5 Iris Perfumes and One Dumas Novel

Iris has the reputation of being a cold and austere note. Obtained from the roots of iris pallida, rather than flowers, it smells of its source–more like a sliver of frozen woods than petals. (This is why iris in perfumery is not quite a floral note, and it’s classified separately, between woods and violets.) And yet, it’s my favorite scent for winter. It fits so perfectly into the wintery panorama of scents that I can hardly imagine these cold days without an opaline sillage of iris. On the other hand, a beautiful perfume is beautiful all year round, so I’m slowly transitioning to spring with my bouquet of irises.

The indisputable gold standard irises are Chanel No 19, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, and Annick Goutal Heure Exquise. Hermès Hiris is another notable fragrance, often referred to as “a cult favorite,” whatever that means. Although I enjoy No 19, Iris Silver Mist and Hiris, my personal iris cult is more varied, a testament to the allure of this ingredient.

Courrèges Blanc

A wispy, gauzy blend of iris, rose and musk, Blanc is an ideal introduction to those who think that iris is the powdered Habsburg royalty of the fragrance world. In Blanc, it adds a touch of elegance, while offsetting the brightness of lychee and pepper.

Parfums DelRae Mythique

If Blanc proves that iris can be lighthearted, Mythique shows that it can also be sumptuous. Folded into the layers of jasmine, patchouli and sandalwood, iris is as baroque as it can be in this exceptional perfume. The contrasting accord of crushed mandarin peel keeps the balance from tipping into complete decadence.

Ann Gérard Cuir Nacré

One of the most natural pairings for iris is not with flowers, but with leather and woods, which shows that it’s olfactory bloodline is more complicated than it appears at first. Ann Gérard is a jeweler, who understands a thing or two about facets, which is why her collaboration with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has been so successful. In Cuir Nacré they explore all facets of iris, while setting it in soft leather. Elegant but with a dark twist.

Armani Privé Pierre de Lune

Pierre de Lune is a cologne version of an iris, with green notes emphasizing its cool, lithe form. A touch of violet, on the other hand, brings out the floral layers of this complex note, reminding us of the link between the root and the blossom. An ethereal fragrance that lingers–another surprise.

Yardley Iris and Lavender

Fun, easy to wear and easy to like. Iris and Lavender is a riff on Yardley’s trademark lavender colognes, but with a trendy touch of pink pepper. If you’re looking for a symphony in your perfume, then look elsewhere, but if you need a simple, clean cologne, it’s a good choice.

The Red Sphinx by Alexandre Dumas

Not long ago Amber, one of my reader, sent me several quotes from her favorite novels that includes scent references, and the mention of letters sprinkled with iris powder in The Red Sphinx by Alexandre Dumas caught our fancy. The idea seemed so delightful, even though the only letters I seem to write are to Belgian bureaucrats.  Incidentally, Dumas spent a few years in Brussels after Louis-Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1851. The real reason was not political, however, but rather prosaic–Dumas was trying to escape debt collectors.

The Red Sphinx is a sequel to The Three Musketeers, but it was never finished by Dumas. It was published in France only in 1946 and in English last year. Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan don’t appear in this story, but the scheming cardinals, iris redolent queens and handsome counts will be plenty for an entertaining read. The Red Sphinx can be read as a standalone novel.

“Alone in her room, Anne of Austria listened to the receding footsteps of Gaston d’Orléans and of her mother-in-law. When the sound had completely faded, she slowly rose, pushed her petite feet into her Spanish slippers of sky-blue satin embroidered with gold, and sat down next to her vanity. From a drawer she took out a small canvas bag containing iris powder, a perfume she preferred for her clothes above all others, and which her mother-in-law had brought her from Florence. This powder she sprinkled on the blank second page of the letter from Gonzalès de Cordova—just as, by different means, the same result was obtained from the note from Christine to Gaston, and from that of Charles-Emmanuel to the queen mother. Under the powder, letters soon appeared on the sheet sent from Gonzalès de Cordova to the queen.”

I’d love to hear about your favorite iris fragrances.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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199 Comments

  • Klaas: Oh my, iris powder for scenting clothes…..I should very much like that! So much nicer then synthetic fabric softeners. Unfortunately I’m not on Queen Anne’s budget ;-(

    I’m not much of a flower man myself (unless it’s lavender or neroli), but I enjoy wearing Iris Blue Gris by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. I love the austerity of it. A super classy iris scent that can very well be worn by wormen as well. March 6, 2017 at 8:38am Reply

    • Andy: I have to agree on MPG Iris Bleu Gris. I find it very unusual, because while it smells dry and cool, it doesn’t smell thin. I’m always surprised how richly floral this perfume manages to be without feeling too balmy or sweet. The closest perfume I can think of is Grey Flannel, but even that smells very different. March 6, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

      • Victoria: I was thinking of Grey Flannel too. March 6, 2017 at 11:19am Reply

      • Klaas: Hey Andy, Grey Flannel is wonderful, indeed! I should look it up, it’s been ages…….. March 6, 2017 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: MPG Iris is another one that deserves more attention. Cool but not too austere, elegant but not too fussy. Iris is not really a floral note (it comes from the roots of the iris plant), so you’re right, it’s excellent for both men and women. Chanel No 19 makes for one of the best masculines, by the way. March 6, 2017 at 10:06am Reply

      • Klaas: Chanel 19? I shall check it out when in town next time. I think I will try the extrait, for extra decadence! March 6, 2017 at 11:28am Reply

    • Maria: Hi Klaas!! For scenting clothes I’ve been using Santa Maria Novella iris soaps. I keep it in my drawers. It’s almost as decadent as iris powder (and less expensive :-)). March 6, 2017 at 12:51pm Reply

      • Klaas: What a great idea! I have some good old lavender in my drawers now, but I shall try scented soap next time. It will be a nice to use something different for a change. Thanks! March 7, 2017 at 6:28am Reply

      • April: Oohh… I’m hopping on this train! March 7, 2017 at 11:49am Reply

  • Karen A: Thank you for inspiring me to (re)try some Iris fragrances! A while ago I tried a few, but none resonated – it may have been a prejudice on my part as the scent of Iris flowers is one of my favorites, so there was probably an expectation of that sweet intoxicating note.

