Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile : Perfume Review


My recent exploration of Chanel Les Exclusifs and the love affair with 28 La Pausa inspired me to consider other irises outside of my beloved trinity: Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Chanel No 19 and Frédéric Malle Iris Poudre. Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile was created by perfumers Francis Kurkdjian and Françoise Caron of Quest in 2004. It is an unusual iris in that it does not smell of frozen roots like the other irises I admire. Its character is soft and floral, with a delicate sprinkling of delicate ornamentations.

Layering of the iris with the orange blossom results in a composition that most closely approaches the scent of iris flowers. Where the iris butter extracted from iris roots possesses a woody violet tonality, iris flowers range from spicy rose to honeyed jasmine. It is rarely explored in perfumery, which is why Iris Nobile is an interesting fragrance. The Eau de Toilette strikes an interesting balance, offering a warm fragrance with subtle, sweet nuances. Whenever I think about it, I envision Iris Nobile as a scent of an orange iris. The amber comprises the base and lends a certain crispness to the composition, tempering the warm creamy sensation. Yet, as the composition develops, the distinctive floral character begins to blur. It fades into a soapy, indistinct arrangement, losing the edge that initially drew me to the EDT.

In contrast, the Eau de Parfum created by Françoise Caron in 2006 strikes a different chord. If the Eau de Toilette is soft and luminous, the Eau de Parfum is woven out of darker and richer notes. The floralcy of the EDT is beautifully encased within the mossy-woody accord of the EDP. While the EDT touches the skin lightly, the EDP clings to it like angora wool. If the EDT fades into a somewhat flat base, the EDP remains vivid. The image of orange iris that the EDT conjures me for in the early stages of its development stands out even more in the richer concentration. There is no question that I prefer the EDP. While it is still possesses the radiant quality of the EDT, its warm presence, voluptuous drydown and complexity make it more special. Without being challenging, Iris Nobile EDP manages to be exciting.

Iris Nobile EDT includes notes of bergamot, mandarin, iris petals, star anise, cedar flower, iris petals, orange blossom, iris, amber, vanilla. The EDP features bergamot, tangerine, iris petals, star anise, crystalline sweetness accord, orange blossom, ylang ylang, cumin, peach, iris, patchouli, oakmoss, amber, vanilla. Online, Iris Nobile can be found at Fragrances and More and Bigelow Chemists.

Photo of orange iris from The Visual Garden.

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



  • zztopp: Have you tried Iris Bleu Gris by MPG ? To me thats the only other bottle-worthy iris fragrance alongwith Iris Silver Mist. February 21, 2007 at 2:47am Reply

  • chayaruchama: ZZ and I are mindreading, today [it seems]..
    Have you noted the similarity of the EDP to Rue Cambon ?
    On me, no matter how often I test it, that’s what translates on my skin…
    But no one’s mentioned it.

    I DO wish this lasted longer- it’s lovely, but very fleeting.

    Congrats again, you talented creature ! February 21, 2007 at 7:05am Reply

  • March: I totally agree that Iris Nobile’s composition makes it more closely resemble the smell of the actual flower, which is one of those smells I keep wishing a perfumer would devote some time and attention to capturing. It’s such an amazing smell, and I would guess most people (apart from gardeners?) wouldn’t even know they have a smell. I think the EDP is absolutely lovely, and would have addressed the strength issue, but sadly, on me it is mostly orange blossom, albeit a lovely one!

    I tried to interest Christopher Brosius in capturing the iris, but I think I failed. When I am queen… (taps fingers impatiently) February 21, 2007 at 7:32am Reply

  • Elle: I cannot wait till my iris start to bloom! The soapiness of the dry down of the edt was off putting for me, but I am definitely going to have to try the edp – it sounds like that’s the formulation which will win me over. And I shall keep that visual of an orange iris in mind as I try it – beautiful! February 21, 2007 at 7:52am Reply

