Humiecki & Graef advertises Eau Radieuse as a “futuristic remake of an Eau de Cologne” that will transport us (mentally, I assume) to “a wondrous place on an unknown planet". I don’t know what’s futuristic or otherworldly about green banana, mandarin peel, lemon, mint, rhubarb, and bamboo sap (all have been Earth-bound for millennia) but the aromas of banana, rhubarb and bamboo should provide an unusual “kick” when incorporated into the venerable Eau de Cologne formula.
Humiecki & Graef was founded by Sebastian Fischenich and Tobias Mueksch, and the company is based in Cologne (Köln), Germany. Fischenich and Mueksch named the company after their maternal grandmothers (using their favorite grandmothers’ maiden names). I can only imagine the family resentments — after all, the paternal grandmothers were omitted! Humiecki & Graef debuted four new fragrances in 2008 — all created by perfumer Christophe Laudamiel: Geste, Eau Radieuse, Multiple Rouge and Askew. (A fifth scent, Skarb, was originally launched in 2007.)
Eau Radieuse starts off with the scent of fresh citrus peel and a vibrant, tart-green aroma that does remind me of unripe bananas. Eau Radieuse’s citrus-green notes are followed almost immediately by a clean, minty-fruit accord (think “mentholated lemon drops”); I also notice a nose-puckering, slightly talc-y fruit note (probably the rhubarb). Eau Radieuse invigorates and “cools”; it’s a fragrance I’d reach for on a hot, steamy summer day. Eau Radieuse’s aromas are strong, not watery, and the fragrance “pulsates” on my skin, changing character many times during a day’s wear: going from ‘wet’ to ‘dry,’ from ‘lemon juice’ to ‘orange peel’ to ‘menthol-fruit’ to ‘green stems’ notes.
Even though I was captivated by Eau Radieuse from the first sniff, in the back of my mind there was a nagging question — “What does this REMIND me of?” Finally, I realized Eau Radieuse reminds me of — men’s sport fragrances. Even if Eau Radieuse is the quirkiest, the most fun and luxurious sport fragrance in existence, it follows the sport fragrance pattern: mentholated citrus (check!), a hint of ‘green’ (check!), tart and fresh (check!), clean and ‘talc-y’ in the dry-down (check!), blue juice (check!). Still, I would buy Eau Radieuse in a second but for the cost: over 200 bucks. Since my personal bottles of fragrance are sidelined as I sample new perfumes five days a week, it’s a waste of money to add a very expensive bottle of perfume to my hibernating collection. (On average, I wear my own perfumes only five times a month!) That being said, I can’t wait to try the other fragrances in this line.
Humiecki & Graef Eau Radieuse is available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette Concentrée (containing 20-25% essential oils); its lasting power is very good. For buying information, see the listing for Humiecki & Graef under Perfume Houses. Do note that the latest quartet of Humiecki & Graef fragrances is not expected to arrive in the United States until later this year; in the meantime, you can find Eau Radieuse at Naked Man in the UK (currently on sale for £87) or at First-in-Fragrance in Germany (149€).
(Aside: Here’s to Fruit! Eau Radieuse and Byredo Pulp are two of my favorite perfumes from 2008.)