Atelier Cologne Figuier Ardent and Figgy Favorites

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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.

figuier-ardent

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?

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80 Comments

  • Connie: Caligna is another one I think of- a breezy fig with resins and garrigue herbs. April 11, 2016 at 7:53am Reply

    • Patricia: That is a nice one! Not at all sweet, and I get a lot of pine needles from it. April 11, 2016 at 10:29am Reply

  • Martyn: You mention Dyptique; Dyptique’s Figuier parfum d’interieur never fails to take me back to a hot summer’s stroll along Croatia’s coastal path, which is punctuated and shaded by fig trees every couple of hundred metres – the real scent of summer. April 11, 2016 at 8:59am Reply

    • Patricia: That sounds so beautiful, Martyn. My younger daughter went to Croatia a few years ago, and her photographs were amazing and made me long to visit. I can’t even imagine how fragrant those fig trees must have been! April 11, 2016 at 10:32am Reply

      • Notturno7: I’m from Croatia and yes Patricia, those figs are amazing!! The scent of figs brings great childhood summer memories 😊 April 12, 2016 at 6:42am Reply

        • Patricia: How wonderful that you have something so pleasant to trigger your early memories. I’m from the US midwest, and my summer memories center on the smell of chlorine used to sanitize the swimming pools! That and the scent of sun cream 🙂 . April 12, 2016 at 10:42am Reply

          • Notturno7: I love a scent of summer cream or oil☀️😊 April 13, 2016 at 2:53am Reply

  • Elisa: I’m on a mission to get people to try Treehouse Royal from Pinrose. It’s a fig with a ton of blackcurrant, like a baby cousin of Pulp. April 11, 2016 at 9:01am Reply

    • Katy McReynolds: I love Pinrose Campfire Rebel. I got my bottle at a Nordstrom. I spray it in my hair no matter what I sprayed anywhere else. It smells like drinking bourbon by a campfire. I would have tried Treehouse Royal if it had been there. April 11, 2016 at 10:21am Reply

      • Floramac: Oooh, a perfume that smells like drinking bourbon by a campfire sounds fabulous. April 12, 2016 at 11:31am Reply

        • NBelle: You’ve got me sold! Next time I go back the states, I will stop by a Nordstrom’s to check it out!

          I like Jo Malon’s wild fig and cassis cologne, but it is too creamy on me. I would prefer a greener accent…….. *wistful* April 13, 2016 at 11:48pm Reply

          • NBelle: Oh dear. Commented under the wrong comment.

            My apologies. As for this…. I also love the idea of bourbon next to a fire! What a delicious ‘scent’ it invokes. Also reminds me of camping with friends, sipping spiked tea or hot chcocolate by a campfire. April 14, 2016 at 12:07am Reply

    • Patricia: Sadly blackcurrant is a no-no for me, but all those blackcurrant fans out there will appreciate your comment! Love the name 🙂 April 11, 2016 at 10:34am Reply

    • Sun Mi: Ooh, fig and blackcurrant – that sounds lovely! I’ll have to put this one on the sample list. Thanks Elisa! April 11, 2016 at 11:30am Reply

  • Mary: I love Ninfeo Mio, and it lasts quite a long time on me. Figuier Ardent is pleasant but not figgy enough. I’d like to try Premier Figuier this summer…and Ashoka, but that’s going to be more difficult. April 11, 2016 at 9:11am Reply

    • Patricia: Happy fig sampling, Mary. I love wearing most of these fragrances in the warmer months (and Ashoka with its leather and cedar in autumn). April 11, 2016 at 10:41am Reply

  • WJ: Love Ninfeo Mio which lasts really long on me. One of my favorites is Verveine Figiuer by Phaedon. What I don’t like: Fig Tea by Patricia de Nicolai. They all end weird on my skin. April 11, 2016 at 9:13am Reply

    • Patricia: I haven’t tried Verveine Figuier, but I couldn’t agree with you more about the Fig Tea by PN. I found it to be strangely sour and unpleasant. April 11, 2016 at 10:45am Reply

  • Tijana: Thanks Patricia, great overview!

