Guerlain Iris Ganache : Perfume Review


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

Ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream, which is blended until a soft, melting and decadently rich texture is attained. For the newest addition to Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matiere collection, which already includes Angélique Noire, Bois d’Arménie, Rose Barbare, and Cuir Beluga, perfumer Thierry Wasser took the richness of ganache as inspiration for an iris scent. If you are a regular visitor to Bois de Jasmin’s pages, you already know of my fascination with the iris note. I find the scent derived from iris roots quite beguiling—it is half way between flower and root, vegetal matter and mineral dust. Discovering Iris Ganache was quite an interesting experience. It proved that iris, when made overly sweet, can lose its elegant character and assume quite a flamboyant demeanor.

Iris Ganache does not indulge in mystery. Once the soft grey iris gives way to the vanillic richness and creamy woods, the composition calls to mind gold, furs and red lipstick, rather than some vision of understated glamour. The spicy floral accord blooms in its heart foiled by the fudge like richness of the oriental base—tonka bean, vanilla, amber and milky woods. Iris Ganache is very much reminiscent of Insolence given their oriental bases and pronounced sweetness. However, while Insolence is filled with strawberry fizz, which somewhat cheapens its initial effect, Iris Ganache is all about luxury with a capital L.

In some ways, Iris Ganache is related to L’Heure Bleue, the grand Guerlain classic that has few rivals both for its remarkable sillage (the trail left by its wearer) and its glamorous aura. Apparently, Sylvaine Delacourte, the creative director of Guerlain, has always loved this fragrance, which explains L’Heure Bleue’s recent revival in various guises. Yet, I find that the delicate balance of powder, sweetness and opulence of L’Heure Bleue is not to be found in Iris Ganache. I waited for something to lift its heft and cloying richness, but nothing did. It remained beautiful, yet passionless.

Iris Ganache includes note of bergamot, iris butter, white chocolate, floral notes, cinnamon, patchouli, white musks, cedarwood and vanilla. Guerlain is available from 68, Champs Elysées Guerlain flagship store in Paris as well as Bergdorf Goodman.



  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Happy Belated Easter ~~ What scent did you choose on this special holiday – it’s Spring – but winterish.
    I related to your as always beautifully written review of Iris Ganache. I just sampled it las t week at BG – it lasted the whole day – it’s warm , sensual richness reminiscemt of Iris – to ne sure – served up in a delicious nutty, vanilla trace. I really was impressed . I would have bought it – had it been available. I liked it better than Cuir Beluga – it is sweeter and softer – probablt dur to the iris accord.
    I have read that Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte favors the classic L’Heure Bleue – that is apparent. Still Iris Ganache , to my nose – is unique and complex. I enjoy feeling luxurious – with a capital L ! April 9, 2007 at 1:43am Reply

  • Ina: Yoiks! I’m so looking forward to smelling this (hopefully, tomorrow!) But now I’m torn. I just don’t think I can deal with the disappointment – I have to like it. ;D Your mention of L’Heure Bleue gives me hope. April 8, 2007 at 11:45pm Reply

  • carmencanada: My visit to 58 Champs Elysées last Friday was a frustrating experience… for some reason, they won’t be selling this until May. I’m not sure I’m up for cloying richness just when the weather’s warming, but I’m curious to see iris treated as a cocotte instead of an aristocrat… April 9, 2007 at 4:44am Reply

  • Elle: Hmmm. I am a confirmed, hard-core iris fan, but I’m also almost invariably put off by overly sweet scents. It sounds like my reservations about the ganache part of the name are justified. Definitely not a scent to order unsniffed. April 9, 2007 at 7:11am Reply

  • chayaruchama: Good morning, dear Vika !
    I hope your Easter was a nourishing one, dusa moja.

    I enjoyed this on the strip at Sniffa last week, but didn’t spray [ I was too preoccupied with orgiastic spasms of alternative Guerlain lust, I fear, to which I heartily succumbed- Vega, Sous le Vent, Liu, and Cuir Beluga- naughty, naughty me…].

