Fig

Fig’s become an incredibly fashionable fragrance note for both men and women, lately, with its complex mix of bitter green and milky-sweet elements, conjuring up languid lunches in the shade of fig trees in hot, sunny places.

Notes of fig leaf and fig fruit can both be used.  The almost bitter green leaf offers us a sense of cool and shade.  The fruit, by contrast, is lush, juicy, ripe and sunny.  Sometimes, a perfumer will put them side by side in the same fragrance, to create the equivalent of a fig ‘soliflore’.  (Strictly it should probably be a ‘solifruit’, but there you go.)  Fig also goes well with coconut, and other green notes.

As they have for thousands of years, these deciduous trees grow (impressively fast) in the Mediterranean and the Middle East – although the fig note we smell in contemporary fragrances is actually quite likely to be synthetic, from ingredients which go by the name of ‘stemone’ (it smells very green, and is produced by the fragrance house Givaudan) and ‘octalactone gamma’ (more  prune-like and sappy).

According to the Bible, fig leaves preserved the modesty of Adam and Eve. Today, we’re more likely to wear fig behind our ears, and on our wrists…

Smell fig in:

 

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