    I know it is technically not a fig, but I (and some other people on Fragrantica) swear that Hermes’ Santal Massoia has some fig in it. I love it and if it qualifies, it is my favourite!

    In terms of a truer fig, I would say Un Jardin en Mediterranee is also one of my faves.

    I have been testing Philosykos, I think I may get a FB as I really enjoy it… April 11, 2016 at 9:17am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Tijana! I see what you mean about the Santal Massoia. It has a woody, coconut scent that reminds one of fig.

      If I needed a full bottle of anything, I would buy Philosykos. My large decant smashed on the bathroom floor some time ago, and although my bathroom smelled amazing for weeks, I miss having it on hand this spring. April 11, 2016 at 10:56am Reply

  • Neva: Hi Patricia, earlier this year I went on a search for the perfect fig perfume (for me). I was not able to try all of the perfumes you suggested but I was lucky to find what I was looking for: Andree Putman’s Figue en Fleur. It’s a lovely green and woody fig with just enough sweetness. It has a milky feel in the beginning, almost like white chocolate but in the end it’s a very elegant scent. April 11, 2016 at 9:27am Reply

    • Patricia: This sounds lovely, Neva. I went on Fragrantica to check out the notes, and I noticed that it also contains rose, which intrigues me. Do you get much rose from it? April 11, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

      • Neva: Not really but I recommend you try it. It’s amazing! I bought the smaller 30 ml bottle on the first sniff and I regret not having bought the big bottle. April 11, 2016 at 11:26am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Patricia! Three stars is generous, for a cologne with such strong effects on your throat!
    I love the fragrance of fig leaves growing in my neighbourhood, but as a perfume it is not my favourite. Still, I enjoy my Philosykos on a warm day.
    Thank you again for my rediscovery of Ysatis! April 11, 2016 at 9:34am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Cornelia! Yes, I wanted to be just to FA, even though my response to it was less than ideal. 😉

      Glad you are still enjoying your Ysatis. I need to pull my bottle out of my vintage cabinet and take her for a spin. April 11, 2016 at 11:07am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: You mention two of my favorite fig scents (besides Ashoka) and I will add another:
    Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico Di Amalfi. April 11, 2016 at 9:35am Reply

    • Patricia: Hi Phyllis! I’ve just discovered that a Blue Mercury shop near my house carries the entire Acqua di Parma line, and I’m going to start exploring the Blu Mediterraneo line. Fico di Amalfi sounds like something I’d like very much. Thanks for adding it to our list. April 11, 2016 at 11:13am Reply

  • Katy McReynolds: My only fig fragrance is Womanity. I really should try some others. April 11, 2016 at 10:23am Reply

    • SublimiSomnium: Womanity is great! Feels unisex despite the name. April 11, 2016 at 10:48am Reply

      • Patricia: I’ve heard that. Not very good marketing to limit its appeal by the name. April 11, 2016 at 11:16am Reply

    • Patricia: I’ve only tried Womanity once, and I really should give it a second chance! April 11, 2016 at 11:15am Reply

      • Katy: The Taste of Fragrance flanker really pumps up the fig aspect. April 11, 2016 at 11:31am Reply

  • Wilma: I am quite fond of Philosykos, such a beautiful green scent. Recently I discovered another wonderful fig perfume by Parfumerie Generale, Jardins de Kerylos. It is softer, more gentle and transparant than Philosykos. Someone on Fragrantica referred to Jardins de Kerylos as Philosykos baby brother…. April 11, 2016 at 10:25am Reply

    • Patricia: This does sound nice! Sometimes Philosykos is just too much. That’s why I’m looking forward to trying the Fico di Amalfi mentioned above. April 11, 2016 at 11:21am Reply

  • maja: Great review, Patricia! My favourite must be Ninfeo Mio, I went online and bought a back up bottle immediately as soon as I tried it on a hot summer day. It also reminds me of my garden, full of fig trees and bitter oranges.
    Philosykos is somehow too milky, Premier Figuier too coconut-y for my taste while Ashoka is great especially in cold rainy weather. Now I need to sample Figue Amere. 🙂 April 11, 2016 at 11:23am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks, Maja! The Miller Harris line is such a good one, I think. Another gem is Fleurs de Sel and I own a bottle (no fig in that one, though!). April 11, 2016 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Sun Mi: Great review – I have recently been suffering from that throat thing with several perfumes – it’s so disheartening! I like philosykos, but I need to find some more figs fragrances to match the 4 fig trees I bought this year for our new yard! April 11, 2016 at 11:33am Reply

