Friday, January 16, 2009

A Visit to the Havana Perfume Museum

Here are some photos and descriptions from my recent trip to the Havana Perfume Museum located in Havana, Cuba. It is a very small museum in Old Havana which includes displays of vintage perfumes and related products, a retail section selling modern Cuban perfumes, as well as two demonstration areas where perfumes are mixed and materials can be tested. The Cuban people are very poor and their institutions' budgets are no exception to the rule - this must be kept in mind when visiting any Cuban museum. Despite these financial hurdles the museum was still very enjoyable. I hope you like the photos and virtual tour; I'm sorry if some of them came out a bit blurry, it was VERY dark inside and I could not use the flash due to the items being behind glass ;)

This is a display of commonly used animal products, from left to right we have ambergris, castoreum and civette.

Here are some old Avon products.

A copper still which is the type used to extract essential oils from plants, woods etc.

This is the section where the demonstrations take place, unfortunatley on the day we visited the lady who usually teaches about materials and the perfume pyramid structure was not there. I took this photo of the organ anyways :)

Here are some dry plant matter of materials which are used in perfumes.

Of all of the french perfume houses, the museum had the most Guerlain bottles.

Guerlain again

Heres one including Vol de Nuit in a very old bottle

Vintage edition of a famous Cuban perfume "Mariposa" which means "butterfly", I tested the modern version (included in the photo below), it is a very clean jasmine scent.

Modern Cuban perfumes in the retail section.

A Molinard display including Habanita (of course!)

Here the perfumer is filling a bottle with perfume for a customer

This is a very old scale used to measure out dry matter for tincturing

Femme - Rochas (Vintage)

In the middle you will find the most important ingredient in men's perfumery, sandalwood, and to either side there is Romarin and Hyssop.

Here is a display of vintage bottles by Cuban perfume producer Suchel. They also produce Mariposa and many other famous Cuban perfumes such as Coral Negro, Alicia and Alonzo. Suchel also produces most of the island's soap and other fragrance related products.

Finally some perfumes housed in giant glass decanters with little spouts to pour into bottles for customers, similar to the set up at Caron :)

Address: Oficios Street between Obispo and Obra Pía, Old Havana.Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 14:30 - 21:45; Sundays 9:00 -13:00.
*The museum is also the headquarters of the Arabian House of Havana


Blog Author said...

What a wonderful trip and account of your day! Thanks very much for sharing in words and pics! :)


That is so nice, do they have a site? please send me the contact so I can list them in my site.
I have an educational site about perfumery (not the blog) and I am listing all museums and permanent exhibits.

pheromones attract women said...

What a nice photos and now I am inspired to create the best perfume. :)


Unknown said...

I always enjoy a walk around the museum, all the historical value makes me feed my knowledge and i feel that i grow up like a person. I like to try what i want to prove. this is when i buy viagra for my husband. whenever i have a doubt, i mus to satisfy my curiosity.

Anonymous said...

Every time I travelled to Cuba in the 90's I brought home bottles of the vintage mariposa because I loved the scent. Would to happen to know where can I purchase the modern version of the perfume? And what does the packaging look like?

Vintage edition of a famous Cuban perfume "Mariposa" which means "butterfly", I tested the modern version (included in the photo below), it is a very clean jasmine scent.