The Figurative Fig : Review of Aftelier’s Fig

I LOVE figs. The ooey gooey richness of the dried version. The bright yet fleshy richness of the ripe fruit. Yes, the recurring adjective when I think of all forms of fig is their scrumptious richness. Aftelier’s Fig definitely has a richness borrowed from the fruit. Yet, it has an elegance that I haven’t encountered before. A fruity, boozy elegance, if you will. More like forbidden than fresh wholesome fruit, with almost a plummy prune-like quality.

 I happened to read on the Aftelier website that Mandy Aftel had named a lily perfume, ‘Orchid’ only because she thought of her favorite oriental lilies as being an olfactory equivalent of the visual impression of Orchids. And then when I smelled Fig, I had to smile at her whimsical naming schemes. To think that this is just a ‘Fig Perfume’ would be underestimating it. Mandy Aftel has painted an impressionist’s Fig. Trish from Scent Hive also seemed to view this perfume as such. And I agree with her, that this impressionistic perfume, does not evoke Monet’s gentle, watery strokes. To me, it seems to contain colors from Rembrandt’s palette.. And instead of limiting the perfume to being an impression of a fig, Mandy extends the fig, nudging it into an unfamiliar realm of brown burnished silk and heady wine-drenched sunshine.

Each time I sniff ‘Fig’ (and also Cepes and Tuberose), I feel both a strange longing and sadness. One of my favorite characters as a child was Anne (of Green Gables) and I especially identified with her love of beautiful things. And how something too beautiful ‘aches’. I think that is one of the reasons I have to write and one of the reasons I blog. It is my valiant attempt to pin down something beautiful, an exercise in self-delusion maybe, but it makes beauty more bearable by making me think it will last.

[I realized Marina says something very similar in her beautiful review of Aftelier’s Parfum de Maroc]

This warmly rounded perfume hides a few spicy corners that are more pronounced when layered with Shiso. It is one of my favorite layering combinations . Try it! Now!

Disclosure: I won a mini of this in a draw!
Images via We Heart It


  1. Thank you Lavanya, your review really captures the deep, dark, ripe nature of my Fig perfume, and I love your reference to Rembrandt’s pallete! Layering Fig with Shiso is a brilliant suggestion too, thanks! Mandy Aftel.

    • Thanks Mandy! Fig is a lovely perfume and not the straight-up gourmand that one might expect from the name..Also, yours is one of the very few Fig perfumes(actually, the only one that I’ve smelled) that focusses on the chewy richness of the fig, rather than its milky greenness. Since I grew up eating the dried middle-eastern style figs, I always associate figs with that dark richness that your perfume so beautifully captures.

    • Let me know how you like it when you do – I think you’ll love it. ooh- you know what- once you smell it maybe you could try a ‘Aftelier Fig’ icecream version..with lavendar and jasmine and fir and *drool* (sorry- I got carried away..:))

  2. Tara

    An attempt to “pin down something beautiful” is what a lot of perfume bloggers are trying to do, I think. Well put! Fig sounds wonderful and i am encouraged to try it even though I have had no luck with fig perfumes so far. I note that you say this focuses on a different aspect of fig, so maybe it will work for me. The layering with Shiso sounds great (though I haven’t tried that one yet either!).

    • Thanks Tara!..I remember when I first starting seriously smelling perfume, most fig perfumes were being described as green, till I came across Aftelier’s Fig. This Fig is dark brown, rich and ripe. Mandy uses a mix of lavender absolute and jasmine and I think some fir absolute to evoke the ‘ jammy figginess’…:)

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  4. This is the fragrance that I’m wearing now. I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s so rich and chewy and dark, and yes, sad. But, I still love it. Such an emotional fragrance.

    Great review.

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