  • Patricia: Thank you, Sun Mi. How fortunate you are to have the real thing right in your own backyard! You must live in a sunnier climate than I do. 🙂

    Isn’t the throat thing annoying? Whenever I spray I hold my breathe and then move away from the spray site to avoid breathing in any stray droplets. I think that helps. April 11, 2016 at 12:06pm Reply

    • Sun Mi: Hi Patricia! Well, we live in MD so our summers can be pretty sunny I guess, but my parents live in the Seattle area and they have a large beautiful fig tree as well! April 11, 2016 at 1:33pm Reply

      • Patricia: I wonder if they would grow in New England! April 11, 2016 at 5:18pm Reply

        • Sun Mi: At the least you could cultivate a potted fig tree which you could put in a basement/cellar/shed over the winter. Then you can put it out in the spring/summer/fall in the sunniest spot you’ve got. They can be pruned to stay small but they’ll still produce delicious fruit despite their size. It’s worth a try! April 11, 2016 at 7:48pm Reply

          • Patricia: 🙂 April 12, 2016 at 9:06am Reply

          • Floramac: My in-laws had a beautiful potted fig for many years outside New York. April 12, 2016 at 11:28am Reply

    • mayfly: Hi Patricia,
      Great review, I am considering a FB of either philosykos or Pulp for summer.. Decisions decisions!
      I live in East Sussex in the UK, and we have a fig tree in our back garden, it seems to be very hardy, and thrives even in partial shade, the figs it produces aren’t bad, but I rarely get to them before the wasps!, I’m sure a fig tree would grow and thrive in New England too, as it puts up with a lot here. April 12, 2016 at 9:55am Reply

      • Patricia: Thanks, Mayfly! Let us know which you decide to buy.

        Can you cover the fig tree to protect from wasps, or is it too large? April 12, 2016 at 10:15am Reply

  • MMKinPA: I sampled Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree and really enjoyed it. Softer than Philosykos, green but not painfully so (I don’t always get along with green!) April 11, 2016 at 12:20pm Reply

    • OperaFan: I second Fig Tree as a lovely green fig fragrance. It’s definitely not one on the sweet side. April 11, 2016 at 2:41pm Reply

    • Patricia: I think I may have tried a sample of Fig Tree years ago but don’t really remember it. I’ll have to check my samples collection to see if I can find it. There are so many wonderful figs out there! April 11, 2016 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Lari Frank: I am a fan of Sonoma Scent Studio…not a fig fan usually but this is more on the fig leaf side. I liked it quite a bit and thinking about a full bottle. April 11, 2016 at 6:43pm Reply

  • Abby: so happy you mentioned Miller Harris Figue Amere. I love that scent. I finished a bottle about 2 years ago and have been missing it. I keep managing to come up with something else to purchase instead of the MH but I want a new bottle someday.

    On another note: I find it surprising that Diptyque Philosykos is heavy on the coconut. I never detect coconut in that one. Definitely with the L’Artisan though.

    I agree with whomever mentioned the PG above, Jardin de Kerylos is a nice one. As is the Sonoma Scent Studio fig, very nice. April 11, 2016 at 3:29pm Reply

    • Patricia: I’m impressed that you actually finished up a bottle of the Figue Amere! Lauren is probably the only bottle I’ve ever completely emptied, and I think it took me 20 years to do so (it was the 4 oz size).

