Fragrance / High End / Niche

The Philosykos Effect

This post was originally titled The Difference Between Perfume and PERFUME. How obscure, right? It won’t surprise any longtime readers to learn that I often find myself puzzled at the words coming out of my mouth even as I speak them. At which point it is (of course) too late to take them back.

Thank god for pictures. Look! Picture!


First of all, I’d like to thank the ever-generous Cat of Strawberry Mochi for sending me a wealth of Diptyque samples. While I’m still working my way through the pile, I knew upon first spritz that I had to write a feature on Philosykos.

I’ve been trying to make my precious vial last as long as possible, and am seriously considering investing in the $120 EDT when I run out (hi, I’m a broke college student who makes less than your average babysitter, but who cares about the technicalities with a scent this gorgeous?). It’s my first introduction to fig fragrances, which unsurprisingly, smell like figs. If you’ve never encountered a fresh fig, I wouldn’t begin to know how to go about describing their aroma, except to say they smell nothing like Fig Newtons. Let’s just make that clear right now.

While Philosykos centers around the fig note, it’s more complex than whatever it is you would call the fruit version of a soliflore. Fruitiflore? Shall I just stop while I’m ahead? As Diptyque puts it, it’s “an ode to the entire tree: the green, pungent freshness of the leaves, the wood warmed in the sun, the milky flavor of the fruit.” And I get all three of those elements when I wear this fragrance, although the first two are much more fleeting than the third, which has the tendency to last for an incredibly long time.


I especially love spritzing this on my pajamas on rainy nights, and drifting off to the scent of wet dirt and new leaves as I hear water bouncing off my windows and gushing down the streets. Sometimes, if I stay up long enough, I smell the overwhelming milkiness of ripe figs as I drift off, and wake up with the warm, sweet dry-down of Philosykos still clinging to my clothes. There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to a complex perfume, listening to an entire story through scent as you slowly slip into your dreams. In fact, it’s better than any bedtime story because scent is so pervasive, so overwhelming in its experience.

Oh, and can we talk about dreams for a second here? Because I find them fascinating. When I was younger, flying and falling were recurring themes in my dream. Since high school, the theme has become people trying to kill me. During a particularly low period sophomore year, I dreamed that a man walked into my house and chased me in circles with what I thought was a leaf-blower, but turned out to be a very hot blowtorch. My friend, who likes to analyze my dreams, told me that he symbolized Precalculus (so I guess the blowtorch was like, Promethean fire or something?) and I was running from my fear of math. Which apparently I thought was going to end up killing me.

Oh look, more pictures…



Have you sniffed Philosykos or any other fig fragrances? What’s your favorite Diptyque perfume? Do you experience recurring themes in your dreams? Would anyone like to offer an alternate interpretation of my man-with-blowtorch dream? Bonus points if you can find a positive message in there.

42 thoughts on “The Philosykos Effect

  1. I’ve been hearing more and more good things about Diptyque fragrances and now I just HAVE to try them! I didn’t realize Philosykos was a fig scent–you describe it beautifully, MM! Job well done, my curiosity is now peaked!! 😀

  2. What a beautiful, well-written review. I love how you described the scent, it sounds wonderful! I think it’s time I try some Diptyque too.

  3. I like Diptyque but I can’t do fig! Like not AT ALL. It’s sadly for some reason something that turns really really horrible on my skin! Completely unrelatedly: I don’t dream. Maybe I do but I almost never remember anything! I kinda lie down, fall asleep within a minute or two, and usually the next time my brain has some kind of activity going on is when I get up. Yeah that’s really how boring my sleeping time is 😉

    • 😦 I was actually worried it would go bad on my skin, because so many people don’t have luck with the fig note! Delighted to find it seems to mesh well with my body chemistry. And haha, lucky you! It’s not fun to wake up from those someone-about-to-kill-you dreams, let me tell you.

  4. Beautifully written! I wish I could write like that about fragrances. I just can’t even if I put my life on it. LOL! I’m getting more intrigued when it comes to Diptyque. I’ve been reading nothing but good things 🙂

    • Oh believe me, I tear my hair out every time I write about perfume LOL. Mad respect for full-time fragrance bloggers. You should check it out! Is there a Diptyque counter near you?

