“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” – Patrick Suskind, Perfume: The Story of A Murderer.
Although not quite a story about a murderer who embarks on a life-consuming journey to create the ultimate scent, the Diptyque story and that of Grenouille shares one common thread – a rabid, yet intellectual pursuit to bottling beautiful scents. In 1961 three friends, painter Desmond Knox-Leet, set designer Yves Coueslant, and Christiane Gautrot got together to produce printed fabrics and, like most creative collaborations, they didn’t produce fabrics and introduced a line of scented candles, which eventually became the main focus of their business. In 1968, they introduced their first perfume, L’Eau and the Diptyque brand now has over 23 scents across a diversity of products including home scents, eau de toilette, solid perfumes and body care.
Scent is one of the most powerful forms of evoking nostalgia; our olfactory system is closely linked to the limbic system, which controls memory and emotion. This explains why smell is important enough to evoke its own déjà vu. Because Diptyque perfumes are crafted through a thoughtful process of travel and sourcing around the world, and led by the desire to recreate this journey in a bottle, the results are scents that are nuanced, layered and as Stanislas Le Bert, Area Manager of Diptyque warned as he reached for L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, “positively addicting” (He wasn’t joking by the way – the scent still lingers in the recesses of my nasal passages and my brain) It’s almost as if, like Grenouille, they mixed every smell of a particular moment and space into a bottle.
“Diptyque is for someone who appreciates intellectual pursuits” says Eric Cauvin, commercial director of Diptyque. “We always hear that people in Asia prefer lighter, fresher scents, but we find that there is a growing number of consumers who are looking for something different, unique and interesting, like our creations.”
One of their best-selling scents is the “positively addicting” L’Ombre dans L’Eau, which was crafted reminiscent of a walk in an English garden. Infused with blackcurrant leaves and bulgarian roses, it is initially sharp with a lot of greens (garden, after all, non?) Unlike most rose fragrances, it doesn’t punch you in the face with the overwhelming, coying smell of roses. Instead both the rose and blackcurrant scents are imbued in the deeper layers of the scent, providing a subtle and beautiful fragrance.
Another stand-out is Philosykos, considered by many to be the truest fig fragrances in the market. Created by Olivia Giacobetti, who develops for Diptyque, it encapsulates the smell of a fig tree, from its fresh leaf, green fruit, milky sap and bark. If you’re looking for a ‘signature’ scent, this is the one for you.
We know where we’ll be headed for presents.
Experience Diptyque at their pop-up counter in Bangsar Village 2, between The Loaf and Wallis. www.diptyqueparis.com