    On the other hand, our changing weather has me looking for some new notes to explore! March 6, 2017 at 10:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I know exactly what you mean. The first time I smelled orris butter, I was shocked by how woody and green it was. I expected a rainfall of petals, and instead it was cold and metallic. But in the end, that’s the beauty of iris. It can be so many different things, and it’s now one of my favorite ingredients to explore. March 6, 2017 at 10:03am Reply

    • limegreen: Are you wearing fragrances again? Such good news. March 6, 2017 at 12:04pm Reply

      • Karen A: Yes! Will email you, I think I figured out some of the sensitivity issues. March 6, 2017 at 12:34pm Reply

        • limegreen: I’m losing my memory, I remember that you cut back on lattes or something? Anyway, will have to send you my favorite irises 🙂 March 6, 2017 at 3:35pm Reply

        • Notturno7: That’s great news, Karen!
          I’m so glad you’re enjoying fragrances again 🌹
          I didn’t read this post till today.
          Lovely seeing other readers’ ideas and suggestions. March 13, 2017 at 4:56am Reply

  • limegreen: I love the ones you have mentioned and am eager to try some of the ones that I haven’t heard about. Always eager to try more iris fragrances. The standard bearers are wonderful but one “needs” more!
    I have been enjoying Heeley Cuirs Pleine Fleurs and Le Labo Iris 39 as my comfort irises, don’t know why.
    I am eager to try the new Malle hand creme done by Giocobetti, iris and leather. Have you tried it yet? It’s inspired by the iris treatment for leather gloves rather than letters. Such extravagance.
    (Nearly coughed up coffee laughing, imagining if you were to sprinkle iris powder on a letter to the bureaucracy. Precious.)
    Thank you for a beautiful and elegant column, Victoria. March 6, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

    • limegreen: Oops, Cuirs Pleine Fleur is not an iris. (Mixed it ip with violet!) 🙂
      But it is a comfort scent, same feel of woody not too floral. March 6, 2017 at 10:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t tried it, but it sounds decadent. But you know, take any rich unscented hand cream, add a few drops of Iris Silver Mist, and voila, your own iris extravaganza.

      Maybe a bit of iris powder might act as magic dust. 🙂 Although in our paranoid times, they might take it for something else. March 6, 2017 at 11:21am Reply

      • limegreen: (Laughing) oh no, what a thought! March 6, 2017 at 11:31am Reply

      • limegreen: You know, the ISM drops with lotion is brilliant. I guess it never occurred to me to use ISM in such a, ahem, pedestrian manner. But spraying it on me is just as pedestrian!
        Funny how perceptions bias us! March 6, 2017 at 12:10pm Reply

        • Andy: In my experience, ISM does very well mixed into plain lotion, better than many other perfumes (I don’t always have success with this method). Without any attempt at being ironic (in light of Malle’s recent comparison of his Giacobetti iris hand cream to the iris-scented gloves of the Medicis), I can say that I used to use ISM to scent the unfinished inside of my leather fingerless gloves (I bought them after seeing Stevie Nicks wearing them in concert, and thought they would look fab juxtaposed against my somewhat staid winter outerwear), and the scent would stick around all winter. They still kind of smell like it, and the last time I sprayed them was probably February of 2015.

          I also have much to tell you–but in light of this post, I’ll just say that I have been loving JM Orris & Sandalwood. It reminds me of Iris 39 in a very good way. March 7, 2017 at 7:57pm Reply

  • Andy: As an iris fiend, the ones on this list I haven’t tried sound promising. Courrèges Blanc sounds surprisingly appealing as a mainstream iris, even though it doesn’t sound like my typical style. I also love the (touch of) iris in Aromatics Elixir, which is a perfume I continue to “study” and be fascinated by. I seem to discover a new facet every time I revisit it. March 6, 2017 at 10:16am Reply

    • limegreen: Victoria brought out all the iris fiends here! She had us at “Iris. …” March 6, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

      • Andy: Very, very, very true! March 7, 2017 at 7:58pm Reply

      • Victoria: I really seem to have done so, haven’t I? 🙂 March 8, 2017 at 6:34am Reply

    • Notturno7: I love AE. It feels so complex, doesn’t it! March 13, 2017 at 4:59am Reply

  • Gina: The best, warmest sweetest iris fragrance on earth is Santa Maria Novella Iris. March 6, 2017 at 10:27am Reply

    • jane: I was just thinking where her mother in law would get the iris in Florence and of course SMN came to mind. March 6, 2017 at 11:06am Reply

      • Alicia: Iris (iris florentina) is the national flower of the city of Florence and the then Duchy of Toscana. If there was a place to get iris powder Florence was it. Ana of Austria was Spanish, and none of Philip IV’s queens, his father’s wives were Italian (one was French, and the other Austrian). Of course Spain reigned in the Milanesado (Lombardy) and the Kingdom of Naples. In all likelihood she could get it from many sources, including Cardinal Mazarino. March 6, 2017 at 5:03pm Reply

        • Gina: Thanks for the wonderful info!!!! March 9, 2017 at 7:46am Reply

    • Victoria: And their soaps are wonderful. March 9, 2017 at 12:55am Reply

      • Gina: I have the almond soap. 🙂 March 9, 2017 at 7:46am Reply

  • briony: I was hoping you’d do an iris post – it’s my favourite note of all. I love all the fragrances you mentioned and have several others besides. Although people say it’s not particularly irisy, Apres l’Ondee was the scent that got me into perfume. I’m sure I can smell a good slug of it in there. I also wear Atelier Cologne’s Silver Iris quite a bit. It’s less austere than most. Other favourites include Ormonde Jayne’s Tsarina, and two that have unfortunately been discontinued – Artisan’s Mon Numero 8 and Guerlain’s Iris Ganache. March 6, 2017 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that if I had to pick one perfume that made me curious about this world, it would definitely be Apres L’Ondee. March 9, 2017 at 12:58am Reply

    • Laura: Silver Iris is my favorite! Love its cool, elegant presence. March 9, 2017 at 9:55pm Reply

  • Jillie: My cat, Casper, is at this very moment wearing Malle’s Iris Poudre! It suits him and his pale grey coat very well ….. Obviously I didn’t spray it on him, but it transferred from my skin to his fur after a big cuddle and I can now smell it better on him than on me.

    As someone who didn’t think they liked iris, I have grown to love it over time and feel ashamed to admit than when I wore Chanel No 19 all those years ago I did not realise what its notes were! Now I actively seek out perfumes containing iris and am always surprised at how different this note can smell – from carrot to violet, from earth to flower, from sweet to woody.

    I must smell that Armani! March 6, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

    • Jillie: Having big problems with the internet today so many apologies for the double-posting of my thoughts here! March 6, 2017 at 11:40am Reply

    • Notturno7: Jillie, I love the thought of your cat Jasper smelling so elegant! It makes me grin happily. 😊
      I love my two kittens, they are so affectionate and love to jump on my lap and snuggle.
      I noticed only once that Yogi smelled like fragrance, but I couldn’t figure out what ‘he was wearing’ as I wear different perfumes almost every day.
      My husband said out of blue, ‘our cat smells really classy’!!
      Too bad I couldn’t figure out what it was 😉 March 13, 2017 at 5:13am Reply

      • Jillie: How gorgeous, Notturno! I suspect Yogi might have been “wearing” a mixture of your perfumes, combined with that very special fragrance of natural feline fur. In my experience, cats have different levels of absorbability and Casper has the most perfume-holding coat of any kittie I have had. March 13, 2017 at 5:27am Reply

        • Jillie: In fact – bad pun coming – he is the perfect purrfimista! March 13, 2017 at 5:28am Reply

          • Notturno7: Haha! Jillie, that’s great!
            He wears purrfumes ❤️ March 13, 2017 at 6:54pm Reply

  • Sandra: I tried Courrèges Blanc several time but it was not for me and I am glad I only had a small decant and did not invest in a whole bottle. There was something very meh about it..it was pretty but meh

    I like No19 and No 19 Poudre.

