A love song to Diptyque Philosykos


As a followup to yesterday's post about fig fragrances, I'd like to blather on about Diptyque Philosykos, one of my favorite perfumes and certainly a contender for inclusion in my personal desert island Top 10. Created by Olivia Giacobetti and released in 1996, Philosykos is fig with green notes and a woody-earthy base. It smells like the whole fig grove, including the trees and the warm earth, and while the fig note itself is sweet and creamy, the sweetness is tempered by other notes and is never overwhelming.

Philosykos was included in one of the first sample orders I made after becoming seriously interested in perfume, and I pretty much hated it at first sniff. It smelled to me mostly like dirt, wet leaves and bark, and I could not imagine why anyone would want to smell like dirt, wet leaves and bark. Luckily another sample came my way some months later after my horizons had been expanded by a massive perfume testing regimen, and this time it was instant love.

I find Philosykos extremely comforting, and frequently wear it in the evening while unwinding after a busy day. It is unisex and can be worn in just about any season, although it is perhaps too heavy for a really hot summer day. And as an added bonus, I love the spare, old fashioned look of the Diptyque bottles.

Diptyque Philosykos perfumeDiptyque Philosykos solid perfume

Diptyque Philosykos is available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette, in 4.5 g solid perfume, and in matching bath & body products. For buying information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.

Note: top image is figs [cropped] by davida3 at flickr; some rights reserved.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Until a few short weeks ago, the fig note was not something that interested me at all. I think when the whole fig craze of a couple of years ago was going on, all I could smell were those fig candles everywhere and it just overwhelmed me!

    My first entree into this note was, indeed, Philosykos. I love this fig! It is smooth, creamy, a touch green (well, maybe more than a touch!) and unique.

    I purchased L'artisan's Premier Figuere about a week later. Love that one, too, but it doesn't have the lasting power on me that Philosykos does.

    I hope to explore other fig scents; any recommendations?

  2. Anonymous says:

    You must be psychic, that is my topic for tomorrow! I am working on a list of all the figs I've tried. Will try to get it done & printed by tomorrow morning.

    Did you try the Premier Figuier or the PF Extreme? The Extreme lasts longer, although it is also has different notes than the “regular” PF. Like Philosykos, it was created by Olivia Giacobetti. It has some floral notes and is more feminine than the regular PF or Philosykos.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lol…I look forward to your list!

    I have tried the Premier Figuier, but not the Extreme; I thought it would be too “figgy”. But now that you mention that it has more floral notes than the regular PF, I think I will try it. It will be interesting to see how the floral notes blend with the fig.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The PFE is pretty smooth and soft, and possibly a bit less figgy than Philosykos. Give it a try!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I plan on it! I will post about when I do :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I loved Philosykos from first sniff at a London department store –

    It's green figs in their full fresh summery beauty, and remind me of my childhood. I can't get figs very often where I live now (and green ones are out of the question!).

    It has also an underlining milky quality, reminiscent of coconut milk; and a cedarwood and white musk drydown.

    It's delicate, elegant, youthful, refreshing and cheerful – and can beat up gloomy days too…

    I took a sample with me (along with Oyedo and Olene too). Philosykos was the winner. My borther loves Oyedo, and a friend of mine loved Olene. So they got the samples…

    I finished the sample so quickly as well as a decant I received from a perfangel… And one day I walked into a store in Vancouver and saw the whole line there – what a pleasant surprise!

    I love this scent in the summer. It is so refershing I can almost drink it… I like to reapply it a lot. But I live in Vancouver, which is hardly ever really that hot (and never quite humid).

  7. Anonymous says:

    A, I think most people think of it as a summer scent, but I reach for it more in the winter. I love all 3: Philosykos, Oyedo & Olene.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I'm new to this site. wonder if anyone can help me? Unlike Robin I would like to smell of bark, mud, moss etc. I am looking for a scent which smeklls of forest. Someone suggested Cuir de Russie – anyone got any suggestions? thanks!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cuir de Russie is primarily a leather scent. Chanel's Bois des Iles might be closer to the scent of a forest. Other suggestions: Comme des Garcons Sequoia, Ginestet Le Boise, Christian Lacroix Tumulte Homme, Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire, Cumming The Fragrance.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is another example of why I am so glad I found your site. I sent for a sample of this because I could not imagine liking a perfume smelling of figs & earth. But it was love at first sniff of the wrist.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Oh, so glad you love it! And you did better than I did — it took me awhile to appreciate Philosykos :-)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I'm also very new to the site and, although I've loved perfume all my life, it is only since finding NowSmellThis that my horizons have expanded. I was that woman who thought buying more than 1 bottle of perfume a year was appallingly extravagant.

