Figmania!

It´s still in the mid-80s here, which is really interfering with my efforts to prepare a Best of Fall post. So instead, join me on one of my new obsessions — fig.

 

I´ve always been indifferent to fig, in fragrance and in food. Other than hoovering down the occasional plastic sleeve of Fig Newtons (or my preferred alternative, the figgier organic Fig Newmans) I´ve … well, never given a fig about figs. I´m sure at some point in my past I smelled, say, Diptyque Philosykos and L´Artisan Premier Figuier, thought meh, and moved on.

 

Several weeks ago, I happened to smell Slatkin Black Fig and Absinthe on Louise, and I was charmed. The following week, picking up my soap supply, I paused over the Pacifica Mediterranean Fig and (across the aisle) the Speziali Fiorentini Fig and Poppy.

 

Before I really understood what was happening, a minor interest developed into a full-blown case of figmania. I spent hours on MakeupAlley, Amazon and elsewhere looking for (and reading reviews of) fig products – lotions, shampoos, liquid soaps, candles, room sprays. I got online and bought some things (and what is the internet for, if not a tool to waste time and money on some new, weird passion?) including some discontinued fig-scented products people raved about. Hey, which do you find more pathetic – buying discontinued fragrance, or discontinued shower gel? I´m trying not to think about it.

 

Anyway, consider this a cautionary tale of how your fragrance addiction can spin out of control suddenly, in a direction you hadn´t even considered – or, if you´d prefer, an introduction to the fruits of my labor. Remember, as always, mileage may vary; what I consider “too green” or “sugary” might be very different for you. Lasting power generally isn´t a problem on my skin, so unless it disappears in 10 minutes I tend not to do a lot of evaluation of that aspect. Finally, due to length I´m going to drop this fig nonsense into more than one post. Stay tuned.

 

Fig seems to be deployed in four major styles – there are those with additional green/earthy notes (fig leaves, twigs, bark, what have you – hints of galbanum and/or LOTV are common). At the other end of the spectrum: figs that are sweet/creamy. Third, there is what I came to think of as “Fig Plus” – where fig is only one player in an ensemble fragrance, and while those can be great, they aren´t the fix I want right now. I was looking for what I think of as Fig Neutral – a figgy fig, ripe and macerated but not too sweet, and not too much earth/green notes.

 

Here in no particular order, is my Fig Walk of Shame:

 

Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Fico di Amalfi — can I say I hate that name? Yes, I know, it´s Italian, but it sounds like “fecal” and I wish it didn´t. Anyway, nicer fragrance than I expected. This is Fig Plus – like fig sitting in the middle of your regular AdP cologne — a little woods, some citrobergamot. I feel like there´s maybe a touch of anise in there? Better lasting power than you´d expect from something that goes on so light and fresh.

 

Speziali Fiorentini Fig and Poppy (body spray, lotion, soap, etc.) — Fig Plus. The soap doesn´t smell figgy at all, just like nice soap. The body spray has a nice figgy smell, but it´s too floral and it doesn´t hang around long. I love the packaging, though. My favorite from the line is Te Nero, which is black tea with an excellent honeyed drydown.

 

Bath & Body Works Brown Sugar and Fig – Now that BBW´s doing a lot of home fragrances, you can smell the store at the other end of the mall corridor, a complaint I used to reserve for Yankee Candle. I almost can´t stand to go in there. Anyway – if you held a gun to my head and said, pick one, I´d probably go with Brown Sugar and Fig. It´s a fairly low-key, soft comfort fragrance that smells more of brown sugar than fig, but doesn´t smell of either to the point that you want to die. It´s subtle, and subtle is not a quality BBW is known for. I embrace it. If you´re looking for more fig, the body lotion smells figgier than the body cream, and the Body Mist is figgier than the EDT. I think the body mist would be really nice under a too-green fig you were trying to mellow.

