Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain : Fragrance Review

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Dipt34

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

For their 50th anniversary, Diptyque has launched a perfume capturing the scent of its first boutique located on 34 Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris. The idea behind the eponymous fragrance was to capture the main elements of the famous Diptyque: L’Ombre dans l’Eau, Philosykos, L’Eau, Do Son. Blending various disparate accords is often liable to produce a pastiche effect, and perhaps, this is exaclty what happened with 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, which while competent, does not have a strong character.  For a niche launch, it especially seems too safe and traditional: a soft-spoken fougère that would not be out of place on the masculine side of the fragrance bar at Macy’s.

The initial impression of 34 boulevard Saint Germain is very appealing—zesty citrus, green galbanum and tart blackcurrant bud. With the green fig leaf notes supporting the bright top notes, the effect is verdant, rejuvenating and bold. After these vivid and arresting notes settle, the rose, lily of the valley and iris elements of the composition become clearer. Yet, they are rendered more like the sheer floral notes in L’Ombre dans l’Eau and Philosykos as opposed to the lush opulence of Do Son and Olene.

If the verdant top notes promised something exciting, as soon as they are gone, we are on a well-trodden path. The familiar elements are not just familiar from their presence in other Diptyque fragrances, but also in many masculine fragrances on the market: the herbal-citrus notes, musk, and amber form the main impression.  I cannot say that I dislike 34 Boulevard Saint Germain; it reminds me of Lanvin Arpège Pour Homme, which also twists the soft iris notes with amber and musk. It is simply too well-behaved to make a bold statement and to stand out in the crowded fragrance market. On the whole, while 34 Boulevard Saint Germain has a smooth, pleasant development on the skin and a good tenacity, the highest compliment I can make is to describe it as easy to wear.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain EdT includes notes of blackcurrant, fig leaves, pink pepper, citrus, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, rose, geranium, iris, tuberose, violet, woods, and balsamic notes. The presentation of 34 Boulevard Saint Germain is my favorite aspect of this launch. It features a heavy glass bottle with a magnetized stopper made of black Bakelite. Its oval shape stands out among the classical square Diptyque flacons. It launches at Aedes, Barneys and other retailers carrying the line.

Sample: my own acquisition

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24 Comments

  • Olfactoria: Ah, the bottle looks very, very nice. I like the “wick”, lovely reference to the candles. 🙂
    Too bad the fragrance can’t hold what the top notes promise, you make those sound so delectable. I think I’d have the mentioned Diptyque fragrances on their own rather than mixed into a seemingly not very memorable perfume. February 25, 2011 at 3:44am Reply

  • Mike: I wasn’t impressed either. I also didn’t like anything from Diptyque lately, everything is kind of bland. February 25, 2011 at 8:49am Reply

  • March: What a beautiful name for a fragrance! I wish the scent itself sounded more appealing … I enjoyed visiting the Diptyque boutique in the Bon Marche. It reminded me that, while I enjoy sniffing their scents very much, I’m not interested in wearing/owning them beyond Philosykos and I wish I had an original bottle of Tam Dao. TS is right in The Guide — it doesn’t smell like sandalwood any more so much as generic “wood,” like pencil shavings or wood planks. February 25, 2011 at 9:27am Reply

  • ScentScelf: Hmmm. Street addresses as names…I wonder if 34 has met 31?

    Well behaved does not necessarily put me off; I am new enough to perfume that I don’t suffer from “been there, done that” too much, and am a scent amplifier enough that sometimes the “well behaved ones” are just what the doctor ordered. (Infusion d’Iris, anyone?) But the idea of packing four other perfumes into one bottle? That’s some trick. And unless well done, I think that’s the kind of thing the housing authority cracks down on as illegal, right–too many tenants at one address???

    Nonetheless, it sounds like they cohabitate well, if not with panache. Perhaps the warmer weather which I just *know* will get here eventually (hint, hint, Mother Nature) will be a better setting for the sheer tack it takes. February 25, 2011 at 9:42am Reply

  • DRTVRMoi: Such high expectations dashed. I visited the St. Germain location in November and added Olene (with a slew of seasonal candles)to my novice scent collection. My love affair with Paris was enhanced by Olene’s memorable sillage. When I received an email about 34’s launch, my interest was piqued. I will be in NYC next week and plan to sample it. Will it be a rehash or a delight? My nose quivers in anticipation. February 25, 2011 at 10:40am Reply