  • Dusan: I’ve become addicted to iris. The other day I spritzed Chanel no. 19 in a perfume shop and could not stop sniffing my wrist, it’s that remarkable. Maybe it’s because iris is so ethereal and buttery in texture that I find it so addictive, always wanting more and more, never quite satisfied with the amount of iris, like in the beautiful L’Homme de Coeur [Thank you, Monsieur Lutens for ISM]. Haven’t tried AdP IN but can only imagine how mouthwatering it must be, paired with orange blossom (another favorite, along with jasmine) and anise! February 21, 2007 at 8:51am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    You took the words (thoughts) right out of my mouth. the Parfum version of Iris Nobile is far superior to it’s weaker EdT sister. I tested a spray of the EDT and found it refreshing and invigorating. But sadly a fleeting essence. I was thrilled to find the Eau De Parfum -that it existed – in Barney’s. Someone must have been reading my mind.
    I love other Iris scents .. Hiris, Chanel No. 19 .. haven’t tried Iris Silver Mist -yet. But I will . February 21, 2007 at 10:32am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    You took the words (thoughts) right out of my mouth. the Parfum version of Iris Nobile is far superior to it’s weaker EdT sister. I tested a spray of the EDT and found it refreshing and invigorating. But sadly a fleeting essence. I was thrilled to find the Eau De Parfum -that it existed – in Barney’s. Someone must have been reading my mind.
    I love other Iris scents .. Hiris, Chanel No. 19 .. haven’t tried Iris Silver Mist -yet. But I will . February 21, 2007 at 10:32am Reply

  • lalala: Dear Victoria,
    It would be lovely to follow you in your exploration of some other iris perfumes. Is Le Labo Iris in the list? February 21, 2007 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Linda: First, may I add my congratulations to the others which were written yesterday (I couldn’t get to a computer at all!) Pozdravlyayu vas! Hope the transliteration is correct – it’s ages since I’ve used my (very feeble) Russian. This is my very favourite site, and it cheers every day. Now that Spring is coming I’m very interested in the more floral perfumes, and I had the good luck to try Iris Nobile perfume last week – I loved it! Also I thought the packaging was very elegant, and it’s on my wish list. Thank you again for your writing: you have given a perfume beginner so much advice already and you have made me look at the world around me in a different, more positive way.
    With warmest wishes 🙂 February 21, 2007 at 12:08pm Reply

  • Teri: Iris is my very favorite garden flower and March is quite correct, they have a very distinct and lovely smell ‘in the wild’, so to speak. If this fragrance resembles the aroma of the garden flower, then I must definitely try it.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and congratulations on you well-deserved blog award. 🙂 February 21, 2007 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Marina: This one(s) have always left me cold. I am going to make an effort with them after reading your lovely review. I am also going to make an effort with La Pausa. Efforts, efforts…:-) February 21, 2007 at 8:57am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Zztop, Iris Bleu Gris is very well-done, but I find the musk MPG uses quite unpleasant. After a while all I smell is that musk. I almost wish I were anosmic to it. 🙂 February 21, 2007 at 11:46am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, yes, I can see it. 31, rue Cambon is very iris heavy, but it has a delicate floral touch as well.

    Thank you again! 🙂 February 21, 2007 at 11:58am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, that is a shame! I love the scent of iris blossoms, but it is very rare indeed to encounter it in perfume. February 21, 2007 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Cait: Hooray for you on your award! I have been wondering about Iris Nobile so much and after you reviewed La Pausa I was just thinking about it again, so it was perfect for you to review it now and guide me as to the differences between edt and edp. I bought decants of edp last night right after reading this. February 21, 2007 at 8:11pm Reply

  • Julia: Hello Dear blog owner,
    I need an advice. Iris nobile was my last fragrance (EDP). I am in search for a new replacement, and am new to perfume explorations, although sensitive and have educated myself a bit over the past several years. I seem to like notes of iris, bergamot, steeped black tea (if only there was a perfume), bergamot, cedar. I explored some of Serge Lutens, and some from Frederic Malle and Nez a Nez. What would you recommend as my next fragrance?
    Options I chose by descriptions are: chanell 19, F.Malle Noir Epices, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Portrait of a Lady, Dans Tes Bras, Musc Ravageur; serge lutens cedre and feminite du bois.

    Thank you! December 21, 2011 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Surbhi: Have you tried the Rosa Nobile from the same design house. I got it as a gift. But I don’t smell it at all after half an hour or so. I like the soft smell it has initially but not much to smell after it. I don’t know if others around me can still smell it. June 6, 2015 at 3:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also find it a little too light. June 8, 2015 at 2:07am Reply

  • KatieAnn: Greetings. This question if for anyone who may know the answer. I was wondering if the “special editions” of this fragrance were all the same as the original, with only the packaging being different. I think the first one came out in 2008. Many thanks in advance. Stay safe and healthy everyone. April 27, 2020 at 9:36am Reply

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