated and masculine tobacco fragrances, but the Montana comes across more urbane and upscale to me, while the Havana feels more at home at a basement poker game in the blue collar burbs.

I actually prefer the Montana in this instance, plus I suck at poker. :lolk:

Bonus points: Do you think Aramis was inspired by Montana in any way with Havana? If so, why?
 
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Bavard

Wearing Perfume Right Now
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2015
I’m guessing that Havana was influenced by Montana. To me, they’re a lot alike (plus Salvador Dali, Gengis Khan, and Witness).

Vintage Havana is my favorite of these, I think, but I’m only a half-hearted fan. (Tuscany is the Aramis for me, from what I’ve tried, which does not yet include the original, vintage Aramis).
 

nosey74

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2014
So which one do you prefer? Why?

Montana Parfum d'Homme

or

Aramis Havana


After pulling out the mini Havana for a side by side comparison, I much prefer Montana Parfum d'Homme - it smells fuller, richer, and multidimensional compared to Havana which still smells nice but IMHO is flatter and less interesting. Montana for when you want to be noticed and Havana when you don't or Montana when it's cold outside and Havana in hot weather?


Bonus points: Do you think Aramis was inspired by Montana in any way with Havana? If so, why?


Yes, now that you've laid out the facts, I can't help but think Aramis was inspired by Montana!

WpcrnoY.jpg
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
[...]
Both are ultimately very sophisticated and masculine tobacco fragrances, but the Montana comes across more urbane and upscale to me, while the Havana feels more at home at a basement poker game in the blue collar burbs.

I actually prefer the Montana in this instance, plus I suck at poker. [...]

Exacly my thoughts. I think Montana's is more refined/accomplished, and Havana more raw/experimental. Although I find the tobacco note in the base of Havana to be unequaled, one needs two hours of harsh lemony/spicy florals (I'll risk to say it: a bit dated) in the top to arrive there. While PdH is a magnificient masculine from the first minute of wearing, and still has a beautiful leathery/tobacco drydown. Still, Havana remains a great Parfum d'Homme 'flanker' :)
Bonus points: Do you think Aramis was inspired by Montana in any way with Havana? If so, why?

I think so. Why? Because the similarities, as well as the release dates leave little doubt, and that is not the first attempt by the house of Aramis to do so: it is sufficient to see the history:

- Aramis original (1966) highly inspired by Gres Cabochard (1959).... both by Bernard Chant. And if that wasn't enough...
- Etruscan/Tuscany (1984) highly inspired by Azzaro pour Homme (1978)... ApH blended by Gerard Anthony, and for Tuscany, it's undisclosed...

But when clone houses are owned by westerners, we say 'inspired by', not 'clone', obviously....
 
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LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
I prefer Havana, pretty easily. You sort of stated why, though it was part of your reasoning for preferring Montana:

For me personally, the differences are that Montana is clearly richer, mossier, and more floral in the heart. The tonka/tobacco note is smoother and more blended, and the perfume feels rounder. Spice does not play as big a role here, but it's there.

Aramis Havana has a bigger spice element, more smoke, and has a bay rum facet that is more noticeable. Havana feels cruder, more boisterous, rowdy even.


I like Havana's tropical vibe and its boozy element, and think those things make it unique among spicy aromatic fougeres. Montana might smell more upscale, but it's also on the austere/serious side of the spectrum. Nothing wrong with that, but other contenders that scratch that itch in a way I like more...RL Safari particularly comes to mind.

I do need to break out my decant of Montana again and maybe have a little spicy fougere battle royale. Despite liking it and this being a favorite genre, I feel like Montana got lost in the shuffle for me.
 
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stuigi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 3, 2004
Having had two bottles of Montana and about 5-6 of Havana and 2 of Reserva, I very much prefer Havana. I also think Montana was well not known, or enough of a success, to think Aramis thought it was worth copying.
 

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
Flechier, the nose behind Montana, did the flanker to Havana, Reserva, so there's more connecting the two than just aesthetics.

(For those who haven't tried it, Havane Reserva is a more linear take on the original that's a essentially an amped-up take on the original's spicy drydown.)

I like Havana's laid back tropical vibe and its boozy element, and think those things make it unique among spicy aromatic fougeres. Montana might smell more upscale, but it's also on the austere/serious side of the spectrum. Nothing wrong with that, but other contenders that scratch that itch in a way I like more
This is my POV, too.

Havana is my all-time favorite fragrance, so there wasn't much question as to which I prefer!
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
I seem to be in the minority with Montana! That's honestly fine by me, but it's interesting to see it play out! Thanks for contributing. Hope to see more chime in!
 