    I found NST because I was searching for a new perfume and didn't want to waste my money. You have opened my eyes to the joys of sampling. To cut a long story short, I have just received my les senteurs samples and the first one I tried was Philosykos – it is just as fabulous as you said.

    Thank you for showing me another way. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I would SO love to love Philosykos – everyone else seems to :-( !! I tried it when I was looking for an alternative for my beloved Premier Figuier, and for some reason it just turns completely sour on my skin after about half an hour!! The top notes are wonderful, very forest-y fresh and are even better than PF but WHY does it turn into a really “off”, “emptying old water from a vase”-stink on me? Has anyone else experienced this with Philosykos?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jayne, and apologies for the very late reply — my comment notification system was on the blink for several weeks so now finding old unanswered comments rather by chance.

    Anyway, thanks for the very kind words about NST, and so glad you love Philosykos! Hope there were some other winners from Les Senteurs, they have such a great selection.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I'm guessing something in the musk in the base doesn't agree with you (?).

    Have you tried PF Extreme?

  16. Anonymous says:


    I'm so glad you love it! I bought this at the start of the year, totally oblivious to its wide-appeal and appreciation. Great to see that so many people here love it too. On my skin, it's a perfect blend of creamy fig undercut by fresh grass. Sprayed on my clothes, the creaminess seems to be more prominent. But on the skin, the grass notes really evolve. That's why I love it so much in the warmer seasons. For me, wearing it brings a little bit of nature into my clinical office environment.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Philosykos is still one of my favorites, so glad to see another fan!

  18. Anonymous says:

    What a glorious scent: it is perfect in every way, and I cannot imagine how you could change a note in it.

    What startled me was the melancholia that I feel as Philosykos wafts over me. I have rarely, if ever, had such an emotional response to a fragrance before, especially one that isn't triggering a memory of some sort. This is little short of magical, albeit a little bit disconcerting in its impact.

    Recently I did a straight comparison of this to Marc Jacob Men, and the Diptyque is miles better through the opening and mid-notes, but the MJ draws closer to it in the base notes and has better longevity. I really like the MJ, but I love Philosykos and will never be without a bottle.

    Is this the crown jewel of the Diptyque range? I think so…

  19. Anonymous says:

    How interesting, I don't find it at all melancholy. It isn't their bestseller, I don't think, but I do think it's their best. Can't bear MJ For Men myself, but I do know it has lots of fans.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I can't explain my response to Philosykos… Perhaps it's the fact that I'm half Greek, and it strikes some genetic chord.

    I get a similar, though not as vivd, reaction to Lalique (Blue) Faun. I think the Lalique is melancholy in an almost intelectual manner; there is an inevitability to my response to it.

    The Philosykos is like sitting an a bluff overlooking a beach in Greece, the sun warming you as you close your eyes, tilt your head toward the sun, and feel a gentle breeze on your face. It's a moment that should be serenely happy – and yet, instead, you are enveloped in sadness.

    I get nothing like that response to the MJ for Men, I just like its simple, clean structure. Philosykos, on the other hand, is other-worldly. Certainly, for me, it is inexplicable. And that makes it precious.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin,
    I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking that “I need a summer perfume, NOW”,
    I still haven't got my Sur Le Nil, but am quite determined to wait for the summer sale, so I decided to go for niche lines (which don't have sales) at this time of the year.
    I want something green non-floral and when I looked at Diptyque, this is the one that interests me most (and am thrilled that it's one of your 100 fragrance list). Just want to know how's the staying power of Diptyque's perfumes? and have you tried layering with this fragrance? thanks!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Layering power is good, not fabulous. They are EdTs, so about average for that, I'd say.

    I've layered more with Tam Dao, Philosykos I find perfect as it is. My Tam Dao is pre-sandalwood-scarcity, so don't know how much it has changed :-(

    For a really summery fig, I love PdN Fig Tea, but that one is more floral, less green than this– and less figgy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your advice! I've got it!!! I went to Space NK today to tried this out, and it was almost love-at-first-sniff. I forced myself to compare it with some others, I tried a few Acqua di Parma (blue bottles) ones but I still find this the most unusual (but wearable) and best. I have actually forgotten to try it on myself. Luckily, it smells good on me (i think) ….

