One of the things I am enjoying most about this blog is connecting with new perfume brands on Instagram. Today’s successful fragrance entrepreneurs are both tech savvy and social media savvy and know the importance of building buzz before launching a brand. I discovered Scents by Maddy through the #solidperfume hashtag used on its Instagram posts. At this time, the brand is focused exclusively on solid fragrances, and it began an Instagram presence in September with a teaser of the first two scents in its collection. As founder/perfumer Maddy Kretschmer dribbled more details about concepts, fragrance notes, fragrance names and packaging over the next few weeks of IG posts, I was eagerly anticipating the official launch.
The first three releases that were announced–Shorebreak, Orchard Road and Juniper Frost–offered intriguing notes and concepts, and I had earmarked the brand for a future test. When the brand announced the name and notes of its fourth fragrance just before launch–Wild Fig–I moved it to the top of the list. I love fig fragrances for fall, and for several weeks now, I had been looking for a new fig solid to try, beyond the wonderful but ubiquitous Diptyque Philosykos.
Fig is a highly adaptive fragrance note that performs well in a variety of settings. Looking through my current and past collection of scents, I have loved fragrances in which this succulent fruit was paired beautifully with such diverse aromas as mint, whipped cream, vetiver, tea, wood and white florals. James by Rosie Jane and Kierin NYC’s 10 a.m. Flirt were the two most recent fig fragrances I tried and loved. (Alas, neither is available in solid format, which won’t stop me from adding them to my collection, but means I won’t be discussing them on this blog.) After noting that both of those scents matched fig with a white floral note (gardenia), I was curious to see how Wild Fig‘s white floral note–orange blossom–might play with this tempting fruit. I’m happy to report the result is not what I expected–it’s even better!
Scents by Maddy Wild Fig Solid Perfume Review
Size: not stated but it’s one of the bigger ones in my collection. The tin is 2.5 cm x 4 cm and the weight of tin and fragrance together was 0.99 oz on my digital culinary scale. It’s a TSA-friendly size for travel but perhaps a bit big for the pocket.
Packaging: a beautiful watercolor-enameled tin with a secure-fitting top. It arrived wrapped in tissue with a “Scents by Maddy” label affixed, and came with a printed card business card and a sticker with the name of the scent. The tin is reusable and a nice size for holding jewelry, office supplies, hair pins, etc. when the perfume is used up.
Base: beeswax and coconut oil.
Vegan-friendly: No, due to the beeswax.
Color and Texture: an opaque white solid that melts easily under the swirl of a fingertip for perfect spreadable texture, leaving no oily trace. (I’ll say it again: the magic of beeswax!)
Natural perfume or mixed media: Only the generic “perfume oils” are indicated. Presumably this is mixed media or possibly entirely synthetic.
Fragrance description and notes: from the product listing on Etsy: “Top notes: bergamot, cumin, tonka, cedar & fig, Middle notes: orange blossom, amber & grass. Base notes: coriander & cardamom. This blend of nectar and nature plays off of the sweet scent of ripe figs in the summertime. The combination of orange blossom and fig will leave you feeling like you’re walking through a grove of fig trees. Wild Fig is the perfect balance of sweet & spice.”
Longevity: Excellent at more than six hours.
Sillage: Intimate at a few inches above skin upon application; a skin scent after a couple hours.
The experience: Wild Fig is definitely a sum of its parts. With each sniff, I can parse some of the notes individually, but some wiggle just out of reach, and the combination of all the notes together is much different than I anticipated. Looking at the notes list, I was expecting strong spicy overtones and juicy green notes via the fig and grass. Those elements are all there, but they’re nuanced and carefully folded in among the orange blossom, sweet tonka and amber.
About one hour after application, a beautiful convergence of fig, grass, tonka and amber emerges. It’s mouthwatering and lingers maybe an hour in this phase before peeling off to orange blossom and spice with a gentle but persistent sweetness. Splashes of ink, a hint of plastic doll’s head and freshly-snapped green twigs from a spring tree flutter in and out as it dries down.
“It’s a…” [sniffs a couple times] “…floral?” I asked. My husband sniffed my wrist and shook his head gently. “Mmm, it’s spicy,” he said. When he tried it on his wrist, it took on a “salty skin” aspect I hadn’t experienced before, and I could finally smell the cedar, which was undetectable as an individual note on me.
Wild Fig is a wonderfully complex fragrance with many facets to delight a curious nose. If you’re looking for a dominant fig note, the fig in this one is more of a team player in a circle of talented friends, but you’ll probably love it anyway. It’s just so darn pretty! (Which is not to say men can’t wear it, too–they can! Wild Fig is suitable for anyone who wants to smell good.)
The sillage is soft, which enhances its wearability for any occasion, and the longevity is excellent. Swipes on the back of each wrist and another on my chest gave me hours of satisfying wrist-sniffs and bellows of the front of my blouse for pumping a whiff of scented air up to my nostrils. It’s the kind of fragrance I am always hoping to discover when I try a new brand, and to have my expectations exceeded like this makes Wild Fig one of my best buys this year.
Where to buy: The four individual solids, a set featuring all four, and an option for a custom solid fragrance are all available in the Scents by Maddy shop on Etsy.
Perfume photographs and original artwork by me. Fig photograph is a stock photo, as credited.