    These days I have been wearing a lot of Cristalle and Sous le Vent. March 6, 2017 at 10:40am Reply

    • Victoria: I guess, it all depends on what you’re looking for. It’s not a particularly dramatic perfume, so if you’re looking for something bolder, it may not be the right thing. March 9, 2017 at 12:59am Reply

  • ariane: oh,what a fabulous excerpt from a book I didn’t even know about!
    Love this type of list and can never get enough of hearing about people’s favourite iris or rose perfumes!Mine includes No.19,Heure Exquise,Slumberhouse New Sibet,Iris Poudre and 28 La Pausa.I also like Heeley’s Iris de Nuit.
    Tried the Malle handcreme,it is divine,but so expensive! March 6, 2017 at 11:04am Reply

    • limegreen: Hi Ariane,
      Does the scent of the hand creme last?
      It is expensive but they couldn’t ressurect the practice of the Medeci aristocracy, or whatever, without the pricetag to go with it! (Sarcasm) March 6, 2017 at 11:25am Reply

      • ariane: Haha,exactly!A shame there won’t be any Medici aristocracy enjoying it…Alas it didn’t last on me at all to justify that kind of price. March 6, 2017 at 11:33am Reply

        • limegreen: Ah well, it is Giocobetti….
          Thanks for the review! March 6, 2017 at 11:40am Reply

        • limegreen: P.S. per your iris snd rose comment, have you tried Rose Irisee?
          It’s cool rooty iris and the rose gives the drydown a cool powdery cosmetics feel. March 6, 2017 at 11:43am Reply

          • ariane: No I haven’t but that sounds great,will search for it! March 6, 2017 at 12:03pm Reply

            • limegreen: Typing on the phone, lots of errors, but there is an extra e in Rose Irisee, not a typo. 🙂 March 6, 2017 at 12:06pm Reply

              • ariane: Oh my,just read the reviews of it on fragrantica,it sounds amazing!!It seems that it would fit the iris list as well as the rose serves only to accentuate the iris! March 6, 2017 at 12:10pm Reply

                • limegreen: Rose purists would not like it! March 6, 2017 at 12:18pm Reply

          • Karen A: You have the most wide-ranging perfume wardrobe! This sounds quite interesting, as do others from this company. March 6, 2017 at 5:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: It does sounds wonderful, and OntheWingsofSaffron commenting below made it sound even more special. March 9, 2017 at 2:21am Reply

  • Hayley: I have been rather obsessed with iris this winter. My prized possession is a rare vintage parfum of Heure Exquise. I love it and use it sparingly.

    I recently became enamored with Aedes Iris Nazarena. I am excited to try more iris centric perfumes from your post and comments 🙂 March 6, 2017 at 11:08am Reply

    • Tati: I love Iris Nazarena also. Very well balanced with incense. And it lasts well. March 6, 2017 at 9:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a real treasure! March 9, 2017 at 2:19am Reply

  • Yanushevskaya Maria: I don’t think esteemed perfume connaisseurs would approve, but my signature iris scent for more than 15 years has been Tiempe Passate. It puts a smile on my face everytime I open the bottle. Second favorite is of course Olivia’s Hiris. March 6, 2017 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: Why? What’s wrong with Tiempe Passate?! It’s such an excellent perfume. Anyway, if someone doesn’t approve, it’s their loss. March 6, 2017 at 11:26am Reply

  • Kristina: A great article – iris has always been my favorite note! I used to wear Chanel 19 (EdP) happily for years but the reformulation was a huge disappointment for me. How do you feel about it? March 6, 2017 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I still enjoy it, but yes, there are many differences. Which reformulation did you dislike? It has been changed so many times that it’s hard to keep track. My bottle is two years old. March 9, 2017 at 2:22am Reply

      • Kristina: I wore the EdP back in the Nineties and was disappointed with every reformulation ever since (I don’t remember the year it changed). Maybe I should try the extrait. March 9, 2017 at 3:37am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s been changing almost soon as it was created. But the EDP is probably the more recent of the formulations. Yes, try the extrait. It’s still my favorite version, although I wish it lasted as well as it did before. March 9, 2017 at 4:25am Reply

          • Notturno7: I looooove my No 19 extrait. The little bottle even made it to my hiking trip. 😍 March 13, 2017 at 5:17am Reply

  • Awfulknitter: I have yet to get to grips with iris as a note, despite its common pairing with leather (a note I like very much, although I don’t actually wear leather perfumes very much). That Frederic Malle handcream with iris and leather that limegreen mentioned sounds very interesting, but yikes, it’s expensive!

    Ann Gérard Cuir Nacré sounds lovely – around birthday and Christmas time I keep on dropping hints about the Ann Gérard sample, but nobody’s paid attention yet. In the meantime, I’m making a mental note to check out Chanel No 19 again. Oh, and I’ve just remembered that FM L’Eau d’Hiver has an iris note – I have that, but I think it’s been pushed to the back of the drawer.

    And that extract from ‘The Red Sphinx’ immediately makes me want to read it. Such lush description, and such a tantalising hint of the story’s intrigue! March 6, 2017 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Dumas is unbeatable for the action packed, and as you say, lush stories. Re-reading them I thought I would find them naive, but I enjoyed them just as much as I did when I was a teen. March 9, 2017 at 2:23am Reply

  • Jillie: My cat, Casper, is at this very moment wearing Malle’s Iris Poudre, one of my favourite irises, and it suits his grey coat very well. I didn’t actually spray him, of course, I just cuddled him and it transferred from my to skin to his fur and smells even better on him!

    For a long time I didn’t think I liked iris and it was a surprise when I discovered that the Chanel 19 that I wore all those years ago contained iris. Now I love this note and am always amazed at how different it can seem – from carrot to flower, root to powder, earthy to sweet.

    I must sniff out the Armani, although it looks very expensive! March 6, 2017 at 11:23am Reply

    • Awfulknitter: I think it’s the chameleon nature of iris that makes it hard for me to identify. I’ve just been off to look at the notes in No 19, and it sounds like the Poudre flanker might have even more iris. It also sounds appealing to me because the neroli is dialled up, and I do like a bit of neroli. Hang on, not a bit of neroli – a huge splash of neroli! March 6, 2017 at 11:36am Reply

      • Jillie: It’s strange, Awfulknitter, but Poudre 19 smells like vetiver to me! And powdery too, of course. You are so right, iris is such a chameleon. I guess its rootiness can echo that of vetiver’s.

        When I thought I didn’t like iris it was because I thought it smelled like unwashed dog! What’s that about?! March 6, 2017 at 11:44am Reply

        • Awfulknitter: Isn’t it odd, the way our brains connect certain smells to word-descriptions that really aren’t accurate? I’m sure if you could get a gas chromatograph and compare iris and ‘wet dog’, you’d find something similar. To make a complete guess, perhaps a cold or watery aspect to both?

