Many fragrances are cursed with one-dimensional reputations. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; Profumum Roma’s Arso, for example, is a straightforward autumn campfire scent that couldn’t possibly improve through mere complication. However, if a fragrance’s tagline doesn’t directly appeal to a consumer, they can end up dismissing wonderful compositions that they’d otherwise love. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have missed out on fragrances like Dior Fahrenheit and Zoologist Bat simply because they’d been given a simplified, unappealing description of their scent profiles.
Something similar happened with me regarding Frapin’s L’Humaniste. It’s often labeled a ‘gin and tonic’ fragrance, and as someone who still often doesn’t get along with gin, I had no inclination to give it a try. The perfume’s strong reputation eventually pushed me to try it despite misgivings. A year later, I can confidently say that there’s far, far more going on with this fragrance than its cocktail inspiration.
Top: Lemon oil, bergamot oil, Cardamome, Pink berries, Black pepper
Heart: Juniper berries, Nutmeg, Thyme, Peony
Base: Gin, Oak moss, Tonka bean
L’Humaniste announces itself with a truly splendid burst of citrus and spice. This is a fresh fragrance with a truly fizzy quality. Sure, there is a whiff of alcohol among the notes, but the cocktail-esque nature of the composition allows even this aspect of the perfume to shine. It truly does recall an expensive organic cocktail instead of a chemical composition. This core idea allows L’Humaniste’s brightness to shine and simmer instead of grating against the nose.
If this was another dime-a-dozen aquatic fragrance, L’Humaniste would die off shortly after its opening fanfare. In colder climates, it very well might, but in high temperatures, L’Humaniste presents the sort of journey that similar fragrances fail to offer. The aforementioned opening fanfare transitions elegantly into a herbal, oakmoss-grounded heart before winding its way toward an enchanting skin scent. It’s akin to spending a day in a lovely summer garden. As the initial refreshment fades, the rougher, earthier edges emerge, then soften into something akin to comfort. It’s a wonderfully elegant example of mainstream perfumery given enough care to transcend its familiar scent profile.
This is the sort of balance that makes a perfume a true classic. L’Humaniste is sharp, lush, friendly, and detailed all at once. It’s as unlikely to offend, and yet it carries a true capacity to bewitch. Wear it on a warm summer’s day and you’re likely to enjoy its comforting presence over and over again. Wear it on a blazing one and it can swell to form its own enchanting world.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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