I only recently encountered Diptyque's Boulevard 34 Saint Germain, which is stocked at my local Space NK store. I vaguely remember seeing some reviews of this fragrance about a year ago, then it all went quiet.
The '34' range (I can't be bothered to write out the full name again) was released to celebrate Diptyque's 50th birthday and is meant to 'recreate' the smell of the Diptyque shop, in the sense of a nod to each of the signature styles of perfume over the years, including fig leaf, blackcurrant, rose pepper, citrus, geranium, tuberose, woods and eucalyptus. Pictured top left, the bottle is really gorgeous, in my opinion, and has a stunning black bakelite magnetic lid. Very chic and tasteful. Also very unusual is the atomiser tube, which is covered with a sheath that is meant to resemble Diptyque's candle wicks.
So what about the fragrance itself? After wearing 34 today, I had a look at some of the reviews in the blogosphere and was surprised at the luke warm response to it. Two in particular felt that it was a flat and unimaginative perfume that had too much of everything 'Diyptyque' and nothing to make it stand out as innovative. People felt this was disappointing considering this perfume is meant to be a celebration of the Diptyque heritage. While I can see some sense in these opinions, I must confess that I think 34 is a really good fragrance. True, it isn't groundbreaking, but it does what it says on the tin, which is to present a perfume typical of the chic and sophisticated Diptyque style, with a nod to the heritage of the house.
The most notable characteristic of 34 to me is how spicy it is. Having only recently tried Viktor and Rolf's Spicebomb, I am struck by how similar they are in the first half of development, except that 34 is a bit more refined and a touch more spicy. The spices smell like cardamom mainly. I really like this spicy phase, but it is the dry down that is gorgeous in my opinion. It ends up as a smooth, woody fragrance, almost leathery at times, with a hint of smoke and spice, perhaps even a smidgen of tobacco. If that isn't good, then I don't know what is.
Image credit - http://www.amandarijff.com/