Tag Archives: iris

A Month of Irises

I am really glad I decided to participate in Undina’s Month of Irises. First, I really needed a kick-start to begin writing about perfumes again, and secondly, I seem to have  a hidden love of iris. 🙂

When I started thinking about what iris perfumes I have that I could write about, only Hiris came to mind. And then I rummaged a bit through my collection and in no time, 6 of them came to light.

I really enjoyed smelling them again, having forgotten I actually had some of them. It’s funny, if anyone had asked if I enjoyed iris perfumes, I would say not so much but it turns out, I actually love them and enjoy wearing them.

Washington Tremlett: Iris Absolute

This one smells old-fashioned, quite aldehydic and buttery underneath. This is one very proper iris. 😉 With time the musk comes to bring the white flowers in this perfume to more prominence. As I’m usually not a fan of white musk, I must admit here it performs its job perfectly. As do the vanilla and tonka bean, making for a quite sweet drydown.

Notes: iris, Bulgarian Rose, jasmine, absolute of iris, heliotrope, lilies of the valley.
white musk, vanilla and Tonka Bean.

 

Aedes de Venustas: Iris Nazarena

It has a very earthy, carroty fruity opening, and all I can think is ‘god I love that perfume’. Then I read the brief and it made sense, loving it the way I do,  with that special iris: “rare Iris Bismarckiana is also known as Iris Nazarena because it grows mainly in the mountains east of Nazareth”. I’m not sure how special this iris smells, but I’m fine with giving it special properties.iris_nazarena_1

This is the most earthy of the bunch. At some point it gets a rosy, spicy feel due to the base notes. The longer you wait, the more the spiciness starts to come out.

Notes: iris and incense accord, ambrette, rose, juniper berry, star anise, patchouli, vetiver, incense, clove and oud.

 

 

Hermes: Hiris

Smelling Hiris after Iris Nazarena gives me no carrot hints even though that note gets mentioned often in this perfume.  It actually smells more grassy and dewy, very springlike and maiden-like, unblemished. It’s the happiest of iris perfumes in this post. It’s the type of perfume that makes you relax and smile. Soft like summer rain but fresh like spring dew. The best I can come up with in the end is that it exudes softness.

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Numero 8

Now this is one I struggled with, it’s the most austere of them and at the same time teeming with strength and nuance. No sweetness in the beginning,  it smells calm, cool and poised. And when the initial cool dissipates, you can feel a smile forming on your lips because the cool facade gives way to a heart that sings of spring. It just starts smelling so buttery soft and pleasant. It smells like flowers are starting to come out of it making it feel more approachable.

Notes: Coriander, apricot, carrott, violet flower, jasmine, narcisse, rose, mimosa, iris, vanilla, white musk

 

Van Cleef and Arpels: Bois d’Iris

Bois d’Iris smells quite unlike the other irises. All afore-mentioned perfumes have this recognizable iris opening note, you cannot miss it. This one smells more green and vetivery, more than it smells like an iris perfume.

Notes: Iris, exotic wood, and ambergris

Now that I took a look at the notes I have a better understanding of what I smell. The ambergris in this is very reminiscent of the Amber Gris by Balmain. The common thing is this slightly metallic tinge of the ambergris. With time the amber and woody notes start taking over and it gets more woodsier and amber loses the metallic tinge. The funny thing is that by the time it dries down, no iris remains, but I don’t mind – amber can never go wrong with me.

 

Which brings me to the first iris perfume  I fell in love with.

 

Prada: Infusion d’Iris

It makes me smile smelling this and thinking of how much I loved it. Compared to the rest of iris perfumes in this post, this one comes a bit short. I still love its citrusy opening, and the fact that it’s the most bitter iris of them all. I also love the fact that it contains vetiver and that I can smell it and enjoy it (that is still one of my favorite notes).  This one is the most obviously a summer perfume. The rest are seasonless, for the lack of a better word,  but this one would go best for summer.

Notes: Mandarin, Orange blossom, Iris, Vetiver, Frankincense, Benzoin, Galbanum, Cedarwood

 

I realized writing this and smelling all these iris perfumes that the iris note makes perfumes containing it very elegant and distinguished. Smelling of irises makes you instantly feel more classy. Just in case you needed something to make you feel like that. 😉

The good thing is it is often paired with frankcincense and green notes. Green notes are never amiss in my case, but the fact that I don’t mind (or smell) the incense is quite astonishing.

Iris truly is an amazing note.

Quick perfume thoughts

After quite a long time, I finally got to see some of my perfume friends and we shared what we have acquired lately that each of us might like to try (I didn’t have much though).

