Saturday, April 19, 2008

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre

This fragrance took some getting used to. I thought it was entirely too spicy, powdery, bottom-heavy and woodsy, a dry Aldehydic Floral in the vein of Jean Patou L'Heure Attendue and Lady Stetson. However, I realized recently that Iris Poudre creates the most astoundingly beautiful sillage I've ever known. This is one to be smelled from a distance wafting like creamy silk emanating from skin. It has the softness and refinement of Chanel No.5, only in a much drier, spicier context. If I could cross No.5 with Laura Biagiotti Venezia (which, by the way, is not an Italian brand despite its name but Made in Germany), and yet again bring it to the high quality realm of a Frédéric Malle creation to stand alongside Une Fleur de Cassie (there's a coarse floralcy that resembles this fragrance), it might explain Iris Poudre, and yet, no words could suffice.

Let's talk about iris (by the way, the 2008 Pantone Color of the Year is Blue Iris, so Iris Poudre is a timely choice). Iris being the theme of Iris Poudre, I feel it's a victorious, vibrant (and literally vibrating to me--is it the musk or the ambery-woody base?) joie de vivre type of scent, bringing to mind the fleur-de-lis, perhaps also of Rochas Byzance for a fleeting moment, and the post-war classic, Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) in its spicy complexity. Spiky yet powdery, with an aqueous-vegetal overtone (like the smell of carrots or celery pulled out of the dirt), Iris Poudre smells sumptuously retro-glamorous, yet earthy and natural, altogether electrifyingly modern and chic. Most of all, Iris Poudre is the kind of scent I'd say is more than the sum of its parts. Aldehydes, heavy woods and jagged spice to me can be off-puttingly aggressive, slightly traditionally masculine in effect, or too conventionally retro like a lead-weight 1950s perfume, but Iris Poudre has something called delicacy that the art of wearing perfume was made for; first and foremost, we ought to choose a perfume that doesn't end in lofty ideals and theory but one that smells good when worn.

I'm also reminded that I used to wear Paco Rabanne Eau de Metal until I could find it no more, and loved its Aldehydic-powdery, light, fresh rosewood-iris scent. Iris Poudre is a more sophisticated, maybe more extroverted, version of a similar theme for me.

Between Iris Poudre, Une Fleur de Cassie and the heady, passionate Carnal Flower, I don't know which I would call my favorite in the illustrious Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle line, but Iris Poudre is up there and someday, I may want a bottle.

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre (2000, Aldehydic Floral)

Notes on Now Smell This: bergamot, rosewood, ylang ylang, carnation, magnolia, jasmine, lily of the valley, violet, rose, aldehydes, iris, musk, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and ebony

(Image: ¡Ombligo! blog)