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.
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.
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.