    The down side of course is the price. It's not only a full-sized full-priced one, it's actually a big bottle cos that shop didn't do 50ml ones and I love it so much (and I was like, i must walk out with something)

    To think about it, it is actually not too summerly, unfortunately I do not know where to find PdN here in London, but I suppose it's not too anti-summerly either so I should be able to stick with that in summer. Or I have to, now that I have spent soooooo much…. (well who cares, I am still smiling hehe)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Congrats, hope you'll enjoy wearing it!

    When you get over the damage to your wallet, there is a Parfums de Nicolai boutique in London :-)

  25. Anonymous says:

    Robin, this came along with other samples I ordered. At first sniff I thought it smelled like grass but in an interesting way and thought it was nice but not one that I would buy. I tried it again and once those initial green notes tame down out comes the creamy fig. Last night I was in need of something comforting, POTL's L&E usually does the trick or SL's ISM but no, my sense of smell was looking for this! such a lovely fragrance!

  26. Anonymous says:

    It is STILL my favorite nighttime comfort scent to read by — I keep a decant handy on the table by my bed :-)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Oh, how I wish it smelled like grass on me! I get an almost sickly sweet coconut milky scent instead. I showered it off right away the first time (not bc it was a scrubber, it was just time), and I will say, the little hint of scent that was left after that was lovely. Maybe if I leave it on longer, that scent will come out. Still, I hate to walk around smelling of coconut on the off chance it will eventually evolve into something pleasant.

  28. Anonymous says:

    What a shame! Almost all fig scents have a least a hint of coconut, but if it was that strong, I wouldn't wear it either.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I came to visit this site while looking for some fig scents to try. It has opened up a whole new world for me (I must be one of the ones who love perfume)! I have always loved different smells, but was a little intimidated to go into a perfume shop since I didn't know where to start. Your blog has been so helpful to me!

    My first batch of samples I ordered from The Perfumed Court included Philosykos, PF Extreme, MJ Daisy, and Bvlgari Omnia. I loved the Philosykos! As an avid hiker and former National Park worker, I don't really mind smelling like dirt and branches. I love the combination of notes and also find it very comforting. I haven't noticed any of the coconut smell that people have been talking about, but I'm still new at this. I didn't care for the PF Extreme as much, but I'm taking the advice of others and holding on to it to try again later. I think I'm going to end up needing full bottles of both this and the Omnia! Trying to wait until I've experienced more frangrances, but it's so hard… :)

  30. Anonymous says:

    It is hard to wait in the beginning! I can't argue against either of those though…they're 2 of my (many) favorites, and Philosykos especially has stood the test of time in my collection — I still use it frequently.

  31. sayitisntso says:

    Sorry to join the fig party so late but at least I got here. I’ve overlooked Philosykos for so many years because my two ventures into figdom have been less than stellar. First I tried a bottle of Marc Jacobs Men; which smells fine for about the 1st 30 seconds and then things quickly take a wrong turn – it somehow manages to turn incredibly stale, cheap and ‘off’ within the 1st two minutes of application. It wasn’t my bottle that turned – I’ve actually smelled it on other people in passing and have had to fight my gag reflex. Next there was L’Artisan’s Premier Figuier, which was simply too much, too heavy, too sweet, ..too much everything but it was the coconut note that really did me in. Thank you but no.

    Reading all the love for Diptyque’s version of a fig scent, I was cautious but decided to I stop by the new Diptyque shop on Bleecker Street on my way home to give it a spritz. I inhaled, smiled…and then waited. It was love. As the scent evolved, I got the green crushed leaves, the damp earth, the milky sap, the warm woods. It was amazing. A true ‘ah ha’ moment. So I walked out with a 3.4 ounce bottle (yes, I know that’s a lot of juice but mathematically speaking, the larger size was a bargain, $88 for the 1.7 vs. $120 for the 3.4). No doubt I’ll use every drop! :)

    • Robin says:

      You know, all these years later it is still one of my favorite scents, and one of the bottles & drain & replace most frequently. There’s just something so soothing about it. So glad you gave it a chance!

  32. Marilyn Waters says:

    The bath and body range is equally fabulous, I am a long-term fan. NST has also revealed that the “nose” who created this scent also created my other favourite, “Hiris” by Hermes! Does this sort of thing happen regularly? I will now track down all her other creations as am possibly on a similar scent-wavelength…

    • Robin says:

      It does happen sometimes, that’s why it’s worth keeping track of what different perfumers are up to :-)

  33. Laurel says:

    Crud. Yet another win. I sprayed this on and thought wth? sniff. Wth? sniff. Repeat approximately eleventy billion times, and then, about twenty minutes in, I found the fig. This is one of the most complex scents I’ve had the pleasure to inhale (granted, the list is still short, but…)

    Thank goodness for tax refund season! If I was owin’ rather than gettin’ with this + Shalimar looming over me, I’d be crying. Summer time will be smelling great at my house!

