Acqua di Parma’s Fico di Amalfi was not the first fragrance to be based on fig fruit. Not by a long shot. But history tells us great perfumes need not be the first to do something in order to take all the glory. Consider Chanel No 5. It was not the first perfume to use aldehydes. Quelques Fleurs, Reve d’Or and Floramye all contain aldehydes and precede Chanel No 5 by more than a decade. Yet it is the later that lives in perfume folklore as the first perfume to employee aliphatic aldehydes. The use of fig in perfume is a much less dramatic affair (it is hard to compete with Mme Chanel when it comes to perfume stories). Fig notes began appearing in fragrances around the mid-1990s thanks to perfumers such as Olivia Giacobetti. Her work with L’Artisan Parfumeur and Diptyque paved the way for fig fragrances from Carthusia, Miller Harris, Jo Malone, Annick Goutal and Hermes. An interesting point worth considering is that the scent of fig is not derived from the fruit itself but it is the illusory effect created by a perfumer. This is often achieved by combining fresh green notes with lactones, scented molecules with fruity dairy notes. This artistic license has allowed many contemporary perfumers to interpret their own version of the fruit. In 2006, twelve years after the launch of L’Artisan’s Premier Figuer, Acqua di Parma joined the trend at its height with Fico di Amalfi. It is part of the brand’s Blu Mediterraneo ‘Italian resort’ line. These fragrances aim to invigorate and relax the senses with notes that inspire dreams of days spent on coastal holiday resorts in the Mediterranean. The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful and renowned stretch of mountainous coastline south of Naples. Acqua di Parma describes this stretch of Italian coast as “a peaceful oasis immersed in the heady perfume of citrus groves and favoured by an exceptionally mild climate” (www.acquadiparma.com). Although Acqua di Parma came to the fig party at its decline, fans of fig perfumes should not discount this creation as a copycat or unoriginal perfume. It may not have the leading values that Chanel No 5 had over all previous soft florals, but Acqua di Parma’s fig does a good job at standing out from the rest. It offers fig on a platter of Mediterranean citrus fruit with subtle wood nuances. If you cannot afford a trip to the Italian coast this season, try a bottle of this instead. Some other fig fragrances take you to Italy on a budget airline. I would say this one gets you there at the least in premium economy.
Fico di Amalfi begins with citrus fruit offered by the Mediterranean countryside. Notes of orange, lemon, grapefruit and tangerine are shaped with fresh green notes. In time what Acqua di Parma calls a fig nectar accord takes over. Supported by subtle green florals and jasmine, a woody cedar note gives a sense of the branch to which the fruit is attached. Fico di Amalfi has a watery dry down that shows a little more tenacity in comparison with its counterparts namely Un Jardin en Mediterranee. Use it before the trend for watery exotic fruit begins to wear thin.
This is a great scent for men who want a sporty fresh fragrance without the sporty attitude. A perfect summer fragrance that blends extremely well with the scent of salty coastal air. Easily worn by all ages.
Perfumer: Michel Girard (Givaudan – Quest)
Bottle designer: Acqua di Parma studio
Release date: 2006
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woods