The Different Company Bois d’Iris : Perfume Review



Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The most compelling quality of Bois d’Iris, a fragrance created by the perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena for The Different Company is its ability to present the silvery and earthy iris root as layers of petals, transparent as if shot through with intense light and soft as if made from Varanasi silk. In contrast to the earthy and rooty irises, Bois d’Iris is marked by such as a lovely floral softness sustained over the dry woody base that I can forgive its lack of tenacity and make a room for it in my crowded collection of iris fragrances (and perfumes by Jean-Claude Ellena, for that matter.)

If creating a rose fragrance is a task of rendering a blossom out of oil extracted from its petals (or from various synthetic materials that range from photorealism to abstraction in terms of their link to the actual flower), constructing iris does not lead the perfumer to think of the sweet, honeyed scent of its flowers. Instead, it entails blending notes that conjure a scent of its roots, the intriguing blend of violets, earth, wood and metallic dust. The sheer complexity of the orris root is the reason for perfumers’ fascination with it, starting with the iconic Jacques Fath Iris Gris (1947). ….

Initially, Bois d’Iris takes one into the hazy chilliness of Hermès Hiris and Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist. Where Hiris fades into the powdered subtlety and Iris Silver Mist maintains its iced roots strength, Bois d’Iris enters the floral heart.

The sweet warmth competes with the rooty woodiness of iris, alternating between a spicy rose constructed out of green leaves and a verdant violet powderiness. The composition presents an interplay reminiscent of chypre types, and if the oakmoss were to make a distinct presence, Bois d’Iris might have taken a stride into the classical chypre realm. Yet, the nod to the classicism paired with the Ellena signature translucence makes for an interesting experience. Completing the vision of iris, Bois d’Iris lets a flower bloom atop the soil encrusted root.

Bois d’Iris by The Different Company includes notes of iris, vetiver, bergamot, cedar, narcissus, geranium and musk. It is available from Available at Aedes, B-glowing, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, and Takashimaya. European online shoppers can discover the fragrances from Browns and First-in-Fragrance. Bois d’Iris is available as a part of 48h refill set, which also includes 10ml of Rose Poivrée and Osmanthus.

Please see other The Different Company reviews:

Divine Bergamote

Jasmin de Nuit



  • Maïté Turonnet: Hello Victoria,

    I just found about your work.
    Being my self a perfume writer (journalist) for various french magazins since about 20 years, I’ll use it very often ; try to contribute if I have time ; and, if ever possible, mention it professionnaly.
    Congratulations & thanks !

    Maïté February 8, 2006 at 4:52am Reply

  • annE: V, you’ve inspired me to hunt up my little bottle and wear it again today! I do love this version of iris, and I am, as well, a fan of M. Ellena. What holds me back from purchasing more is the “translucence,” as you describe it so well, of this fragrance, which, for me, translates into fleetingness. It disappears from my skin so quickly, and for the price they charge, well, I expect more.

    I must make a mention of another favorite (but quite different) iris scent, which is Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile. I don’t, in general, like vanilla very much, but its creaminess here adds a lovely effect. February 8, 2006 at 8:37am Reply

  • N: Gorgeous review dear V!
    I do like this more than I did the first few times. As with many perfumes – this perfume did not attract me right away.
    My favourite iris perfumes are Iris Silver Mist and Hiris (which I wore when it was launched but not any longer).
    Hope you are well. 🙂 February 8, 2006 at 3:46am Reply

  • Liz: V, I put on Iris Poudre before I came to visit your site, and I’m pleased to see that something in the air caused us both to reach for (or at least write about) iris fragrances today! Your almost-mention of chypre might have attracted me to this one, but I don’t get along with Ellena. Of the many Ellena perfumes I’ve tried, only Angeliques Sous La Pluie really made a strong positive impression on me. Oh well. February 8, 2006 at 9:35am Reply

  • Laura: I should try this one again. For some reason, none of TDC’s perfumes appealed to me at first. In fact, the opposite was true. But, as with many things in life, Bois d’Iris sounds like it merits a second look/chance/sniff! February 8, 2006 at 5:22am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, like you, I wore Hiris when it first came out and then stopped. I just fell out of love with it. Iris Silver Mist is the one I wear the most, but Bois d’Iris is often in heavy rotation. February 8, 2006 at 10:57am Reply

  • linda: Lovely review, V! I never tried Bois d’Iris but I love Osmanthus. It sounds very interesting. February 8, 2006 at 11:33am Reply

  • Mercedes Rey: Hello, everybody! I haven´t tried Bois d´Iris, I only have the 24 h. refill of Divine Bergamote (really small for the price, ughh). I also love Angeliques sous la Pluie, Liz, and I like Iris Nobile too. February 8, 2006 at 12:03pm Reply

