The secret perfume boutique

While we were wandering in Habana Vieja, the old Havana, we stopped on Calle Mercaderes 156. We glanced at each other and then walked in, because what we saw needed no permission or excuse – the mansion that we glimpsed through the door just had to be seen.

What we had stumbled on is Habana 1791, a vintage perfume shop carved out of a mansion built, they say, during the 1700s. What we saw was a perfume museum that still sells perfumes, even personalised ones, using all the classic scents.

The photos I had do not do the place justice – I was so taken by it being the first day, by the sights, the new experiences, that I didn’t put enough care into taking good photos. But this is what I have, and I have to share. In hindsight, it was one of the most special moments that we had in Habana.

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The entrance, that lured us in
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A detail of the decorative glass panel. Incredibly beautiful.
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A vase-holding tortoise. What would I give to have this at home!
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The patio was dark and cool, a much lower temperature than outside. This is where we found more shops, all oriented towards perfume and aromatherapy.

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One of the shops. The walls was incredibly well-decorated, every detail though of.

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The “centrepiece” of the patio

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The way out

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The “lab”

The following list is from this site, that I found after returning home.

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 revitalising and gives joy to the body and mind.
Sandalwood is intense and spiritual. It is linked to good fortune.
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) 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 (Chrysopogon zizanioides) 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.

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