I always remember the first time I smelled something from Diptyque. It was 15 years ago and in suitably glamourous Parisian surroundings in a huge salon in the Place Vendome, where I found myself on my first big break. It was the kind of experience that makes you pinch yourself. I was shooting a perfume commercial (ironically) for a very big Italian fashion house. During the shoot I kept getting whiffs of something rather special. The very elegant Patrick Kinmouth, Mario Testinos art director, was on the shoot and every time he passed he left a deliciously fresh, woody and somehow almost beachy scent behind him. I pressed him to tell me what he was wearing and it turned out it was Diptyques Philosykos, their famous Fig scent. It was an unusual smell to come across at the time and even more unusual that it was worn by a man. I immediately tracked down a bottle and duly purchased it, at that time Space N.K was the only place you could buy Diptyque in London and the only other great Fig fragrance around, that I knew of, was Premier Figuier by L’artisan Parfumeur.
Since those days, my bottle of Philosykos has been joined by other friends from Diptyque: Do Son, a heady and very seductive tubereuse; L’eau – one of Diptyques original two fragrances which is a unisex, fresh smelling clove and cinnamon; Summer favourite, Tam Dao – an earthy, sexy Sandalwood that somehow doesn’t smell too masculine; and Neroli – orange blossom that reminds me blissfully of summer, beach kissed skin and the South of France.
So I was very excited to hear about their new perfume launch, 34, named after their shop in 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. This perfume is really rather exceptional and was the impulse of Desmond Knox-Leet who is one of Diptyques three founders. The head of the scent is the fruity warmness of black-currant, the freshness of rose pepper and citrus notes, followed by the spiciness of their first scent, L’eau. The heart is floral and feminine with Egyptian geranium and Do sons sultry tubereuse with a dash of iris and violet. The base notes are musky woods, balms and resins, giving the scent a unisex appeal.
By all rights the amount of different layers in this perfume should make it too much to handle and I am the first to put my hand up and go for more simple, single note smells. This composition, however, works and since receiving my bottle of 34 this scent is one I regularly gravitate to. A gorgeous white ceramic candle in 34 is also available and is truly a special treat and one which I will keep lit for the foreseeable future. Once you’ve smelled a Diptyque candle there are few others that measure up to their fantastic aroma and ability to create a mood for any room.