The story of Diptyque is another inspiring perfume story. What started out as a small business venture between art school friends has turned into an international phenomenon. Creating their business in 1961, three friends set up shop in Paris’ bohemian chic suburb of Saint-Germain. Importing all sorts of wares inspired by their travels the trio began making perfumed waxes to accompany the textiles they sold. Today their candles are found all over the world and they continue to release perfumes, which capture the essence of memories and travel. A cut above the rest I am constantly in awe of their ability to capture the fresh scent of flowers in candle wax. Olivia Giacobetti who now is involved with niche brand Byredo Parfums created Philosykos for Diptyque in 1996. Giacobetti also created a fig fragrance for L’Artisan two years earlier (Premier Figuier, 1994) and of the two I find the milky nature of Philosykos more appealing. A house in Greece two of the company’s owners used to reside in inspired Philosykos. The Greek name means ‘friend of the fig tree’ and refers to the philosopher Plato, who favoured the fruit and attributed it to strengthened intelligence.
Giacobetti’s Premier Figuier has a much sharper green note when compared to Philosykos. Both fragrances refer to the fresh fruit in comparison with other fig fragrances such as Carthusia’s Aria Di Capri, which references a mature or dried fruit. Diptyque wonderfully explains that the success of Philosykos lies in Giacobetti’s ability to reference the whole tree in her composition. The plant’s sap, green leaves, the fruit as well as the tree bark can all be found in this bottle. Simply listed on Diptyque’s website as fig leaves, white cedar and wood, Philosykos begins with a green punch cocktail. Galbanum, Cis 3 Hexanol and other green matter are modified by what I assume is an abstract violet accord that dissolves within seconds. Other more herbaceous notes and I suspect a fatty aldehyde create the illusion of fig. Sometimes I smell banana peel. The fragrance is fixed by an illusive and transparent wood accord. Considering there is probably no natural fig essence in this at all, and who’s to say natural fig essence smells anything like fresh raw fig anyway, this is a testament to Olivia Giacobetti’s skill as an illusionist and master perfumer.
So abstract is the thought of wearing fig, Philosykos can easily be worn by both sexes without genderfication. It is soft and tender by nature and suits a wearer who is thoughtful and gentle. It is perfect in summer, especially for weekends away where the agenda is nothing more than relaxation. I see this scent being used by men of all ages; Philosykos reflects the freshness of youth and the wisdom that comes with age.
L’Artisan Premier Figuier, Carthusia Aria Di Capri, Hermes Un Jardin En Mediterranee, Miller Harris Figue Amere.
Perfumer: Olivia Giacobetti (Robertet)
Bottle designer: Brosse, adapted by Desmond Knox-Leet
Release date: 1996
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woods