I first encountered Philosykos in college after Diptyque sent me one of the most remarkable surprises I’ll ever receive. I’d recently founded a club called Uncommon Scents with the goal of sharing my newfound love of perfume with others. After the club became official, I sent fifteen emails into the void, asking indie and designer houses about potential partnerships. Only Diptyque responded, and days later, I found myself gasping at the sheer quantity of free samples they’d sent me. These beautifully-packaged little spray bottles would end up traveling to every corner of campus as I helped my friends find scents they adored. It was one of the first times in my life where I could see my passion actively adding joy to the lives of others.
You’d think, then, that I’d be biased toward Diptyque’s perfumes, but the truth is that I’ve never fallen in love with one of their creations. There were a handful that entered my standard rotation early on – L’Eau de L’Eau and Volutes most of all – but that was mostly because my own collection was small and I didn’t have many other options. The only perfume I found genuinely astounding was the aggressively green tomato-leaf fragrance L’Ombre dans L’Eau, which remains one of the most strikingly natural, soil-rich perfumes I’ve come across. Back then, Philosykos lived in its shadow, a politer green fragrance whose fig notes I found more interesting than emotionally investing.
Since then, my experience with Philosykos has changed through rather unique means. Both Kori and I have written before about how life events and personal connections can drastically change our experiences with perfumes, and with Philosykos, my appreciation is almost entirely due to social interaction. Sometimes a perfume can only truly come to life when the right people are there to reveal its magic.
Fig leaves, Fig tree sap, Fig tree wood
Philosykos sat relatively undisturbed in my sample collection until I met someone who would change my life forever. I have a habit of giving new friends a perfume tour relatively soon in our relationship, and in this case, I had brought out Philosykos as an example of a ‘green’ perfume to show a bunch of friends I’d made through my school newspaper. It’s the perfect example of one – bracing in its sharper woody features, mellow in its fruity heart, and ultimately soft and comforting in its earthy drydown.
One such new friend, who I’d soon ask out and fall in love with, immediately identified Philosykos as a fig perfume. She’d grown up often traveling back to her family’s home country of Syria where figs grew everywhere, including on her grandparent’s property. Her grandfather loved the family fig tree and tended to it often, and the fragrance brought memories of him and Syria rushing back to my friend’s mind. The scent of fig leaves and sap would find its way inside the house as her grandfather cut trimmings to treat family members’ ailments. In a very literal sense, the scent of figs was a physical embodiment of familial love and care. Over the course of my friend and I’s romantic relationship, Philosykos took on that meaning for me too, and I was able to join her in her love for the scent.
Even after we both moved on and our relationship turned back into a wonderful friendship, that shared association lives on in the perfume. That sort of bottled memory is a priceless treasure to share with someone. Since then I’ve been able to share Philosykos with several other people who have felt their own attachment to it and asked to wear it to significant events in their lives. It’s the sort of perfume that reminds you what art is capable of – establishing deep and rich connections that ultimately grant our life, if not purpose, then deep and true joy. I don’t know what more you could ask of a perfume. Philosykos is out there if you need it, even if all you want to do is share something special with a friend.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
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