RCavs

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2004
I'm with Montana, but I notice a big difference between the vintage and the new (relaunched) version. Vintage seems more floral and sweeter, while the relaunched version is closer to Havana, more sour and tobacco(ey).
 

rybot

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2012
Have the vintage Montana and the reissue Aramis. Kept the Montana and moved the Aramis on. I found the Aramis less complex, and thinner. Nice enough, but personally felt it redundant and the lesser of the two...
 

LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
Have the vintage Montana and the reissue Aramis. Kept the Montana and moved the Aramis on. I found the Aramis less complex, and thinner.

I co-wore them the other day and would have to agree with this. Montana has a lot more body and heft through the base, at least compared to modern Havana. I still like the idea and theme of Havana better, and feels more dynamic in its evolution from brash spicy to tropical-boozy-tobacco-soft…but vintage Montana is just really really well done, and the base accord smells complex in and of itself.

Makes me want to try vintage Havana now…I would not be surprised if the stouter base elements are more intact. They would also make a nice layering experiment to get the best of both worlds.
 
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Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
Makes me want to try vintage Havana now…I would not be surprised if the stouter base elements are more intact. They would also make a nice layering experiment to get the best of both worlds.
As a Havana devotee, I have to say I don't think there's a very pronounced difference between the vintage and current (and twenty or so years of aging applied to the current stuff might make up the difference).
 
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LiveJazz

Funky fresh
Basenotes Plus
Mar 16, 2006
As a Havana devotee, I have to say I don't think there's a very pronounced difference between the vintage and current (and maybe twenty or so years of aging applied to the current stuff might make up the difference).

To be fair, after the opening and early heart, it feel like it’s not really apples to apples. Montana is a big boned dry mossy fougere, and Havana really leans into the smooth tobacco and sweeter booze tones. Wearing side by side really exposes that difference.

So it is a matter of intent, and saying Montana is mossier and has more structure doesn’t necessarily equate to “better.” I think I’d still pick Havana to wear frequently, but I admire Montana more than I did before this exercise.
 

zr0e

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2004
Are the made in france bottles any good? Anyone have an older thread they can point to with some comparison points? I had a bottle of this about 15 years ago but I have no idea where it went
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
Perhaps I'll run an A/B comparison as my SOTE.

…and so I am. So far, to my nose, these are fraternal rather than identical twins. In addition to the other observations noted in the thread, I would highlight the “black leather” birch tar and anise in Havana as distinguishing it from the “brown leather” tarragon and cinnamon in the Montana. Montana is cushier where Havana is harder, more angular. Even though I’m citing top notes, I’m finding they move apart as they dry down. We’ll see what another hour or so reveals.

I don’t have a preference yet, and I may wind up having none. I have ample room for both in my wardrobe, and others in this vein besides.
 
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Emanuel76

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2018
Varanis Vidari said:
Comparison: Montana Parfum d'Homme vs Aramis Havana
The vintage Aramis - Havana by a mile.
It's true, I haven't tested yet the vintage version of Montana. But I will. I want to explore all the perfumes in this category.

Although I find the tobacco note in the base of Havana to be unequaled, one needs two hours of harsh lemony/spicy florals (I'll risk to say it: a bit dated) in the top to arrive there.
Lol! That's Iso E Super in huge quantities.
You no longer need to buy an Iso E Super vial to check how it smells in isolation. It's enough to thoroughly smell for several times the base of Havana (current version) and you'll be familiar with it :grin: - cheap smelling woody-citrus vetiver. I wore Havana (current version) many times this summer. It was enough for me. Now only the vintage version exists for me.
The only quality of Iso E Super is its tenacity. Yeah, and a slight radiancy, but who tf cares for it (in this context).
And no, it's not the only difference. Although that alone should be enough.
After that you'll be able to instantly detect it everywhere. For example yesterday I wore Grimoire - an excellent perfume otherwise. It's stuffed with Iso E Super, you can feel it for hours and hours.

The vintage version of Aramis - Havana is hypnotic to me.

If I like a perfume, I'll buy the vintage version directly. Don't care anymore for "OMG! The current version is almost identical, there is no point in wasting your money".
I know very well what I love. :smiley:
I'm not wasting my time and money on mediocre perfume anymore. I've stuck thousands and thousands of euros in perfumes I don't like anynmore.
And, yeah, I have no time to waste on selling them either. It's a time consuming activity. So, as I said, thrown away money.

LATER EDIT
In fact, on a second thought it's not really thrown away money. Let's say this is the cost I had to pay to be able to appreciate awesome perfumes.

I don’t have a preference yet, and I may wind up having none. I have ample room for both in my wardrobe, and others in this vein besides.
Which are those perfumes?
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
As a note: it's not in the official comparison, but I did consider making this a 3-way with Roger & Gallet Open (1985) because of some intertextuality they all share. Ultimately, the extra vetiver & smoke made me reconsider it, as I figured Open was too different for that reason.
 

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