      It’s very green, but I also get a lot of coconut in Philosykos, but perhaps not as much as I smell in the L’Artisan. I don’t think L’Artisan makes that body oil anymore and although I have a sealed backup, I’m a little worried that by the time I’m ready to open it, it will have turned. April 11, 2016 at 5:02pm Reply

      • Abby: Well, it’s not that terribly impressive because I purchased the smaller size (50 mL) and split it with a friend so I had about 25 mLs of it over the course of about 5 years. This was before I had more perfume that could easily fit in one room! But I did love Figue Amere and really enjoyed wearing it in the late summer/autumn before I turned to my true cozy oriental types 🙂 April 11, 2016 at 5:11pm Reply

        • Patricia: Splits are wonderful, aren’t they? And it’s great to have a few fragrances that fit nicely in that late summer/early autumn time period. My favorite for wearing then has always been L’Eau a la Folie, but it’s now discontinued. April 11, 2016 at 5:17pm Reply

  • Safran: My favourite fig scent is also Ninfeo Mio. Followed by the not often mentioned wonderful dry and woody fig scent from Jovoy, L’Arbre de la Connaissance.

    Cheers
    Safran April 11, 2016 at 3:37pm Reply

    • Patricia: I see that Luckyscent carries the Jovoy, so I will request a sample next time I place an order. Do you find the patchouli in it to be very strong? April 11, 2016 at 5:13pm Reply

      • Safran: No, not at all! To me, it rather gives the scent depth than I could really smell it. April 12, 2016 at 1:43am Reply

        • Patricia: Perfect, thanks! April 12, 2016 at 8:50am Reply

  • spe: Would you please share how you manage to have not had “….many fragrances that were initially a hit but later a miss.”?

    I would love to know your process for fragrance selection because that’s not been my fragrance experience!

    After owning multiple bottles of Premier Figuer Extreme, I’ve lost interest in smelling like fig. I did receive compliments, but it just never smelled like me.

    Very enjoyable post! Thank you, Patricia. April 12, 2016 at 12:27am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, spe! I have no particular process for selection, just choosing a wide variety of fragrances to sample. For whatever reason I’m more likely to come to appreciate a fragrance I don’t initially care for than the other way around 🙂 .

      It sounds like you have done the fig thing and now you are over it. What have you been enjoying lately? April 12, 2016 at 8:41am Reply

  • Merlin: I find the Annick Goutal too bitter on me. My favourites to date are Philosykos edt (which is sweeter than the edp) and Jo Malone’s Fig & Cassis! April 12, 2016 at 5:56am Reply

    • Patricia: I’m surprised I haven’t had more comments mentioning the sharp, or bitter aspect of Ninfeo Mio. I’ve often heard “cat pee” in association with it (which I fortunately never get!).

      The Fig & Cassis sounds absolutely delicious and quite refreshing. I must try it next time I’m near a Jo Malone counter. April 12, 2016 at 8:48am Reply

      • limegreen: I was thinking that Wild Fig and Cassis is not a sweet fig and you might enjoy it, but it’s discontinued. Kiehls had a limited and nice Fig Leaf and Sage (I think that was the name) that was quite refreshing.
        I find the Fico di Amalfi and Un Jardin somewhat similar, but the Fico has a little more depth. Be curious if you find this to be the case on your skin.
        Thanks for the review! I had a similar response to Coromandel — had a negative initial reaction a year ago, but tested it again recently and found it quite mesmerizing. Taste, chemistry, mood? April 12, 2016 at 10:10am Reply

        • Patricia: Hi limegreen! I’m looking forward to sampling the Fico and will keep Un Jardin in mind when I do so. I believe that I spritzed Arancia (?) when I was in Blue Mercury. No fig, but very pleasant and refreshing citrus.

          I have to be in the right frame of mind for Coromandel, as I still find it a bit challenging. April 12, 2016 at 10:22am Reply

  • Hamamelis: I used to love fig, un Jardin en Mediterranee was one of scents that made me fall down the rabbithole. At the moment it is not a miss, but certainly not a hit either. I have a solid of Pacifica’s mediterranean fig which is nice. For the time being fig takes a backseat in my collection but who knows, it may make a come back! April 12, 2016 at 6:05am Reply

    • Patricia: Aren’t solids a nice option? I have L’Artisan Premier Figuier solid in a beautiful case heavy enough to be a small paperweight! April 12, 2016 at 8:56am Reply

