Habana 1791: The Perfume shop

CA3
General sightseeing
CA Ranking: 3
Open: 9:30am-6pm daily
Admission: Free
Mercaderes #156, esq. a Obrapía, Habana Vieja
Also included in Shopping section
  • Habana 1791: The perfume shop

    Located in an 18th-century mansion at the corner of Mercaderes and Obrapía, this beautiful shop and laboratory sells 12 varieties of scents or colognes. The bottles are made by Cuban ceramists while others are imported, like the ones from India. Customers are welcome to try out the ready-made colognes. A personal mixture can be made up by the helpful shop assistants. This beautiful building with its neoclassical façade was never used for living purposes. It opened as a perfumery shop and drugstore and throughout its life it was also a hardware store, café and tenement building. It was reopened as the Habana 1791 perfumery shop after extensive restoration.

     A city can recover and restore not only its architecture, but also its everyday basic essences. And Habana 1791 did just that. Habana 1791 is more than a place to buy perfume (you can make those last minute guilty assuaging purchases at the airport Duty Free). The beautiful perfume shop-cum-laboratory is a house full of fragrances. The shop has 12 different scents that have been rescued from colonial times: Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Orange Blossom, Lilac, Ylang-Ylang, Patchouli, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Citric and Lavender. Each possesses powerful secrets that exalt the senses. You can also find other, more intriguing scents, such as gardenia or the very unconventional chocolate and even tobacco.

    The perfume is handcrafted, as are the bottles (which come in many sizes and styles) into which the perfume or cologne is decanted. Some are made and decorated by Cuban ceramists and others are imported, like the ones from India. They are fitted with a cork and sealed in wax, and placed inside a small linen bag.

    Custom-made scents are also created according to a customer’s desires. Before bottling up one or several scents in the form of a perfume, the alchemist-perfumer chats with the customers to discover their state of mind, character, mood and nature. The finished product is therefore unique–no two fragrances are alike.

    For the aroma experts at La Habana 1791, the scents of different plants have characteristics that go beyond taste and cleanliness. This is why they are staunch defenders of aromatherapy, not only to treat skin disorders but emotional disorders as well.

    Rose oil is aromatic and intense. It is always linked to love and sensuality. It counteracts states of violence and aggressiveness.

    Orange blossom causes a feeling of peace and relaxation. It is revitalizing and gives joy to the body and mind.

    Sandalwood is intense and spiritual. It is linked to good fortune.

    Ylang-Ylang works on the heart and is considered an aphrodisiac.

    Lavender is an aid against shyness. It boosts self-esteem. It balances and stimulates.

    Patchouli frees the user from anxiety and balances emotions. It is also believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

    Citric oils are refreshing and invigorating.

    Jasmine is relaxing and encourages passion and eroticism.

    Vetiver is a sedative and a tonic. In olden days it was placed in sachets to scent clothes and linen.

    Lilac helps to enhance the power of concentration.

    Tobacco is a masculine scent. It is intense yet pleasant and spiritual. It is very much identified with our origins.

    Violet represents modesty and discretion. It is a very feminine scent of love.

    A perfume may evoke an era, feelings, memories and this one-off shop brings back to our noisy, populous and busy city the scents and fragrances of Colonial Havana.

     

    
  • Tren de Hershey

    Tren de Hershey  LH 5+

    In 1926, Pennsylvania based Hershey Corporation built a 135-km-long electric railroad network in Cuba to transport product and personnel from Havana to Hershey’s sugar factory 45 km east of the capita …

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)  LH 5+

    Along the banks of the Almendares River is Parque Almendares, also known as Bpsque de La Haband (Havana’s Forest). This is the only urban forest in the city and is a recreational area for Habaneros th …

    Plaza de la Catedral

    Plaza de la Catedral  LH 5+

    The last of the main squares to be created, this is one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots. Originally, it was named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain, but by the 18th …

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba  LH 5+

    In response to the increasing influx of American tourists in the late 20s (mainly those who were escaping Prohibition, in force in the United States at the time), the construction of a luxury hotel wa …

    Callejón de Hamel

    Callejón de Hamel  LH 5+

    The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buil …

    Plaza de Armas

    Plaza de Armas  LH 5+

    The early city was formally founded in 1519 on the northeast side of what would soon be laid out as Plaza de la Iglesia—named for the simple church that stood here until 1741, when it was destroyed fo …

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón  LH 5+

    History & architecture Declared National Monument in 1987, this is the most important cemetery in Cuba and its 57 hectares (10 acres) makes it the largest in America. According to Enrique Martínez …

    Plaza de San Francisco

    Plaza de San Francisco  LH 5+

    Right across Havana harbor, Plaza de San Francisco is one of the first three built in the 16th century. It takes its name from the Franciscan convent built there. The plaza became the site of a market …

    Catedral de La Habana

    Catedral de La Habana  LH 5+

    The entry of the Jesuits in Cuba was formally requested in 1656, and in 1727, a plot was granted for their school and church. Bishop Brother Gerónimo Valdés explained to the King of Spain that Havana’ …

    The Malecón

    The Malecón  LH 5+

    The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a co …

    1 of 22 pages »