Launched in 2019 by French niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur, Bana Banana was inspired when L’Artisan founder Jean-François Laporte noticed that jasmine flowers in full bloom gave off a scent that reminded him of ripe bananas when he was working on a fragrance for a costume for a ball at the Les Folies Bergères in 1976.
The fragrance didn’t work out, but fast forward to 2019, and the re-imagining of Laporte’s banana-based fragrance by Céline Ellena 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.
Notes: pepper, nutmeg, violet, jasmine, iris, banana, banana flower, Tonka bean, musk, amber.