Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review - Frapin "L'Humaniste"

Dam you.

Dam you short lived sensation.
Fading sunset.
Ephemeral beauty.
The subtle lure that longs for permanence but knows it's appeal lies in the very thing that makes my soul twist with anguish - low longevity. (Too dramatic?)


Longevity is how long a perfume lasts, how long you can still detect it for, and poor longevity is a major bugbear of mine, particularly considering the price of some of these niche fumes.

This one is a beaut, read reviews online and you see people marvelling at it's firework opening that leaves me grinning like a fool. It's meant to smell like a gin and tonic, Frapin make alcohol and now they make perfumes. A lot of their fragrances are fruity and boozy with fruity raisin and alcohol aromas.

L'Humaniste is boozy, but not heavy gourmand boozy; instead it's a glass of G&T with lime and ice in. Wonderfully crafted, smooth and soft to draw into the nose, the lime is not sharp or tart but sits comfortably around the other notes. It's a fantastic alternative to the usual orange and lemon colognes.

So why my frustration? 

It lasts about 3 hours on me, then I cry because it's gone completely.
That's about half of the minimum lasting time I would like.
I know what you're going to say, "Why don't you invent some kind of elaborate machine that secretes the scent onto your skin throughout the day." and I would love such a machine, but alas I don't have one.

It's like being the first one at a house party, gleeful at the amount of alcohol only to overindulge and wake up with no recollection of the night, knowing you probably had a good time and wishing you could remember it more clearly but annoyed it was over too quickly.

From Frapin's Website

Not sure why there are a flower and petals in this photo because I don't detect anything like that. It's a head of zesty citrus and gin notes married to juniper berries with some pepper and cardamom spice to bolster it, which whilst they do add more oomph it isn't substantial enough for increasing longevity.

Oakmoss and tonka bean are listed as the base, these don't make for particularly durable bases. Long lasting bases are things like amber, vanilla, woods, those can anchor and cement the rest of the fragrance. But then I guess if Humaniste had any of these notes it wouldn't be the same smell, its light refreshing nature must accompany its short life span.

L'Humaniste goes in the same box as Penhaligon's Juniper Sling, another zesty light G&T offering which whilst enjoyable is also too short lived for me to be happy with. Juniper Sling is a bit sharper with a more prominent and "in your face" gin note.

Subtle and transparent but too difficult to detect without effort. Much like colognes of older times that would encourage re-application during hot weather, or be applied to towels that were carried with the person, L'Humaniste offers short-term refreshment and does so excellently.

Perhaps it is unfair to criticise a fragrance for something that is intrinsic to how it smells; you could not have the same scent with double longevity because it would not be the same scent, it is no fault of the perfume. It would be like complaining a cat cannot bark.

This fragrance will remain on my list of "fragrances I would buy except for one thing".
I'll spray it and love it, wondering why I ever thought badly of it, only to realise a couple of hours later when I can't even tell if I'm wearing it. It may be subject to the "Longevity Problem" which I will discuss in a future post, briefly the idea is that most people (myself included) are misjudging longevity because of nose numbness whereby you ignore a persistent scent.

The scent may still be there in some form after a few hours, it just remains very close to the skin and becomes what some people call a "Skin Scent" which has very little projection and is not noticeable. Personally I want to smell my fragrance and have a projection that doesn't require the smeller to have their nose on my wrist.

Sad face. It is a very good smell while it lasts though, and some people get more reasonable longevity from it. Overall it's certainly worth sampling just for the opening.

Have you tried it?
Did you find the opening as joyful as I did and how was longevity for you?


  1. I'm ok with a fragrance not lasting for too long. Like you said, it wouldn't be the same if it were expected to last for double the amount of time. Solution? Respray when gone.

    Perhaps think of its beauty as stemming from its ephemeral short-livedness.

  2. I've never resprayed during the day, it is a good solution if you like this type of fragrance.
    I think you're right about the ephemeral beauty aspect, the very nature of fragrance refuses permanence and therein is it's appeal.
    Hope all is well in USA :)


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