Blog post by Gwen
Photo courtesy of L'Artisan Parfumeur
I don’t know why, but this summer I seem to have been seeking out perfumes that have a sense of ‘fun’ to them, like Twilly for example. It might be due magnetic fluctuations, the new vitamin supplements I’ve been taking or spending too much time on Instagram, I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that I am loving this space I’m in, especially when it’s scented with Bana Banana by French niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur. It’s just fun to wear and makes me feel happy whenever I do. Notice how I avoided saying I’ve gone bananas for it. That’s just too obvious and easy and beneath me. Ahem.
The inspiration for Bana Banana was really what led to the launch of L’Artisan Parfumeur in 1976. In that year, self-taught perfumer, Jean-François Laporte, who founded the Sisley fragrance line in 1972, was creating a costume for a ball at the legendary Les Folies Bergères, the famous Parisian cabaret. Think over the top costumes, elaborate sets, exuberant design and exciting effects - all of it fueled with expensive champagne – sounds like a ball to me.
One of the most famous entertainers associated with the Les Folies Bergères, was Josephine Baker, the African-American expatriate performer who in 1926, caused quite a stir with her erotic dancing performed in little more than some beads and a skirt made of string hung with artificial bananas. Laporte was also a chemist and plant collector, and it was the banana skirt that inspired him to create a banana-based fragrance as part of his costume for the ball.
He noticed that jasmine flowers in full bloom gave off a scent that reminded him of ripe bananas, so he came up with the idea of macerating banana pieces in a distillation of jasmine flowers. The fragrance didn’t work out, but the experience made Laporte realize his love of working with natural, high-quality ingredients and this led to the creation of L’Artisan Parfumeur. His commitment to creating original fragrances based on scents from nature in an artisanal style, quickly made L’Artisan the go-to house for perfumophiles looking for something new and exciting. It’s also the reason why Laporte is considered the founder of niche perfumery.
Fast forward to 2019, and the launch of Bana Banana, a re-imagining of Laporte’s banana-based fragrance by Céline Ellena that worked out beautifully.
It opens with a note of banana, flanked by warm pepper and spicy nutmeg. The banana is rich, sweet and jammy and smells, well, like a ripe banana. Violet, slightly bitter and powdery, counterbalances the sweetness of the banana. It also coaxes a note of creamy, sweet, carnal jasmine forward. The jasmine overlays the banana but doesn’t smother it. The banana and jasmine work so well together that it seems an obvious pairing, something I take as a nod the Laporte’s inspired idea of putting the two together those many years ago. I smell iris here too, a favourite note of mine. It extends the powdery aspect of the violet, giving the perfume a romantic, sophisticated tone. The banana slowly fades into a gently sweet, warm, sensuous base of Tonka bean, musk and amber.
The drydown is sophisticated and smooth and playful. It’s a gorgeous summer fragrance, although I have a feeling it may turn into an all-season pleasure, that can be worn by men as well as women.
If you think a banana-based fragrance sounds weird, well, you may have to change your thinking. Bana Banana is no novelty fragrance, it’s a L’Artisan fragrance – original, inspired by nature and superbly made. It makes me smile every time I catch a whiff of it.
Check out Bana Banana in our Shop.