Diptyque Fleur de Peau

The first time I smelled Diptyque was in Paris. I was early into my perfume addiction, and of course Diptyque was on my to-sniff list. I can still conjure up the sense of beautiful unfamiliarity the line held for me; it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Tam Dao, Do Son, Philosykos…. those names have a magical power over me, even now, although I haven’t smelled any of them in years.

The wonderful thing about getting into perfume when I did was: there weren’t that many niche lines, so we were all working off the same list on the scavenger hunt, so to speak. If I hunted down Tam Dao I could go see what Luca Turin had to say about it, and I could talk about it with other perfumistas and everyone had smelled it. While I’m happy with the explosion of niche lines and all the choices they represent, it means that my earlier shared sense of experience with other perfumistas isn’t really a given any more. You may have recently tried fifteen things from five niche lines I’ve never heard of, and vice versa.

I never see Diptyque around any more – I think they pulled themselves out of most department stores, at least in this area, although occasionally you run across the candles. Same with L’Artisan. Anyway, Diptyque and L’Artisan will always hold this special place in my heart from those heady, early days of my perfume journey. But I don’t really keep close track of what they’re up to, because I don’t have anywhere to sniff them.

So I was pleased to run across two new Diptyque scents at Barneys in Chicago – Tempo and Fleur de Peau. Tempo is a heavy patchouli; it’s immediately all up in your grill and I didn’t move beyond spraying it on a paper strip.

Fleur de Peau, however, is another story. “Peau” is French for skin, and the implication for me is that this is going to be a musky skin scent rather than, say, a floral. (Their website has a lot of heavy-breathing talk of Cupid and Eros and a sexier interpretation, which …. is not how I’d describe it, not at all.) In terms of notes it is pretty much ambrette, iris and musk, with a little pepper at the open.

It seemed pretty light on paper so I gave my wrist a generous couple of sprays, and then I felt it – that shiver I used to feel when I sniffed L’Artisan or Diptyque and my brain went piiiiing! I don’t think it’s gotten rave reviews (Robin at Now Smell This is not a fan) so ymmv. But it made me feel the way I felt the first time I smelled L’Artisan Mure et Musc — it seems both uncanny and familiar; it goes on as one of those radiant, ambient fragrances you sense around you, like Prada Infusion d’Iris. The odd part for me was that each time I wore it I became somewhat anosmic to it after a few minutes; each time I had people in the Barneys beauty department stop me and demand to know what that gorgeous thing was I had on.

  • hajusuuri says:

    I got the tingle with Tempo and bought a bottle on the spot. Fleur de Peau was too light. I got a travel spray of FdP as GWP and ayup, after trying it on skin the following week, I will probably get a FB if it too, along with 34 St. Germain Noir. My wallet is cowering in fear!

  • sunnlitt says:

    I have been to the Diptyque botique (say that fast 3 times!!) in San Francisco, a number of years ago. It was lovely!
    Philosykos was one of the first bottle of scent that I bought when I fell down this rabbit hole. (I still have no idea how to pronounce the name.) But, to me, the idea that there was a fragrance built around fig leaves was amazing!
    I am visiting Southern California this summer. The Scentbar is on my list of places to go. Now, I will have to add the Beverly Hills Diptyque boutique to my possible destinations. I have the Beverly HIlls candle, and it is one of my favorites.
    Thanks, March, for this lovely trip of perfume memories.

  • DinaC says:

    That Diptyque Fleur de Peau sounds great. I think Chanel No 18 has iris and ambrette in it also, so I’m wondering if it’s at all similar. The Chanel is a little fruity though. Hmmm. Bloomingdales at Tysons still carries the Diptyque line of scents and candles. Maybe I’ll search for the new ones there next time I’m at Tysons. I still love Tam Dao, and Olene is a perpetual resident on my wish list. Wearing L’Artisan Premier Figuier Extreme today. Those oldies but goodies still make me really happy. 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    March, you probably already know this, but Neiman’s in Chevy Chase has a fairly comprehensive selection of Diptyques. They’ve become my new favorite niche line, and my absolute favorite is the first one they made, L’Eau. My perfume catnip – the juice makes me purr. I think it’s the cinnamon, but whatever it is , it’s magical for me.