          I once cried “It smells like old ballet shoes!” at a wine tasting. It was quite hard to explain that I didn’t mean it as a criticism… March 6, 2017 at 5:37pm Reply

          • Jillie: That’s so funny! Yes, I’ve found people mystified by my “strange” associations with flavours and smells and just because I say that something reminds me of another very random object/experience, it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I suppose it’s our brain’s job to make comparisons so that we can analyze what’s going on, and it can only come up with what it has experienced so far.

            On a slightly different note, I once offended a chap because I said I knew he was in the office because I had smelled him – I didn’t mean in a bad way like BO or that it was his fragrance as he didn’t wear it, it’s just that I had recognised his own particular natural scent. We perfumistas must be careful of what we say sometimes! March 7, 2017 at 12:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a sweet image!

      That’s the downside of Armani. You’re paying the most for the fancy bottle with a rock. March 8, 2017 at 6:32am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi Victoria and perfume lovers,

    I’m so curious about Iris Silver Mist, I hope I can smell it in the near future.
    My favourite iris perfumes are L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar Parfum Initial and Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver. I love how the iris is holding these compositions together.
    If I’m in a less melancholic mood 🙂 , I reach for iris paired with leather (a match made in heaven), like Penhaligon’s Iris Prima. March 6, 2017 at 11:28am Reply

    • SilverMoon: Nora, I really like iris perfumes and have tried and own many, including ISM. I must say ISM is very regal, dignified and sombre. You mention melancholic, and that probably suits it too. The perfume itself smells quite icy metallic to me and some days it really can put me off. In other words, it’s a mood dependent perfume. Some days it makes me happy, others it gives me a headache.

      Much more consistently enjoyable are Iris Poudre, Iris Nobile, MH Terre d’Iris, Santa Maria Novella Iris, Penhaligon Iris Prima, and others mentioned already. Also worth trying in the sombre moody style is Iris Nazarena (but much more easy going than ISM). March 6, 2017 at 2:14pm Reply

      • Tiamaria: I really like MH Terre D’Iris too. It’s quite masculine to me and has a strange texture, it makes me think of biting a candle or a crayon when I wear it (I realise this sounds quite odd but there you go!) but also fresh and uplifting. It’s one of the only MH I really like, the other being La Fumee and L’Air De Rein. March 6, 2017 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, iris and leather is a great combo. March 8, 2017 at 6:33am Reply

    • Laura: Iris Prima is lovely. March 9, 2017 at 9:59pm Reply

  • Anne: Hello,
    What a beautiful post… again! You made my afternoon.

    I love iris fragrances. One of my favourite is Hiris by Hermes and Infusion D iris Prada. But I haven t tried any of the iris perfumes you mentioned!!!! And I am exited to try them. I have recently been contemplating to buy Iris 39 front Le Labo. But I haven’t tried it yet. What is your opinion on this one? March 6, 2017 at 11:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I like Le Labo, but it’s a bit too flat for my tastes. And not enough iris. March 8, 2017 at 6:33am Reply

  • Maria: Hi Victoria and all the readers!

    Iris is my favourite note and, as I live in a country where snow covers everything almost 6 months a year, I have to say that my winter wardrobe is composed by three of your choices of standard irises (Iris Silver Mist, Heure Exquise, Chanel 19 and Chanel 19 Poudré) plus Infusion d’Iris de Prada, which I find extremely beautiful when everything is covered by snow, but the sky is blue and the sun is brighting. I love Hiris later, when the snow is completely melted. It smells like someone is gardening and planting some irises.

    And I love Santa Maria Novella iris soaps!! They smell like The Red Sphinx by Dumas :-). March 6, 2017 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t agree more! I need to make a separate iris list for soaps and creams. March 8, 2017 at 6:34am Reply

    • Olga Talyn: I actually love the Prada Infusion d’Iris March 21, 2017 at 1:26am Reply

  • Susan: I delight in the irises in my garden each spring, and I’m very fond of that note in perfume, one of my faves being the delicate La Pausa. I look forward to trying Mythique, which sounds just beautiful.

    Thank you for this lovely post, Victoria. March 6, 2017 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! Thank you for sharing your favorites. March 8, 2017 at 6:35am Reply

  • Lynley: It’s so nice to see some love for Pierre de Lune! It’s one of my winter fragrances that gets brought out year after year- I think it’s absolutely perfect for serene, cold days. Some scents are seductions, or hugs, or joyful laughter.. many moods. Iris perfumes in winter are to me a dawn meditation, when both you and the earth are still and quiet and at peace. March 6, 2017 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: So happy to meet another fan! March 8, 2017 at 6:35am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Ironically, today I’m wearing The Different Company’s Bois de Iris. My other favorites are Hermes Hiris (my go-to scent), Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, Naomi Goodsir’s Iris Cendre,
    L’Artisan’s Iris Pallida (of which I still have a bottle), Miller Harris Terre d’Iris, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Chanel No. 19 Poudre, Chanel’s 28 La Pausa…I own all of the above and love them all. Iris scents are among my very favorite. March 6, 2017 at 12:33pm Reply

    • ariane: You are so lucky to have a bottle of Iris Pallida,I am heartbroken to only have a few mls left-I love it especially in the summer heat for its cooling effect and its elegance.
      Love your iris collection! March 7, 2017 at 4:06am Reply

      • Phyllis Iervello: Ariane, I have been on an iris kick this week. I do love iris perfumes and Iris Pallida is a beauty. The sad thing about limited editions is that you fall in love with them but once you use them up, it is unlikely like that you will find another. March 7, 2017 at 8:54am Reply

    • Victoria: An impressive list. You’re quite an iris connoisseur, Phyllis! March 8, 2017 at 6:36am Reply

      • Phyllis Iervello: Thank you Victoria. I am really on an iris kick this week. Today I’m wearing Naomi Goodsir’s Iris Cendre. March 8, 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: You smell wonderful! March 8, 2017 at 5:01pm Reply

          • Phyllis Iervello: Thanks! March 8, 2017 at 5:16pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: So many beautiful irisses! Heure Exquise is, and I suspect will stay my favourite iris, as well as being my favourite ‘old faithful’ perfume. But lovely to try new members of the iris cult, the Armani sounds interesting. Besides so many favourites already mentioned, I can add Honore des Pres I love les Carottes, technically carrot but with a lot of iris, Iris Nobile for a sunny iris and Dzongkha for an incense iris, Mon Parfume Cheri par Camille for an opulent plummy patchouli iris and April Aromatics Purple Reign for a violet leafy iris… March 6, 2017 at 12:46pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Great references and many perfumes to go look for: Thanks a lot! March 6, 2017 at 3:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love les Carottes is also on my iris list, and it’s another great example of how iris can be playful. March 8, 2017 at 6:36am Reply

  • Tatiana: You’ve mentioned five of my favorite iris scents. I have not smelled Armani Privé Pierre de Lune, but your description makes it sound as though I would like it. Is it still available or was it one of those LE scents?
    I’ve also been looking for a good book to read. Current events make me so distracted and everything I pick up seems either too trite or depressing to contemplate. I might just seek out a copy of The Red Sphinx. March 6, 2017 at 1:15pm Reply

    • SilverMoon: The Red Sphinx sounds fascinating. I have never heard of it, and I really like Dumas (especially the Three Musketeers). Have you watched the recent BBC Musketeers series? My daughter and I love watching it together. So adventurous, fun and romantic too. So, many thanks to Victoria for calling my attention to it. And the Iris powder’s use is intriguing. March 6, 2017 at 2:30pm Reply

      • Victoria: And extravagant. Imagine how those letters must have smelled. March 8, 2017 at 6:40am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s part of their “exclusive” line or however they call it (it only means that it’s more expensive than the rest), but it should be available.

