Founded in 1961 by theatre director and set designer Yves Coueslant, painter Desmond Knox-Leet and interior designer Christiane Gautrot, Diptyque celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
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The pioneering French niche company is highly regarded for its consistent quality and creativity, with many of its perfumes becoming classics and among the best in their genres.
So, as you can imagine, compiling this list of 10 best Diptyque fragrances was not an easy task.
You’ll notice that several fragrances here were created in the last decade. A good sign that Diptyque is not revelling in past glories.
Where known, the name of the perfumer is listed in brackets after the name of the fragrance.
1. Diptyque L’Eau EDT (Desmond Knox-Leet)
The company started out as a bazaar at 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, (the original store still exists and inspired another highly recommended fragrance with the same name). Reflecting the eclectic interests of its founders, it stocked everything from fabrics and wooden toys to Indian incense and candles.
Diptyque launched its first fragrance in 1968 with L’Eau EDT. A bold oriental, in a decidedly French way, it opens with the warm and slightly sweet spiciness of cinnamon.
The rosy aspects of geranium are played up and there’s also a powerful dose of cloves in the mix. Sandalwood brings smooth creaminess to the drydown.
A fine debut that set the tone for future releases.
2. Diptyque Olene EDT* (Serge Kalouguine)
Diptyque excels at perfumes that smell incredibly natural. And this 1988 release is a prime example. It takes its inspiration from the lush smells emanating from Venetian gardens during summer evenings.
That mood begins in opulent style with notes of narcissus and honeysuckle. It’s floral, but with green accents.
The fresh floral theme continues with notes of wisteria and jasmine, without tipping into unbearable sweetness.
It’s an olfactory invite to get lost in it all and with a perfume this good, how could you refuse?
3. Diptyque Philosykos EDT (Olivia Giacobetti)
Speaking of natural, it doesn’t get any more perfect than this 1996 release. For good reason, it’s considered one of the best fig fragrances.
That should come as no surprise, as its creator also produced the first fig fragrance in perfumery, Premier Figuier, for L’Artisan Parfumeur in 1994.
Philosykos showcases the entire fig tree and begins with the fresh, slightly bitter leaves, green nuances at the fore. The fruit is honeyed, almost coconut-ish.
The rest of the tree comes through in a most skilful use of woody notes that maintains the illusion of walking through an orchard of fig trees.
This superb scent is also available as an EDP.
4. Diptyque Ofresia EDT* (Olivia Giacobetti)
Still need proof that simplicity can deliver the most spectacular results? This 1999 release inspired by a Normandy coast garden should do the trick.
There’s citrusy freshness galore, of the freesia kind, in the opening. You’d never know the effect of this white floral is recreated using synthetics.
The freshness is contrasted with a liberal twist of black pepper to add spicy warmth.
It settles on a base of earthy guaiac wood, giving the scent a deep and rich finish, a pleasing contrast from the airier opening.
5. Diptyque Do Son EDT* (Fabrice Pelligrin)
Inspired by Diptyque co-founder Yves Coueslant’s memories of his childhood in Do Son, Vietnam (then Indochina), this 2005 release captures the idea of the distinctive smell of tuberoses wafting on the sea breeze.
Orange blossom stands out in the intro, with its fresh and sunny sweetness. Its animalic qualities are further developed by the spicy take on tuberose, while jasmine adds to the overall intensity. A subtle marine mood is discernible in the background.
The warmth of summer is carried through to the drydown, where notes of benzoin and musk are in play.
6. Diptyque Eau Duelle EDT* (Fabrice Pelligrin)
There’s sticky and icky vanilla. And then there’s complex and sophisticated vanilla. This 2010 release delivers a big dose of the latter.
Taking its cue from the spice route, it begins its journey in fresh spicy territory, courtesy of a pink peppercorn note.
Top quality-Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar makes its presence felt with its creamy sensuality and gentle sweetness. Its appeal is deepened with the addition of earthy calamus and smoky cypriol notes.
It all adds up to create an exotic experience for grown-ups wanting to reclaim vanilla from its recent over-use in gourmands.
7. Diptyque L’Ombre Dans L’Eau EDP* (Serge Kalougine)
This 2012 release is the EDP version of the 1983 classic created by Serge Kalouguine, who also created Olene and Eau Lente for the brand.
Taking its inspiration from “a summer slumber under a weeping willow”, it’s every bit as peaceful as it sounds.
A marriage of floral, fruity and green accents with masterful attention to the detail of nature, it features a delectable blend of rose, blackcurrant buds, petitgrain and blackcurrant leaf notes.
Wear it when you want reassurance that the world is indeed a beautiful place.
Oud is one of the most valuable ingredients in perfumery and this 2015 release makes the most of it.
Western-style oud scents are often subdued when compared to their Middle Eastern counterparts, but not this oriental. It uses the palao variety from Laos, which is renowned for its quality, richness and intensity.
It’s perfectly paired with a velvety rose note, without the clichs of that much-used combo. A tobacco note adds to the seductive sweetness.
Smooth vanilla and earthy patchouli feature in the drydown. It’s potent stuff with impressive longevity, so go easy when applying it.
9. Diptyque Fleur De Peau EDP* (Olivier Pescheux)
Launched in 2018, Fleur de Peau triumphed in the Perfume Extraordinaire and Best New Women’s Fragrance categories at the 2019 Fragrance Foundation Awards in London. One sniff of this EDP and you’ll understand why.
The fresh and rosy accents of pink peppercorns opens the scent and then it’s the turn of iris, with its cool powderiness on beautiful display.
But what really makes this fragrance special is its use of Ambrettolide, the musky molecule known for its smooth, pear-ish qualities, in combination with clean musks. It’s luxuriously romantic stuff.
10. Diptyque Eau Capitale EDP (Olivier Pescheux)
With this 2019 release, Diptyque pays tribute to Paris, the city that’s such an integral part of its identity.
The intro belongs to the citrus hues of Italian bergamot. It’s fresh, zesty and slightly bitter in all the best ways. Peppercorn brings spicy rosiness to the proceedings, setting the scene for the full-on heart of rose.
Sourced from Turkey and Bulgaria, this is no lady-like take on the queen of florals. It’s rich, fruity, in full bloom, almost dirty. Ylang-ylang from the Comoros, not usually known for its sedateness, is very much in the background.
The drydown of this best-seller features the deep, dark and earthy qualities of Indonesian heart of patchouli and Haitian vetiver.