Diptyque has everything I love in a fragrance.
There’s the brand’s origins in Paris, with their first shop on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, the gorgeous packaging, which includes their graphic typology labels and oval bottles, as well as the unisex scents themselves. They’re all rather evocative and special, though accessible too. They never release anything that’s going to offend everyone else on the bus.
Now they have their own concession in H Beauty at St James Quarter. It’s more than just a counter, and, as their first Scottish flagship, is something of a shop within a shop.
Before this launched, you could only find them online and stocked within a few stores, like Space NK and John Lewis.
When I visit, there are spotlit shelves that are covered in objets d’art, as if in a Montmartre apartment. I imagine they’re just there for decoration, until I’m told that these lovely glass hourglass-shaped objects and huge tubs, made from Portuguese ceramics, are actually fragrance diffusers and candles.
There are even car diffusers - the sophisticate’s version of a Magic Tree.
Beneath the central display of fragrance, there are haberdashery drawers, as a tribute to their original Paris shop. In here, you’ll find palm sized solid perfumes in flower emblazoned containers, hair fragrance and even bracelets that are infused with scents.
Anyway, should you just be interested in choosing a regular liquid perfume, they can help you with that too.
The best-sellers include L’eau de Sens, which features notes of orange blossom and neroli.
However, I’ve always been a sucker for the woody and sweet figgy one that is Philosykos.
Newbies include Orpheon, named after a bar that had its entrance by their original shop. This was launched to celebrate their 60th birthday last year and features cedar, vetyver, patchouli, honeycomb and green tangerines.
However, the latest is Do Son - a celebration of tuberose, as it was the favourite flower of their co- founder the late Yves Coueslant’s mother and is reminiscent of his childhood holidays in Vietnam. It stands out from the others, since it currently has a limited-edition aqua tinted bottle. Definitely one for summer.
This, like most of the other perfumes, is also available as a candle. If you want to smell these, one of their lovely assistants will decant them out of their glass votives, onto a cushion, and you sniff the empty container. I go round them all, and decide I would like a different one in every room of my flat.
I also leave with a pocket full of illustrated paper cards, each of which is sprayed with its corresponding perfume, so I can identify them.
I don’t think I’ll ever settle on one favourite from this brand, but I find myself smelling Fleur de Peau - musk, iris, ambrette and baies roses - rather a lot.
Another one to lust after.
Consultations are free on the new Diptyque counter, H Beauty, St James Quarter, Edinburgh, www.diptyqueparis.com