Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
If, like me, you are tired of the luxury perfumery, in which luxury is communicated mainly through the dollar amount you are required to spend, discovering affordable and appealing perfumes becomes even more exciting. Last year as I was repurchasing my favorite Rosewater lotion and shower gel at Crabtree & Evelyn, I was given a sample of their new fragrance Iris. Within a short time Iris became one of my favorite “cheap & chic” fragrances—a crisp green violet-iris foiled by the smooth, transparent woods.
Created by Mort Begun, the same perfumer responsible for the drug store classic Vanilla Fields, Iris might be classified as a quintessential American floral—it is uplifting and sparkling, with gardenia lending its lilting accent to the cool and demure iris. The iris in question is not the snow covered roots and wet earth note a la Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist or Prada Infusion d’Iris. Instead, it is merely an illusion composed of crisp cedarwood and green violet leaves.
Admittedly, Iris is not some avant-garde fragrance nor is it particularly original. The initial green citrusy chords are strongly reminiscent of the crisp opening of Christian Dior J’Adore, while the sweet floral notes suggesting rose, gardenia and violet recall Estée Lauder Pleasures. However, what makes Iris appealing is its mellow, soft aura. As the brighter floral notes start to subside, the composition enters into a caressing drydown of woods and vetiver. At this stage, it reminds me of accords favored by niche perfumer Olivia Giacobetti-–a few blades of glass, sun-dried linen, and bleached woods. Unlike Giacobetti’s creations, however, Iris lasts well and its musky woods linger on the skin for the entire day, even with a light application. Iris is a simple, but elegant daytime fragrance, and at $25 for 1oz, it is also a bargain of sorts.
Crabtree & Evelyn Iris includes notes of bergamot, blackcurrant, iris, jasmine, violet, cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, musk. It is available as 30 ($25) and 100 ml ($45) Eau de Toilette as well as various bath and body products. It can be purchased from Beauty.com or directly from Crabtree & Evelyn website and stores.
Sample: my own acquisition