  • rosarita: It took me a long time to appreciate fig in perfumery but Un Jardin En Mediterranee made we want to try more. My favorite is Imaginary Authors Yesterday Haze, which has creamy fig offset by a slight bitterness. They have a great sample program. April 12, 2016 at 8:51am Reply

    • Patricia: I haven’t explored that line much, but I believe I have a small sample of Yesterday Haze, which I will go revisit. Thanks for commenting, rosarita! April 12, 2016 at 9:04am Reply

  • Lily: The only fig I have tried is the Pacifia Mediterranean Fig. Turned out, it fit my craving for the fig leaves I smell around my neighborhood and melded with my skin so perfectly I didn’t need to look further! I have seen it described as on the dry side, for me it has a really lovely muskiness that hints at the fruit alongside the leaves, but my skin tends to be sweetness-forward. Maybe someday I will branch out into more fig-oriented scents 🙂 April 12, 2016 at 10:59am Reply

    • Patricia: The Pacifica Mediterranean Fig is getting a lot of love here! If you’ve found the perfect one, no need to play the field. 😉 April 12, 2016 at 11:36am Reply

      • Lily: Certainly true for now! But I do love the scent of figs and especially fig leaves so I can see there eventually being room for a second figgy frag in my wardrobe 🙂 April 13, 2016 at 11:03am Reply

  • Floramac: I love Philosykos and Pacifica’s Mediterranean Fig cream. I often wear them together, as the body cream helps the perfume to last longer. In the summer Philosykos is one of the perfumes I keep in the fridge to spritz on when I need cooling off.

    Interesting photo. It reminds me of the I Spy books my son and I poured over when he was little. April 12, 2016 at 11:24am Reply

    • Patricia: I may purchase some of the Pacifica Mediterranean Fig cream to help with the longevity of Ninféo Mio. Good idea of keeping your summer scents in the refrigerator!

      Isn’t it a nice photo? Victoria always does such a good job of taking/selecting photographs for Bois de Jasmin. 🙂 April 12, 2016 at 11:54am Reply

  • Aurora: A great article on a favorite note. I think fig is great for the summer, it is so distinctive, I always detect it easily, and I love Un Jardin en Mediterranee. I read the comments too and got lots of ideas for more figs to try. April 13, 2016 at 5:48am Reply

    • Patricia: I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Aurora! The comments have also given me ideas for new figs to sample for this summer. 🙂 April 13, 2016 at 7:42am Reply

  • Drakecito: For me, the note fig usually have the problem that I get tired enough.
    Perhaps my favorite of all is “Ninfeo Mio”, although I think “Ninfeo” has no fig. It is the green fig leaf. What happens is that the perfume is mixed with a sweet note that causes the effect of fig fruit.

    And attention to “Musc Imperial” from “Atelier Cologne”. One of its main notes is the fig and I think it’s an excellent fragrance, better than Figuier Ardient and many others. April 14, 2016 at 7:11am Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you for your recommendation! I have not yet tried Musc Imperial, but look forward to doing so. April 14, 2016 at 10:54am Reply

  • Deb Hemley: Thanks for the information. Look forward to exploring. I learn so much from you! April 14, 2016 at 10:55am Reply

    • Patricia: Thanks for your comment, Deb! 🙂 April 14, 2016 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Kari: Yesterday Haze By Imaginary Authors is my fig perfume of choice. The iris and Tonka are marvelous.

    I really enjoy L’Artisan Premier Figuier Extrême though I originally wasn’t too keen. I’ve warned up to it after coming back to sample again and again, and love the creamy coconut. I’m glad I didn’t go with the original as I’m not very into green scents. May 1, 2016 at 9:45pm Reply

  • Lifestyle Lodestar: Inspired by his post I went to the Perfumerie in Monaco and tried Diptyque Philosykos – I was pleasantly surprised. I mention my love of fig perfumes and the sales assistant gave me a sample of Profumum Roma’s Icnusa which features fig leaf, myrtle, hay, grass and fig tree. Its a unisex perfume and has a very sophisticated, unique development with excellent long-lasting sillage. July 18, 2016 at 8:58am Reply

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