Fragrances are instinctively linked to our senses. With familiar smells, they can invoke memories and equally powerful emotional experiences. Many perfumes are also closely related to the seasons and rely heavily on the aromas connected to them. Like clockwork, we turn to citrus and floral notes in the spring for a fresh and airy feel. When fall and winter arrive, the mood shifts, and deeper, more headier scents are preferred. Enter fig perfumes. Earthy, green, sweet, and slightly woody, the unique fruit has a distinctly autumnal feeling, and unsurprisingly, it’s quickly becoming the gourmand fragrance to covet.
In the culinary world, figs have always been somewhat of a mystery. Unlike any other tree, the floral blooms are found inside the pear-shaped pod, turning into fruit as they mature. The flavors are also on the quirky side, having a subtle honeyed taste when eaten fresh and a nutty candied quality when enjoyed dried. However, according to Autumne West, Nordstrom's national beauty director, these complexities are exactly what make it the ideal note for a fragrance. Not too sweet or overly feminine, she explains that it’s perfectly balanced.
Though not new to the fragrance industry, fig perfumes have been particularly buzzy in the world of #PerfumeTok, with videos garnering over 9.3 million views. The uptick comes with little surprise, given the internet’s recent enthusiasm for gourmand scents. But for those who are new to smell, navigating it can be difficult. Ahead, two fragrance experts speak on why fig is beloved by perfumers, its sudden rise to viral fame, and the best ones to try this season.
What Does Fig Smell Like?
Similar to its taste, the scent of fig is unique and distinct. It’s the kind of smell you can’t really place blindly, but can immediately determine what it is not. In short, complex doesn’t begin to describe it. “The fruit itself can be sweet with a hint of woodsiness, while the leaves give off an unmistakable fresh and green aroma,” says West. As she explains, this confounding mix makes it hard to conform to standard fragrance characteristics. “Perfumes harnessing the notes of the fruit would fall within the gourmand family while ones with scents stemming from the leaf or tree lean more floral or fresh,” she says.
What Makes Fig A Good Note For Fragrances?
Unlike citrus, apples, and berries, the fruity scent of fig still holds some mystery, making it an enigma in the fragrance world. Not only is it able to balance warm and cool tones, but it adds depth to the overall accord. “To a perfume, fig brings a very sensual note that makes you feel confident and sexy,” says Ben Krigler, perfumer at the esteemed Krigler fragrance house. It has a richness that instantly exudes luxury and opulence, giving any fragrance an intoxicating aroma.
But it can also be comforting, invoking feelings of warmth and tenderness. As he explains, the honeyed elements often bring back the sweetest images of childhood, the coziness of the holiday season, or even afternoons spent lounging under trees in the garden. This versatility is arguably what makes it so enticing to perfumers. Whether embracing the ripe and vibrant aspects or leaning into the deeper earthy tones, it allows makers to push the boundaries and create a fragrance that is anything but basic.
How To Wear Fig Perfumes
If you’re familiar with #PerfumeTok then you know that gourmand scents, more specifically vanilla, are more popular than ever right now. “For those who love those creamy and warm tones, fig makes a nice alternative,” says West. Where other elements like caramel, chocolate, or toffee can be overpowering, fig is delicate and not too sugary. Krigler tells TZR that they are also very favorable in autumn because they pair nicely with many of the season's noteworthy aromas like balms, resin, and myrrh. “Together, they evoke a soothing and meditative-like mineral smell that’s easy to wear,” he says.
On pairing fig with other fragrances, West explains that you can effortlessly layer it with both rich and fresh perfumes, thanks to its juicy and subtly sweet flavors. She recommends starting light with just a spritz to see how the note adapts to your body. “Once you’ve gotten acquainted with the smell, you can further customize it by pairing it with similar accords,” she adds. If you’re looking for a new scent to add to your collection, consider giving these intriguing bottles a try.