Years ago my wife and I visited a local book shop and, on entering, we were greeted by an incredibly beautiful scent. The shop carries a large selection of scented candles, soap and home fragrances but this particular scent was absolutely captivating. As we perused the shop and thumbed through books, that fragrance became the topic of our conversation and we couldn't get over how much we liked it. Until that moment we had always considered the use of fragrances for the home as being synthetic and unnatural; maybe even a little beneath us. But this scent was different. It was completely natural and stunningly beautiful. It was floral and woody, spicy and herbal. It was contemplative yet exotic, energizing yet calming. We had to have this fragrance! When we told the owner we wanted to buy a bottle of the scent he looked at us very seriously and said, “I’m sorry, it’s very exclusive and not bottled for sale.” Seeing our disappointment, he laughed and said, “I wish we could bottle it because everyone asks for it. It’s just an amalgamation of all the scented products we carry.”
That idea of a ‘boutique in a bottle’ is the concept behind 34 Boulevard St. Germain. According to the Diptyque website:
“34 encapsulates the scent of its first boutique located on 34 Boulevard Saint Germain with rare and precious fragrances. The result is a fragrance that has an innovative and complex signature.”
With that in mind, 34 really is an overview of Diptyque products, particularly the warmer perfumes like Tam Dao and the woodier, resinous scents from their room fragrance and candle collection. I have the same visceral experiences wearing 34 as I did all those years ago experiencing the amalgamation of essences in the bookshop.
At the risk of making 34 sound heavy and cloying -which it’s not- I would describe it as a warm, complex fragrance that wears like a comfortable cashmere sweater. As you’re likely to gather, 34 is not a hot weather scent but, as I said, it’s not heavy, either. I would imagine it contains a fair number of aldehydes because it wears and disperses in very cloud-like way, while close to the skin it’s fine and ever so slightly powdery.
Sherapop’s review (below) is spot on when she mentions the chameleon like aspect of 34. As it dries down it becomes a kaleidoscope of notes constantly shifting the same materials in new patterns. One time a little rose comes through, then sweet spices, another sniff and incense and myrrh make an appearance, then just a touch of eucalyptus comes along and airs things out.
To be honest, this is not the sort of fragrance I normally wear. I tend toward shear, low sillage scents. However, there is no denying that this is a beautiful, unisex fragrance and I look forward to wearing it on cold winter days.