Swirling – Review: Diptyque Volutes

By Tara

Launched in 2012, Volutes was created by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin who is also the nose behind Diptyque’s tuberose and vanilla fragrances, Do Son and Eau Duelle respectively. Top notes for Volutes are iris flower, honey, tobacco and dried fruits; middle notes are pink pepper, black pepper, saffron, hay and immortelle; base notes are opoponax, myrrh, styrax and benzoin.


I was grateful to Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume for giving me samples of both the EDT and EDP because I understood that there were significant differences between the two concentrations. Both turn out to be predominantly honey, iris and tobacco on a bed of slightly smoky vanilla, but there are differences aside from strength.

On spraying the EDT a bright iris steps up first, quickly joined by a natural-smelling honey note. The first time I tested Volutes, the honey was overwhelming but it’s been fine on subsequent wears. As it settles, it becomes a little powdery and the iris and honey are joined by a very mild, medicinal tobacco accord. The tobacco mellows into the scent of dried tobacco leaves, as opposed to the aroma of a lit pipe.

A few hours later and the opoponax adds a subtle smokiness to the vanilla base, which gradually rises up through the layers. At this point I can understand the comparisons with the much heavier oriental, Shalimar. It’s that distinctive combination of iris, vanilla and opoponax.

Compared to the EDT, the EDP has more tobacco, some leather and a hint of spice. It’s drier and a little acrid but still honeyed. The EDT is fresher and more diffusive while the EDP is quieter and deeper, though still quite sheer. On balance I prefer the EDP because it’s darker and less powdered but both formulations have just a bit too much honeyed sweetness for my current tastes. Vanessa and Undina however, both went for full bottles of the EDT.

Volutes means “swirls” in French and the name is very apt. It is a scent caught on the breeze rather than inhaled up close. Unlike the much stronger honey tobacco fragrance Back to Black from By Kilian, you could easily spray Volutes in either concentration and not think twice about it. It’s interesting, yet unobtrusive and wearable.


Volutes is currently available in 50ml and 100ml EDT (white packaging) and 75ml EDP (black packaging)

Have you tried Volutes? Do you have any favourite fragrances from Diptyque?


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37 Responses to Swirling – Review: Diptyque Volutes

  1. Hey Tara,
    Lovely review. I have tried Volutes but I was on a spending moratorium. My memory tells me I loved it but currently can’t recall which strength. Did you read Lanier’s review? He was the one who gave me the lemming first, you have just reminded me. Thanks.
    Portia x

    • Tara says:

      Hi Portia,
      Spending moratoriums are tough but a good idea at least every now and again. Well done you.

      I can imagine you liking Volutes in both concentrations. Lanier’s review does ring a bell. I think he went to the launch event? Hope you get to re-test.

  2. Tatiana says:

    I’ve tried a good number of scents from Diptyque, but Volutes is the only one I’m contemplating buying. I’m still waffling between the EdT and the EdP, but lately I’ve been leaning toward buying a bottle of the EdP. By Kilian Back to Black starts out lovely on my skin and then rapidly turns into a scrubber. I have no idea why it turns. I’m so happy that Volutes does not do the same thing.

    • Tara says:

      Tatiana, Volutes is the fragrance from Diptyque that has impressed me the most.

      I haven’t heard of Back to Black turning like that before. How strange and what a shame. At least you have Volutes as a – much cheaper – alternative.

  3. Undina says:

    Tara, you should try it again during summer. Maybe not on the hottest day but a really warm one: that was when I actually fell in love with the scent.
    I liked Back to Black when I tested it – but I never even finished the sample. Maybe it was forthe best: Diptyque is a much more affordable brand.

  4. Sandra says:

    Lovely Tara. Honestly, I have not explored the line – only tested Duelle. On my must sniff list now!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Sandra. Diptyque aren’t everyone’s style but Volutes is worth checking out and I think you may well like it.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Gorgeous review, and thanks for teasing out the differences between the two versions, which I detect but can’t quite figure out. I found the edp more floral and sweeter I think, and the edt lighter, airier, drier and smokier. I didn’t get a ton of honey in either, interestingly, and as you know from my Hedonist experience, I don’t have much tolerance for high levels of the note. I might wear Volutes edt tonight now! Oh, and thanks for the linkage. 😉

  6. lucasai says:

    Swirls of smoke, that is my exact association with Volutes 😀

  7. cookie queen says:

    Trying to avoid all Smiling icons ….. I have tried no Diptyque, with the exception of that fig one (Ugh). You have persuaded me to at least look at this if I happen upon it!! xxx

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha! Don’t risk it!