      Do let me know what you think of The Red Sphinx. I also found it a perfect read in the current climate. March 8, 2017 at 6:37am Reply

  • Safran: Thank you, Victoria, there a a few iris scents I have to either revisit (like Mythique) or test (like Courreges Blanc) now. I used to love La Pausa and Iris Silver Mist too, both have a melancholic feel to me. Then came Traversee du Bosphore, a gourmand iris scent imo and the opposite of melancholic. My newest iris love is also quite sweet and decadently expensive. Sable Or by Armani Prive. It took me almost a year until I decided I “needed” it. To me it’s a warm iris skin scent with endless lasting power, sexy, sunny and self assured. Quite linear, but I don’t mind! March 6, 2017 at 1:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for adding more great iris to list! A gourmand iris like Traversee du Bosphore is another illustration of how versatile this note is. March 8, 2017 at 6:38am Reply

  • Austenfan: What an interesting list of less well known irises. I’m especially intrigued by the Courrèges. Denyse did a very favourable review of it when it first came out. I always wondered if it was at all like Lumière Blanche which I think was launched at about the same time.
    Alas Cuir de Nacre wasn’t for me, I love the other 3, but this somehow didn’t work for me. I will try again, as I do like the collection as a whole and most Duchaufours are such high quality.
    I can’t think of any other irises that haven’t been mentioned in either your post or the comments. It’s a great note. March 6, 2017 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: I can think of Bas de Soie, Dior Homme Intense.
      And I love the iris note in Living Lalique. March 6, 2017 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s different from Lumière Blanche. Mostly, it’s a fruity floral composition, with iris to make things more unconventional. March 8, 2017 at 6:39am Reply

      • Austenfan: Sounds even better. I happen to love fruity florals especially if they are well done. March 11, 2017 at 2:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: And those are not that easy to find. March 11, 2017 at 3:35pm Reply

  • jodee: Iris is enchanting in perfume and as a flower! One of my favorite spring pastimes is smelling the irises in my garden. So gorgeous! My preferred iris perfumes include Après l’Ondée, Iris Nobile and L’Eau d’Hiver. I know there is a leather perfume sample that I have tried that blended the two beautifully, but I cannot recall the name of the perfume, perhaps it was the Ann Gerard leather. I’ll have to go back and find my sample. Heure Exquise is gorgeous too, but a totally different character than my other three favs– where they are light & airy, Heure Exquise feels heavy and opulent. March 6, 2017 at 2:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree. Heure Exquise is the brocade to the silk of L’Eau d’Hiver or Hiris. March 8, 2017 at 6:40am Reply

  • Penelope: My favourite note too. I have never worn Chanel no 19 as a very elegant American friend always wore it and made it her own. Didn’t like Cuir de Nacre at all which was disappointing as it sounded so good. Ditto Tsarina. I love Hiris for cool spring days and Miller Harris ‘ Terre d’Iris ‘ for a sunny Mediterranean iris. My favourite though is Chanel ’31 Rue Cambon’ for the most elegant complex iris scent. March 6, 2017 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: 31 Rue Cambon is a gem! March 8, 2017 at 6:41am Reply

  • Neva: I’m usually not checking out the notes in perfume because I can rarely smell all the parts of the whole. I do it only when I’m intrigued by a specific note and want to find out what it is. This is how I found out that Amouage Opus V has iris and orris root and I think that makes it amazing. Maybe there is iris in many more of my dear perfumes but I don’t know if it automatically makes them iris perfumes.
    From your list I only know Mythique and it is lovely. I had a sample vial and wish I had more to bathe in it. March 6, 2017 at 3:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s really the best way to approach perfume. If something jumps out at you, then you might be inspired to look for that material and for fragrances that use it, but starting one’s exploration just “smelling for the notes” is not that rewarding. March 8, 2017 at 6:42am Reply

  • Kelly: Funny, I was just commenting on Now Smell This that I was in Atelier Cologne’s Silver Iris today and was beginning to wonder if I am a fan of iris. This one is cloying for me and the only other one I’ve sampled is ISM and after 3 tries of it, I just can’t do it. Metallic carrots from Mars (as another reader commented haha). Maybe since I’m someone a beginner I just haven’t found MY iris yet… March 6, 2017 at 3:27pm Reply

    • Tiamaria: I’m not crazy about Silver Iris either, I find it too sweet though my 12 year old son likes it, he thinks it smell like strawberries! March 6, 2017 at 3:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I expected to love Silver Iris, but it really left me cold.

      Iris is one of the most challenging notes, and your description of ISM is exactly right. 🙂 March 8, 2017 at 6:43am Reply

  • carole macleod: Oh, Hiris-I love it!
    And I love Irisia, which is discontinued. An inexpensive iris, related to the elegant Iris Poudre, is Ferre, by Giancarlo Ferre. Usually a very affordable option , too. March 6, 2017 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ferre is excellent. Thank you for mentioning it. March 8, 2017 at 6:44am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Hurray: iris perfumes! Only last week I slathered myself silly with different iris scents searching for a new perfume, and voilà: here is a whole new post on irises.
    I only have Chanel La Pausa and vintage N° 19, but am well acquainted with Misia and some of the other new Chanel les exclusives. All of which I am very fond.
    Also, at the moment, I am absolutely besotted with Frédéric Malle’s Crème pour les mains au beurre d’iris (Olivia Giacobetti). Nearly as expensive as a perfume itself, but by golly this iris hand-cream brings you closer to your personal Anne-of-Austria-moment than any perfume 😉
    I have been testing other iris perfumes and even though theoretically they sound interesting, I am not really convinced.
    I tried Lutens’ Bas en soie, but somehow the iris never could make it vis à vis the hyacinth; Hermes’ Hiris had this boiled vegetable (celeriac) smell which spoiled it for me; Malle’ Iris poudre isn’t what I am craving for; and Santa Maria Novella is very much a violet scent.
    My fantasy is now focussed on Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist, perhaps only because it is so elusive? Brussels is only a stone’s throw from Paris and yet —
    Oh well, La Pausa and the Giacometti hand-cream will have to do for now.
    By the way: is anyone familiar with the difference between old “28 la Pausa” (edt) and new “La Pausa” (edp)? Is there any difference?
    Thanks and keep well March 6, 2017 at 3:53pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Hi OnWingsofSaffron! I bought Iris Silver Mist in Amsterdam: in the ”Vaporisateur Tout Noir”. 60 ml for € 120. Maybe you can find it in Brussels as well. March 6, 2017 at 5:57pm Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Good to know: thanks for the excellent tip! March 6, 2017 at 5:59pm Reply

