Crabtree & Evenlyn Iris : Fragrance Review



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 or directly from Crabtree & Evelyn website and stores.

Sample: my own acquisition



  • JoanElaine: I like C&E’s Iris too, but have yet to try it on skin. (I don’t like to test perfumes in store)
    I love that Iris is also available in a dusting power, a good old-fashioned bath luxury that you just don’t see much of these days! October 13, 2011 at 11:57am Reply

  • suzannamars: While I don’t care for the iris note, I adore rose/rosewater and will add my own high praise for the Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater scent. October 13, 2011 at 1:04pm Reply

  • Raluca: I will have to try it! Thank you for the review. I know this is somewhat off-topic but wanted to mention that last night I saw the new fragrance by Oscar de la Renta Live in Love. It was in the window of Lord and Taylor. October 13, 2011 at 12:28pm Reply

  • annemarie: I’ll give this another try next time I am passing. I have found that in-store, surrounded by many smells and other assaults on your senses, it is hard to test quiet fragrances like this. But I remember being impressed with C&E’s Iris. I’m glad you confirmed that it is not a true iris, for how could it be for that price?

    L’Occitane’s fragrances fall to bits on me after about 15 minutes, but I don’t think Iris did, and C&E’s stuff is cheaper. I am like you – I always love to cheat the high end fragrance industry with finds like this. October 13, 2011 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: Have you tried it in Rosewater? So decadent! 🙂 October 13, 2011 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Musette: Oooh! Rosewater dusting powder? That sounds divine!

    xoA October 13, 2011 at 1:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Rosewater range in general is fantastic, but the edt is too sharp. But the gel and lotion are very good, and the dusting powder demands a large pink swan down powder puff. 🙂 October 13, 2011 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: Isn't it good? A true tea rose scent, very Victorian. October 13, 2011 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Have you smelled it? I didn't have a chance to try it yet. October 13, 2011 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Raluca: Victoria, I didn’t smell it since the store was closed when I went by. I will do so as soon as I get a chance and report back althought I’m not an expert on perfumes. 🙂 October 13, 2011 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Chi Nguyen: Hi V!
    How is C&E’s Iris compared to L’occitane Iris (which is part of the Mediterranean collection), in case you’ve tested the L’occitane one of course!

    Best regards
    Chi October 13, 2011 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Chi Nguyen: Sorry, I totally forgot the question mark, so here it is *? added* October 13, 2011 at 1:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, I will look forward to your impressions.

    Loved your post on mamaliga! I can eat it daily, it is one of my favorite comfort foods. October 13, 2011 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: L’Occitane’s Iris is definitely more of a vegetal, green iris. C&E is really more of a white floral with violet accents. I guess, if they called it Purple Gardenia, I would not have complained either. 🙂 October 13, 2011 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Raluca: Yes, I will let you know. I’m really glad that you liked my post. 🙂 October 13, 2011 at 3:44pm Reply

  • Cathleen56: Thank you, thank you! I tried samples of Iris, Rosewater, and Lavender a few weeks ago and was really surprised by how good they were. They reaffirmed my faith in mainstream fragrances, which I think get short shrift in the current climate. October 13, 2011 at 8:01pm Reply

  • OperaFan: Long before I started exploring upscale perfumes and before there was a L’Occitane or B&BW, I was a serious fan of Crabtree & Evelyn and Casswell Massey fragrances and bath & body products. Very glad to see C&E still making quality affordable products. Your review makes me want to go and re-explore C&E’s line of fragrances. October 13, 2011 at 8:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 October 14, 2011 at 9:52am Reply

  • Victoria: Even iris synthetics are very expensive, so for $25 it is hard to build a credible iris (and I am guessing that the budget for the juice alone must be very small.) Still, impressive that they made such a nice, well-rounded fragrance on that small amount.

    I used to love L’Occitane, but now they seem to be in business of doing cheap knockoffs of more successful fragrances. Their The Vert is still very good, however. October 14, 2011 at 9:55am Reply

  • Victoria: I like Lavender very much, and the whole Rosewater body product range is fantastic. C&E rivals Jo Malone for me, and it is certainly more affordable. October 14, 2011 at 9:56am Reply

  • Victoria: Casswell Massey is another line of fragrances that I would like to revisit. I used to like some of their products very much. Their Lavender is a classic! October 14, 2011 at 9:58am Reply

  • Lucy: Now you are making me commit to seriously saving up for a large swan’s down powder puff. Their powders sound delicious. October 14, 2011 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Victoria: I bought mine at Caron years ago, and it is still in great condition. Rose scented powder is such a luxury. We have been forgetting the art of perfuming ourselves with powders, but it is such a luxurious ritual. It just takes a bit more time, which can be a good thing, an incentive to slow down. October 14, 2011 at 1:01pm Reply

  • lucinda crewe: i am wondering if you have had chance to try the new c&e Kashmir Musk perfume.
    i have tried it myself and fell instantly in love. the powdery sweetness of the iris is just right for me and although i am not a big fan of certain musk types i do seem to appreciate them when paired with powdery florals such as, mimosa, iris or lotus. i am pondering on whether or not to purchace a bottle but would be interested if anyone else has come across perfumes that smell similar. January 22, 2014 at 9:37pm Reply

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