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Tried and tested: the best fig fragrances

Sylviane Degunst and the fragrances she tested.
Sylviane Degunst and the fragrances she tested.

To me, figs are the fruit of the gods. That’s why I was excited to test these fragrances: just the idea is heaven.

Miller Harris’ Figue Amère (£75 for 50ml, has a strong scent, a potent mix of tree, soil and fig. I’d say it’s quite masculine, though. Then again, I sometimes betray my beloved No 5 (Chanel) for Habit Rouge (Guerlain), which is supposed to be for men, but no one ever complains. So let’s say it’s a unisex, sophisticated perfume.

Fleur de Figuier, by Roger & Gallet (£39.50, is sugary, fruity, flowery, like a touch of spring. And why not, especially in the depths of winter? The problem is, this light scent barely lasts a second. I sprayed it on again and again, in my hair, on my wrists, nape and toes (yes, I like having perfumed feet), but it always vanished. God knows where.

Diptyque’s Philosykos (£34, is a solid perfume that looks like a black lacquered precious pebble. But open it, and there is the most subtle and refined scent trapped inside, like fig leaves blowing in the wind, all woody and delicately spicy. The marvel of the solid fragrance means that, if you fancy, you can spread it on your eyebrows or the tip of your nose, which is impossible with a spray. In Greek, Philosykos means friend of the fig tree, but I adore this so much, I’d rename it “My friend”.

Finally, Fresh’s Fig Apricot (£76, lives up to its name. There is nothing pretentious about this fruity perfume. The apricot comes through clearly, too, and reminds me of an eau de cologne my mother used to rub into my back after a bath when I was little. It’s a rewarding bit of summer to enjoy in winter.

This article titled "Tried and tested: the best fig fragrances" was written by Sylviane Degunst, for The Guardian on Friday 12 January 2018 08.30am


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