  • Victoria: The bottle is great! I loved the wick reference and the heavy magnetized stopper. Somehow, the fragrance just does not work that well for me. February 25, 2011 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: I liked the edgy boldness of some of their earlier fragrances. That being said, I also enjoyed Eau Duelle and Vetyverio. February 25, 2011 at 12:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: The name is fantastic, and the concept behind it too, but I just cannot get away from the pastiche impression. As a result, it is not that memorable for me.
    I loved Tam Dao when it first came out, now it borders on unwearable for me. February 25, 2011 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Definitely give it a try! I am not a big fan of strong musk notes, so it may be another reason we do not get along. On my skin, it plunges straight into the musk. On the blotter, it develops a bit slower, and it has a nice diffusion. I left a blotter in my office yesterday, and when I returned, I could smell the fragrance in the air. February 25, 2011 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: Now, Diptyque candles are another story. I cannot resist one more when I am at their store. Their St. Germain boutique is very elegant.
    I would love to hear what you think when you try it. Aedes has it in store already. February 25, 2011 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Marina: I am almost scared to imagine L’Ombre dans l’Eau, Philosykos AND Do Son together 🙂 February 25, 2011 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: :)34 just takes their main elements, so it is not scary at all. February 25, 2011 at 1:31pm Reply

  • Alexandra: I am a huge fan of L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, so, which do you think is a more interesting perfume? Should I stick to my good old L’Ombre, or, change it? February 26, 2011 at 7:14pm Reply

  • kris: I’ve actually tried this fragrance out. Its very nice. After a while of wearing it it was very different on myself and my friend. I believe Diptyque made this fragrance in homage to 50 years of their first shop in pairs. Its a scent that captures the fragrance of the original store. 50 years of spraying edts, room scents, dropping candles…its all captured in this lovely scent and changes on the skin. I highly recommend trying it out to fully understand its beauty. February 26, 2011 at 7:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love the concept behind it too! February 27, 2011 at 11:21am Reply

  • Victoria: L'Ombre dans L'Eau on its own is perfect enough for me! 🙂 February 27, 2011 at 11:22am Reply

  • Alexander Greene: Re: Tam Dao
    I recently returned to Tam Dao after a 6 year hiatus as I thought it had gone off too, but a recent sample smells much better- I even showed the sales assistants the difference in the new batches- it isn’t quite what it once was, but is better than the last few years. I event went to the lengths of checking batch numbers… February 27, 2011 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Interesting! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely sample the newest batch. Formulas change all the time, so it is interesting to compare. February 27, 2011 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Todd T: I got this Thursday in the mail. The concept behind, seems to have worked. I can imagine myself in that store. We have been in a boutique and each one has that certain character to them. I was really impressed by the opening. The way it changes as it develops,I can see myself walking about 38 Saint Germain Boulevard store. March 5, 2011 at 5:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm glad to hear that it is working for you! I agree, top notes are wonderful. It is my favorite part. March 6, 2011 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Hannah: I got a sample of this with another purchase.
    I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t like Diptyque, so I guess that is why I’m also the only one who likes this perfume the most of their releases.
    That said, it isn’t really something I’m interested in wearing.
    My sister would probably love it, so I might give her my sample. May 14, 2011 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm not the biggest fan of Diptyque either (I only wear Tam Dao with any degree of frequency as well as Eau Duelle.) 34 Boulevard Saint Germain is pleasant enough, just not memorable.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 15, 2011 at 10:19am Reply

  • Brigyt: I was fortunate enough to be given a bottle of this by a friend of mine, who got i in her ” goodie bag” at Hyeres Have to agree with some that at first instance it seems sort of bland. At the same time it seemed very familiar and started to intrigue me.
    When I was younger I worked as a sailor in the yacht industry. We used to tender the rich and famous to exotic islands like St. Bath’s. I instantly was taken back to that moment in time. Maybe you could name it a comfort smell, who knows… but it reminds me of expensive fragrances melted together with the wind and smell of the beaches or harbor. I know it’s very personal.. and I’m a woman! and I find this fragrance to be more masculine but extremely intriguing, I can’t speak for all but I think this i one of those fragrances that maybe men don’t like to smell on themselves but women love to smell on men, though.
    Very curious to other women’s opinion.
    Greeting from Amsterdam
    Brigyt May 30, 2011 at 5:07pm Reply

    • minette: i agree, brigyt, it is one of those time-travel scents that take you out of your current reality and put you someplace warm and comforting. it’s almost like a balm or tonic for the spirit. but if you’re not looking for something this calming and “quiet” you might overlook its magic. December 29, 2012 at 7:00pm Reply

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