  • marchlion: Oh, I wanted to love this one. TDC somehow, they just don’t work on me; there seems to be a common base there, perhaps, that doesn’t love me. I’ve consoled myself with Hiris and Iris Nobile. I consider my lack of love for Osmanthus to be one of my greater perfume failings. 🙂 February 8, 2006 at 1:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, thank you. I must say that I prefer Bois d’Iris to Osmanthus, but they have the same transparency. February 8, 2006 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Robin: V, have you smelled Iris Gris on your vintage quest yet? Would love to know how it compares to all these modern iris scents. February 8, 2006 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Marina: Wonderful review of one of my most favorite iris scents! A fellow perfume lover once called it the most rooty of all irises and that is how I perceive it too. I love that quality in iris scents. February 8, 2006 at 9:32am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Maïté, thank you very much. I hope to read your writing too. It is always a pleasure to meet others who share interest in the topic of perfume. February 8, 2006 at 11:00am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, there are definitely things like that! I was not that smitten by Bois d’Iris the first time I tried it, but I love how it is different from other very earthy irises. February 8, 2006 at 11:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ann, Iris Nobile is a beautiful iris, and its combination of iris and orange blossom is very lovely.

    The lack of tenacity is the only qualm I have with Bois d’Iris. I started to spray liberaly, and it definitely makes a difference. February 8, 2006 at 11:05am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, I also love the rooty quality in iris fragrances, and I have always thought of Bois d’Iris that way. Yet, when I revisited it last year, I realized how floral it is. A friend sent me a decant of Narcissus absolute, and that heady, intoxicating verdancy of narcissus is what I notice above any rooty qualities in Bois d’Iris. February 8, 2006 at 11:08am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Liz, Iris Poudre is a great choice to start the day with! Angeliques Sous La Pluie is among my favourite JCE’s fragrances, since I love the muskiness of angelica root. I wonder whether you might like Bois d’Iris, but I would still urge you to try it. February 8, 2006 at 11:12am Reply

  • Donna: I wish it lasted for at least 15 min for me to get a whiff of iris. I had samples of the whole line, but the only one that I could smell was Jasmine de Nuit. February 8, 2006 at 5:12pm Reply

  • Donna: Almost forgot to mention. Your description of Iris Gris sounds wonderful! Can it be found anywhere these days? February 8, 2006 at 5:13pm Reply

  • peter: Great review of Bois d’Iris. As a man, I find that wearing it makes me feel refreshed. It is not overly feminine to my nose. February 8, 2006 at 6:51pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mercedes, those 10ml refills if bought separately are very expensive. I have a set of three, and it is worth the price of $50. February 8, 2006 at 2:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I like Osmanthus ok, but it is not my favourite of the line. Divine Bergamote would be my number one choice, with Bois d’Iris following in the second place. I like them, but I find their lack of tenacity rather frustrating. February 8, 2006 at 2:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I have a small bottle of Iris Gris, and it is a fascinating composition. It is essentially loads of iris butter and an orange blossom base, but the effect is very powerful, with the sweetness of orange blossom complemeting the rooty strength of iris. It is rather well-preserved, and it is just maintains a vibrant sensation with a rich, flower liquer effect. No transparency and lightness there! February 8, 2006 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Patty: Love Bois d’Iris, though I love Iris Poudre more. It seems to stick to me okay. Iris Silver Mist was just too cold for me, and Hiris borders on that too-coldness. It must be that little floral touch in Bois d’Iris that makes it work. February 8, 2006 at 7:13pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Donna, they last longer than 15 min on me, but in comparison to other fragrances, they are short lasting. I also recommend spraying over dabbing. February 8, 2006 at 7:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, Iris Gris has been discontinued for a while, and I would say that Ebay is your best bet. February 8, 2006 at 7:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Peter, I can imagine that Bois d’Iris would be great on a man. Despite its floral elements, it has a nice wood and vetiver laced base. February 8, 2006 at 7:48pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patty, I find that it is exactly the reason I like Bois d’Iris. The floral element tones down the rooty coldness of iris, and while I enjoy it in other fragrance, sometimes one wishes for a different effect. February 8, 2006 at 7:50pm Reply

  • Campaspe: Wow, I am dying to try this now. As well as the Fath, which is probably discontinued like everything else good. (pouts) February 8, 2006 at 9:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, yes, Iris Gris was discontinued for a long time. Since it uses real iris butter, I cannot even imagine how much it would cost nowadays! February 9, 2006 at 11:44am Reply

  • biagio: why nobody have good reviews of my prefered one hiris by hermes its wonderfull on men skins February 11, 2006 at 5:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Biagio, I can imagine how wonderful Hiris would be on a man. I personally find it a bit too fleeting, but it is lovely. I will review it one of these days. February 12, 2006 at 11:09am Reply

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