Saturday, May 13, 2006

Challenge of the Day: Iris

My mother grows irises in her garden and they're beautiful! I'm determined to love an iris perfume and so today I've gathered all of my samples for a little experiment. Here are my briefest impressions of them all. I have analyzed them from the beginning stages to the drydowns but again, this is a quick first run. They weren't all as austere as I once thought.

Hermes Hiris--Very nice, although it's not my type of scent being a well-mannered soapy-flowery green floral but it's beautifully orchestrated. I like the smell of the dirt and stemmy greens along with the floral notes in the opening. It's not too powdery and not too sweet but the drydown reminds me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, a transparent aqueous green floral which I just don't find appealing. But you might, so give it a try. Fresh, dainty, humble.

The Different Company Bois d'Iris--This is lovely if you like spicy floral skin scents in the Frederic Malle L'eau d'Hiver vein. Compared to L'eau d'Hiver which smells terrible on me, this is much more wearable and pleasant. My impression of the iris in this is spicy but soft. Iris, like violet, is actually a sharp green note with a woody type of earthiness. It hits the nose in a somewhat round way which makes the sharpness muted to the nose, similar to how a trumpet can be muted. Bois d'Iris also has a bit of the dirt note in it but it has a pleasant kind of clean quality that's not overly soapy or Pleasures-like. It's also a bit delicious--almost an almond scent but isn't. I like it a lot but it still seems too spicy and simultaneously quiet for me. I'll return to this to retest for sure. A sophisticated iris with some warmth.

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist--This isn't even available here in the US so it's a good thing it's not love. It starts out a lot like The Different Company Bois d'Iris to my nose, only less spicy (but still spicy) and a little bit sweeter. It turns a bit...peachy? It reminds me of Boucheron Jaipur Saphir and Eau de Cartier. I like the base in this very much; it's not too warm but just warm enough that it's not smoky. It's woody but not in a musky-warm sandalwoody way, more earthy-fresh, a flowers-in-the-dirt scent. I'll test this again, too. Sophisticated, softly powdery and old-fashioned, reminds me of sweet violets, similar to Guerlain Apres L'Ondee.

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre--Not my type of scent being an aldehydic (powdery) floral in the Chanel No.5 vein, only with an ambery-sandalwoody, very warm and musky, spicy (carnation-clovey) thing going on. It reminds me of Chanel Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue and Lady Stetson. If you like warm, musky and woody scents, this is your iris. Is it sexy iris? Why not? It's rather smoky. However, the aldehydic note makes it simultaneously classic-like.

Givenchy Ysatis Iris--Here's a totally different iris, one that's blended beautifully with fresh fruits. It's the prettiest iris of the bunch, or the one that I think would have the widest appeal, anyway. It's aqueous but not too sporty, a semi-clean (though not soapy) type of scent, cool and mysteriously powdery (only slightly) like the porcelain skin scent of dreams. I enjoy this cool type of flowery which isn't at all Pleasures-like (green soapy flowery) but more Creed Spring Flower-like (fresh fruity floral), a perfume I adore. It also reminds me of Un Amour de Patou, another fresh floral with a subtle fruit note to balance elegance with playfulness. Ysatis Iris doesn't smell like earth, root or dirt like the other irises and some may argue that Ysatis Iris doesn't smell like irises at all. Maybe too sweet and cutsey for some.