L’Artisan Parfumeur : Premier Figuier

Created by : Olivia Giacobetti

Date : 1994

Genre : Fig wood

Concentration : eau de toilette

It’s still cold in Montreal and this week has been particularly brutal because of the wind.  But even the most depressed among us have noticed the longer days and the sun which is getting warmer and most of us have begun dreaming of spring.  One of my absolutely favourite spring scents is Premier Figuier.  Olivia Giacobetti won an award for this one and the first time I tried it, I understood why.  Unless you’ve tried Premier Figuier (or Diptyque’s Philosykos) it’s like nothing you’ve ever smelled.  It’s got a great big fig note and if you’re thinking Fig Newtons… well… you’re a little off the mark.  The green-tinged opening reminds of unripened fruit instead of confectionary.

I generally don’t pay much attention to back stories.  They just seem so contrived and self-serving.  And this one seemed unbelievable but in fact, it comes as close to telling a story as I’ve experienced.  As the SA explained it to me, Premier Figuier follows the natural ripening of a fig.  It starts with the unripened, aggressive green fruit (using Galbanum as the green note) and it’s so sharp it almost stings the nose.  Just when you wish it would evolve, it does.  It becomes more fruity… less green… but no less tart.  Premier Figuier ends on a ripened fruit scent with milky sap flowing from the cracked fruit.  While I was researching this post, it reminded me of the “proper way to eat a fig in society” scene from my all-time favourite film, Ken Russell’s Women in Love.

I’ve read several times that L’Artisan Parfumeur perfumes don’t last and this hasn’t been my experience with them.  My three… Premier Figuier, Passage d’Enfer and Vanilia… all last on me as well as the best of them.  They’re well constructed and they evolve with time.  As far as I’m concerned, they’re on par with Chanel and Guerlain.  And, L’Artisan Parfumeur are the most generous of houses when it comes to samples.  Whether the perfume was launched in 1994 or 2010, free samples are always available.  The SAs in Montreal will give you everything you want.  Try and get a sample of Pour Monsieur from Chanel… or Shalimar from Guerlain.  It won’t happen.

Premier Figuier is different and gorgeous.  It works well for both women and men.

So… for those who haven’t seen Women in Love, let’s look at that famous scene which, when I saw in back as a teenager, taught me how to eat figs… I think.


Top image : Still-life with Figs (1760s) by Luis Meléndez

Bottom image : Alan Bates as Rupert Birkin in Women in Love (1969)

We Three Kings : Frankincense – Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Created by : Olivia Giacobetti

Date : 1999

Genre : Incense leather

Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur was my very first niche perfume.  It was thanks to a very observant sales associate who had me sample several fragrances before suggesting that I might like this one.  When I smelled it, I purchased it immediately.  My reaction was visceral because Passage d’Enfer reminded me of the smell of religious ceremonies of my past – biblical frankincense, a hint of pine and a big diffusing waxy note that reminded me of candles and which oddly mirrored my slightly blurred memories of Christmases past.  For me, Passage d’Enfer acts like a time machine.

But what makes Passage d’Enfer transformative applies to sex as well as time.  There is something forbidden and subversive about Passage d’Enfer.  When I wear it, I can almost hear the Gregorian chants in the background.  For those who liked the movie The Name of the Rose (1986), you’ll love this fragrance.  It’s a period piece from the Dark Ages.  As for its classification… I’m calling it an incense leather with facets of  perversity and obsession… with a moral decay backstory.  (Ouch!)  Yep… this one is from the dark side.

Although I tell everyone to wear whatever they want whenever they want… this one defies my recommendation.  Wear this one only if you want to get noticed.  Guys… you won’t attract girls with this one… but you’ll attract women.  Gay guys… young men will be anosmic to Passage d’Enfer but men over 40 who know what to do when the lights go out will definitely get it.  As for women, if he or she doesn’t notice you with this one, they’re hopeless.  So when the moment is right… spray this one behind your knees… light the candles… put on the Gregorian chants… close your eyes… and pray that in the morning you’re still the person you were before you decided to sleep with the devil…


For more We Three Kings posts check out other fellow bloggers.

Scent of the Day

Redolent of Spices



All I Am – A Redhead

Chicken Freak’s Obsession 

Notes from Josephine

Bonkers About Perfume 

My Perfume Life

Top image : Three Kings Icon ©2010 Megan Ruisch

Bottom image : Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave in The Devils (1971)

Honoré des Prés : Vamp à NY

Created by : Olivia Giacobetti

Date : 2010

Genre : Fun vanilla

Concentration : eau de parfum

I struggled for two days with Vamp à NY.  The test strip stayed propped up on my desk at work from 9 to 5 and anyone who walked into my office was interrogated, “What do you think of this?”  The answers were bipolar.  Kathleen loved it.  So much so that she asked to put some on, something she never, ever does.  Jim’s reaction was visceral, “Get that away from me.”

I walked away from VaNY for the weekend and when I sniffed some fresh juice on the strip the following Monday, it hit me.  Vamp à NY smelled like a root beer float with vanilla ice cream.  For the rest of the day, I was obsessed with my memories of long, summer days, the smell of Coppertone and the trademark frosty glasses overflowing of root beer at the drive-thru.  No doubt, Olivia Giacobetti is also a fan of the root of the sassafras plant.  It’s unmistakeable.

So… who is the Vamp à NY client?  Well… I think she’s between 12 and 16 years old.  She’s still following the folks to their oceanside vacation but she’s not the same girl as last year.  This year, she means business!  She’s looking for her first “serious” summer romance and Vamp à NY is perfect for her mission.  She’s a modern-day Salome and she’ll get what she wants.

She’s figured out that she can more easily attract the glances of Tommy with the scent of a frothy root beer than with the real thing.  The love affair may be a short-lived one… a couple of weeks at the most… but her unique root beer fragrance will forever remind her beau of the summer of 2010 when he fell in love for the first time.  And everytime he knocks one back at the drive-thru, he’ll always be reminded of her… long after he has married another and introduced his own kids to the unique taste of root beer.  The imprint is forever.

Mission accomplished.

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