Friday, April 26, 2013

A Fig Lover's Dream of Dionysian Decadence: Diptyque Philosykos

There is no question that my love of the brand Diptyque is one that grows with each passing day. I have yet to be disappointed with a single candle I've tried from the band, and I have to be careful about testing their fragrances as I seem unable to prevent myself from falling in love! However, my love story with the Dionysian tribute to all things fig, Philosykos, was not a tale of love at first sight (or smell, as the situation warrants). I ordered a sample of this masterpiece and did not immediately understand it, underrating it as too green. Yet before I realized what was happening the memory of the smell lingered on my mind. Several months later, and I have barely given this fragrance a rest since it arrived on my doorstep.

Philosykos opens with an unmistakable fresh green note of fig leaf coupled with the curious yet well selected companion, coconut. It's as though the perfume is inviting you in with fig leaves that blow in the breeze as if to beckon you closer. As Philosykos dries down the coconut note becomes more pronounced, but only serves to increase the impression that you've cut a fresh fig right in half. Though they're difficult to track down where I live I adore the green fragrance of a freshly sliced fig, the deep pink fruit within redolent of succulence. I am a bit disappointed that Diptyque does not last as long on my skin as other fragrances from the brand (roughly six hours), but I adore the way the fragrance exits my consciousness fading from the smell of the fig's fresh fruit to the woodier notes of the tree as a whole from its bark to the soil that surrounds its base.

Philosykos is my new favorite spring fragrance because it's unexpected. Just as the makeup world turns to shades of pastel at this time of year, it seems that the fragrance world begins to turn to florals (though, just as with makeup, there are really no rules). Diptyque's fig masterpiece is fitting for the season in that it's very green, but there is something more ... something a bit gritty. The fig notes combine with coconut and remain in the foreground, while a subtle soil smell lurks behind at all times. This smell of rich earth combines with the green notes to create the impression of wet soil around this fig tree, and leaves dappled with fresh rain drops. As it is in many parts of the world spring where I live is quite wet: for this reason Diptyque Philosykos is the ideal candidate both for rainy and glorious spring days.

Diptyque's Philosykos is a perfume that takes you on a journey of discovery. Beckoning us with the fresh smell of fig leaves, wearing rich with the fragrance of a fig's ripe fruit and drying down to the woody notes of a fig tree as a whole it manages to recreate the entire olfactory experience of processing the things we encounter in nature in the most exaggerated sense. While some fragrances borrow different parts of a whole to create a symphony composed of different notes from a wide array of plants, Philosykos uses everything the fig tree has to give so artfully that the fig tree may in fact be jealous.

As a history and literature buff, I also cannot help but love Philosykos because of the history it carries. From the ancient Greeks to Egyptians figs have long been an important part of our lives and societies as human beings. It's thrilling to carry that tradition on, not only in culinary endeavors but also in the fragrances we wear.

Have you tried Diptyque's Philosykos? What are your thoughts?