Perfume Review: Parfums de Nicolai Fig Tea and CB I Hate Perfume Revelation
I have been searching for my perfect fig scent for a long, long time. It seems to me that I am looking for something rather different than what most people want from their fig fragrances and what, consequently, the perfumers offer. Others delight in the greenness of figs, in the fact that fig perfumes evoke the scent of the leaves and the twigs and the whole trees rather than actual (ripe) fruits. I am on a hunt for a fig scent that is focused on the luscious, sweet fruits. No green for me, please, just the nectarous flesh of the figs, ripe to the extent that they are starting to actually dry a little...Figs strike me as supremely sensual, and I am surprised that this aspect hasn't been much explored in perfumery. I want my fig perfume to be voluptuous and unchaste and to have a double entendre. D.H. Lawrence's poem Figs could serve as an ad copy for my fig scent:
The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.
Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom, with your lips.
But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.
Every fruit has its secret.
The fig is a very secretive fruit.
As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic:
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female...
(The rest of the text can be found here.)
The funny thing is that I was started on my quest for the perfect non-green fig by the smell of Fruits & Passion Shea Butter. Strange, I know, but it had the overripe figgy sweetness that I loved, the honeyed, enveloping lushness. The actual perfume that is rather similar to the smell of the butter is Parfums de Nicolai Fig Tea. The Eau Fraîche enriches the fruity aspect of the figs by using the vaguely apricot-like osmanthus and the boozy-herbal davana. The dry woody accord and the similarly dry, completely unsweetened tea note keep the fruity opulence restrained and add an unexpectedly elegant, powdery quality to the composition. Not a hint of greenness, which is just what I want from my fig scent...But the scent is just not luscious, sweet and complex enough to be that sensual, fleshy, moist ideal fig of mine. The tea and the woods make a scent just a little too prim and proper, a little too tame. Still, Fig Tea is a lovely scent and a good alternative to all the green figs on the market.
Another scent that comes even closer to embodying my perfect fig is CB I Hate Perfume Revelation. The problem with it is that, as the CB site promises, the scent was meant to capture the whole fig tree, leaves and twigs included, whereas I would like my scent to focus on the fruits alone, with perhaps just a woody hint to remind us where the figs actually came from. Having said that, what I smell in Revelation fruit-wise is absolutely perfect. The old devil, D.H. Lawrence, would have certainly approved, as the slightly musky, ambrosial, robust scent does evoke the fruit split in four, with its flesh "glittering, rosy, moist, honied", oozing the mouthwatering sweetness...Even though there is nothing obviously animalic about it, Revelation smells ever so slightly obscene. It succeeds in representing the sensual side of the figs, something that no one else has been able to do and for that I applaud Brosius. Were he to agree to tone down the leaves and the twigs, Revelation would have become my perfect fig scent.
Fruits & Passion Shea Butter is available at Cherrylanecollection, $7.95-$19.95, Parfums de Nicolai Fig Tea is sold at Beautyhabit, $25.00-$60.00, and Revelation can be bought from CB I Hate Perfume, $17.00-$85.00.
The painting is by Sarah Longlands, from avenues-of-sight.com.