 

Diptyque Figuier Room Spray – Okay, now we´re talkin´. Less green and woody than their fragrance Philosykos, the Figuier Room Spray (which, yes, I cheerfully applied to my person, and nothing dropped off, although it´s meant for rooms and laundry) raises the interesting question of fig vs. coconut. I´m looking for a “creamy” fig, and if you read enough reviews of fig scents you´ll read x number of complaints regarding “coconut,” which is (so far as I know) not a note that is officially listed in whatever fragrance they´re discussing. I wonder – just as there´s a cat pee/boxwood dynamic with honey, so is there a coconut note in fig? I´m not a perfumer, but I can see it – fig´s creamy sweetness, if that´s where you´re going with your scent, does have an element of something coconutty. Figuier Room Spray is close to my ideal – figgy, a little green, creamy (with that coconut undertone.) For the record, I´m not a fan of coconut in my frags, so don´t let it be a deal-killer for you, either.

 

L´Artisan Premier Figuier. Can´t smell it. No, seriously. Can Not Smell It. Bill can´t smell it on me either. I tried a different bottle and a different day – nothing. Faint hit of greens, leaves, then nothing. Weird.

 

L´Artisan´s Premier Figuier Extreme – this one I can smell. Category: Creamy/Fig Plus. It´s supposed to be figgier, more floral and creamier than the regular, and while all that is true, I can´t make up my mind whether I like it. Sometimes it smells lovely, if a bit too “floral;” other times there´s a soapy note that bothers me. Also (and this is odd) it either smells good up close or at a distance, depending; but not both at once.

 

Bendel Wild Fig Eau de Toilette – they still have six bottles at Bendel in NYC, but they´re discontinuing the fig scent (I think they used to have ancillary products like candles and bath gel). I was worried I´d fall in love with a d/c´d scent and was prepared to stock up … but no. This has gotten some great reviews on MUA, and I think maybe I´m anosmic to some part of it. I get twigs and leaves and a little bit of fig, but it´s pretty tentative no matter how much I put on. So I´m happy to let this one go.

 

Memoire Liquide Bois de Figuier and Figuer at Bendel. The Bois was a total bust – macerated leaves and spices, and it´s interesting, but no. The Figuier (these are fragrance oils) went on pretty rough – bitter and not very figgy. After 20 minutes on my skin, though, it really bloomed. A delicious fig, woody but still very figgy without random fruitiness. I think you can get a bottle for $40ish. I can see buying this, maybe even blended into their body lotion or shower gel.

 

Hautes de Provence Fig Shower Gel (Feuille de Figuier) This is supposed to be L´Occitane´s commercial line, I am assuming for hotels. It´s okay. It´s got light, green fig on a woody, gender-neutral base. If I used this in a hotel I´d be fine with it. But I wouldn´t steal the extra bottle to take with me, because it also introduced me to the other less attractive (to me, anyway) direction fig can go: soapy.

L´Occitane Fig Shower Cream with Shea Milk – This was part of their shea butter line, and it smells delicious, an excellent, rich fig that manages to be creamy and woody but not overly sweet. If I could buy it at L´Occitane I´d run over there right now. But it´s been discontinued (why why why?) and as lovely as it is, I´m not going to stalk it on eBay.

 

 

That’s enough for this go-round. Stay tuned for Figmania! Part Deux, in which I discuss:

 

Diptyque Philosykos
Slatkin Wild Fig and Absinthe
CB I Hate Perfume Revelation
Pacifica Mediterranean Fig
Wen Fig Oil
Satellite A La Figue!
Bendel Fig Scentport scents from Bath and Body Works
Heeley Figuier
Parfumerie Generale Jardins de Kerylos
Demeter Fig
Hermes Un Jardin en Mediterranee

and whatever I might dig up. Have I overlooked anything? (probably) Also, I tried (and totally failed) to get ahold of the famed Mathias Figue. Anyone have 1ml they’d like to part with, so I can see what I missed?