So, here is what I remembered from the quick sniffs I took today:

Piguet Knightsbridge – a lovely, boozy, warm perfume for colder days, it really hit all my boozy-vanilla-amber buttons 😉

Amouage Opus IX – in the beginning it’s a monstrously dirty jasmine/something (and dirty coming from me is really something), 2 hours later it smells like a slightly bitter floral, rather nice

Mugler Cuir Impertinent – the surprise of the meeting (at least for me) – a really wearable light leathery smell with a rather green-herbal opening and undertones of Angel, I can see myself wearing it easily

Odori Iris – nice feminine iris with no big projection, actually a rather soft and elegant feel

MFK  Oud – well, it’s anything but oud if you ask me (at least what I’m used to when it comes to oud), and if you take it like that, a rather nice perfume that works as edc just fine

TDC I miss Violet – also a perfume without much projection but with a soft side and easy smile. I had a bit trouble smelling it in the beginning as it was so light but later I got the lovely violet tones (and I get light fruitiness in the drydown)

There were also the Zoologist perfumes: Beaver, Panda and Rhinoceros and I am honestly pleasantly surprised how much I liked them.

Ramon Monegal in Zagreb

Oh yes, that did just happen! 🙂

Organized again by Juraj of Bl’eauOG, we were in for a great talk made by Mr Monegal. In French! I really was very happy with the fact that I spent so many years learning it because I could follow what he was saying without any problems. And he had LOTS to say.

I’ll try and give you the highlights. One thing that I’m upset about though, when I had the chance to ask him questions, I couldn’t come up with a single thing. Now that I’m home writing this, I have a full head of questions I would really like to hear his answers to. Oh well…

Basically, what I believe is the most important thing he said and one that resonates through his perfumery and his approach to clients is that we all don’t know how to use our nose for anything that is not stomach related – e.g. food. And it’s a learned thing, conditioned by our culture as babies can smell their mothers but then, at some point, we all forget to use our nose for enjoyment and identification of the world around us (like animals do).

 

He said that one of the main reasons for using perfumes is communication and nowadaysdsc_1153b people don’t have an olfactory image (like we do with the clothes we wear). They are not even aware that something like that exists. Well, we obviously are, but there were many people present today for who I could tell he was saying new things. And for him, that is the main reason perfumers came out of their labs – to educate the public of the importance of knowing the terms and recognizing the olfactory image.

Mr Monegal also explained his idea of why a perfume is like a book – with the introduction, the main part and the end. And how different notes communicate different things. I really enjoyed the idea that he so obviously espouses about it all being about communication.

I learned a lot about some notes which I’m not going to repeat here. Just that I wasn’t aware it was so difficult working with iris as it doesn’t have much longevity (and what with how expensive it is, it’s good we even have iris perfumes). 😉

I’ll leave you with one gem I really liked. There is no good/bad perfume in his mind, it’s all about the olfactory image again and the fact that perfumes can be either well worn or not well worn (depending on what you want to express with them and how they fit you). I actually like that idea as I definitely know that I cannot wear some of the perfumes I own at any time I like (Serge Lutens’ I’m looking at you).

I got to try Dubai Next To Me and I like it a lot and I basically fell in love with Impossible Iris. 🙂 The name is a reference to how difficult it is to work with iris (the longevity issue again).

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A mini bottle waiting for each of us

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My top 5 spring notes

I like this top 5 series because it’s much easier coming up with 5 things than with 10. 🙂 Unless you’re choosing your top 5 perfumes for life.

When I think of spring, I think of green, dewy grass and spring flowers. Asali did a great lilac post a few days ago but for some reason, I never think of lilacs when I think of spring even though I adore the smell.

My first idea is always green (grass) when it comes to spring. It still surDSC_0875prises me how difficult it is for me to find perfumes that smell green to my mind and are not chypre/galbanum variants because even though I think of galbanum in those terms, I would love a perfume that reminds me of dewy grass. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to all.

And then, the flowers. You can’t have spring without flowers and in this case, my first idea is somehow always iris. I have no idea when irises actually bloom but they are among first spring flowery perfumes I decide to wear.

