scent: figgy update

A follow-up to the post about scents I like and the one about figgy scents inc. Pacifica Mediterranean Fig vs. Diptyque Philosykos.

I’ve been using the same ones for the last while now:

  • Illuminated Perfumes (Roxana Villa) Green Witch
  • occasional forays into the carefully-saved Hedera Helix sample (same créateur)
  • Pacifica Mediterranean Fig
  • Diptyque Philosykos

Howtopedia: "what to do with ginger," steam distillation

Green Witch depends on mood and what I’m doing during the day. Sometimes mood changes; and does so unexpectedly. So The Witch lives in The Bag, just in case. I find the stuff ridiculously uplifting and enthralling, and sometimes you do just need that (and a nice cup of tea). Sometime you need it but it’s not the right occasion for sniffing yourself and then saying “aaah” with a big grin (ex. meetings), so you either apply it well in advance or look forward to doing so afterwards. Incidentally: it seems to be a very meeting-appropriate scent. No-one has complained. Some people have even claimed there was a nice smell in the room, wondered what it was, homed in on me as the source and fount of niceness, and declared that I smell pleasant. This is impressive, as I work with the sorts of people and in the sort of environment where sniffing each other is unusual.

Hedera Helix would live in the bag too, but I’m saving and savouring my gorgeous wee sample. (Note to self: time to go shoppinggggggg…)

The others are more the everyday thing I slap on first thing in the morning. The Beloved likes the figgy ones best, as apparently they smell more like me, and he doesn’t notice that I smell of anything different, just more intensely me-ish in certain places. Now, I should add here that after further probing interviewing it turns out that by “me” he means me in a state of near-nature first thing in the morning; that also means, bleary-eyed, uncaffeinated, disorientated, somewhat grumpy. And the “me-scent” of having been to the gym or for a run or otherwise having become sweaty. So: “essence of moi” that’s distilled from me at my worst.

I should also add that he’s on the scent-sensitive end of the scale (from disgust to irritation and allergy), so the bathroom is a pretty scent-free zone and I have to be careful of what scents or otherwise smelly products I use. Fortunately, for the most part our dislikes and irritations coincide.

Over time, I’ve noticed some issues with the Diptyque which persuade me that I won’t be rebuying it. Practicalities in general:

  1. I know it’s indestructable, really chic, and meant to remind me of the solidity of the traditional artisanal printing-press: but that zamak container/case is way too heavy.
  2. Also, if you’re going to make an indestructable container, why not make refills of the perfume solid that goes in it? Illuminated Perfumes does this. Diptyque provides refills for their bakelite travel-spray container.
  3. While one application of the solid lasts longer than one of the Pacifica solid, in that I can still smell it some time later, there’s a lot less in the container and it runs out faster. My beautiful piece of zamakery is three-quarters done, in no time at all. I’m down to pan in the middle. In under a month. I calculate that at this rate (I stopped using it, more in next section of quibbles) it would last me around 6 weeks. That makes it way less economical than Pacifica, even if I’m reapplying Pacifica during the day. Here in Vancouver, Diptyque Philosykos costs CAD 58.00 + taxes (= $64.96). Pacifica Mediterranean Fig = CAD 9.00 + taxes (= $10.06). I’ll get 5-6 weeks out of a tin of Mediterranean Fig: around the same as for the Diptyque solid, but for 1/6 of the price.

And some issues to do with this specific scent itself:

  1. It doesn’t layer well with either the Pacifica or the Illuminated solids, due to the different base (Diptyque’s different waxes + silicone, vs. Pacifica’s coconut + soy + apricot oils and Illuminated’s beeswax + jojoba oil).
  2. Doesn’t jive with my idiosyncratic body chemistry that well. For a few days a month: euphoric perfection. But too clinical and ascerbic for around two weeks mid-cycle. Pacifica, on the other hand, is lovely for most of the month; too sweet for about a week, but that can be tempered by layering with The Witch, smoothing things out. One solution: Diptyque for about half the month, Pacifica for the other half. But if I’m looking to rebuy one fig, not both: sorry, it’s the Pacifica.
  3. Doesn’t feel as pleasant on my skin as either Illuminated or Pacifica, and (the clincher) I noticed a little tell-tale scabbness starting up on the insides of my elbows, which are one of my classic eczema zones.

Also: it may be the time of year, something to do with the light and air of early spring. I feel a need for more sweetness, but with sappy green-ness too. Hedera Helix has been coming into its own here; also, it works really truly exquisitely with figs, bringing out their green-ness: bark, sap, leaves. Also gorgeous alone…

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