Also — who’s tried the fig candles? How about the Burn Fig? L’Artisan? Pacifica? Recommendations?

UPDATE:  here’s a link to the follow-up post, Figmania II, in which the insanity continues…

fig botanical drawing: herbdatanz.com

 

75 Comments
arch.memory August 11, 2008

Can't wait for Part Deux! If you're into fig products, you'll have to try the Mistral Green Fig Collection (Fleur d'Oranger/Figue Verte): It's what started my obsession with figs. I'm from a Mediterranean country, so fig for me is part of a cultural heritage. (It's also the only fruit mentioned in the Quran, which makes it especially revered in Islamic cultures.) But I never like the taste of the thing as a child; I never got my parents' obsession with it. However, stumbling across the Mistral Green Fig Collection made me find the inner Mediterranean in me. The scent is of a very green fig, closer to the scent of the leaves than the actual fruit. And mixing with orange blossoms just makes it divine! I first got the hand-cream, which remains still the best hand-cream I have ever smelled (or used). The lotion smells slightly different--not as piercingly green as the cream; tempered more by the delicateness of the orange blossoms. Ever since I have been hunting fig scents, much to my disappointment. The classics (L'Artisan & Diptyque) come closer to the sweet ripeness of the fruit than the fresh tartness of the leaves. I finally succumbed and purchased a big bottle of Premier Figuier Extreme on eBay yesterday, but I'm already having buyers' remorse (it's lovely, but it could be cloyingly sweet). The thing is, I have yet to come to something that captures that scintillating green like the Mistral line. They have Eaux de Parfum of other scents in their collection, but not the fig. I can't wait until they come out with that... Actually, I think I'll write them right away and ask them for it!

lisa November 3, 2007

Love that you're exploring fig, one of my favorite notes! I didn't see any mention of Profumum's Ichnusa - my favorite fig among many loves - and was wondering if you were going to try it. It starts off as a very green fig with a touch of hay, but it later softens into a soft and creamy fig. I also love Premier Figuier Extreme, Physolokos, PG's JdK, and Ava Luxe figs, but Ichnusa is the one I love most dearly.

Dy October 27, 2007

LOOOVEEEEE FIG!!! It could be FIG FIG FIG and more FIG around here! Girls, if you haven't burned Diptyque's Figuier candle, go out and buy it. This was the start of my love affair with all things fig. (or as they spell in French: figue.) I first was introduced to thic candle about 12 years go.. when a NY friend had gotten one from her mother. We burned that figue candle until there was nothing left. Being an internationally mobile girl, I promptly set off for 34 blvd. St. Germain. I got figue everything: room spray, more candles (it was francs back then and the rate wasn't too bad) and the perfume. I think it's green yet creamy as well, and if you're a fig novice? Try this one. Its so rich and heady.. you'll love it. Also, there used to be a fig refresher oil by the Thymes Company and that was delish on a light ring. L'Artisan Parfumeur Figue is also delightful. Light, but intoxicating. I wear it and the compliments abound. There's something very terra firma about it, like soil being tilled after rain along with that gorgeous enveloping fig smell. The Diptyque and L'Artisan Parfumer are the best two, in a figgy aficionado opinion. Also... Hermes Un Jardin Mediterranee, although lovely? Its not so figgy, and more italian citrus than anything. Tho Un Jardin sur le Nil is the nicer of the two scents from Hermens, but alas, not fig filled either. And does anyone seem to notice that the dry down, if that's what you call it for a cheap scent like Bath and Bodyworks, is always the same from them? Whatever the top note was supposed to be, the end is always the same, and icky! Well, Happy Figue Hunting!

Camille October 24, 2007

Okay, way way way too late, but I *have* to recommend Ava-Luxe's fig lotions--her Fig Leaves smells exactly like my beloved Philosykos, and it's not too bad as cost goes. And fig preserves are to die for. The hotel my DH stays in when he goes to France serves fig preserves every day for breakfast, and I couldn't get enough when I joined him. If I were at all a homemaker these days (at this point I'm happy if we have clean clothes in the morning, so jam making is not on my radar), I'd have jars upon jars of the stuff lined up in my pantry.

