Diptyque Le Sablier

Diptyque is doing a makeover on its signature hourglass diffuser.

The home scenting device, which Diptyque calls Le Sablier — the French term for “hourglass” — has both a retooled diffusion process and redesigned appearance.

Le Sablier is more sophisticated than your typical reed diffuser, which utilizes wooden sticks dipped in scented liquid to emit fragrance. Instead, Diptyque uses a cold-diffusion process to slowly dispel scent from the middle part of the hourglass apparatus, which is capped off at each end by two glass containers carrying the perfumed liquid. Once the hourglass is flipped, scent diffuses throughout the home.

“We wanted to improve the diffusion power [upon] the technology we developed four years ago [with the original device],” Myriam Badault, creative director of Diptyque, said of the new device. “It was [also] an opportunity to bring in more luxurious [design] detail.”

In place of its former connecting piece made of black plastic, the new hourglass diffuser boasts a middle part made of gold-plated metal with a Middle-Eastern-style filigree design. The glass end caps each have a different geometric shape, and instead of clear glass, each of the six scent variations gets its own color.

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The redesigned Le Sablier launches in May at Diptyque’s 19 stand-alone retail stores, and will roll out to its full global distribution from there, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Barneys New York and boutiques in the U.S. It is available in two brand new scents — Fleur d’oranger and Gingembre, a ginger fragrance — and four classic scents, including Figuier, 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Roses and Baies. The new device retails for $175 and each refill is priced at $60. A refill lasts for about three months. It’s a bit of a price hike from the previous iteration, which was $150, though customers may find they’ll get what they paid for — the original hourglass diffuser had fallen victim to some negative online reviews, most of which stated that the diffuser hardly elicited any scent. It will be replaced when the new version goes into stores, according to the company. Diptyque recommends that the new diffuser be used to scent small spaces of 20 square meters — about 215 square feet — or less. It also notes that the diffusion process lasts for about an hour at a time.

Industry sources estimate that Diptyque counts all home scenting devices besides candles as comprising about 15 percent of its global business. Though primarily known for its venerable lineup of classic wick-burning candles, Diptyque is burgeoning into a lifestyle business, and over the last couple years it has introduced products from skin care to stationary. The company sees an opportunity to grow alternative home fragrance devices in the U.S., its biggest market, where home fragrance also happens to be driving the most significant sales growth in the lagging fragrance category.

Industry sources estimate the new hourglass diffuser will bring in about $1 million dollars in U.S. retail sales in its first-year on-shelf.

Badault attributed the upswing in home scents to customization and personalization craze. “You can create your own environment and signature [with scent],” she noted. She also pointed out that the Diptyque encourages customers to burn two different scents at the same time for a customized experience.

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