11/27/12

Cuba Grey (Cuba Paris/Fragluxe)



I'll be the first to admit that I don't know jack about Cuba Paris. I'm aware they exist, and I've read reviews that praise their scents, so when a fragrance salesman dropped a free bottle of Cuba Grey into my bag with a recent purchase, I was immediately interested in it. I'm not predisposed to liking Cuba Paris frags, because I find their packaging gimmick abysmal. The whole glass cigar shtick is ugly and unnecessary - Cuba is known for other things. Czech & Speake has a subtler approach that still pays homage to the culture. Still, it's wrong to write off a company just because you don't like their packaging aesthetic. So I'm glad I crossed paths with Cuba Grey.

I recently did a sniff test with my parents (who never read this blog) and asked them to compare Cuba Grey with Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein. I obviously had one of the pair on each hand. They both immediately acknowledged that these scents are similar, but not the same, and my mother felt Cuba was lighter, airier. My father had a more difficult time discerning a specific difference, but just felt they were different. It took him two tries to make that call. Both corroborated my findings: Grey is different, but very similar to Eternity for Men, to the point where it's a bit tough to tell the two apart.
Look Mom! Eternity's box is grey, just like Cuba's name!

The main difference is in ingredient quality and dosage. Eternity has been reformulated into a bit of a chemical blob (it always was one imo), and its current incarnation yields a deceptively fresh lavender note, chased by a gummy mandarin/lavender/sandalwood accord, a typical bottom-heavy late-eighties fresh fougère in the tradition of Cool Water, Drakkar Noir, and Skin Bracer, but without their transparency. It's heavy, forceful, and it travels across a room faster than a convict attacking his lawyer. In some cases, depending on who wears it, you'd rather deal with the convict than Eternity.

Cuba Grey is almost the exact same fragrance, a shameless Eternity clone, but it's lighter, its fruits more Calone-like, with a nineties fresh-sweet breeziness found in typical masculines of the day. Beyond that, I can't smell any significant difference. My parents couldn't either. Of the two, Grey has the edge, for the arguable reason that its aroma chemicals lend its construct a negligibly more natural affectation than Eternity's foghorn. Both are entirely synthetic, but they seem to diverge in the type of atmosphere their synthetics generate for the wearer. The all-business approach is Eternity, while the havin'-fun-in-the-sun spiel applies more to Grey. Its lither dosage of faux citrus and sandalwood means the freshness of old-school gummy lavender smells fun, not forced. Still, this could be splitting hairs.

Try Grey if you like Eternity, but can't bear its heaviness. Just know that if you apply Eternity and gently wash the spot where you sprayed it, you'll wind up with a 99.9% likeness with Cuba Grey. Kind of makes you wonder if you should eschew both frags, and just wear something like Horizon or Cool Water instead.























12 comments:

  1. I've tried a few Cuba Paris frags and Cube Gold is the one I like best. Very close to Le Male but nicer to me. Less sweet and more natural smelling in a way. I know you hate the packaging bur the spray nozzle on these things is glorious. Makes such a nice mist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that, I'll look out for Cuba Gold in the future, I would like to try more of these. I agree, the atomizer is pretty nice, an interesting diffuse mist that gets lots of coverage.

      Delete
  2. No problem. Enjoying the blog. I have a small bottle of Red too. Shamu from Pour Monsieur lead me to that one. A nice simple cigar tobacco scent. It's not bad but I never feel the urge to reach for it. It's not a high end cigar tobacco scent. More like a cheaper cigar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that's interesting about Red. I don't imagine any of these are high end but some of them sound like fun. I used to smoke cheap cigars with friends in high school, so maybe Red will bring back memories.

      Delete
  3. Enjoyed the post and the comments between you and LustandFury. I've seen this line around and been curious, but never tried any.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling they're mostly well-made knock-offs of popular designer scents. Do try one if you happen across this brand somewhere.

      Delete
  4. Escapes me somewhat how anyone could mark "CUBA RED" as a "cheap tobacco scent".Don't be fooled by the price.

    Besides "Cigar" by Remy and "MOODS" by Krizia it's one of the best around IMO...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Atze, I don't think anyone is trying to suggest Red smells bad or anything, just that it's not an expensive rendition of tobacco (or to put it another way, it's not a rendition of expensive tobacco). The fragrances are without a doubt inexpensive, made of inexpensive materials, some of which smell rather, well, you get the gist.

      Delete
  5. What would be a rendition of "expensive tobacco" then ? A tobacco scent that smells like real tobacco (without the usual dozen trimmings or so), a tobacco scent and nothing but ? Would be happy to find one.

    Thanks for any hints you might have !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything that aspires to achieve a pure-green Cuban tobacco leaf or flower would do. If you seek expensive tobacco fragrances (anything in the 80 - 150 dollar/Euro range) you will find options from Lutens, Parfumerie Generale, and Miller Harris, among others. That's for a rendition of "expensive tobacco" - these brands are known to seek good raw materials for the expression of good raw accords.

      For an "expensive rendition of tobacco" I'd look into Tom Ford's Tabacco Vanille, if you haven't already. Never tried it myself but I know it's expensive, and renders the scent of inexpensive flavored tobacco (usually of the pipe variety) quite nicely. Tobacco as a central note isn't really my style, sorry I can't direct you to more specifics.

      Delete
  6. Thanks,Bryan, I appreciate your input ! I guess you have to be quite a perfume enthusiast (and a rich one at that !) to dish out that kind of dough just for perfume. Since I am new to this whole genre and since the car I'm driving would be the equivalent of 3x Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, my current No. 1 hobby is to find good quality at a reasonable price.That's why blogs like yours or shamu's are of great help, because you don't just focus on the pricy frags.Otherwise I would never have discovered gems like Quorum,Moustache,Ted Lapidus,Grey Flanell etc. And to tell you the truth: A guy showering with "Irish Spring" while at the same time giving a thumbs up for CREED can only be learned from...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one of the things about Shamu's site that drew me in - an acknowledgement of the inexpensive yet great masculine fragrances that are somehow ignored and overlooked by mainstream critics. Things like Lapidus, Quorum, Pour un Homme de Caron, Moustache - they prove you don't need a lot of cash to smell amazing. A lot of the best fragrances for men are things you can find at a pharmacy for the price of a sandwich. Thanks for reading Atze, I also appreciate your input!

      Delete

Thank you for your comment. It will be visible after approval by the moderator.