The idea behind this perfume was simple but genius: create a perfume that recreated the odors seeping out of the wood panels in the Diptyque boutique on 34 Boulevard St. Germain in Paris – a sort of mélange of the scents from the various perfumes and candles in the store.
By all rights, it should have been a hot mess. But despite being made up of bits of other Diptyque perfumes, it turns out to have a lively, definite personality all of its own. The top notes are a clever re-working of the best bits of L’Ombre Dans L’Eau – the tart berries and vivid, snapped-stem greens of the opening (without the lurid raspberry rose jam), and the milky green fig leaf of the luscious Philosykos.
Quickly joined by a faintly urinous grapefruit and soft pink rose, the fig leaf, blackcurrants, and green notes seem to glow like rubies against a backdrop of woods and resins. The top notes and early heart have this energizing sourness to them that really quenches my thirst for something zesty and alive-feeling on a warm spring day.
The heart is rose and grapefruit, insistently spiced with either clove or cinnamon (hello Eau Lente!). Thankfully, unlike Eau Lente, it doesn’t make you think of Red Hots. There is even a faint, watery tuberose note in the heart that may be a reference to Do Son. The base is woods and resins – the wonderfully natural Diptyque cedar, and an almost creamy, lavender-inflected oppoponax.
And oh, that cedar. Only Diptyque and Serge Lutens do cedar this well. I mean that it smells like fresh, sappy wood, and is utterly free of the insistent radiance of Iso E Super or Norlimbanol. Because the woods don’t have their life not extended by synthetic boosters, the longevity on 34 is average at best.
34 Boulevard Saint Germain is a very well crafted fragrance, that hits me from many angles. My only gripe are the florals, making it a little powdery. This basically smells like an updated and more complex version of Obsession for men. That's if somebody were to ask me to compare it to something... while at the same time, it certainly has its own character.
There's so much going on in this fragrance. It's resinous, deep, but also citric, floral, woodsy, spicy, and pretty much any category you can think of expect aquatic/fruity, although it is a little fruity. The bottle is beautiful too.
I'm not big on niche, I find many niche offerings to be unwearable because the taste is just too acquired. Even with 34 Boulevard Saint Germain being probably the most complex and different offering from Diptyque that I have tried, it's still very wearable. The one time I wore it out, from my sample, I got a compliment too. Although this isn't something I would buy, because it's a little too floral/powdery, I can't deny that it's a beautiful fragrance. Diptyque, keep up the good work. Eau Duelle is one of my favorites ever. The quality of your fragrances show, and the art work in the perfumery is unmistakable.
I can’t help but feel that the brief behind this anniversary release is misguided: attempting to capture the olfactory atmosphere inside the Diptyque flagship store almost guarantees a disorganized mish-mash of perfumes and scented candles. Indeed, the disparate elements thrown together here not only fail to cohere into a solid structure; they actually manage to cancel one another out. Reminders of older Diptyque scents flash by in the top notes - some fig sap from Philosykos, a dab of cinnamon and clove from Eau Lente, some zesty green notes from L’Ombre dans l’Eau - but the overall impression is muddled, congested and ultimately bland.
Once the initial flurry of floral, green, and spice notes settles down, 34 Boulevard St. Germain emerges as a relatively undistinguished and straightforward amber oriental fragrance with a mildly interesting overlay of fig. The fig and sweet amber accord is linear and long-lasting, as I have come to expect from a Diptyque fragrance, but it lacks the character displayed so boldly in this house’s early offerings, much less any sense of the occasion its release was meant to celebrate.
feeble sillage and rather linear on cinnamon!
I have vacillated back and forth as to whether to attempt describing individual notes for the usual objective portion of the review, but in the end I don't think I could possibly do 34 Boulevard Saint Germain proper justice as there are a ton of ingredients and they are all so well-blended that it just is near impossible to capture them all so I'm not even going to try... Instead, I think I will just give some general impressions of what I smell and my thoughts about the end result... For reference, projection is excellent and longevity exceptional at about 15 hours on skin.
White florals and dulled rose mix with a slightly sweet clove and eucalyptus infused smooth woody incense primary heart accord over candle wax-like iris. The end result is highly complex and quite unique, but completely versatile and easy to wear. I have read elsewhere that Diptyque was going for an approximation of the smell of entering their flagship store with the scent of candles, incense sticks and fragrances wafting in the air. While I have never been there myself, I can definitely visualize the picture well from what I am sniffing for sure. There pretty much is a bit of everything in the composition and it would be all too easy to completely overdo it, yet 34 Boulevard Saint Germain just plain works. The bottom line is despite its enormous list of ingredients and great complexity the $120 per 100ml bottle 34 Boulevard Saint Germain by Dyptique is an amazingly easy to wear success that earns a strong 4 star out of 5 rating and is highly recommended to all.
100 not out
To my nose, troubled by Vegas air con, this is a dead ringer for the Courant (Helena Rubenstein) I used to wear in the seventies. There's a whiff of Yatagan as the dry down begins and you are reminded that this is gender neutral. It has been my companion in the scorching heat of Las Vegas these last couple of days. How could I not love it? Nothing survives this heat without a bit of respite and in the cooler air conditioned air 34 Boulevard reveals pipe tobacco, spice, patchouli, and ..Courant. It's he best Diptyque on me and well worth trying
Pros: Captivating Oriental Spicy
Cons: Been done before