Gaia October 24, 2007

That was fun and I can't wait for part 2 and see how some of my favorites do :) I'll add to the list: Fig Leaf & Cassis (the fruity green department) from The Thymes and also The heart is Deceitful by Yosh (the weird bt worthy department).

Robin October 23, 2007

Great rundown on fig, March, and looking forward to part 2. I'm not sure I've ever tried the Diptyque room version and now I want to, although you know I won't find anything better than Philosykos in this lifetime :-)

Teri October 23, 2007

I know I'm unforgiveably late, but I got caught up in World Series ticket purchasing mania yesterday and I had to do SOME work before I left, didn't I? lol I've only tried two fig fragrances that I'm aware of -- L'Artisan's Premier Figue Extreme and Napa Valley's Cielo. I'm on the fence regarding the L'A. One day I like it, the next I don't. Not sure which side is going to win. Cielo is a 'fig plus' fragrance. It's a major player, however, and this little scent is growing and growing on me. I ponied up for a bottle last weekend, because I can see myself wearing this a lot during the fall. Where the Ginestet fragrances are redolent of the end product of the vintner's art, Cielo combines the scent of the sun-warmed grapes on the vine, their leaves, and this wonderful creamy fig note.

Katy October 23, 2007

Hey, March, I love figs ! I love L'Occitane Fig Shower Cream... You must try Campos de Ibiza Fig fragrance. It is not deep, but it's amazing after shower. Smells like the L'Occitane shower cream... Did you ever tried ? And we have a liquid soap here in Brazil, a Mahogani one, calles "Figs and Olive", that smells great too. :x

dinazad October 23, 2007

One of my favourite figs (apart from PdN Fig Tea and Marc Jacobs for Men) is Molinard Fleur de Figuier - lovely summer fragrance (it's freeeezing here, what am I doing, talking about summer scents?)! And I once had a bottle of Thymes Unlimited Wild Fig and Cassis, which was very nice in a pick-me-up-splash sort of way. Not a tenacious scent, though! P.S. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't really live in harmony with the Miller Harris line.....

Anthony October 23, 2007

I may be late in responding, but I have been using Bath and Body Works Fig and Brown Sugar foaming hand soap since I smelled it at my mom's house last December and I *LOVE* it! I have been thinking, "if I could bottle this and wear it I would!" Seriously, I have been thinking that a lot lately and sure enough my Perfume Posse tells me it's available! I guess I haven't seen it (I live out of the country and only visit the states a few times a year)... I'll be looking out for it this Christmas break! THANKS AS ALWAYS! I know it says brown sugar but I get a grassy note when I wash my hands. I hope that applies to the EdT and/or body mist thing. I haven't tried L'Artisan's offerings but have tried the Hermes and others, and i still love the hand foam. Crazy. I don't care if its pedestrian and not as sophisticated as others... I'm gonna get it and love it (I think)!

Patty October 22, 2007

You know, I used to love Fig scents more, got stuck on the PG one, CB one and haven't expored beyond that in a while. I do like the L'artisan, too!

sweetlife October 22, 2007

Glad to see Fico get a little love. Re: the coconut note in so many fig frags -- that really puzzled me (I don't generally like coconut in my fragrances) until I finally picked a fig leaf off the tree and crushed it in my hand. Yup, there it was, clear as day. And Divalano, I feel your pain re: CB Revelation. It is so gorgeous on the smelling strip that I keep trying my little sample hoping something will have changed but alas...

