Travel…within a journey
“Diptyque is delighted to invite you to the exclusive preview of the latest fragrance addition to its fragrance range”
September 12th 2012
171 Maiden Lane
With great excitement my friend Lane and I rounded the corner off the clattering hubbub of Stockton Street into the cool shade of the little shopping canyon of Maiden Lane on our way to an olfactory party! With our noses set on ready we came into view of the red Diptyque banner fluttering lightly in the early evening breeze. This was our very first perfume event and we had no idea what to expect.
Upon entering Diptyque at five thirty we found the boutique alight with many of their famous fragrant candles which added to the wonderful unique scent of the store. So unique is the smell that they bottle it as “34” or by its formal name of 34 Boulevard Saint Germain (the address of the original Paris boutique). It is a wonderful smell.
Beautiful in a smart little back dress, Bo welcomed us and directed us down the stairs to where our hostess and store manager Madeline Thies was serving drinks. Always chic and smiling Madeline welcomed us and proceeded to make us feel that our arrival was the whole point of the evening! Now that is hospitably San Francisco style.
(MADELINE ABOUT TO HAVE HER HAND KISSED!)
In the center of the lower level was the star of the evening, a beautifully designed table where the new fragrance Volutes stood center stage in its classic clear oval Diptyque bottle. It was surrounded by bowls filled each with a raw sample of the ingredients that go into making the juice. Tobacco leaves, iris, frankincense, pink and black pepper, saffron, hay, immortelle, myrrh, opopanax and some others I am sure I missed. What a clever and great presentation. Lane and I smelled some of the samples yet nether of us was quite ready to test the fragrance we need a little time to get our olfactory bearings.
Our noses lead us back up to the street level where we met up with Bo again. Lane explained to her that he had been doing his research and wanted to test a few scents, L’Eau de L’Eau, L’Eau des Hesperides and L’Eau de Tarocco. Miss Bo was so wonderfully helpful and informed on the scents. She amazed me when she told us that construction workers in the area really love Hesperides. Now that is some incredible information and why shouldn’t construction workers love to smell nice too? We smelled it on paper first but before long each scent found its way to three different spots on Lane’s arms. We stood there for some time enjoying the smells and trying to decide which suited him best.
Madeline checked in with us and replenished our drinks and enticed us both to try some of the very delectable assorted sweets at the bar. Wonderful tiny fruit and chocolate tarts that were scrumptious. We found ourselves back downstairs and at the Volutes table where we met the handsome Gregory from the Pairs boutique. He filled us in on the history of Volutes. The fragrance was inspired by the childhood memory of one of the original founders of Diptyque. Who in fact at 95 still lives in an apartment on the third floor above the boutique at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain. The inspiration was a trip he took with his parents by ship from France to Indochine. He was fascinated by the ship with its swirls of smoke from its toweling smokestacks and the glamorous women who came on deck each evening to smoke their exotic Khedive cigarettes, the blue smoke swirling about them like exotic veils. Add to that memory the smells of the spices of the ports of Alexandria, and Bombay, Colombo, Bangkok, and finally Saigon. Decades later the journey became Volutes. With that incredible tale from the effervescent and charming Gregory it was time to try a sniff of the main attraction.
(SNIFFING BLACK PEPPER)
It opened like a box of aromatic Egyptian cigarettes and then began to unfold like a Scheherazadian tale of the orient, smoky mystery layered with danger and romance. Volutes means swirls and it does exactly that! Over the evening it bloomed and created a wonderfully rich vale of incense. Even with his three fragrances on Lane had to try it too. That is when we discovered that it smells different on different skins. At this point we found ourselves huddled over the table in exclamatory delight which caught the ear of two other guests at the event. And so Volutes introduced us to Hilary and her friend from South Africa, Adrienne. The four of us set off on a conversation of what we found delightful and interesting in this new fragrance. We all agreed that Volutes is perhaps the most complex and exotic of the line. As for me, I have to say that I enjoy Diptyque and I am still exploring their line but when I smelled Volutes I flipped! Sold to the tall guy with the red shirt! Lane noticed that on my skin it smelled very masculine yet on Hilary it was wonderfully feminine. This amazing transformative aspect of the scent by this point in the evening did not surprise me.
Hilary told me that she works at Barney’s NY here in San Francisco and also represents the Diptique line there as well as L’Artisan Parfumeur, Arquiste, Aedes de Venustas. She graciously invited me and Lane to stop in for a visit. I have only been into Barney’s once and I can tell you there perfume department is amazing. So there we have another story in the making with the beautiful and gracious Hilary. If you are in the area do stop in to Barney’s and say hi to Hilary.
(WITH NEW FRIENDS ADRIENNE, AND HILARY)
Before we knew it the evening regrettably was winding down and we had to say our goodbyes to the lovely Hilary and her equally beautiful friend Adrienne. I met Madeline at the bar and told her that she had just made a sale with me of the Volutes. It was so captivating that I had to have it on the spot. As Madeline bagged my purchase she informed us that there will be another event in October and that we were invited. Thank you Madeline! It will be a holiday candle event and a whole new area for my nose to explore! Just as we said goodbye to everyone who had been so kind and gracious Madeline did the sweetest thing. She gave us each a surprise goodie bag! Like I said before, San Francisco hospitality at its best, and I have to add Parisian charm grace, and style too!
Thank you to Madeline, Gregory, Bo and the other sales associates we didn’t have a chance to meet (Next time!) for a wonderful and unique evening in the heart of the sweetest smelling street in San Francisco.
When in San Francisco be sure to visit Diptyque at 171 Maiden Lane 94108
Phone: 415 402-0600