    • ariane: I have not tested the new La Pausa,but have fanatically been reading all the comments on forums,and I am afraid that the consensus is that this one(together with Sycomore) is a completely different perfume,so for us lovers of the old one it is a bit of tragedy… March 7, 2017 at 4:14am Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Oh dear, what a shame, especially for “Sycomore” which really is a classic! However “La Pausa” in mho is—apart from the perennial issue of longevity—rather lovely. March 7, 2017 at 1:24pm Reply

    • bellaciao: The EDT (28 La Pausa) is greener, somewhat fresher and even more short lived than the EDP version (La Pausa, no number). The EDP is a kind of missing link between 28 La Pausa and Eau Première. So yes, actually an entirely different perfume but still a family member. I enjoy both, the EDT is more of a summer fragrance for hot days and the EDP makes you feel put toghether on days where you are not. Some people complained about it being banal and nothing new in the Chanel stable but I don’t mind:)- If you were hoping for a 28 La Pausa with more longevity and richness, this is however NOT it. If you want something reminiscent of Eau Première but with a twist (and never resisted a whiff of aldehydes) then yes, you will probably like it. I hope that helps! March 7, 2017 at 3:30pm Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Thanks a lot for your analysis. I am not familiar with Eau première so I’ll be guessing a bit. However, I enjoy aldehydes as in the original N° 5—in all its vintage versions—and in the N° 22 with even more whopping aldehydes: ye-ha!
        But even less longevity is a real problem as the reformulated La Pausa only lasts an hour or so on me at most— March 7, 2017 at 5:44pm Reply

    • carole macleod: So curious about the hand cream. Does it function well as a hand cream? You make the scent sound really good. March 7, 2017 at 7:28pm Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Truth be told: I am no expert in this field. However, I can confidently report that as a man who doesn’t at all like greasy hand-creams, this one is quite wonderful. It does not stick onto your hand forever like a cold cream. I hope it doesn’t sound to phantastical but it has a snake-like dryness to it (meant in a poitive sense). Perhaps the bone-dry scent of iris (and carrot seed?) helps with this illusion? Anyway, I’m hooked. March 8, 2017 at 11:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Iris Silver Mist is one of my iris gold standards, as it were. March 8, 2017 at 6:44am Reply

  • Bee: I’ve been trying so many iris scents in the last years, from the too expensive Irisssss, to iris cendré, nuit d’iris, l’attesa (all three good contenders), there was also the elusive la femme blue (very expensive and a one-off by Armani I somehow still regret not buying) and the surprising (for me) dior homme. And then I finally tried Chanel 19 and had a small heureka moment – so this is the one I’m finally going to buy! March 6, 2017 at 3:57pm Reply

    • spe: Hi Bee,
      The Armani is quite sweet. I wore it off and on for a few years (in particular, it was my Christmas eve scent). You didn’t miss anything.
      Hiris was my signature for several years. Next Irisia by Creed. I like Iris to be dry. For example, I find Iris Poudre incredibly cloying and gave the bottle away. If I had to chose just one today, probably Chanel 19 edp.
      Doesn’t By Killian have an iris? Is it Prelude to Love? I remember it being a citrus iris. Simple but good. March 7, 2017 at 11:31am Reply

      • Bee: Spe: Thanks for your comment on LFB, good to know. I prefer the drier irises too (which is why I was pleasantly surprised by Dior homme). I’m trying Prelude to Love now, funny, how I never thought of it as an iris, but yeah, definitely! Not my favourite. I am really going to buy Chanel 19 now. I didn’t try it for ages, also because Turin&Sanchez’s description of it is quite scary 🙂 (and they don’t mention iris). March 7, 2017 at 1:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love this story! 🙂 March 8, 2017 at 6:45am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: I adore iris perfumes. My favorite note in all perfumery, seconded by lilac and heliotrope, violet and lavender. I love all things purple and floral!

    My favorite iris of all time is James Heeley’s Iris de Nuit. It’s a beautiful unisex iris and violet concoction. I am also a huge fan of Lutens Iris Silver Mist, along with Guerlain Apres L’Ondee,
    Ormonde Jayne Vanille Iris, another very unisex beauty, Swan Princess by Vagabond Prince, powdery iris beauty, Houbigant Iris des Champs, musky powdery iris, and
    my fave mainstream iris is My Queen by McQueen. I adore this one!
    Also love Iris Ukiyoe by Hermes, a watery fragrant haiku in orris IMHO.
    Iris Poudre by Malle is lovely of course, but I’ve never bonded with Hermes Hiris or the MPG Iris, it’s too dry and austere to my nose.
    Probably the holy grail of iris/orris perfumes is
    Xerjoff’s Irisss. Stunning!!! Been wanting this one for years.
    I want to try Masque’s Attessa also. March 6, 2017 at 4:11pm Reply

    • rickyrebarco: I forgot another love, Jo Malone’s Iris and Lady Moore, a very nice fresh dewy iris scent. March 6, 2017 at 4:13pm Reply

      • rickyrebarco: Forgot another favorite, Prada’s Purple Reign, an iris beauty for sure. I’ve used half a bottle of this beautiful scent in only a year and the rest is likely to go this year. Lucas of Chemist in the Bottle reviewed this one, loved it, I tried it and I was hooked, too. Divine! March 6, 2017 at 4:15pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thanks for all of these! Our iris selection thanks to all of these great comments is becoming so diverse and interesting. March 8, 2017 at 6:46am Reply

    • kekasmais: I’m glad to find a fellow champion for Iris de Nuit. Irises are my favorite flower and as much as I adore orris root, on occasion it feels too high-collared and wintry. More often than not, I’ll find myself craving something that smells of irises as I remember them – warm, plush, almost grape-y. To me, IdN perfectly recalls my yearly trip down to Montclair to the Presby Iris Gardens during peak season in May. Absolute heaven… March 6, 2017 at 8:00pm Reply

      • rickyrebarco: Sounds divine, kekasmais. Iris de Nuit reminds me of the scant of my mother-in-law’s garden of irises in the spring. March 8, 2017 at 7:55am Reply

    • Victoria: What a great iris list!