Divalano October 22, 2007

Oh March, I love fig scents! Spookily (it is almost Halloween) last night I suddenly had the urge to sniff my L'A Premier Fig Extreme, just for old time's sake, see how I feel about it this season. It was my first full bottle perfume purchase & I used to love it for being soft, feminine & lush but this year I haven't been feeling it. The plain Figuer btw was too green & not figgy enough for me, tho maybe I should retry, I might like it now. Anyway, sprayed the Extreme & for the first half hour it gave me all the joy it once did but then it lost it's edges & became sort of mushy in it's sweet femminess. Eh. Not for me, not right now. And I have 2/3 of a big bottle! Eep!!! BTW, a L'A SA once told me the Extreme does have a coconut note. When I fell out of love w Figuer this summer I found myself craving a fig with more snap. I tried CB's Revelation (hated. got that honey cat pee note & had to scrub). PG Jardin de Kerylos was green & crisp, light, nicely figgy but boring drydown, liked it slightly better than Satellite's A La Figue.

Calypso October 22, 2007

This is a fun topic and I too went through a "mad fig" phase about a year ago. This past summer I was able to smell fully fruited fig trees on hot dusty days in the Mediterranean and they truly do smell divine. It's exactly like Phylosykos. I want to warn you against the scented fig oil from BBW as it becomes quite nauseating very quickly (I've got some small bottles of it but will probably toss them!). As for candles, I absolutely love a version I've found from time to time at Marshall's and TJ Maxx called Stella Mare Green Fig. These are inexpensive and they smell divine, throw off a nice but not overly strong scent, and burn for a long time. (I also love their cranberry & orange, for a more Thanksgiving-y mood.) One suggestion about L'Artisan, which has turned out to be my favorite fig scent: have you tried their body lotion? That was what I had first tried and it convinced me to buy the line (there is also a shower gel). It has a marvelous, coconut-y creamy take on the fig, and might provide more "oomph" for you. I'll look forward to Figs, Part 2!

sybil October 22, 2007

Whoo! Black Fig and Absinthe is finally getting some love! I read that the designer intended it to be the anti-tuberose fragrance. And Fig Newmans are the Platonic ideal of a fig cookie. Does anyone do fig w/ lemon?

Tigs / Erin October 22, 2007

I am in exactly the same position as Elle up there (and apparently Judith just above me.) I like figs to eat, and I started my perfumemania looking for fig and almond (another food favorite) fragrances, but I discovered I just don't like them on my person. Revelation is the best out there, and UJdM is okay, although I find myself wishing for considerably less figgy sweetness and more cypress in the latter, which is probably the opposite of your situation. I like PdN Fig Tea precisely because I don't get any fig. I do also respect Premier Figuer, although I have no desire to wear it. Very strange that you get almost nothing from it - it is one of the most potent L'Artisans on me, so I have had almost no desire to try the Extreme version. On me, it is quite green, floral, and coconutty/almond-milkish, with very little fig "meat".

Judith October 22, 2007

I do like figs (to eat) but not, generally, to wear. Most varieties come out too fruity for my tastes. Revelation, as I remember, is pretty great, but I haven't been moved to buy a bottle. I do have a bottle of Black Fig and Absinthe that I have been neglecting (coicidentally, I have been thinking about this lately), and you (and Louise) have persuaded me to wear it today!

em October 22, 2007

Long time lurker - first time to post. Fig was never a favorite note of mine until I sampled Mathias Figue and hopefully someone has a sample to send you. Sadly, I didn't buy it when it was available. But, close on the heels of Mathias is Laura Tonatto Magnifico. You really should add that to your list of figs to sniff. Wearing it today! Love your blog and read it everyday.

Marina October 22, 2007

CB I Hate Perfume Revelation is my fig of choice...for the lack of anything more perfect :d

sariah October 22, 2007

Dude, the same thing happened to me last winter. After much fig testing, my 2 favorites turned out to be the Hermes Jardin Med, and the Fico di Amalfi. I ended up getting the Hermes because it lasts better on me. How about Marc Jacobs for men? Someone mentioned the Miller Harris Fig Amere as well - I found it too bitter, just like the name.