    • March says:

      No, I did NOT! I thought they just had the candles…. I loathe going in there, they are so frantic to sell you something, but for this I will, thanks!

  • Neva says:

    The multitude of new and recent “niche” houses is making it impossible to keep up with all the perfumes that are being released so it is really good to know there are some of the good old players you can always turn to. I love Philosykos and owned already 2 bottles and I think all Diptyque perfumes and candles are nice and pleasant. I don’t know why, but I think that Fleur de Peau will be another love for me. I’ll look it up asap.

  • cinnamon says:

    Tx for a wonderful, sort of throw-back post. Mure et Musc was my first signature scent way back when l’Artisan had a shop on Madison Ave. Loved Philosykos. Before niche became ubiquitous I started thinking of houses like Diptyque and LA as ‘reference’ niche while other smaller houses were setting out their stalls. Now, ‘niche’ doesn’t really seem to have much meaning. Is ‘independent’ or ‘alternative’ a better label? But then again a fair bit of what is niche now is either owned by bigger companies or bank-rolled by private equity. So, can it be called either ‘independent’ or ‘alternative’? sorry for the pedantry. In any case, the post sent me off to my box in the closet where I keep my (now very small) stash of bottles. Ended up with Hiram Green Dilettante, a house I have come to love, which is perfect for a cool, grey day.

    • March says:

      Whoa I’m in full throwback mode now, thanks to these comments! L’Artisan on Madison — where the magic started — Marina from Perfume-Smellin’ things actually worked there, I remember stopping by to see her. Meeeemmmmmmreeees….. no, you’re right. And I feel like niche used to pretty much be independent but now we probably do need a separate category. Hiram Green Dilettante is IMO one of the new niche classics. There, I’ve invented another category.

      • Musette says:

        my first sniff of Dilettante was with you and P in Santa Fe. I remembered my eyes rolling back in my head, it was that gorgeous!

        And MEMORIES! I remember my first L’Artisan experiences, which were at the boutique in the Bloomingdale’s building (our first stop on the Chicocoa Scentsation tour, if you recall 😉 that was where I was introduced to iris root, in one of their seasonal iris offerings.

        Good times!


  • Portia says:

    Hey there March,
    Diptyque are one of my favourite houses. I have some of them including Eau Moheli, Rose de Mai and a very old L’Ombre dans L’Eau that I can think of without going to look. Also that 5 x 10ml Christmas pack from a few years ago.
    Tempo was much more my style but when I tried Fleur de Peau immediately it brought to mind some of my friends who would LOVE it.
    Glad you loved it, I can imagine it smelling stellar on you.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Oh my god L’Ombre, there’s a flashback! Philosykos and — wait for it — L’Eau Trois were my first bottles. Heh. And I bet Tempo would smell amazing on you!

      • AnnJune says:

        OMG – I love L’Eau Trois. I can’t pinpoint what it is in it that reminds me so much of my grandparents attic as a child, but super nostalgic and unique. Thanks for the reminder… had forgotten how much I loved it.

        • March says:

          Trois was one of those WTF! scents for me. Can definitely see you thinking attic — for me it was woodshop, so resinous. I admit I treat it more as a curiosity than a scent to wear, but it makes me happy. I can’t believe they still make it.

          • AnnJune says:

            Yes – absolutely a WTF scent – LOL!. I wore it around the house, often just on the back of one wrist to huff in a happy reverie. I’d imagine its sales are limited, but glad it’s still out there in the world!

  • Merry Rower says:

    I’ve never tired of Diptyque, own several and wear them often. The once a year limited edition Essences Insensees are always worth some time too. The primarily jasmine one a couple years back was truly lovely and FBW. Just like Fleur de Peaux!

    I live a few minutes away from one of the chic, generous L.A. Diptyque boutiques which certainly helps keep the love alive. I dropped in to check out the two new ones and walked out with a full bottle of Fleur de Peaux. And I am not an impulse buyer. But I got that tingle too with it, and I just wanted to keep smelling like that. I go anosmic with it after a bit as well, but the compliments roll in. It is both compelling and easy to wear, and I find it fast becoming the go-to scent of my summer.

    • March says:

      Oh, so glad to hear it! I really, really want a bottle but I want to work my way through this decant first, lol… man, folks in LA are lucky in perfume. And Chicago. For all the money rolling around DC you’d think we’d have more options.