  5. This was lovely MM. I have not tried any fig fragrances, but how can I not after a run down like that? This sounds heavenly, and the idea of spritzing perfume on pjs is something I am going to do tonight! As far as your dream goes…I think the positive note is that he never caught you, it was circular, but you were perfectly aware of what was happening symbolizing that you are aware of your fear and know it is kind of ridiculous. Cuz lets face it, a man with a blowtorch is a ridiculous, albeit in some circumstances, scary sight.

    • Thanks Margo! I think I have another couple of fig fragrances sitting back at home (courtesy of Cat again, she’s amazing) so I’m really excited to go see how those compare. Yay! Everyone should have PJ perfumes LOL, which one did you use? And love it, brownie points for you.

  6. From figs to blow torches… If I wore a fragrance to sleep I wouldn’t be able to, I would be too distracted from the fragrance.. The idea of it sounds so lovely though. Fig is probably my favorite fruit and no they don’t smell anything like fig newtons, I am now so intrigued to sample this scent! Dyptique is incredible!

    • I have such trouble staying on topic LOL, how does anyone do it?? Hmm, I never considered that! I think it’s because I never have trouble falling asleep in college. Fresh figs are some of my favorite things to eat, although I can’t stand the taste of fig newtons. You should try it, I’m very curious to hear what you think!

  7. I…am torn on fig. Some fig scents are warm and comforting, but overall I think they’re usually too sweet for me. I did give this a sniff (just the bottle) when we were at Nordstrom, but I don’t have a sample. I DO have samples of a bunch of others, though, thanks to a very happy Diptyque rep at Nordstrom, lol! Currently wearing my way through the Do Son sample…

    • Ah yes, I can see that. What makes this perfume for me is the very green, sharp opening. Keeps it from being too sweet/warm. Wish the reps at my Nordstrom were like that! I had a great experience at one of the counters over break, but the other times have been disappointing.

  8. Hi Makeup Morsels,

    What a fun post! I haven’t tried Phylosykos, but fig is pretty good in my book. (Love eating them too!) On another note, what an AMAZING Diptyque sample collection. Wish I had so many on hand 🙂

    • What are some of your favorite fig scents? I feel like I need to branch out now that this one was such a success. And I’m always blown away at the generosity of fellow bloggers, you should have seen my face when I opened this!

  9. Hahahahaha, I love your friend’s interpretation of your dream 😉 (Also, the not really so new but I’ve been living under a rock/pile of papers so I’m only now seeing it site design! Looks awesome) I have a vial of Philosykos but haven’t tried wearing it in many moons, as I wasn’t crazy about it, but I’ll have to revisit it. There are several Diptyque perfumes that I really love (Volutes, L’Ombre Dans l’Eau, Do Son), and perhaps my nose has matured since I smelled Philosykos last. One strike against it, though? I mistype it every single time. EVERY TIME MM. Ugh.

    • I know right, can’t make this stuff up hahaha. Aw, thank you Amy! Hope you’re slightly less busy now? And judging by online reviews, it’s not for everyone but ughh I’m so head over heels in love with it. And oh me too, I had to go back so many times while writing this review LOL. I’m going to start on my vial of L’Ombre Dans l’Eau as soon as I finish this one 😀 exciting times ahead

  10. So fun! I love this review, MM. 🙂 I’m not really sure that I’ve come across a fig fragrance before, but I have to make a stop at the Diptyque counter to grab some samples.

    Re: recurring dreams, I still have dreams of school, of not studying for a test that I’m about to have in an hour. Like, WHAT. I graduated 4 years ago. Please have your friend analyze it.

