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February 25, 2011

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain : Fragrance Review


Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

For their 50th anniversary, Diptyque has launched a perfume capturing the scent of its first boutique located on 34 Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris. The idea behind the eponymous fragrance was to capture the main elements of the famous Diptyque: L’Ombre dans l’Eau, Philosykos, L'Eau, Do Son. Blending various disparate accords is often liable to produce a pastiche effect, and perhaps, this is exaclty what happened with 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, which while competent, does not have a strong character.  For a niche launch, it especially seems too safe and traditional: a soft-spoken fougère that would not be out of place on the masculine side of the fragrance bar at Macy's.

The initial impression of 34 boulevard Saint Germain is very appealing—zesty citrus, green galbanum and tart blackcurrant bud. With the green fig leaf notes supporting the bright top notes, the effect is verdant, rejuvenating and bold. After these vivid and arresting notes settle, the rose, lily of the valley and iris elements of the composition become clearer. Yet, they are rendered more like the sheer floral notes in L’Ombre dans l’Eau and Philosykos as opposed to the lush opulence of Do Son and Olene.

If the verdant top notes promised something exciting, as soon as they are gone, we are on a well-trodden path. The familiar elements are not just familiar from their presence in other Diptyque fragrances, but also in many masculine fragrances on the market: the herbal-citrus notes, musk, and amber form the main impression.  I cannot say that I dislike 34 Boulevard Saint Germain; it reminds me of Lanvin Arpège Pour Homme, which also twists the soft iris notes with amber and musk. It is simply too well-behaved to make a bold statement and to stand out in the crowded fragrance market. On the whole, while 34 Boulevard Saint Germain has a smooth, pleasant development on the skin and a good tenacity, the highest compliment I can make is to describe it as easy to wear. 

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain EdT includes notes of blackcurrant, fig leaves, pink pepper, citrus, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, rose, geranium, iris, tuberose, violet, woods, and balsamic notes. The presentation of 34 Boulevard Saint Germain is my favorite aspect of this launch. It features a heavy glass bottle with a magnetized stopper made of black Bakelite. Its oval shape stands out among the classical square Diptyque flacons. It launches at Aedes, Barneys and other retailers carrying the line.

Sample: my own acquisition



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