      The fig one was the first I tried as it’s quite the cult perfume. It didn’t do it for me either unfortunately. Or the monster in the water one.

      Do give Volutes a try if you come across the line.

  8. hajusuuri says:

    I love both EDT and EDP and have full bottles of both of these (and Eau Duelle and Philosykos). Nice review and apt to make more people curious about these two!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, hajusuuri! Interesting to hear you bought both concentrations.

      Hopefully people who might have missed Volutes because they have previously dismissed Diptyque will give it a try if they like the sound of it.

  9. rosestrang says:

    Lovely review, I tried Volutes a while back but it was mid summer so maybe the style wasn’t right for the weather. My favourite is Philosykos (the fig one!) which I absolutely love, I’ve been wearing it a lot since 2009, I love cedar wood and the way the fig and under-ripe green notes are subtly sweet. I also like Do Son, but only when the weather’s warm as it can smell a bit cool

    • Tara says:

      Glad you liked the review. I could imagine Volutes not suiting a lot of heat so I agree it may well be worth re-trying it at another time.

      Nice to hear about the other Diptyque fragrances you like. Philosykos certainly has a lot of fans and you do make it sound lovely.

  10. Sabine says:

    What I like about Dyptique is that they do 30mls, travel sprays and roll ons. That sort of thing has to be encouraged. I do have the monster in the water one and love it, but it doesn’t get worn often. I don’t know why actually. Volutes is another one that I would certainly consider buying, especially when it’s on sale at SpaceNK again. (I missed out on that last autumn/winter)

    • Tara says:

      Sabine, that’s a good point. We have to commend any brand that offers those kind of convenient bottle options. Nice to hear you love L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, which seems to be another popular one.

      Hope you managed to get Volutes in the next sale.

  11. Annina says:

    Love it! The EDT is on the top of my fb list!

  12. Farouche says:

    Volutes is one of my favorites, and I own a bottle of the EDP and a travel size of the EDT. Such a good review, Tara, especially your description of the differences between the two versions. *smiling*

    • Tara says:

      I didn’t know before yesterday that Diptyque did travel sizes. That really is great, especially if you like both the edp and the edt of Volutes. It’s good to hear you think i captured the differences OK between the two because opinions seem to differ quite a lot.

      Good smilie avoidance!

  13. Natalie says:

    Great review! I like Volutes, but I didn’t have as good of an experience with it as you did. It didn’t strike me as that special. I must see if I can re-test.

    • Tara says:

      I don’t know that it is that special but it I did like it and I think it could be a nice alternative to Shalimar or heavier tobacco perfumes for some people.

  14. I’ve only tried Volutes in EDP so far, and I loved it. I should try the EDT too, for comparison’s sake. Other favorites of mine from Diptyque are Philosykos (I’m getting a partial bottle in a swap! Yay!), and L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, which I really like in the summer.

  15. Alice says:

    Thank you for the lovely review. I’ve decided that ‘interesting, yet unobtrusive and wearable’ is essentially my perfume style. I just bought Mistral Patchouli and am loving it, and have vowed to prune out the dramatic/impressive/unwearable from my collection. I have a sample of Volutes somewhere, so will dig it out and give it a try.

    • Tara says:

      Alice, it’s funny, at a perfume event last night we were talking about how “edgy” perfumes aren’t always the best and that there is a lot to be said for somehting that is uncomplicated and wearable. A perfume you can just reach for in the morning without having to think too much about it. Volutes is one of those so I’d say it’s definitely worth digging out that sample.

  16. rickyrebarco says:

    This may be one I have to try. I had not really liked any of the other Diptyques- they tend to smell like candles to me. No wonder, that’s how they started their business. I’ll check out this one.

    • Tara says:

      Yes, I was never inspired by any of Diptyque’s fragrances either. They are known more for their candles. I think Volutes is worth a try though if you come across the line.

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