Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

Iris is one of the most expensive of all raw materials, therefore good iris notes are only found in luxury perfumery. (No wonder that Chanel has beautiful irises in their perfumes!)
Very versatile and complex, iris may vary from a gray-silvery note, to a powdery, flowery, earthy, salty, or even sweet buttery one. It all depends of which part of the plant was used to produce them. The roots of iris Pallida or Germanica, is the raw material of a fragrant note called ORRIS - that is orris powder or orris butter. It has a more earthy tone than the flowers. A smell that reminds us of soil and wet roots. Probably it is because it grows in it, acquiring its properties.
Whatever iris I will find in a fragrance, earthy and carrot-like or powdery and soapy, I will fall in love for it. 
Sometimes it reminds me of violets. So I went back to Luca Turin's The Secret of Scent and found a pretty good explanation for it: ionone (isolated from iris root) smells like violets. Add one carbon to ionone and you get irone. Irone described by Luca "radiates sentimental warmth". "The slightly funereal character of a sepia print - not mystical purple, but faded lilac". So, a mixture of irones results into iris butter! Mystery solved. Probably this is also why I love violets so much...
As I ran my eyes over the notes of the perfumes I listed in this article, I found  interesting aspects of the iris fragrances - in order to extend their earthy notes, vetiver and moss is added. To extend their green aspect - galbanum, violet lefs, or any green notes. To give more silver to the gray iris note - ambrette seeds. Also, iris is combined with woody-creamy notes in most of these fragrances.

Iris Pallida EDP by L'Artisan Parfumeur - notes of iris, lily-of-the-valey, violet leafs, orange blossom, rose, anise seed, patchouli, cedar, vetiver, ambrette seed, guaiac wood, white musk.

Iris Ukyioé EDP by Hermés - notes of mandarine orange, aqueous notes, rose, floral and green notes, orange blossom, iris, woody notes.

IRIS 39 EDP by Le Labo - notes of iris, lime, patchouli, rose, yang ylang, musk, violet, ginger,  cardamom and civet.

Silver Mist EDP by Serge Lutens - notes of iris Pallida, galbanum, clove, vetiver, sandalwood, cedar wood, musk, incense benzoin and white amber.

Photo credit: + Q perfume Blog

Iris de Nuit EDP by Heeley - notes of white cedar, gray amber, iris, angelica seeds, ambrette.

Bois D'Iris EDP by Van Cleef & Arpels - sweet notes, frankincense, iris, floated wood, vetiver, ambergris, rockrose, myrrh, vanilla. Click HERE for a complete review.

Bois D'Iris EDP by The Different Company - notes of iris Pallida, bergamot, vetiver, narcissus, geranium, cedar wood and musk.

L'Heure Promise (I) EDP by Cartier - notes of petit grain, fresh herbs, iris, floral notes, woody notes, sandalwood, musks.

Photo credit: + Q perfume Blog

Infusion D'Iris EDP by Prada - galbanum, mandarine, orange, orange blossom, lentisk, iris, cedar, vetiver, benzoin, frankincense.

L EDP by Apothia - angelica, juniper, cardamom, violet leafs, Florentine orris butter, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, Crystal amber. 


Chanel Nº19 EDP - notes of bergamot, may rose, jasmine, iris, orris, galbanum, ylang ylang, hedione, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver and leather.

Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle - bergamot, orange, rosewood, ylang yang, aldehydes, magnolia, carnation, jasmine, muguet, violet, iris, musk, tonka, vanilla, ebony, amber and vetiver.

Dzhongka by L'Artisan Parfumeur - lichee, cardamom, iris, peonies, tea leaves, incense.

Terre D'Iris EDP by Miller Harris - iris, bergamot, bitter orange, clary sage, rosemary, orange flower, rose, patchouli, moss and fir.

Nirmal EDP by Laboratorio Olfattivo - carrot, iris, violet, cedarwood, Daim accord. For a complete review, click HERE.


Iris Ganache EDP by Guerlain - bergamot, cinnamon, white chocolate, cedar wood, iris, gray amber, vanilla, white musk.