    • Thanks Geekz! And you have to try them at least once if you can, let me know what you think 😀 Also, yikes that sounds terrible hahaha. I will see what I can do 😉

      P.S. I think it means you’re a good student. Like a really, really good one. And now school is never going to let you go. LOL

  11. I have a sample of this and am now sniffing along joyfully while reading your review! I agree, it does smell like wet dirt and trees. Reminds me of taking a walk through a wet forest. I really like it but not enough to spend $120 on a full bottle. 🙂

    • Ah, I love smelling perfumes while reading reviews! Unfortunately I usually don’t have the perfume in question with me LOL. Exactly, right? And then the dry down is just so creamy and warm and happy. Yum.

  12. DIPTYQUE!! YAY! you should get this one. did you know the smaller bottle of edt is $88? and diptyque’s website sells travel refills (3 x .4oz sprays) for $60 🙂 I love diptyque hehe. i have eau rose, oyedo, do son, l’eau de tarocco, and l’eau de neroli. my best friend got me the last 3 at the sample sale in NYC! I think all of their scents are great, I just can’t handle alot of them on me, sadly. I wish i wouldn’t be so sensitive to scents on myself!

    • Yes, I did see that but I always prefer buying the larger size. We shall see. And oh my, that’s quite a collection! Can’t wait to sniff some more Diptyque, I’m just really getting into fragrance lately (which I managed to resist for quite some time because ugh perfume is most definitely an expensive habit), but there are so many good ones out there. And OMG CANDLES, yes I dream of Diptyque candles! I miss my candles in college haha, and I understand not being able to bear it 😦

  13. ALSO! Diptyque candles! I bought Rose Duet and can’t bear to burn it. lol. i remember liking diptyque candles in college too, but i never could afford to buy one. thank goodness for roommates with good taste!

  14. I totally agree with your description of Phylosikos. I just recently got into Diptyque, spent some crazy money on Volutes EDP and got a bunch of samples, among which this one. This is not my kind of perfume at all, but I do enjoy it nevertheless, as it’s so green and fresh and authentic (fig scents are usually artificial and sweet, nothing to do with an actual fig).

    And regarding your dream: only the dreamer can give a meaning to a dream, it’s pointless for anyone else to try and interpret it. So I won’t do that 🙂

    • Volutes is gorgeous, but not for me. Same as you feel about Philosykos, pretty much haha! Hmmm I never thought about it that way, well I choose not to assign meaning to it because that was pretty scary LOL

  15. Bahahahahaha oh how I’ve missed reading your posts MM! (btw…sorry for delinquent commenting, I’ve been trying to decrease my screen time to boost happiness/social integration – seems to be working :P). Where to start? Well, I haven’t tried any fig scents so not sure how I’d feel, but I hear Ellen DeGeneres loves fig scents to so you’re clearly onto something. I have vivid dreams most nights, probably because I’m crazy and also sleep very lightly so I remember them when I (frequently) wake up. However, I’m no dream doc so I have no effing clue what yours means, but my best guess is that you probably hate math. That totally makes sense to me. 😉

    • 😀 I’ve missed you Toya! Really need to get back to regular blog commenting but arghh it is so hard. I’m happy to hear you’ve been boosting your happiness, that’s always the most important thing, right? Ugh you must try, they are SO GOOD. At least I think so. And yeah, that interpretation sounds about right.

  16. I have never sniffed anything Diptyque and I don’t dare to in the future. Not that I don’t enjoy smelling good or simply smelling good perfumes but the day I fall for a $120 perfume is the day I find myself living in a box ;__;

    We’re totally dream (more like nightmare, actually) buddies btw! I have at least one scary dream a night or 3 if I’m super lucky. Of course I’m always a super slow runner in my dreams and the killer is literally within arms reach.. ugh!! This one time I had a dream where my ex came to my house to talk to me and this killer with surgical knives was walking towards me and right past my ex.. Anyway, I looked up the meaning behind the dream in my trusty dream decoder book (don’t judge me, LOL) & it interpreted my dream as me feeling guilty for breaking someones heart and I subconsciously thought mine should be ripped out instead… Yeah, dreams are wack.

    • I’ve been going back and forth on purchasing a full bottle. Don’t know how long I’d survive in a box…

      And yay, nightmare buddies. Isn’t it just the best? I need to get a dream decoder book LOL

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