    While it is a thing of unctuous beauty, I’m not sure that I require it now- but come fall, I bet I’ll change my tune… April 9, 2007 at 8:52am Reply

  • Judith: Well, it doesn’t sound like it’s for me. I’m generally opposed to putting chocolate in fragrances, anyway (although you managed to come up with some I like:), and “sweet” and “cloying” are not my favorite words. Still, I will sniff it when I’m in NY. April 9, 2007 at 9:53am Reply

  • Marina: Well, that’s one bullet/lemming dodged. Thank you! 🙂 Insolence? Again? I will pass. 🙂 April 9, 2007 at 8:56am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, if you like Insolence and the heft of Cuir Beluga, you will like Iris Ganache. I am just getting tired of the opaque, dense quality of L’Art et la Matiere collection. It feels like too much of a good thing. April 9, 2007 at 10:36am Reply

  • Robin: Will I like it? (it’s all about me, me, me) April 9, 2007 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Leoness: V, the notes sound wonderful. Maybe a fall release would have been better. Personally, I’ll take chocolate and vanilla anytime of year! April 9, 2007 at 3:32pm Reply

  • March: Hmmmmmm. I think “beautiful, yet passionless” is probably not going to be something worth hunting down. Why does it feel as if Guerlain is going in too many directions at once? April 9, 2007 at 3:36pm Reply

  • Dusan: Vika,
    a belated happy Easter!
    I just hate when a perfume is a step away from being perfect, when it includes all the notes one craves but sadly lacks that something to lift the heft off the composition and make it breathe. Still, I’d love to try Iris Ganache because, as you know, we share a love of iris.
    On another note, have I mentioned that I’ve been wearing Chergui exclusively for ten days now? Need I tell you that I can’t imagine living without it for the rest of my life? I LOOOOOOOOOOVE it!!! Honestly, it wasn’t a big bang or love at first sight. I was actually disappointed initially, not with the fragrance of course, it was lovely, but rather with how I’d imagined it would be like. I dunno, I guess I was expecting another loud (and I mean this in the best way) scent a la Fumerie Turque. Chergui proved to be a wonderful, mellow scent that melts into your skin. And, Vika, you’ve no idea how much I crave it! And the darn thing seems to have minimal sillage, or rather people around me can smell it, but after an hour it’s just lost on me unless I take a deep sniff of my wrist. And then it’s heaven – the smell of love that sends my heart racing. 🙂
    Anyway, sorry for the long post. I just wanted to say you were bang on – it does have my name written all over it, there, just below the title 🙂 Oh, I need a backup bottle.
    Hugs, my dear!!!! April 9, 2007 at 3:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, then you will enjoy this perfume! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. April 9, 2007 at 12:53pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, “iris treated as a cocotte instead of an aristocrat”–that is exactly what it is. I hope that you can try it soon. In the US, the store already has testers, but not the actual bottles for purchase. April 9, 2007 at 1:18pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, it definitely should be sampled first, especially if you are sensitive to sweet notes. April 9, 2007 at 1:38pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I was so looking foward to this. But, if it lacks passion, I don’t think I will be buying. 🙁

    On a brighter note, I just received a very special package in the mail: Vintage Chant d’Aromes in a rosebud bottle. It is quite beautiful to behold.

    Hugs and love! April 9, 2007 at 6:05pm Reply

  • FiveoaksBouquet: Hi! Love to read your reviews, bdj. I just tried Iris Ganache today and my impression is a little different. I found it more dry and powdery than sweet and cloying. It does owe quite a lot to L’Heure Bleue. In one phase near the outset it smelled like L’Heure Bleue without the oft-mentioned play-doh note. I find it very suave and elegant and a little aloof, creating an aura of sophistication. June 8, 2007 at 8:26pm Reply

  • sondos haidariya: hi
    just i need to know this parfum for mael or femael
    thank you
    sondos October 13, 2007 at 12:29am Reply

  • Miette769: Hello,

    Some may not enjoy the Iris Fragrance but I did do a little internet digging and came across this gem. All of the above mentioned L’Art de Matiere Collection fragrances can be purchased here. And it does seem to run a bit cheaper than the fragrance peddlers on Ebay.
    Enjoy! December 1, 2007 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Daisy: Am visiting my parents for the new year! And I was wearing this today when my mother made me go outside and shovel the snow off the driveway. So glamorous 🙂

    But in a way, being out in the cold reminded me of the hottest drink I have ever had: Turkish salep. Have you ever had it? It’s thick, viscous, and quite delicious powdered wild iris root mixed with hot milk and dusted with cinnamon. Went well with the winter white landscape!

    Hope that you have a wonderful new year, Victoria! December 29, 2012 at 5:46pm Reply

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