For a perfume junkie, I have a rather modest Diptyque collection.
Just three scents that to me feel almost introspective and subtle for their respective genres. Just like the brand itself, they have a luxuriously subtle and easy-going charm. They need time to introduce themselves and surprise you.
I would describe Diptyque scents as straightforward in a way; they have a clear artistic vision and don't beat around the bush too much. But at the same time I never feel the need to layer these scents. That would mask or mess with the subtler facets and nuances they have.
In fact, I was told recently by a brand rep that they insist on using higher concentrations than most generic brands on the market, so even peripheral items like the hair mist will contain up to 18% perfume components, which is higher than many Eau de Parfums. Usually this means they perform like extrait de parfums; lower in throw but higher in longevity. For the most part I can spray these on in the morning and not have to bring the bottle out for touch-ups.
Quick side-note: most of Diptyque's scents have an Eau de Toilette concentration (clear bottles) and an Eau de Parfum (black-rimmed bottles). They have different compositions and notes, designed to amp up different facets of the overall scent, so make sure you test both concentrations to see which works better on your skin.
The first Diptyque scent I ever fell in love with, and indeed the only Diptyque fragrance I owned for several years, is Do Son. The art work on the label is the inspiration for the scent; sitting under a pagoda on the Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam), enjoying the sweet sea breeze and smelling exotic tropical greenery and blooms.
Do Son key notes: Tuberose, Orange Leaves, Pink Peppercorns, Musk
While it is arguably one of Do Son's louder and more overtly alluring scents, Do Son is quite restrained as far as tuberose scents go. You will not find the fruity-sweet bombastic diva tuberose in Fracas (Robert Piguet) which is the benchmark/classic tuberose scent, or the harsh, medicinal one in Tubereuse Criminelle (Serge Lutens) which smells more like tuberose absolute than the flower itself. It has an echo of the hyper-realistic green, waxy, milky tuberose in Carnal Flower (Frederic Malle), which is probably how a living bloom smells, but only an echo.
I like Do Son because it highlights the greener, cleaner side of tuberose but it doesn't go so far that newcomers to the flower are turned off. It's languid, slightly relaxed, sensual but not trying too hard to be sexy.
Tam Dao on the other hand, is a widely-acclaimed classic sweet wood scent that I somehow always missed and passed over while sniffing more "exciting" stuff. It was only very recently that I finally tested it on my skin and fell in love.
When I say wood, don't think pencil shavings or your aunt's antique table. This is a hyper-realistic sandalwood, one of my favorite notes in the world. It is a wood that smells a little fruity, a little floral, a little milky, a little sweet, a little musky. In fact, many people consider the sandalwood note a whole perfume in itself.
Tam Dao key notes: Sandalwood, Cedar, Coriander, Ginger, Amber
Tam Dao is probably closer to the slightly more woody, subtly-pungent Australian species than the voluptuously sweet Indian (Mysore) sandalwood note. But it still has an aromatically sweet facet with a tinge of silky milkiness that unfolds slowly on the skin.
This is considered by many to be one of the landmark sandalwood fragrances from a mainstream brand, and I find it more accessible and comforting than the classic crisp, aldehydic Bois des Isles from Chanel. But it again does not have the unapologetic pungency and depth of niche sandalwoods like Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule or Jeux de Peau. But it's definitely #1 in terms of being a safe, crowd-pleasing, but still high quality sandalwood fragrance.
The eau de toilette version of Tam Dao is the original, and I find the softer sweeter more radiant and rosy aspects of the fragrance come out more. Eau de parfum has more depth and edges, and the warm ambery wood comes out more on my skin. I get no obvious coriander or ginger despite the EDP notes list above saying so.
Fleur de Peau is one of the brand's latest babies, launched in honor of their 50th anniversary celebration.
Fleur de Peau key notes: musk, iris, ambrettolide
Inspired by the love story of Cupid and Psyche, Fleur de Peau is the smell of clean soft skin. For various reasons it reminds me of Patrick Suskind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, one of my favorite books of all time. In it, the main characters seeks the "ultimate skin scent" by killing beautiful young women to extract the fragrance of their bodies, and there is also a nod to Cupid and Psyche, subjects of a contentious perfume in the story.
Fleur de Peau has none of that creepy vibe or eccentricity, obviously LOL. It's just a soft white-musk with a fresh, silvery feel lent by the iris note. It's not mind-blowingly unique and different but if you like clean scents that don't smell obviously floral, this is one that is great for hot days. A bonus is it has surprisingly good longevity. I do consider in the same family as Aerin's Iris Meadow, but that one has a sharper, crisper, masculine, cologne-like feel while Fleur de Peau is very gentle.
I daresay it's lovely on women but also metrosexual enough for some men, because it doesn't have a typically sweet floral feel to it.