Patricia is in search of interesting fig perfumes.
There are many perfumes that for me weren’t love at first sniff, but which I grew to appreciate over time. Most notable are Chanel Coromandel, whose earthy patchouli was definitely an acquired taste, and Chanel No 5, which I’m approaching sideways through the more modern and wearable No 5 Eau Première.
However, I haven’t had many fragrances that were initially a hit but later a miss. Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent from the Collection Azur has proven to be one such fragrance, and I’ve been trying over the past several months to recapture what I saw in it at the beginning of our relationship. Its opening promises much, but it doesn’t deliver.
It starts out encouragingly enough with a refreshing blast of bergamot, fig, and green notes, but these dissipate within minutes, leaving a powdery dry fig leaf, pepper, and woodsy concoction that makes the back of my throat feel dry and scratchy and in need of a tall glass of ice water. Here it stays for the next several hours, sticking close to the skin and without much projection.
In its defense, Figuier Ardent is well composed and well blended, like most of the colognes in this line. Also, to its credit it isn’t overly sweet and it doesn’t contain an excess of coconut, the downfall of many fig fragrances. Still, all of its good qualities don’t balance out the lack of character. It doesn’t leave me satisfied.
Having failed with Figuier Ardent, I decided to explore other options. If like me, you are in the market for a non-sweet fig, two of my favorites are Figue Amère by Miller Harris (2002) and Ashoka by Neela Vermiere Créations (2013). The first contains fig leaf, moss, and cedarwood, and the second is a warmer combination of fig, leather, and balsam. Both are suitable for the office, wearable by either sex, and appropriate for the cooler months. Another complex and woodsy fig that I have recently rediscovered in my samples box is James Heeley’s Figuier. Dry as a martini served straight up with a twist, this fragrance never enters gourmand territory but smells of earth, stalks, stems, and leaves. It might be polarizing, but I found it much more interesting than Figuier Ardent.
My favorite summertime figs are Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermes (2003), which pairs fig with orange blossom and citrus and Ninféo Mio by Annick Goutal (2010), which is a refreshing blend of lemon, verbena, and fig. Neither lasts very long, but the pleasure of reapplying is enhanced on a hot summer’s day.
If you enjoy coconut with your fig, go no further than the two queens of this genre: Diptyque Philosykos (1996) and L’Artisan Premier Figuier (1994). Both fragrances were created by perfumer Olivia Giacobetti, whose light touch is apparent in both of these well-blended creations. I’m on my third bottle of the Premier Figuier dry body oil, which I wear to bed most evenings to ensure a restful sleep with dreams of figs dancing in my head.
Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent includes notes of bergamot, anise, cardamom, fig, black pepper, cedar, iris, tonka bean.
Do you have favorite fig perfumes?