Like all Nez à Nez perfumes, Figues et Garçons was first imagined as an emotion expressed pictorially by the line's creator, Stephane Humbert Lucas, using colors and symbols, before the olfactory interpretation. This is something I can appreciate as I'm a very visual person even when it comes to expressing what a perfume is like. This approach definitely works better for me than the description of Figues et Garçons as it appears in the Nez à Nez press material:
A fresh glow. The energy is omnipresent. The leaves rustling about in the wind are impressive. Collusion with the buffalo presents a reliable stature to this green and fiery explosion. Animated conversations and perpetual motions. This determination is loud. The affluence is striking to an audience who does not know of indulgence. The tears of almonds re-establish an effervescent character. Alibis will be needed for silence and rest backstage. Many people request such eruptive thoughts, fun and spontaneous. The path must be risky. It is the challenge that animates and propels. An irresistible need to escape barriers and to bewilder complexities. These vibrant flames guarantee ample thoughts.The shoots packed in this sacred ground draw from the sediments to grow relentlessly towards the light(To be fair, this is most likely a translation from French, which rarely works for our American ear even when it comes from the beloved Uncle Serge)
But let's leave the buffalo to its tears of almonds and eruptive thoughts. Figues et Garçons deserves better than that, as it's true bliss. It's no secret that I adore fig- the edible fruit and the perfume note, though I usually prefer the leaves and tree when it comes to perfume. Using the actual fruity facet of fig can be a bit tricky. In lesser perfumes it often becomes a sweet vanilla thing (though the now-defunct Balenciaga's Cristobal and Profumum d'Ambrosia are some of the few good ones). Nez à Nez Figues et Garçons has some seriously terrifying notes such as kiwi fruit and rhubarb (I would also put some money on pear, though it's not listed), but instead of drowning you in Body Shop body spray, Figues et Garçons is the sensual sweet juice dribbling on your chin.
Figues et Garçons opens up light and sunny. I smell lemon and tender herbs, like the stuff that grows in one's kitchen garden and goes into summer tea: lemon and rose geranium, lemon balm. Even in this stage, this Nez à Nez stands on its own- It can't be confused it with another great green citrus and fig, Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio. The Goutal is not as leafy or herbal at this stage, and soon after these two perfumes take completely different routes. Figues et Garçons becomes its musky fruity self, more carnal and less dreamy than Ninfeo Mio. Figues et Garçons is never too (or even very) sweet. There's no vanilla, creaminess or coconut to be found in this fig. Nevertheless, this isn't a cold or watery perfume. It doesn't have the fig tree that grown right by the stream feel of Heeley Figuier or Jardin et Kerylos (Parfumerie Generale). Instead, there's a pleasing balance between green leaves and wood, sunny citrus and dark ripe fruit. It's an easygoing perfume that brings the sensation of a summer weekend to less delightful days of the week (or the year).
Figues et Garçons ($165, 100ml EDP) and the rest of the Nez à Nez line can be found at Aedes, Luckyscent and Henri Bendel (NYC).
Photo: Sunday Morning by Philipp Mueller for Toujours Toi/Family Affair for their 2011 spring-summer line.