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Fleur de Figuier – Falling in love again – July 18, 2014 New Fragrance Listing

Image - Wikimedia Commons - Figs, Tuscany - Gyfjonas, own work

I have a life-long passion for soaps. Expensive French-milled soaps. It has nothing to do with an obsession for getting clean. It has everything to do with breathing in their delicious steamy perfumed scents and feeling warm, caressed, and decadent during a long languid bath. And it has to be a bath, not a shower, to get the full luxurious effect.

I buy these fine soaps whenever I see them in stores, then hide them away in my secret cache in the linen closet. My family has learned to expect a bar of “good soap” in their Christmas stockings, even the guys. God forbid I forget the soaps, which happened one year, and every Christmas morning since then I’ve been reminded of my serious faux-pas – “Hey look! Santa remembered our soaps this year!” Families can be so cruel.

A milled soap has been run through steel bars, smoothed, and compressed before being shaped again into a bar. The process originated in France, and triple-milled means that it is done three times, resulting in a soap that is extremely smooth, producing a creamier more luxuriant lather and consistent colour than regular soaps. French-milled is a term that can be used only with soaps that are actually made in France, but a milled soap can be produced anywhere. The French-milled soaps are however, hands-down, the best.

Roger et Gallet, a classic French soap and fragrance maker since 1862, has been re-born and re-introduced to European and North American consumers in the past year. They’ve just opened boutiques in The Bay stores in key Canadian markets like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, as well as throughout the U.S. Read about Roger et Gallet Bois d’Orange shower gel in Esther’s most recent “Sniffing out news with Esther” post here at the Niche – “­a great morning treat, and cheap to boot”. If you’re in Canada, now you know where to find it.

I visited the boutique in The Bay at Yonge and Bloor a couple of weeks ago, and found soaps, fabulous soaps, and I bought two, just for myself. I can’t confirm that these bars are triple-milled but they are made in France, and due to the Roger et Gallet unique manufacturing process, they are creamy and deliciously scented. In fact, Fleur de Figuier was so delicious, I went right back to the The Bay the very next day and bought a bottle of the cologne, or Eau Fraîche Parfumée, as it’s called.

In talking with the very well-informed SA, I was stunned to learn that many of the scents in the new range have been developed by the best contemporary noses - Dominique Ropion, Mathilde Bijaoui, Nathalie Lorson, Alberto Morillas, and Francis Kurkdjian (Absolue pur le Soir, Enlévement du Serail, Lady Vengeance, Dior Eau Noire). Kurkdjian created my pick, Fleur de Figuier, which was launched in 2013. And, I was also stunned to learn that these scents sell for around $50, which is just a crazy price. Great quality for almost no money, relatively speaking – what could be better?

Fleur de Figuier is described on the Roger et Gallet website: “Initially you are enveloped by the fig leaves crisp aroma and fresh mandarin flowers, then the milk and notes of wood, create a warm and creamy background, this envelops you like a second skin, vibrant and sensual.”

And it develops on my skin just as described – the freshness of the leaves mixes with the flowers of the tree, then gently settles and blends with creamy fruits and woody branches…the complete fig experience in a bottle. Just like my memory of standing in a field of fig trees in Ibiza, Spain, with the sea breeze gently lifting the dusty leaves on the trees and wafting the faint fruity sweetness of the ripening figs. Very alive, and very sensual indeed.

Kurkdjian says in the press release that he wanted to create a new fig, one more delicate and modern than anything previously created, one based on a floral structure to give it a light dimension, because a fig is not only a tree and fruit, but is also a flower. The freshness is created in the opening with an accord of citrus from mandarin and grapefruit plus aromatic cumin, and the fresh note is carried into the heart by the green leaves laid over not-quite-ripe figs, which have a milky vegetal sweetness. The combination results in a soft floral haze around the fruit in the heart, and the feeling of delicate green-ness carries through into the dry-down.  Creamy, with just hints of dry wood instead of stronger resins, the dry-down on my skin is musky and soft, with a subtle sexy quality.

Francis Kurkdjian created exactly what he set out to do – a modern fig scent. Much different from Premier Figuier Extrême by L’Artisan Parfumeur which is the ripened fig, sweet, juicy, and luscious - or Philosykos by Diptyque, which is the mature tree, dark, earthy and woody, Fleur de Figuier reveals the fig note in all its natural beauty, from top to bottom - leaves, flower, fruit, wood.

The harmony of the green/floral accord give Fleur de Figuier its distinctively modern edge, and places this interpretation of the fig note at the top of my Fig List. For some niche seekers, fig is not an easy note to love but Kurkdjian’s version wears no make-up, has no artifice, plays no tricks. It’s so easy to fall in love with, and is such sheer pleasure to wear.

Fleur de Figuier is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.