    • Robin says:

      Isn’t it lovely? And it isn’t cheap, but hey, it could be WAY worse.

  34. Lollipop says:

    This is a fragrance I just HAVE to test and thankfully I have spotted a perfume shop in my local town that stocks it (on way home from cinema; darn it was shut!)… It is so hot here but in the mornings I open all the windows and doors to try and cool the house down and this morning I can really smell the fig tree outside our living room window. It is green, lush, gorgeous. In fact it has taken over as figs do and we need to hack some branches off! Philosykos has a lot to live up to.

    • Robin says:

      That is a lot to live up to…

      • Lollipop says:

        And it SO did… I love it. Really can smell those fig leaves which to me is the most gorgeous part. Came away with a sample but I just know I’ll be going back there. The sales lady was adorable and also let me test Annick Goutal’s fig perfume; not as lovely as the Diptyque for me. Tested Petite Cherie too. Pretty. I am broke right now (too many birthday presents to buy) but oh the joy of free perfume samples, little treats to enjoy whenever I want!

  35. jen5arah says:

    Sorry this comment is so late. I am new to all this and have got a selection of samples from diptyque. This sounded lovely to me, I testing it today and it just seems so sweet on me. It is almost making me feel a bit queasy! Am a bit disappointed, but I am going to see how it develops today, but so far, I am not getting any grass or earth, which I hoped for to balance the sweetness. :(

    • Robin says:

      Hmmm. I am trying to think of drier figs for you. There are many sweeter, but not so many drier, although you could try Heeley Eau de Figuier, which is greener, and Hermès Un Jardin en Méditerranée, which is heavier on citrus & wood.

  36. Ikat says:

    I have heard Diptyche refered to as “wet fig” and Premier Figuier referred to as “dry fig”, which makes perfect sense to me. I’m crazy about Phyloskyos and it woud make my Desert Island 10 list.

    Fig is a component that really perks up my interest in a perfume. The more the better. I’ll try just about anything with fig.

    Todays’ scent for me is Jardins Mediteranee and I’m finding it more of a cedar/fig than a fig/cedar. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, that one is much more of a mix, not just about fig…luckily I like cedar.

  37. annemarie says:

    Hi Robin, if you are still reading this. I’m very curious to know whether you still love Philosykos after all this time. It’s a long time since you’ve reviewed Philosykos and you must have smelled thousands of fragrances since then. How is it holding up?

    I have only just discovered it. I like it very much and I can see myself wearing Philosykos a lot – more than fragrances I adore. Fragrances that knock me over with their beauty – 31 rue Cambon- for instance – are often less wearable. Philosykos is on my full bottle wish list, while 31 rue Cambon is slipping. Beauty alone is not enough.

    • Robin says:

      It has really stood the test of time for me, and still don’t think anybody has bested it for fig.

  38. hongkongmom says:

    Hi Robin
    Have you tried the compact solid? how would you compare it to the edt?

    • Robin says:

      I haven’t, sorry! But I’ve asked others in the comments, and been told it was a well-made solid. It’s darned cute!

  39. PinoiPerfumista says:

    I bought a set from Diptyque and loved Philosykos among the others. But it is too fleeting! I wish I was in EDP and not EDT.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, that is too bad! It is not that short-lived on me.

  40. PinoiPerfumista says:

    “It” was in EDP and not EDT.

  41. sweetgrass says:

    I’ve been wearing my sample of Philosykos lately, and I love it. To me it smells like standing in a forest full of fruit-laden fig trees just after a rain. The feeling it evokes for me is shady and cool, so I don’t find it too heavy to wear when it’s hot. I don’t know if I ordered two vials by accident or if Luckyscent sent me an extra by mistake, but it was a happy accident indeed. I went back to see how much a FB would be, fearing it would be crazy expensive, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could get the smaller bottle for under $100. I just found out that a shop I’ve passed by a zillion times but have never gone into (because I thought it was a fancy-pants interior design store and had no idea they had this kind of stuff) appears to stock Diptyque, which is exciting since I’d never seen this line in a shop around here. I might have to go see if they have Philosykos and try some others while I’m at it. (I’ve only otherwise tried Do Son. Tam Dao is on my to-try list.)

  42. skorvsk says:

    For how long has Philosykos existed as a 75ml EDP?

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