Sunday, September 22, 2013

Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Toilette review

          When I was but a sapling, my family and I lived in the heat of California's San Joaquin valley. Known for its fertile soil and bountiful sun, the valley is home to thousands of acres of fig trees, with their gnarled, twisting branches reaching upwards and outwards like giant parasols shading the valley floor. Historically, the trees were brought to California and planted in small numbers by settlers during the gold rush. With the introduction of caprification (a method of artificially pollinating fig trees) in the late 1890s, the fig industry in California exploded! Today the overwhelming majority of US-grown figs originate from the San Joaquin valley. The trees thrive in the dry 104 degree summers, perfectly adapted to the heated climates that supported ancient civilizations.

         Though I've since moved from the fig center of the United States, cartons of fresh figs are always on my grocery list when in season. However, I realize that in modern times, many have never experienced the cool pleasure of a fresh fig. While the readily available Fig Newtons do have their own classically delicious charm, the real experience is quite different. Herein lies the beauty of Diptyque Philosykos; it is a perfume that evokes the fruit of Ficus carica as enjoyed by the ancients, for the pleasure of the modern day palate!

Mr. Lovey spotted this little fig tree on our recent trip to the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden!
          The story of Diptyque Philosykos is that of the cool, milky fig amidst an airy rustle of leaves and the slight warmth of dry wood. The scent opens with the exhalation of a light green curtain of leaves shielding our moist fig from the scorching sun. Fig is absolutely central to Philosykos; its green, earthy, and milky tones are all beautifully intertwined within the composition. One can even appreciate the nuttiness of the seeds that are an archetypal trait of the fruit. Coconut water adds just the right touch, adding the feel of delicate dusty skin that just a slip of a finger will crease. Over time, as the scent 'ripens', the fig dries down to a more fibrous green fragrance. It becomes slightly sweeter and more jammy (perhaps a la 'Newton). A soft dry wood buoys the base.

          I've noticed that some reviews have overemphasized a supposed sense of 'cool/moist soil/bark/earth' of a figurative fig grove in Diptyque Philosykos. Much to the contrary, I found Philosykos to be a remarkably fig  fruit-centric scent, with only a soft contribution from the tree itself. (Not to mention, the oft-described cool, damp forest is biologically incongruous with the hot, dry habitat of Ficus carica.) While the aforementioned scent signatures are present, the 'cool earthiness' of Philoskyos belongs to the fig fruit itself, not its arboreal mother!

         In Diptyque Philosykos, we experience a pendulous fig magically alight amongst broad leaves: a cool oasis sublimated by the efforts of a scorching sun. It's a simple delight that transcends time. One bite (or rather one spritz) of this sweet milky fruit transports me back to the sunbaked California valley of my childhood and even further, back across the timeless generations to cradle of life where figs were first savored by human lips.

       The beautifully crafted fragrance in Diptyque Philosykos is wonderful for fig aficionadas like myself, and also an intriguing scent to those yet unfamiliar with the unique flavor of the fig. As Philoskykos is among the more 'simple' delights in Diptyque's lineup, it's a great starting point for those looking to explore Diptyque perfumes!

       Thanks for reading! What Diptyque perfumes or products have you tried recently? Do you have any favorites? Have you ever tried fresh figs?

Love, Dovey.

P.S. For more of my Diptyque reviews, take a steamship voyage with Diptyque Volutes, roam the exotic jungles of Diptyque Eau Moheli, and take a break in a cool cafe with Diptyque Eau Duelle.


  1. I love fig scented products and your review was a pleasure to read. Fresh figs are pretty pricey in Tokyo where I live so it's a treat when they are in season which is now. I could gobble up a punnet all by myself - lol! Your post really makes me want to head to a Diptyque counter to sniff this wonderful scent...

    1. Hi Beauty Box,

      Thank you for the sweet comment! Figs certainly are a treat when they're in season! I hope you get the chance to try Diptyque Philosykos :)

  2. i love eating figs :) i don't have a concrete idea of what they smell like though! lovely review - you make me want to run our and get this, even though i know the scent doesn't really suit me.

    1. Hi Joyce, It's wonderful to hear from a fellow fig-lover! They do have a really interesting smell to be sure! I hope you get to try Philosykos again :)

  3. I've eaten a fresh fig maybe only once or twice in my life, so I don't have any association with it and didn't fall in love with Philosykos. But this is a beautiful post and I love your take on the scent!

    1. Hi Liz, Thank you, I really appreciate the kind words!


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