Eau de Fröhliche EDP by Erik Kormann - Frankincense, rosewood, coriander, Frambione, musk, patchouli, iris concrete, cardamom, vanilla, tolu balm, coumarin. For a complete review click HERE.

Amanda EDP by Amanda Lepore - all I can say is that it smells like lipstick, drag queens and a waxy gray iris! Click HERE for more details. When I got the sample from Artaware I found it very glamorous. Too glamrous if you know what I mean! Not for me, but if you like to make a triumphant entrance to any place...this is THE fragrance.

IRISES by Van Gogh


Chanel Nº18 
Iris Taïzo by Parfumerie Génerale
Iris by SMN
Iris EDP by Donna Karan 
Iris Noir by Yves Rocher
Iris Splash by Coach
Bois de Farine EDP  by L'Artisan 
Hiris by Hermés
Dior Homme by Dior
CDG Zagorsk
Andy Wahol Silver Factory by Bond Nº9
Bendelirious by ELO
Bois Blond Parfumerie Generale
Delicious Night by DKKY
En Sense de Bois by Miller Harris
Equestrius by Parfum D'Empire
Felanilla by Parfumerie Generale
Heure Equise by Annick Goutal
L'Homme de Coeur by Divine
Iris by Profumo de Firenze
Kelly Calèche by Hermés
Love in Black by Creed
Prelude to Love by Kilian
Quand Vient la Pluie by Guerlain
Sienne L'Hiver by Eau D'Italie

More thoughts about IRIS:

Some iris notes remind me of a very familiar smell of my childhood: I used to spend some summer at the beach, and I simply loved the smell of the concrete of the sidewalks warmed up by the hot sun. A mineral smell, that would be washed by a rain shower after lunch time. I simply loved the smell of the salty water evaporating. So to me, the salty evaporating cloud mixed with the mineral note of the cement, resulted in a smell that is very close to one type of iris.
Chanel fragrances are beautiful, and one of the reasons is the fact that Jacques Polge does not measure expenses when adding iris. Don't you just love the iris notes of 31 Rue de Cambon or 28 La Pausa?


flavourfanatic said...

Thank you for this post! My daughters middle name is Iris, so I have an extra interest in finding great Iris perfumes.

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Ahhhh Iris is a beautiful name!!! Thank you for the compliments!

Bellatrix said...

You totally read my mind. :) (and you wrote it on my b-day hahah). I was just thinking how Iris became my fav note and how I want to explore perfumes with dominate iris note. THANKS!

Discount Perfume said...

great information about IRIS FRAGRANCES

Anonymous said...

OK I said I would do this and here I am:
Iris Pallida: Great Iris! It lacks the twist I always love in a frgrance but it is agreat iris.
Iris 39: first time I tried it it was a huge scrubber for me, raw potatoes and cooking oil. Second time it was better. Need to revisit...
Iris Silver Mist: well, you read what I think about it...
Iris de Nuit: Another great one from Heeley. A vastly underrated perfumer.
Bois d' Iris VC&A: Very good, classy, "expensive" smell
Bois d' Iris tDC: I have never been more infuriated by a perfume. I timed this one!!! 15 minutes maximum lasting power on my skin.
Chanel No19: I wear the edt. Feels like a cloth.
Iris Poudre: why do I always get one single note from most perfumes of this line? Iris Poudre is just...lipsticky iris.
Dzhongka: how difficult is it to spell this one correctly? Beautiful scent. My only objection is the same old L' Artisan texture that is there in most of their perfumes.
Terre d' Iris: not bad. I get a shoe polish vibe from this and many Miller Harris fragrances.
Dior Homme: no no no no. Too thick and oily. Surprisingly the edp is brighter!
Equistrius will be mentioned in my iris series.
Homme de Coeur: I will be writing about this as well. I am so surprised you mentioned it. Ver few people do and it is a start iris.
I love sienne l' Hiver but I never would 've labeled it an iris scent. I will revisit it under that light.
Cuir Ottoman is one that I think should be included in this list. I have written about this too.


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