It's taken some time for me to finally appreciate this fragrance, as I totally hated it when I first wore it a few years ago. However, the more I wear Cuba Black, the more I think I understand it. I don't think this is meant to smell black like tar, rubber, or burnt wood, or ashes from a fireplace - leave that to other fragrances like Jacomo de Jacomo or Bulgari Black.
I remember being taught when
I was a kid that black is not a color, but rather the absence of color. And if you
think about black from that perspective, then Cuba Black makes complete
sense. That's because Cuba Black is a
truly colorless fragrance. It does smell
sweet (like most fragrances with "Black" their names), but it smells deep
and low-pitched, like a perfume made up entirely of base notes. There are no bright citrus or lavender top
notes, no sharp woody notes, no green herbal notes, and no complex floral notes
in here to provide any color, brightness, or variation from its dark, dense,
low-frequency hum. If Cuba Black were hard
rock music instead of a perfume, it would sound like grinding power chords and
bass guitar only, with no vocals or drums, and the treble knobs on the
amplifiers set to "0". That's pretty black to me.
Cuba Black is sweet, but
it's never cloying or heavy. I can't
really identify exactly what notes are in here, except for the heavy loads of
tonka bean in the base, which provides its hallmark dry, hay-like sweetness,
and anchors the entire scent down. It's
hard to detect when the drydown arrives, since the whole fragrance smells like
its in perpetual drydown mode.
Don't think this is a boring
fragrance, because it's not. It's dark
and well balanced, and its sweetness makes it smell both sexy and comfortable
to wear. Sillage is moderate, and
longevity is very good, as would be expected from a fragrance that smells like
all base notes. The price is dirt cheap
too, so this is a bargain for sure.
MY RATING: 7.5/10
Fragrance House: Cuba Paris