Renee October 22, 2007

I haven't been able to find anything fig that I love. I used to have a fig tree at the last house I owned, and I loved the smell and taste of those. I made fig jam. THAT smelled divine. I tried the BBW Brown Sugar & Fig but it smelled almost the same as Japapese Cherry Blossom to me. They WERE set up right next to eachother, maybe that is why. Good luck with finding a fantabulous fig scent!

Anne October 22, 2007

Been experimenting with fig in cooking recently, both dried and fresh, so this post's timing couldn't be better. Saw myself in your frantic searches. We do tend to immerse ourselves fully into whatever it is that we are focused on, don't we? I have felt the same way about fig scents but I do love Philosykos and Un Jardin so I can't wait for part deux. Thank you for a wonderful post!

rosarita October 22, 2007

So glad you're doing all this figgy research! I flirted with fig in June, and I recall posting on MUA that "I'm not all that big on fig". But my MIL had fig trees, and fresh figs are so divine that there should be a fig product that I like, somewhere. PdN Fig Tea is nice but fades quickly. Looking forward to more Figmania!

Louise October 22, 2007

You've gone figgin' wild, March-I had no idea. This is such a lovely and complete review-and I can't wait for part two. I never thought I'd like fig, but have worn the BBW brown sugar number for years, and though it's very sweet and brown-sugary, the fig is clearly a full player there. The Slatkin is one of my favorite scents all around, with it's woody charm and absinthe bite. I generally like the Figuer Extreme on me-but not enough to buy it. But that Memoire Liquide is now on my must-try list for my December pilgrimage to NYC. And that Aftelier sounds divine. Lee is right, as always-Arabie rocks the dried fig note. You must learn to love it...please?

Lee October 22, 2007

I didn't know the l'Occitane stuff is discontinued - that's a real disappointment. The best dried fig note - why, Arabie of course, my lovely!

Rita October 22, 2007

Great post, I have been wanting to try some fig scents! Has Patty's candle lust rubbed off on you, March? :d

Veronica October 22, 2007

Oh, I've been discovering all things fig since last July, when a friend introduced me to her fig tree. What a delight, I tell you! The fruits right off the tree are unbelivably good:x. Out of the scents I didn't see mentionted here I liked AL Johri, a fig plus,as you would categorize it, March:) Another one that is good for cold days is Aftelier Fig, it's a black, juicy,overripe and very un-innocent kind of fig. I fear it could be a bit too sweet for your liking, though, March. Thanks for indulging me with this post, figs are so cool! And good luck with your quest!

Amy K October 22, 2007

Have you tried any of the Cucina Fig & Fresh Herbs products by the Fruits & Passion company? I highly recommend them, especially the Regenerating Hand Cream. It's natural and pleasantly figgy but not too green or sweet. Here's a link: http://us.fruits-passion.com/search/Default.aspx?s=fig

JuliaForsberg October 22, 2007

Thanks for doing extensive sniffing for us readers! I haven't ventured far into fig territory yet so this post is really useful for me. The best fig I have smelled so far is Marc Jacobs for men. The fig is subtle and has that creamy-coconutty undertone you mention. It's my favourite on DH and I borrow it from time to time. Have you tried it? If not, I think you should:)

Elle October 22, 2007

I love figs and I love all the associations I have w/ them. I *keep* trying to convince myself I like fig scents. I don't. Yet. Maybe I will one of these days. The only ones I can wear from time to time and enjoy are CB's Revelation and Hermes' UJeM - am looking forward to what you have to say about them. I've got Diptyque's Figuier and L'Artisan's Interieur Figuier candles. Like both, but find I don't feel compelled to burn them any more than I feel compelled to wear fig scents. Oh, but despite my "meh" attitude toward fig scents, you've now got me convinced that my life will not be complete until I've got that L'Occitane shower cream. And I've never tried Fig Newmans. *Must* remedy that. Soon.