Closely followed by the most perfect grass of this world – vetiver. So far there wasn’t a vetiver perfume I smelled and hated. I just think I have a natural propensity towards that smell. 🙂 (there is a top 5 vetiver perfumes post in the making)

One note I unfortunately only smelled in one great perfume and would love to wear more during spring is narcissus. I absolutely love the smell of L’Artisan’s Fleur de Narcisse and I wish from the bottom of my heart they would bring that perfume back. I wasn’t aware of it when it was available and only got to try it later but it is perfect. If there is another great narcissus perfume out there, I’d love to try it.DSC_0871

And the last, but not least (although if considered by the amount of wear it gets…) – the loveliest smell of the little white flower – lily of the valley. I both love the smell of it in Diorissimo and it will always remind me of my mother who adores those flowers. I also wish that annual Guerlain release of Muguet wasn’t so awfully expensive.

 

 

Pics have no relation to notes I mentioned but were the first spring flowers I saw this year some time ago so it seemed fitting.

Iris Nobile by Acqua di Parma, or

How I thought I didn’t care about iris perfumes

A long time ago, when I was a fletchling perfumista, I thought iris perfumes just weren’t for me. I don’t remember what it was I tried first, but somewhere at the beginning a decant of Iris Nobile found its way to me and I still remember how I was a bit underwhelmed.

I wonder to this day what exactly was I thinking. 🙂

Except for the fact that I love it, I think of it as a warm, mellow floral. Irisy, but also lightly sharp, a bit green and so very, very lovely.irisn3

Right from the start I get that warm, soft floral feel of iris underscored with warm notes. I can say they are the warm base notes (vanilla) as the whole thing reminds me a bit of an irisy dessert.

My mind thinks I smell jasmine and gardenia in it (as well as something menthol-like which seems to be anise) but once you look at the notes, it seems my nose is mixing up orange blossom for jasmine (wouldn’t be the first time).

Notes: iris petals, star anise, mandarin, bergamot, cedar flower, orange blossom, iris roots, vanilla and amber crystals.

I also discovered a strange thing while looking for the notes. I saw the citruses listed as the top notes and kept wondering how in the world I missed them while smelling and wearing this?! I mean, even though you expect them most of the times, I still thought I wouldn’t just fail to register them.

So I sprayed the perfume on a strip. Imagine my surprise when they all appeared there?! And lasted. It seems my skin kills off (eats) the citrusy notes in this perfume. And in my opinion, it is for the best. I love the way it smells on me.

Unfortunately though, I loved it a bit too much so now I have none.

Which wouldn’t be so bad if my search for notes hadn’t revealed the fact that what I had was probably the edt and not the edp now being sold (no chypre, patchouli notes in mine).

Does anyone know if the edt version of Iris Nobile still exists? The site doesn’t say so…

Easing into spring with Impossible Iris by Ramon Monegal

We had a really strange winter this year (more like no winter at all) so it started feeling like spring in the middle of February. But the spring is basically here this week. even though it seemed to have been hesitating for a while.

Like me when it comes to perfume. I’m not really sure what to wear these days, something still for the cold days or something spring-like?

So, at the moment I’m exploring the flowers with some warm undertones. Which is how I came to try and like Impossible Iris with its fruity warmth and cool iris.

Notes: Italian Iris Concrete, Cassie d’Egypte Absolute, Raspberry, Comoran Ylang-Ylang, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute and Virginian Cedarwood.

I saw that many reviews center themselves around the raspberry note. It makes sense, as that fruitiness cannot be missed and lasts for quite a while. But for the life of me, when I first smelled it, I couldn’t come up with raspberry as the fruit I smelled. I thought it was more in line with forest berries with some orange (possibly peaches) thrown in. Turns out I was very wrong.impossile

The thing is, I have a hard time putting into words exactly what I smell.

I love the fact that it feels like a cousin of Cuirelle, due to a similar grey feel (I wonder if that’s cedarwood). I haven’t explored many of the Monegal perfumes so I can’t say if there is a signature to it.

For me, Impossible Iris starts with a light cleaner-like smell, slightly citrus-y with a hint of evergreen. Hmm, looking at my notes and the official notes, I wonder what in the world do I think I’m smelling?! 😉

Anyway, the fruitiness is there from the start basically and at some point it actually overpowers the flowers. But not for long. The perfume also veers on the edge of white muskiness (or whatever kind of musks is in everything these days) but I say veer, as the musk never bothers me like it usually does, instead it feels more like a facet of the iris than anything else.

The general feel of this perfume is like the raspberry iris is resting on a warm mattress of hidden white flowers. With some cedar chips thrown in to make it more elegant. With such a beautiful aura.

That is one thing I cannot help but think about when I think of this perfume – the beautiful warm iris-y aura you waft around yourself when you wear it. Definitely helped by the raspberry note. 🙂

My sample came courtesy of the Monegal company.

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