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Eau des Sens is EDT in concentration but perfume in composition.

A French brand's fragrances are strong and unique, made for those who appreciate the art of perfumery, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan.

WHEN I first learnt about French brand Diptyque decades ago, it was all about its scented candles. Models and celebrities would bring them on their travels and light them up for a familiar scent away from home.

Until today, its bestselling candle, Baies, remains highly sought-after and even the Kens Apothecary outlets in the city sometimes find it hard to keep up with customer demands.

Diptyque perfumes, meanwhile, have gone from strength to strength.

From Florabellio and Eau Rose to Tam Dao and 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, the scents are not for the masses but for those with a discerning olfactory taste who appreciate the composition of a fragrance.

Another pull factor is that its fragrances are not segmentised according to gender but according to scent families, whether floral, woody, fougere or oriental.

In the hands of Diptyque perfumers, a floral fragrance does not mean it is a soft, feminine scent.

SCENT BY THE BITTER ORANGE

The Eau des Sens eau de toilette is for men and women. Launched in 2016 and created by perfumer Olivier Pescheux, it quickly rose to become one of the brand’s bestsellers. And while it is EDT by concentration, it is perfume by composition.

The top notes are orange blossom and bitter orange while the middle note is juniper berries. The base notes are patchouli and angelica. So while it could be heady on first spray, it settles down nicely with patchouli and angelica sitting on the skin until the end of the day.

The bitter orange fruit, according to the brand, “lives in the collective olfactory... it is sweet and sour therefore not gender-specific.”

The bitter orange oil, extracted from the zest of the ripe fruit, provides the volatile element in the composition. The essence of petit-grain, oil extracted from the twigs of the tree, adds a green note. The essence of neroli, obtained by distilling the orange blossom, adds a floral note.

So here you have the whole cycle of the tree, from hard to soft and from sensual to bitter to sweet culminating in the roundness of the scent.

SURPRISED REACTION

I sprayed Eau des Sens (RM559 for 100ml EDT) one morning before going to work and because I am so used to Chanel’s Gabrielle that’s typically feminine, I was surprised by the initial scent.

It didn’t have the aroma of conventional perfume, but then again, Diptyque, founded in 1961 by three artistic friends Desmond Knox-Leet, Yves Coueslant and Christiane Gautrot, is anything but conventional.

The scent is strong without being overpowering but it settled down on me hours later on a stable, woody note throughout the day. It’s definitely not a sweet scent for flighty girls. In this fragrance, you would find a level-headed woman who is assured of her existence and her taste.

MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD

Equally enigmatic is Do Son (RM559 for 100ml EDT), where tuberose plays an integral role. And again, because it’s by Diptyque, don’t mistake a flower with a sweet smell. This one is strong and mystical.

As a child, Coueslant spent his summers in Do Son, in Vietnam’s Halong Bay and it is the memories of the place that is bottled in this bestseller.

The sea breeze carries the heady and spicy scent of tuberoses and the fragrance has the delicateness and persistence of a memory from a childhood in Indochina – the memory of a flower, between lightness and delight.

In the eau de parfum, the scent of the tuberose is even stronger, bringing to mind the sundown hour, when the white flowers stand out in the darkness of the wooden pagoda.

The scents of Diptyque are special because they don’t fit into your typical perfume bill. Instead, these are strong, unique scents for individuals who appreciate perfumery and its complexities beyond spraying something just to “smell nice”.

And at a time when body mists and fruity scents are abound, it’s good to know that eclectic, unique scents are still around.

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