      My Queen is charming. March 8, 2017 at 6:46am Reply

    • MrsDalloway: I love Iris de Nuit too. My other favourites are vintage no 19, Heure Exquise EDP and L’Eau d’Hiver. I don’t think of them as ‘irises’ though – not so keen on eg La Pausa, ISM, Irisss, which major on the note. Galbanum in no 19 and HE, violet in the Heeley and almond in L’Eau d’Hiver are just as central. March 11, 2017 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Alicia: I adore iris. Prada Infusion d’Iris has been my daily companion in the mild California winter and early spring, although for me it is a scent for all seasons, light and elegant. Some time ago I also enjoyed Penhaligon’s Iris Prima. I was expecting to like Lutens Silver Mist, but for some reason it was not the case. It reminded me of turnips. March 6, 2017 at 5:17pm Reply

    • Tati: Hi Alicia, Have you tried Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue? I wear the regular Infusion d’Iris daytime, and put the Absolue on at night. March 6, 2017 at 9:55pm Reply

      • Alicia: Yes, Tati, and I love it. I wear it in the evenings, Just like you. March 7, 2017 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I love the blend of leather, iris and magnolia in Iris Prima. March 8, 2017 at 6:48am Reply

  • Robert H.: So many great Iris perfumes, and simply not enough skin to wear them all!

    Irisss by Jerkoff (sorry, can’t help myself. I think that every time!) Hiris by Hermes which makes me a “cult” member I guess, lately L’Attesa, also Terry D.G. Ombre Mercure and on and on……. March 6, 2017 at 5:50pm Reply

    • bellaciao: I second L’Attesa!!!!!! That one just blew me away last year!!!! And in a similar vein, there is also Angels Dust (Francesca Bianchi). March 7, 2017 at 3:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: And I forgot about Ombre Mercure. Yes, it’s very good. March 8, 2017 at 6:48am Reply

  • Celeste Church: Prada Infusion d’Iris is still my favorite. It works beautifully in any season and when I wear it I feel powdery, like I have actually dusted on some powder. Very cooling in summer. And smells so much like orris root which I used to use when making potpourri. It makes me happy every time I smell it! 🙂 March 6, 2017 at 5:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it does smell of real orris powder. I also use orris in little sachets, something blended with lavender. March 8, 2017 at 6:49am Reply

  • Edward: I remember choosing Pierre De Lune among the other Armani Prive scents in 2012 (?). Loved it from the first sniff, very distinct (at least to my nose) that I had to buy it despite the price. This is one of my favorites and had received a number of compliments.

    Kind regards to you, Victoria.

    Edward March 6, 2017 at 6:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Same for me. It’s been a few years since I first tried it, but it’s still among my top favorites. March 8, 2017 at 6:50am Reply

  • CARYN PEREZ: Hi Victoria, I would love to try Courreges Blanc but wonder where I could locate it. I thought you would mention Chanel La Pausa, which I know you wrote about and really enjoyed. I have been thinking about buying the new La Pausa EDP which is beautiful, but then I notice that a lot of musk comes out once the beautiful iris notes dissipate. I’d like to know what you think about the new La Pausa EDP? March 6, 2017 at 8:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: La Pausa EDP seems to be an entirely different perfume. I much prefer the EDT for the brilliant iris.

      Where are you located? In the EU, Courreges Blanc is available from most perfumeries. March 8, 2017 at 6:51am Reply

  • kekasmais: Bless your heart, Victoria, for compiling a list of iris scents I HAVEN’T tried yet. And all of them compelling to boot. Iris Silver Mist and No. 19 are stunning creatures to be sure, but I feel like they were meant for people more at home in their own skin that I am presently.

    Personally, I count Aedes de Venustas’s Iris Nazarena and Heeley’s Iris de Nuit as my favorite iris scents. Beautiful compositions (that don’t feel like they’ll eat me alive).

    And thank you for bringing The Red Sphinx to our attention! I made fast friends last year with someone who shares my love for The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ll definitely have to bring this up next time I see him. March 6, 2017 at 8:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m happy to share. 🙂

      If you loved The Count of Monte Cristo, you will find The Red Sphinx similarly engaging. Even a certain note of incompleteness doesn’t ruin it. March 8, 2017 at 6:52am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Well that’s a coincidence. The 2010 French film, “Dumas” (starring Gérard Depardieu), is the midday movie on SBS2 here in Australia today.

    Early in the film there is mention of a different kind of powder. While he is holding a gun, Dumas says, “The smell of gunpowder gives me an appetite.” I can imagine him leaving a comment in your Scent Diary!

    My favourite iris fragrance is Après L’Ondée. March 6, 2017 at 9:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for that quote!

      And I share your love for Après L’Ondée. March 8, 2017 at 6:53am Reply

  • Safran: Completely forgot about Dior’s Bois d’Argent! That would be the Iris scent, I keep coming back to since it came out. It’s so beautifully calming and elegant at the same time. March 7, 2017 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, yes, a great iris perfume! March 8, 2017 at 6:56am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Another iris addict here! Most of my favourites have been mentioned already, I’d like to add Parfum d’Empire Equistrius, Jovoy Rouge Assassin and Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris.
    One of my summer favourites is Iunx Eau Blanche, I’m wondering if it’s still available?
    I was thinking of Olivia Giacobetti recently and asking myself if she was still active as perfumer? I’m not aware of any newer creations… March 7, 2017 at 4:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think so. Iunx has a small boutique inside Hotel Costes in Paris, and I recall Eau Blanche in their collection. I haven’t checked recently, though. March 8, 2017 at 6:57am Reply

    • Victoria: And thank you for your extra iris treasures. March 8, 2017 at 6:57am Reply

    • Maria: Yes, she’s still active and now you can buy the Iunx products by calling directly to a number available in Iunx web page. I also love Eau blanche, I suspect it is not an iris parfum, but I’ve always tought that it gives me an iris feeling, but more adapted to the summer. I have the same feeling with Eau de narcisse bleu from Hermes. I don’t know how to explain that, maybe its just another note that gives a clean powdery feeling… March 8, 2017 at 11:00am Reply

      • rainboweyes: Oh, and they even have an online boutique now! That’s great news!
        I’ve just checked the notes listed in Eau Blanche and yes, it’s supposed to be an iris scent, orris butter is one of the ingredients (or rather a synthetic molecule mimicking it, I suspect) March 8, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

        • Victoria: If they listed orris butter, then it’s most likely the natural. At any rate, iris synthetics are almost as expensive as some grades of orris absolute. March 8, 2017 at 11:52am Reply

          • rainboweyes: Another good news then!
            Btw I’ve discovered an exfoliator made of iris florentina root powder recently. Do you think it is worth trying? Would it smell of orris butter? The manufacturer is the Spanish organic brand Yipsophilia… March 8, 2017 at 12:17pm Reply

            • Victoria: It sounds interesting, but I wonder if mixing orris root powder with your cleanser may be just as good? March 8, 2017 at 5:01pm Reply

        • Maria: Thank you! I’ve never checked. Another reason to love it! March 8, 2017 at 12:43pm Reply

  • katherine x: I’ve recently warm up to iris scents. A favorite of late is Iris 39 (le labo). J’adore! And Mythique will be on my birthday suggestion list – if I can resist for that many months… It’s a fantastic scent. March 7, 2017 at 8:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: By the way, Dior’s J’Adore Voile de parfum has a great iris note. I know that you mentioned “j’adore” as a declaration for love for Iris 39, but it reminded me of something else I tried and liked recently. March 8, 2017 at 6:58am Reply

  • Mare: I love iris and love your beautifully written articles.

