I really love artichokes. From the unique savour of their heart – drenched in olive oil and French wine vinegar; generous carciofi on a Roman pizza – to the beautiful idea of them (tenderness wrapped in hard foliage; clad tight in a springtime embrace of fierce green leaves ).

As a fragrance concept, the artichoke does not seem like an obvious choice – and in fact the new Diptyque is a scented candle, not a perfume (but who knows? They sometimes double up). Odd though it might seem, though, there is no offputting vegetality here, just a vernal freshness with light floral undertones – very pleasant, optimistic; and perfect for placing by a slightly open window on a dresser in spring.

When I was a teenager, at the row of shops at the end of our road on Dovehouse Lane, there was a gift shop that sold an array of triple-milled soaps by Crabtree & Evelyn. It’s funny when you are younger and have managed to excitedly get a bottle or two of perfume for birthdays and Christmas and infatuate yourself with every aspect of its being from the bottle to the label to the box to the rapidly diminishing liquid inside (do you remember how precious each drop felt? Not the flagrant abandonment we have now; the saturated neglect, but a new melding of the scent and budding self.)

I felt exactly the same way about those soaps. I would go up to the shop quite frequently, to just fixate on and inhale their unsullied sanctity – each one in the collection presented neatly on a wooden shelf for the customers’ perusal (is there anything nicer than the rice paper that encloses a soap in a beautifully illustrated box?) Although I liked virtually every offering in the range, especially obsessed with the sandalwood, the rose, and the seashell jojoba, it was the lime and the avocado that I would save up my newspaper round money to buy; the former dark green and translucent and divine on a summer’s day, the lighter greened avocado not discernibly avocado-like but unique, utopian : deliciously fragrant and cleansing to the spirit.

Whatever its olfactory similarity to the vegetable or fruit, I was somehow inspired by those soaps as a room in a museum full of white Grecian statues. I love soap more than candles, the sheer enjoyment that it brings together with hot water – although smelling Diptyque’s Artichaut yesterdaya, which has a certain appeal for me despite its possibly being too mild-mannered, I found myself feeling a forlornness when thinking about all the original, former L’Artisan Parfumeur products in the black-curtained boutique on King’s Road back in the nineties which were just so much better, really special, the ultimate niche brand way back when, before they were taken over by conglomerates and became desaturized – and run of the mill.

The perfumes and candles in that shop were completely alive, bristling with an almost humorous natural energy and all the beautiful Jean LaPorte intricacies, not the serviceable flatness of now; there was also an incredibly concentrated candle called Feuilles Vertes – although my memory is possibly as blurry as the photo – but I remember that it was greenness itself, scenting the space around it without even an itch of a matchstick coming near. Diptyque’s new bougie parfumée doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the same vivid greenery or inherent presence as that one did, but it is still cheering and bright. Likeable. The presentation is good; and it is possible that I might end up finding myself buying one. Sometimes it is the small and simple pleasures.


Filed under Flowers

13 responses to “ARTICHAUT by DIPTYQUE ( 2022 )

  1. The artichoke is a surprising fragrance subject to me too. The new Diptyque Eau Rose eau de parfum supposedly features a prominent artichoke note, and I look forward to smelling both when I get a chance. As for green-scented candles, Succulent by Boujee Bougies is really lush and juicy, at least cold (I haven’t burned it yet).

    • It’s almost a shame to burn them I think – even though that is the whole point.

      I saw the Eau Rose there on display actually at Diptyque but didn’t know about the artichoke note. I will have to go back and check it out to smell it (you have to wait behind a barrier at the tiny concession at the department store, and then you are let in after temperature checks and disinfection as it should be, but it doesn’t make for a very enjoyable shopping experience).

      • emmawoolf

        Oh those soaps. I remember lusting after, in no particular order: Crabtree and Evelyn freesia (I had the matching purple shower gel), Body Shop peach, Roger and Gallet carnation (how could they have discontinued it?), and a beautiful oval egg of Chanel Cristalle (or possibly I dreamt this one up). I think I can remember the avocado classic. Such a shame that so many perfume houses have discontinued their soaps. If a palm oil alternative can be found, surely it is time for their renaissance? Xx

      • Is it all about palm oil ?

        I believe the Cristalle oval was real and the C & E freesia was divine !

        And the Oeillet ; just too lovely.

  2. Rarely does Diptyque disappoint. One of my favorite fragrance houses. I was eyeing their chamomile candle and the litchee one too.
    Is that what happened to L’Artisan? I had no idea.

    • I’m sure not everyone would think so but to me, and I am sure Brielle would agree, the original L’Artisans like La Haie Fleurie, an uberfloral you might like, were non pareil gorgeous – light, but bodied, capricious, with a natural artistic flair.

      They became like industrial grey drones.

    • I sniffed the lychee and thought it was quite nice – might check out the chamomile as well although sometimes that flower just smells to me like warm catheter bag

  3. Robin

    Usually it is the small and simple pleasures.

    Ah, the magic of bar soap and hot water. Liquid soap can feel quite dead somehow, a bit too mercenary, washing-up-liquid-like, gas station issue. I bought Ric a Christmas stocking stuffer in 2020 that was still going strong after six months. High-end Italian milled, a green gardenia, lathered like whipped cream. I love bar soap’s often botanical packaging, the two layers, the vintage wallpaper graphics, the sense of unwrapping a little gift, prosaic but luxurious.

    Loved this, another gorgeous trip down Neil’s memory lane. Thank you. I remember that magic. Each small purchase was monumental, profound.

    L’Artisan really did used to be marvelous. I miss that.

    Oh, and I love a beautiful luxury level candle, but cringe sometimes at shelling out that kind of money. I have, and haven’t regretted it (there was one memorable Molton Brown smoky woody one Ric loved to pieces) but feels like a pleasure that’s a little too guilty sometimes.

  4. I used to adore the Diptyque candles, but the ones I have purchased in the past few years just do not burn as nicely as the older ones. They seem to tunnel far too much while burning. The artichaut scent scounds like a very intersting scent choice though.
    I used to adore bar soaps so much! I loved my glorious bars of Chanel No 5, and Coco, Dior’s Diorissimo and Dior Addict, along with so many Roger & Gallet ones I purchased throughout my lifetime. Somewhere along the way though, my skin became too sensitive to use regular bar soaps, so now I am only able to use Caudalie gentle soap-free shower gel, which is nice enough, and smells glorious, but I do miss using my Chanel Coco bar soap the most.
    Ah, older L’Artisan, when it was still a truly niche and magical company. Now it is just so blah. I used to own almost all of their fragrances, which sadly I sold many off during a Marie Kondo phase. None of the newer ones come close to the fabulous quality of the early ones, up until the early 2000’s, when things seriously changed.

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