    Some of my favorites are Prada Infusion d’Iris, Hermes Hiris and Chanel No 19 edt. I also love the iris in Bvlgari au The Bleu. March 8, 2017 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! Thé Bleu is another excellent perfume with iris. March 8, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

  • Inma: Hello Victoria! Delighted with your article, as always.
    First time I became interested on Iris was when studying Kristin Linklater´s method Freeing the natural voice, she says: “Think, as we progress, of breath and sound as Iris’s rainbow carrying truthful feelings that will be articulated by an obedient tongue into words faithful to their origin.”
    First the goddess, then the flower, now the perfumes!
    I love Hiris and, after reading the article, I am specially curious about Ann Gérard Cuir Nacré and Armani Privé Pierre de Lune.
    Thank you! March 9, 2017 at 4:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, a great connection! 🙂

      If you like Hiris, Pierre de Lune especially should be interesting. March 9, 2017 at 11:17am Reply

  • cp: Thanks for your reply regarding Courreges Blanc. Unfortunately I haven’t seen Courreges at department stores like Barneys, Neimans or Saks, or Nordstroms. Do you happen to know where they sell it? Thanks! March 9, 2017 at 5:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Perhaps someone else can chime in, because I don’t live in the US and I don’t know all of the stocklists for this brand. March 10, 2017 at 1:52am Reply

  • cp: Also, would like to know if you’ve tried the new Devil Tender by Ex Nihilo? It’s not an iris, it’s a new spring rose centered fragrance. Would love to hear your comments. Thanks! March 9, 2017 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I tried it only on paper so far, but I liked it. A bright, charming rose. March 10, 2017 at 1:53am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: It seems there’s a new Armani Privé scent out: Iris Céladon. Wonder how it fares vis-à-vis ti Armani’s Moonstone? March 10, 2017 at 2:37am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s completely different. It’s spicier, earthier, and much richer. Pierre de Lune is a floral green, while Iris Céladon smells like a floral oriental. The iris note is not too bold, though. March 10, 2017 at 3:49am Reply

  • mendokuse: I’ve been all about La Pausa since February. Can’t get enough of it in this chilly weather! March 10, 2017 at 3:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: It matches perfectly somehow. March 11, 2017 at 3:31pm Reply

  • SilverMoon: Please can anyone tell me what they think of Tom Daxon’s Iridium? I have heard it is a lovely iris, but was not sure if I should try get a decant or sample? How does it compare to some other Iris perfumes?

    Also, I thought this article on the BBC website about “smellfies” in the city and air pollution very interesting indeed. here is the link:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39179098 March 11, 2017 at 3:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I love the idea of a scent track. The article was really interesting. March 11, 2017 at 3:34pm Reply

      • SilverMoon: I agree, the idea of the scent trail in the city was intriguing; and it reminded me of your posts talking about being aware of all the smells around us. I loved the photo of the woman with the rose, but even better was the one of the students sniffing the park bench. March 11, 2017 at 5:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: The students sniffing the park bench was my favorite photo. 🙂 March 13, 2017 at 3:58am Reply

  • Cecilia: Thank you Victoria for the wonderful post! For me no other note wispers”spring” like iris. My favourites are Heeley Iris de Nuit and the superb Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’iris. They both are irises with an amber gris twist. Of cuorse I enjoy very much n.19, but sometimes is nice to wear a less elegant, historical and “intimidating” composition, favouring a more contemporary one like VCA Bois d’Iris.
    I cannot recommend enough Bois d’iris, which is a high quality blue iris and grey woods composition, warmed up in the final stage by a touch of salty, pale orange ambergris.
    Cecilia March 11, 2017 at 5:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for another great description, Cecilia. You’re our resident temptress. 🙂 March 11, 2017 at 3:35pm Reply

  • Carla: Well now I will finally order a sample of Mythique, it sounds wonderful. I will have to wear Iris Silver Mist while reading Isabella’s letters I guess, lovely descriptions! March 11, 2017 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: A perfect match, I think. As for scents, she mentions sablés flavored with orange peel in one of her letters. March 11, 2017 at 4:34pm Reply

      • Carla: Citrus has been appealing to me lately, in the tasting and the smelling, which is why your description of Mythique caught my eye. The time of year, I suppose. I’m ready for spring! March 11, 2017 at 4:37pm Reply

        • Victoria: And iris and citrus do go so well together. March 13, 2017 at 3:58am Reply

  • Ariel: I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Atelier Cologne’s Silver Iris! It is by far and away my favorite iris: not too cold, powdery or floral. Just the right balance of iris, powder, pink peppercorn and rose(?). It’s vintage lipstick in a bottle and I wear it more than anything else I own. Makes me feel like a classic screen goddess even in leggings. March 12, 2017 at 11:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was mentioned several times in this thread already! Yes, it’s definitely a favorite iris among many. March 13, 2017 at 3:57am Reply

  • DelRae Roth: Lovely post…. the iris is a favorite and often overlooked. Our perfume Mythique uses a large amoutn of orris butter of amazing quality. thank you so much for mentioning it! March 16, 2017 at 9:51am Reply

  • Notturno7: Thank you for the lovely post, Victoria. I’ll look for the book. I loved reading about Musketeers adventures as a kid and The Red Sphinx sounds like a fun read, even without those 3!

    Regarding the iris fragrances, I haven’t tried the ones on your list, yet.

    My favorite irises, aside from No 19 extract, and my vintage EDP, are 31 Rue Cambon, Cuir de Russie, Misia, Après l’Ondée and now discontinued Attrape Coeur.
    I have been trying my ISM sample but it’s still not hitting the right spot for me, it feels too solemn, too grey. It feels very noble but not rich enough for me. Maybe if I’d spray it with abandon instead of dabbing….maybe….😉. I know No 19 wasn’t a love at the first sniff, either. And now I LOVE it !!
    Maybe I’ll prolong my ‘courtship’ with ISM and see where it takes me.

    On another note, your amazing reviews inspired me!
    Tuberose Criminelle bell jar is coming my way AND I made a blind purchase of vintage Dioressence. It sounded like something I’d absolutely love!!
    I can’t wait for my packages to arrive ❤️ March 17, 2017 at 5:51am Reply

  • Joy: So may Iris fragrances to try! I love ISM and have used Chanel no 19. I have a long way to go to get through the lists. I liked that you listed your favorites and added those that are also good. I find that I use ISM when I am in a contemplative mood.
    I loved the story of orris root powder sprinkled in books, gloves , and letters. In that period they preserved many fragrance items and cosmetics with lead. Now I will be on he hunt for iris products sans lead!
    And I might just put a touch of ISM on my Golden Retriever after his bath. April 24, 2017 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Orris root powder is very good to use as potpourri. Imagine how good your linens would smell. April 26, 2017 at 1:35pm Reply

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